To the editor,
I am writing this letter to express my anxieties over sharing any of my opinions, and I’m hoping that it will resonate with others reading this. It feels like, whether praising or criticizing Israel, I must add “but…” so as not to appear too firmly opinionated.
My perspective as a Jew is that I have always supported the existence of Israel. I continue to believe in a Jewish state. This, of course, must be qualified, because I want peace for every human. I like the idea of a two-state solution, where there is peaceful interaction and not bitterness and prejudice.
Though the current governing bodies involved in the conflict do not see that as an option, I know that government officials are not representative of their average citizen. Moreover, both states still have the right to exist in some form. One can push for change without elimination.
I see a lot of discourse online reflecting all-or-nothing mentalities. It appears to be written by people who are very firmly opinionated towards only one side or another. This makes me worry that what I say may be misconstrued to look black-and-white when it’s not.
If I speak in favor of Israel — because I mourn for their soldiers, or feel that Jews need someplace to live in safety — people might think that I support Israel with no sympathy for Palestinians. If I speak against Israel — because war is horrific and they go too far in causing destruction — people might think that I don’t support the concept of Israel, and they might think that they have all the more right to promote anti-Zionism that verges on antisemitism.
I yearn for a way out of this fighting as soon as possible, and I hope that along the way there is compassion for everyone in harm’s way. I also yearn for open-mindedness on everyone’s behalf and allowance of nuance in everyone’s stance. That includes you, readers.
Gendrich is a member of the Class of 2024(T5). This Letter to the Editor was published as part of the Campus Times’ Nov. 21, 2023 Special Edition on Israel-Palestine.