Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 21, 2024

In Response to “We should speak out against US military support of Israel” published in the April 19 edition of The News-Letter.

Dear Editor,

Alyssa Thomas and Aurel Malapani-Scala’s article is replete with intentional inaccuracies and half-truths. Their faulty facts inevitably lead to false conclusions. I aim to correct some of the misinformation, to give readers a more balanced and accurate depiction of events. 

The Gazan 'protests’ are not peaceful. Peaceful protests do not include burning tires or Molotov cocktails. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ leader, called the protests “a deadly weapon” to achieve Hamas’ goals, including murdering all Jews, according to their 1988 Charter. Eight members of Hamas’ Qassam Brigades died during the protests. Two died hopping the fence with AK-47s. Nine were captured crossing into Israel carrying IEDs, grenades and guns. 

The authors are right in their depiction of Gazan poverty, but they are wrong to blame Israel, which withdrew entirely from Gaza in 2005. Hamas is responsible for the continued deprivation of basic infrastructure and aid to the Gazan people. Hundreds of Gazans protested Hamas concerning electricity cuts in January. Hamas spends millions on terrorism; they allocate construction materials for homebuilding toward tunnels to kidnap and kill Israeli civilians. Ironically, the authors attack Israel for constructing an underground wall preventing those tunnels from reaching innocents. 

The claim that there were no investigations into the army’s conduct is untrue. CNN and the Chicago Tribune reported an ongoing investigation regarding the death of one journalist. 

The authors rely on findings by B’Tselem, which has well-established biases against Israel. B’Tselem representatives denied the Holocaust on live television, and others were taped admitting to orchestrating executing Palestinians who sold their land to Jews. B’Tselem’s assessment is thus not to be trusted.

The assertion that Israel is a settler-colonialist state ignores the indigeneity of Jewish people to the land of Israel. The Jewish people, language, religion and history are intrinsically tied to Israel. A people cannot colonize their own homeland.

The authors insist that Israel is an apartheid state, which is categorically untrue. Twenty percent of Israel’s citizenry is Palestinian. The third largest party in Knesset is Palestinian. Palestinians hold high office positions, including mayors, judges, police and army officers. To compare their lot with apartheid-era black South-Africans minimizes their real and brutal struggles.

The authors call for discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in "an honest context." I hope that this response brings us closer to that honesty and encourages students to investigate the issue with clear eyes.

Elliot Frumkin

Hopkins Class of 2017

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