The recent feature on the “Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine” suggested that the group offers a balanced view [Speaking peace, spreading the word, Lifelines, Dec. 8]. In fact, it is a pro-Palestinian group, a legitimate role, but one needing acknowledgement. Despite committee claims of even handedness, it was telling that its local church supporters are described as “pro-Palestinian.”
Recently, the committee launched a “Be on our side: End U.S. military aid to Israel” campaign, cynically featuring a photo of an “Israeli social worker.” Israel, home to 40 percent of the world’s Jews, faces thousands of missiles from Lebanon, Gaza, Syria and Iran; a nearly nuclear Iran bent on its destruction; and a very dangerous neighborhood. A committee campaign to hobble Israel’s military is hardly balanced or focused on peace.
The article also mentions a full-page Wednesday Journal ad protesting the committee’s sponsorship of a speech by anti-Israel polemicist Norman Finklestein. It reports that “40 people” signed on and the committee’s spokesperson says it “selectively quoted his work and presented a very distorted picture of his message.” Having organized this ad, I note that 115 individuals, reflecting many perspectives, signed. Space did require selectivity, but Finkelstein’s message was not distorted. I remain astonished that the committee would associate with him.
The article closes with the group’s complaint that its efforts are hampered by “an attempt to shoot the messenger.” The Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine is no “messenger” of truth. It is an advocate for a point of view, one too widely reinforced in many Oak Park institutions, “dissenting” but oddly indignant at dissent from its own views.