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‘Today is one of the most tragic days in the history of the Jewish people’: one American Jew’s response to the Gaza massacre

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The following is a letter from Howard Horowitz to the Israel Action Committee of his synagogue in Westchester, New York.  Horowitz is the former President of the WESPAC Foundation. The letter was shared on Facebook

Dear Fellow Israel Action Committee Members,

Today is one of the most tragic days in the history of the Jewish people. It is time to “break the silence,” to invoke the Israeli soldier organization Breaking the Silence. When will we stand up, as human beings, as a committee and as a Temple, to condemn the massacre of Palestinians on the Gaza border? The dictionary definition of massacre is “an indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people.” That is what occurred and is occurring. We can never say we did not know. If we say we hold Jewish values, we will stand up and be counted and proclaim that we were strangers in the land of Egypt, we were slaughtered in the Holocaust and we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

In this, the “Gaza Spring,” the IDF has killed more than 80 Palestinians and maimed and wounded 10,000 more. Not one Israeli casualty, not a scratch. No guns on the “other“ side just burning tires and “deadly” kites. Why do I have images of David and Goliath (except this time Goliath is winning)?

Why do I have images of people who after 70 years of exile, want to go home, to return to their homes? Are the Palestinians, in the face of the Israeli Goliath, the new Jews? Their struggle brings to my mind images of the Jews on the Exodus on a hunger strike while running the British blockade and siege only to be captured and sent to detention and barbed wire in Cyprus. The Palestinians in Gaza are trying to break the Israeli siege.

We as Jews who remember the Holocaust and the victimization of the Jewish people stand in solidarity with the new Jews. If we don’t stand up and say no, we are complicit in murder, plain and simple.

The massacre of Palestinians by those who claim to represent the Jewish people is by far the most painful and shameful aspect of today. The second most painful and shameful aspect is the besmirching of the holy city of Jerusalem, which is a Palestinian and Jewish and Christian and Muslim and international city. Is the alliance between Trump and the Netanyahu regime not a wake-up call to liberal Jews that actions such as those taken today in Jerusalem are not acceptable and will only lead to greater violence and alienation? We are ready to say no to systematic oppression and the exclusion of Reform and Conservative Jews in Israel, exclusion that is a literal form of ant-Semitism. We must also be ready to say no to the cruel and inhuman treatment of Palestinians who do not have the same rights as we do though we do not even live there.

As Jews, we need to stand up as Jews and reclaim our heritage. We are Americans who acknowledge and memorialize the genocide of native Americans, we memorialize and mourn the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, most recently with the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Now we must acknowledge and atone for the expulsion, oppression and killing of Palestinians for the past 70 years. We must, as Jews, teach the Nakba in our religious and Hebrew schools, understanding that Nakba denial is no different than Holocaust denial. We would not make peace with those who deny the Holocaust and makes teaching its memory illegal. We should expect no different for Palestinians whose history is denied, whose curriculum is deemed illegal, and whose story is buried under the trees planted by the Jewish National Fund for which we, as American children, put pennies in the pushka? As I noticed on a recent visit to Jerusalem, “Palestine” as a place where Jews lived before the Holocaust is willfully erased even in Yad Vashem. In addition to the 4 billion dollars per year in military aid that the US provides to Israel—funds for the weapons of death and massacre in Gaza—there is also the matter of our monies given to UJA, JNF and Israel Bonds that go directly to the settlement enterprise that displaces Palestinians and defies international law.

Given this critical moment and today’s horrific events, I respectfully request an emergency meeting of the IAC to discuss how to address this crisis. We need to provide our congregation information so they may judge fact from fiction, and truth from propaganda. We need to take a public stand against the violence being perpetuated by Israel with sister congregations and the URJ. To avoid such a discussion would be a demonstration of willful ignorance that has been and remains the greatest danger to the Jewish people and to all people.

The favor of a reply is requested and with a proposed meeting date. In an effort to start to discern fact from fiction, I am attaching recent articles and materials from pre-eminent Jewish and non-Jewish sources. The article that speaks directly to the issue of truth, lies and propaganda is from the Forward by Peter Beinart. The most difficult article for us to read is about the Nakba at this link. 

