Walkers a more diverse group than reported

Opinion

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Your story "Walks tout varied Mideast views" in the issue of May 18 was in many respects an excellent example of the balanced journalism WEDNESDAY JOURNAL practices. Two events with opposing agendas were handled in an even-handed and calm way, with a clear appreciation of how two groups in our community come to hold very different views.

It was a nice story, but it was just a little too symmetrical. I participated in the Walk for a Just Peace, which was organized by the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine (and not by the American Friends Service Committee, as an article in the May 11 issue stated).

The people in tahe Walk for a Just Peace were not "nearly all Jewish." I don't think any group held a majority. There were Jews, Muslims, Christians, and secularists. There were Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans. (And the gate-crasher passing out anti-Semitic handbills may have been an alien life form, I'm not sure.)

Furthermore, there were Israeli, American, and Palestinian speakers at the

pre and post-Walk gatherings and not all of them "professed a love of both Judaism and Israel." Mansour Aziz Mansour and Ali Abunimah?#34;the Palestinians who spoke?#34;had many fair-minded and inspiring things to say, but love for Judaism and Israel didn't really figure into their oratory. Everyone who participated in the Walk for a Just Peace may have come to Ridgeland Common with somewhat different sentiments and motivations.

Creating common ground among people who have a long history of disagreeing is the massive (but perfectly ordinary) task required to bring a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The continued existence of a multi-faith, multi-ethnic Walk for a Just Peace is witness to the fact that common ground can be found, as well as invigorating testimony?#34;on an unseasonably cold day in May?#34;to the durability of those who seek it.

Dean Blobaum
Oak Park

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