Letters to the Editor

‘Jaded’ Misrepresents ‘Progressive’

In the article ”Jaded’ Magazine Plans to Fold’ (Feb. 20), Jaded editor Diana Jou claims that ”The Irvine Progressive’ has a white liberal perspective. We focus more on race and class issues and look at pop culture critically.’ This is a false characterization of our paper. ‘Jaded’ does fulfill a particular niche, but our staff is hardly a lily-white group of activists! People of many different ethnicities and backgrounds have helped to make our paper what it is, and in the years we have been publishing we have covered a wide variety of issues, from national politics to problems of race, gender and class. And although ‘Jaded’ may boast a more artistic bent, we too have covered issues of pop culture. Whether it be focusing on the Iraq war or the Ring Mall bike ban, issue after issue we try to feature articles relevant to anybody who might pick up our paper. And we are always looking to diversify even further.

Our staff holds great esteem for ‘Jaded.’ They publish first-class material, and we regret that they may not continue beyond this year.

Alexander Phillips
Founder, Editor in Chief
The Irvine Progressive

Calling for Israel’s Destruction is Overtly Anti-Semitic

In regards to Sulaiman Arain’s letter to the editor, ‘Calling for Israel’s Destruction Not Anti-Semitic,’ Feb. 20: Calling for Israel’s destruction is anti-Semitic (for simplification, let’s instead call it ‘anti-Jewish’) even though Arain thinks it’s not. Arain attempts to rationalize that expressing an opinion such as ‘The state of Israel will be wiped off the face of the Earth’ does not mean ‘that all the Jews living in Israel need to be exterminated’ when in fact it inherently does. Arain even contradicts himself on the subject in his argument.

Also, Arain’s proposal for a ‘new system’ that allows ‘basic human rights and dignity to all humans’ isn’t new at all, and has been established by the state of Israel many years prior to any of its surrounding Arab neighbors.

The state of Israel was intended for Jews since its inception in 1948. It is rooted in the beliefs of Zionism, a movement started by Theodore Herzl in 1896, which called for a sovereign Jewish nation as an escape from centuries of religious persecution. Therefore, it is logical that in Israel’s Proclamation of Independence, Herzl is regarded as the ‘spiritual father of the Jewish State.’

Furthermore, as written in Israel’s Proclamation of Independence, the Jewish people have ‘the natural right … to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State. … Accordingly [the representatives of the Jewish community] … hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in [Israel], to be known as the State of Israel.’ From Israel’s own Proclamation of Independence, its existence was clearly created by Jews and, more importantly, for Jews. A state for Jews means to protect and defend Jews not just in Israel, but also all over the world; for example, Operation Entebbe in 1976, where Israeli special forces rescued Jewish airplane passengers taken hostage from an Air France Flight and taken to Entebbe Airport in Uganda. To call for the destruction of such a state and say that it is not anti-Jewish is like calling for the end of Nazi Germany without being anti-Nazi.

Arain even contradicts himself on the topic of expressing that the destruction of Israel should not be construed as being anti-Jewish. He originally said that calling for the destruction of the ‘state of Israel’ is not anti-Jewish, yet admits that the state of Israel was ‘founded as a Jewish state.’ How can one call for the elimination of a Jewish state without being anti-Jewish?

Furthermore, Arain makes the highly insubstantial conclusion that the aforementioned statement does not imply that ‘all Jews must forcibly be ousted from the Holy Land,’ yet states that for the state of Israel to cease to exist on the map, ‘The right of return must be granted to the Palestinians, a people who were forcibly removed from their land … so that the state of Israel … could be born in 1948.’

Of course, a state by Jews, for Jews does not mean that Israel excludes and discriminates other ethnicities or religions, as Arain would lead you to believe. In fact, 24 percent of the 7.1 million Israeli population (meaning, there are about 5.4 million Jews in Israel, not the ‘6.2 million’ claimed by Arain) is non-Jewish, with almost one in five Israeli citizens being Arab (according to the Israeli Bureau of Statistics). Unlike other countries with large minority groups that speak a different language than the majority, Israel includes Arabic as an official language. As in any liberal democracy, these minorities enjoy the same rights as the Jewish majority. And again as in any liberal democracy, but differing from some of Israel’s neighboring Arab countries, every woman has the right to vote. Thus, the state that Arain is wishing for in the region, one that ‘guarantees basic human rights and dignity to all humans, regardless of race, ethnicity or creed,’ already exists and is the state of Israel. While Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, considered Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, can be debated, its treatment of its citizens, in comparison to that of its neighboring countries, is stellar.

One can disagree with the decisions made by the government of Israel. That is not anti-Jewish at all. Many Jews do this already. One can also support the Palestinian cause. That is not anti-Jewish either. Many Jews, myself included, do this too. But to support the elimination