Sincerely, and with no small degree of sadness on this tragic day,

Howard

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48 Responses

  1. lonely rico
    May 16, 2018, 9:44 am

    Good article by Saree Makdisi –

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/05/16/kill-and-kill-and-kill/

    “Colonialism is not a thinking machine, nor a body endowed with reasoning faculties,” Frantz Fanon once pointed out. “It is violence in its natural state.”
    … the maintenance of a “Zionist-Jewish state with an overwhelming majority of Jews” requires permanent institutionalized violence. That was already true in 1948 and it remains true today and it will remain true until this project of racial exclusivism and privilege is abandoned once and for all for the hideous anachronism that it is.

  2. broadside
    May 16, 2018, 9:49 am

    Got news for you Phil, plenty of goys have been saying this for years, but our opinion has meant nothing to, well, to you.

    You were right the first time — “depressing” is absolutely the word, I have never been more depressed about living in this shithole country than I am now, knowing full well my 30-year suspicions have been cruelly confirmed: Jews — not Zionists, Phil, Jews — run the show in the United States top to bottom, no exceptions, anywhere.

    Had you listened to the goys, this day would never have arrived. Had you listened to the goys, neither would the day after.

    • Donald Johnson
      May 16, 2018, 12:15 pm

      Stupid antisemitic remark.

      • gamal
        May 16, 2018, 1:13 pm

        “Stupid antisemitic remark”

        No Jews Were Harmed in the making of that comment, your timing and insensitivity are spectacular, imagine how outraged about ‘anti-semitism’ in comments(?) you are going to be when ( 56 dead 1900 wounded) when Israel kills 1000 Palestinians on the border,

        so somebody said something you really think it is appropriate, perhaps stupid bitter, do you think it respectful! to introduce anti-semitism into the thread..really? respectful to the dead who are themselves labelled rabid unreasoning anti-semites (56 dead 1900 wounded was that yesterday, today what)

        you should be ashamed

      • Mooser
        May 16, 2018, 4:12 pm

        “No Jews Were Harmed in the making of that comment”

        “No Jews Were Harmed”? Are you sure, “gamal”? Sure seems like “Donald Johnson” got stung by it.

      • RoHa
        May 16, 2018, 6:58 pm

        Donald, does Broadside’s comment contain any factual errors?
        If it does, point them out.
        If the facts are correct, does his comment present the facts in a distorted or misleading fashion?
        If so, show this.
        Does he draw any unwarranted or illogical conclusions from the facts?
        Is he does, demonstrate his logical errors.

        But don’t just whine “anti-Semitic”, like a Zionist. You are better than that.

        It doesn’t matter whether or not the comment is anti-Semitic. What matters is whether or not it is true.

      • Frankie P
        May 16, 2018, 7:17 pm

        Isn’t it rich?
        Aren’t we a pair
        Israel there on the ground killing unarmed Palestinians
        US Jews writing how it’s a tragedy… for Jews
        Send in the clowns

        Can you even get your brain around this fact?

        The Mondoweiss editors heartfully endorse this statement from one US Jew about how the ongoing massacre of Palestinians is a tragedy for Jews.

        OUCH!!

        No more needs to be said.

        Except one thing… I have bad news for you Howard. You do NOT stand up as humans.
        You stand up as Jews. You do. JVP does. Mondoweiss does. AIPAC does.

        Learn to stand up as humans, and the tradegy will end.

        Frankie P

      • Annie Robbins
        May 19, 2018, 1:53 am

        Learn to stand up as humans

        hmm, i think that was his point when he wrote in the first paragraph (2nd sentence):

        When will we stand up, as human beings

        US Jews writing how it’s a tragedy… for Jews

        i read this part differently:

        The massacre of Palestinians by those who claim to represent the Jewish people is by far the most painful and shameful aspect of today.

        the massacre of palestinians as the most painful, and the fact of “by those who claim to represent the Jewish people” as the most shameful.

      • CigarGod
        May 17, 2018, 10:02 am

        There are no sacred cows, Donald.
        This might be an incomplete paraphrase of Sagan, and refers to science, but I think we need to apply it to the political world.

