Re: UW & Israel: Justice and politics in academia, Jan. 24.

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In their letters to <em>Imprint</em>, Shane Morganstein and Daniel Berry both respond to criticisms made against Israel in a previous letter to&nbsp;<em>Imprint</em>. Both claim that Israel has a right to defend itself, and represents a symbol of democracy in the Middle East. These are common claims made by the pro-Israel camp, and both claims conveniently gloss over the actual material conditions present in Israel and the Middle East. &nbsp;


Berry says that critics are &ldquo;ignoring &ndash; or excusing &ndash; the violence and oppression all around it.&rdquo; Not exactly.&nbsp; Critics are more than willing to point out violence and oppression committed by Israel. Fact: Israel sits on occupied territory. Land it has taken from Palestine over the course of decades. Building settlements on Palestinian land, and forcing the people there into an occupied living situation. Is it any wonder that people in such conditions respond with rockets? To which Israel retaliates with air strikes. &nbsp;


A state that occupies land, oppresses the people there, and is willing to resort to violent measures to maintain control can hardly be said to stand for &ldquo;democracy, freedom, and what is right about today&rsquo;s modern Middle East.&rdquo; Israel, equipped with one of the strongest militaries in the Middle East thanks to support from the U.S., and an unwavering friend in Canada, has no right to complain when people are critical of its actions.


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<strong>Chris Burke</strong>


M.E.S. Sustainability Management
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