(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - I am writing concerning the "Just Peace for Israel" advertisement that appeared on the front page of your June 15 issue. It stated that "the British clergy and the leaders of the University and College Union... want to see Israel and its people isolated and destroyed."
As a recent graduate of University College London and as someone who took and continues to take an active interest in the activities of the university unions, I can honestly say that the consensus and feeling of union members is that they do not support the destruction of Israel.
Elements in the University of London union call for an end the occupation and an end to the security restrictions placed on Palestinians in the West Bank. People often focus on the restrictions and tend to ignore the security purpose of checkpoints.
Moreover, it is an undeniable fact that many Israeli Arabs find it difficult to find decent jobs because they are Arabs. Unless an Israeli Arab has family connections with companies in Israel, it is often very difficult for them to find employment.
The only bodies within the unions that I know - namely University of London Union and University College London Union - that have called for the destruction of Israel, are a minority of student extremist Palestinian parties within, and when this happens, the Union of Jewish Students has asked, and usually succeeded in getting, the relevant groups to apologize and to guarantee that they will not repeat offensive comments or distribute offensive material.
It is damaging both to the possibility of peace in Israel and relations with the UK, for the advertisement's sponsors to make such unnecessary and false statements - especially in a leading paper read by people all over the world.
I call upon "Just Peace for Israel" to heed this advice: If you sincerely want peace, then first work on making peace within the Jewish community and then work on finding common ground and common interests - of which there are many - with our Arab neighbors.
Sir, - Calev Ben David's report on the minutes of a recent meeting of the National Union of British Chimney Sweeps was a satirical masterpiece ("Union Blues," UpFront, July 8).
He brilliantly exposes the fatuous imperative by putatively intelligent, knowledgeable and literate union members in academia and journalism, to demonize and punish Israel with counter-productive boycotts.
It would be entirely appropriate and prove their integrity if all these union members would deny themselves any benefits inherent in the myriad new inventions and products in medicine, technology, research achieved by Israeli ingenuity.
For instance, the British journalists would have their press privileges immediately rescinded so that they could only report from PA areas, from which BBC reporter, Alan Johnston, was kidnapped over 3 months ago and remains in captivity.
Arbitrary and unjust actions require meaningful consequences. It is time for Israel to initiate counter-boycotts against these fulminating "righteous moralists."
Lakewood, New Jersey