        Everything must be subject to challenge. Anything else, allows a culture of corruption to flourish.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 19, 2018, 2:12 am

        does Broadside’s comment contain any factual errors?

        ok, just personally speaking, as a citizen of the U.S. i don’t experience jews running my life from top to bottom. i find that thought to be fundamentally extremist and paranoid. major aspects of our foreign policy? definitely. what’s your definition of “the show in the United States”? do they run the kock brothers? do they run walmart? kaiser hospital? the local veterinarian? my dentist’s office? bill gates? the legacy museum in montgomery? S.F’s china town? my local community garden? seriously, what’s “the show in the United States”? do they run all the casinos? does any american except jewish-americans have any agency here at all? i understand this is a time of intense emotions. but can we be at least somewhat rational here?

        and if they run “everything” how come there’s rent control in LA and not seattle? oh let me guess, because jews don’t agree with eachother in those cities? do town councils all across the US have any agency outside of doing what jews want? are you thinking clearly?

      • echinococcus
        May 19, 2018, 3:23 am

        Annie,

        Middle-school level flippancy is not exactly what we expect from you.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 19, 2018, 11:44 am

        sorry to disappoint echi. Middle-school level flippancy is always what i expect from you, and you rarely fail to deliver.

      • RoHa
        May 19, 2018, 3:59 am

        Annie, that is the sort of thing Donald should have said, instead of dragging out the “a” word.

        “i find that thought to be fundamentally extremist and paranoid. ”

        General paranoia can save your life. You might not know who they are, but they are out to get you.

      • Frankie P
        May 19, 2018, 4:57 am

        Okay Annie, let’s take a look and delve into this.

        Certainly Howard started that sentence as you quoted. Now let’s go on. Let’s finish the sentence:

        “When will we stand up, as human beings, as a committee and as a Temple,…”

        The flavor has changed. We continue:

        “If we say we hold Jewish values, we will stand up…”

        “Are the Palestinians, in the face of the Israeli Goliath, the new Jews?”

        No, they are the same old Palestinians, oppressed the same way they’ve been oppressed by the Jews for years.

        “Their struggle brings to my mind images of the Jews on the Exodus on a hunger strike…”

        This guy can’t relate to the fact that the Palestinians have their own existential reality, their own narrative, their own suffering. Why does everything have to be related to the suffering of the Jews? The eternal suffering? The pinnacle of suffering? The suffering three times as great at least (and that’s open for vilification or accusations of thought crimes for victim reductionism) as that of any other ethnic group…

        “We as Jews who remember the Holocaust and the victimization of the Jewish people stand in solidarity with the new Jews. ”

        Have you received the permission of any Palestinian people, Howard, to label them “the new Jews”? How dare you?

        “As Jews, we need to stand up as Jews and reclaim our heritage.”

        So, in summary, a throwoff initial comment regarding being members of the human race, and then it’s the usual. But it’s more. It’s a constant harping on the victimhood of the Jews, a constant drumbeat of Judaising the suffering of the Palestinians. It’s disgusting and twisted and mentally unsound. It’s not surprising.

        As Keith mentioned below, this recent brutal massacre in Gaza is NOTHING new. This has been going on for years, and Howard and his synagogue in Westchester, New York have been supporting it through their silence for years. Supporting it by flying the flag of Israel. Supporting it by donating money to politicians who support Israel.

        There’s one thing that I agree with completely with Howard, and I’ll quote him:

        “If we don’t stand up and say no, we are complicit in murder, plain and simple.”

        Guilty as charged, Howard!!!! When does the trial start?

        Frankie P

      • Maghlawatan
        May 19, 2018, 9:20 am

        “ok, just personally speaking, as a citizen of the U.S. i don’t experience jews running my life from top to bottom. i find that thought to be fundamentally extremist and paranoid.
        2

        @Annie
        Forget about Jews. What do you know about who pulls the strings in the US?

        Who is preventing heathcare from being reformed? About one in every 6 dollars spent in the US goes on healthcare. this means one sixth of American life is sickness and is insane.
        Who is behind the tax cuts? For 40% of Americans the rise in gas prices has cancelled out the tax benefit. Who got most of the tax benefit?
        https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/news/2018/05/01/450214/tax-cuts-top-1-percent-cost-snap/
        Who is behind the NRA? School shootings continue.
        Who at the Fed and on Wall St are fighting to prevent the Financial system being reformed?
        Who owns the tech companies who harvest your data and sell it on to commercial entities in order to gain massive revenues ?

        After this you can drill down by religion if you want.

      • Mooser
        May 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

        “ok, just personally speaking, as a citizen of the U.S. i don’t experience jews running my life from top to bottom.”

        Hooray! Our subtle plan, much too sophisticated to be detected by ordinary people, is working.

      • RoHa
        May 19, 2018, 9:50 pm

        I agree with all your points, Frankie. However, I will point out that Howard addressed this to the Israel Action Committee of his synagogue. He was obviously working on the principle that such people only care about Jews, and so made it as Judeo-centric as possible.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 20, 2018, 9:39 am

        Frankie:Let’s finish the sentence:

        “When will we stand up, as human beings, as a committee and as a Temple,…”

        The flavor has changed.

        but you didn’t finish the sentence did you?

        When will we stand up, as human beings, as a committee and as a Temple, to condemn the massacre of Palestinians on the Gaza border?

        does “as a committee and as a Temple” change the “flavor”? no it doesn’t, not when taken into account who the letter is directed towards. it’s not a letter directed towards everyone he knows or everyone in the world. had it been written to or on behalf of WESPAC, it would have been a different kind of letter but the meaning of “human beings” would have been the same.

        Howard and his synagogue in Westchester, New York have been supporting it through their silence for years.

        i just visited the link provided at the top of the article to WESPAC, the foundation he was formerly the president, i find your assumptions and allegations about howard’s “silence” hollow and without substance.

        Mag: Forget about Jews. What do you know about who pulls the strings in the US?

        i ask a series of questions and you answer me with several of your own and a homework assignment that would take hours of research. if your goal is to prove broadside correct, why not simply do some homework yourself? answer some of my questions beginning with “does any american except jewish-americans have any agency here[meaning the US] at all?” let us know how jews control bill gates, the koch bros, and answer why there’s rent control in LA and not seattle.

        or don’t bother, i don’t really care anymore. i think i’m done with this (absurd) conversation.

      • Frankie P
        May 20, 2018, 7:09 am

        Roha,

        Thank you for your comment. I agree with what you have said, that Howard was addressing the Israel Action Committee of his synagogue, and that these people most likely care only about Jews. He was probably working on the priniciple that such people only care about Jews, and that’s why he made it as Judeocentric as possible.

        Let that statement you made sink in. Swirl it around in your brain. Something doesn’t sit just right. If what you say is true, he should be talking to these people about a lot more than the current rap sheet of crimes perpetrated by the Israelis; he should be calling them out on a much deeper mental illness. He should be calling them out on their entire worldview. And when you call someone out on their mental illness, you don’t adopt their own delusions when talking with them. You don’t speak in terms of their fantasies (Jews are the victims of history, yes, yes, but now the Palestinians are the new Jews), you calmly point out truths.

        Frankie P

      • RoHa
        May 21, 2018, 1:25 am

        Frankie,

        He isn’t trying to cure them of their delusions. He quite possibly shares some of those delusions. He just wants the synagogue to be a little less supportive of Israeli mass murder.

      • echinococcus
        May 21, 2018, 2:26 am

        Howard addressed this to the Israel Action Committee of his synagogue. He was obviously working on the principle that such of course such people only care about Jews

        Of course he was. The point is that this Mr Howard is one of these people; it is “his Synagogue”. As so blindingly shown by his writing, too.

    • JLewisDickerson
      May 16, 2018, 12:54 pm

      ‘REELECT TRUMP IN 2020’ SLOGAN/TAGLINE:
      “Let’s Finish Making America a ‘Sh#thole’ Country”!

    • catalan
      May 16, 2018, 1:11 pm

      “Had you listened to the goys, this day would never have arrived” broadside
      I personally listen a lot to goys. But I am still confused about the boycott. Today I went in the morning and had a latte at Starbucks. I know it’s against the rules but I hope that in the process I didn’t hurt any Palestinians. Or is it against the rules? I am so confused l.

      • Mooser
        May 16, 2018, 4:29 pm

        “I had a latte at Starbucks…Or is it against the rules? I am so confused “ “catalan”

        I consulted a Chef Rabbi about your problem, “catalan”. He told me: “Listen, if an affluent American Jew refuses to contribute a penny to Zionism, he’s already doing enough to destroy Israel. Let him drink a bad latte if he wants one.”

    • Jett Rucker
      May 16, 2018, 3:15 pm

      I don’t think Philip Weiss would have been influential enough to avert this day no matter WHOM he listened to, WHEN. I don’t quite know when he failed to listen to us goyim, but 30 years ago, I must confess I myself had little awareness of the profound influence exerted by organized Jewry upon American national affairs. And I think my awareness may STILL be growing, impossible though that seems in view of the levels it has already attained.

    • gamal
      May 19, 2018, 9:29 am

      “are you thinking clearly?”

      if you subject America to simple institutional analysis Jewish power is subsumed within an ocean of moneyed interests, the politics of American communalism generate endless threats to …to ..social order, the powerful conniving Jew, the rampant Black man, the welfare queen, the lazy mooching wet-back, the vengeful Arab,

      and now the ‘goys’, who they? have they been trying to do good and Jews not letting them, the emergence of Angry White Man ( can the Incel movement really be real, i don’t want to be a goy boy if it is, thats a psyop, no real man admits to not being able to get laid, its against nature, we lie, I am not sure what role Jews have played in this, i won’t look into it) is frankly hilarious despite all the suffering

      I would avoid communalism like the plague, like theology its just nonsense, no one ever worries about the Greeks.

  3. Maghlawatan
    May 16, 2018, 10:02 am

    Jim Crowstein. Yossi Israeli needs a bit of relief so Palestinians get shot dead.

  4. CigarGod
    May 16, 2018, 10:13 am

    Exceptionally good letter, Howard.
    Great link you provided: Dark Side

  5. Maghlawatan
    May 16, 2018, 10:50 am

    I think it is going to be a lot harder than Howard thinks. Israel was manufactured and so was Israeli identity. Israeli identity is based on “a land without a people” . Gaza is so visceral in Israel because the people in Gaza contradict the essence of Israeli identity. By acknowledging the Palestinian narrative Israelis destroy their own identity.
    Eitan Bronstein of Zochrot can testify to this. Israelis would rather die than accept the Nakba.

  6. Ossinev
    May 16, 2018, 1:30 pm

    A reminder that thankfully there are still moral Israeli Jews who despite the opprobrium and threats heaped on them abhor and continue to speak out against the atrocities being visited on Palestinians in their name:
    https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Senior-minister-slams-antisemitic-Haaretz-over-Israel-Massacre-Forces-547642

    Note the following classic Zio tit bits:

    “You know very well that if the Hamas terrorists tried to harm the Egyptian side of the border (or any other country) many more Hamas people would have been killed by massive, undirected firing and not by accurate snipers.”
    = Whatabout ? Whatabout ? What if ? What if ?

    “Accurate snipers” = highly trained brainwashed Zombies who morally aim for the front of the lower legs using their high tech telescopic lenses and only hit the “terrorists” in the head or the back because the evil cunning terrorists were using that despicable immoral tactic of moving all the time LOL.

    “the soldiers and their officers were “the most moral and just” and they are supported by the Israeli Right and Left”
    = If you repeat a fantasy lie to yourself often enough you will start to believe it. I think the Wehrmacht used the same recipe.

    “The right-wing organization Im Tirtzu asked Attorney- General Avichai Mandelblit on Sunday to investigate Zandberg and others who called for probes of the IDF for “incitement and encouraging terror.”
    = Betraying the Reich ?

  7. pabelmont
    May 16, 2018, 6:47 pm

    This is a wonderful letter and I hope it is read in every synagogue and made the subject of polite and respectful discussion.

    Is it timely? Well, only in the sense that the present events in Gaza are rather riveting. Otherwise, it would have been almost as timely almost any time.

    This morning (or yesterday, 5/15) NPR had someone say that Gazans were protesting the birth of Israel (or creation of Israel). What a horrible distortion! Gazans and other Palestinians don’t care if anyone creates a country for themselves — but they do and did care if those “creators” created their country by stealing Palestine, dispossessing most of the people, killing, looting, and then for next 70 years persecuting the Palestinians.

    Think if your neighbor said he wanted to celebrate his birthday party. Would you mind, object, cry foul? Certainly not. But when you found out that his method of celebration was to burn your house to the ground, then, THEN, you’d object — not to the celebration or to the birthday but to the burning your house down.

    It is the same, and NPR is so guilty it makes me sick,.

  8. Citizen
    May 16, 2018, 8:03 pm

    Speaking only as a goy here, I’ve been concerned about my government’s rubber-stamping of Israeli conduct and policies for over half a century. This has mostly meant I have been talking to myself; now there’s about eight web sites that track truth in this matter; I discovered Mondoweiss and joined it as a regular commentator in 2007. I worked for nothing for Phil in the early days, tracking down rabid Zionist flamers stealing identities and changing identities to defame and deflect honest truth. JUST SAYING

  9. Keith
    May 16, 2018, 8:15 pm

    HOWARD HOROWITZ- “Today is one of the most tragic days in the history of the Jewish people.”

    Gee, Howard, don’t you think that your focus should be more on the Gazans, not the history of Jewish tragedy?

    HOWARD HOROWITZ- “…we were slaughtered in the Holocaust….”

    Yes, how appropriate to bring up the Holocaust when discussing Gaza.

    HOWARD HOROWITZ- “We as Jews who remember the Holocaust and the victimization of the Jewish people stand in solidarity with the new Jews.”

    Ah, the Holocaust again. Are you sure that you are discussing Gaza? And could you be more specific about what you mean by “stand in solidarity with?” Are you going to take positive action to end the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza? Stop Israel from continuing to “mow the lawn?” Or are you merely going to verbally condemn Israeli atrocities after the fact, even as you and your congregation continue to support Zionism and the Jewish state? Do you see the difference?

    HOWARD HOROWITZ- “Given this critical moment and today’s horrific events….”

    Not as horrific as Operation Protective Edge in 2014 in which 2131 Palestinians were killed (including 501 children) and 11,100 wounded (including 3374 children). And the primary reason for the protest was that the blockade of Gaza has made Gaza unlivable, with over 95% of the water undrinkable. This means that the approximately 1 million children of Gaza are forced to drink contaminated water, a de facto form of germ warfare.

    This has been going on a long time, Howard, and I suspect that aside from an occasional verbal condemnation, you and your congregation support Israel as a Jewish state thereby supporting a system which inevitably causes the types of injustice which you claim to oppose.

  10. captADKer
    May 17, 2018, 9:19 am

    majority of dead were hamas.
    “marchers” coerced there by hamas.
    video and testimonials out to attest.
    this is the winner-
    https://www.waynedupree.com/at-first-glance-you-see-palestinian-martyrs-until-one-needs-to-scratch-his-nose/
    need more? happy to provide

  11. Citizen
    May 17, 2018, 10:36 am

    Tragic day for Jews; so how about for the Palestinians? Nothing like a shattering bullet in the knee, back or ankle to invent being a Palestinian, eh? Talk about being chosen!

    • captADKer
      May 17, 2018, 11:23 am

      defy the bull, you get the horns

      • RoHa
        May 17, 2018, 6:26 pm

        And Zionists spew out an awful lot of bull.

      • Mooser
        May 17, 2018, 9:05 pm

        “defy the bull, you get the horns”

        Ixnay, Capt.! Easy with the “bull” analogues. You don’t want to go there.

  12. echinococcus
    May 17, 2018, 11:39 pm

    Mr Howard,

    Instead of publishing yet another intra-tribal feelgood lament on MW, come back when your letter has worked and your Westchester synagogue, of all places, openly opposes Zionism.

    Until then, we have to work with the general American public, less than 1% of whom frequent synagogues.

  13. LHunter
    May 18, 2018, 10:22 am

    captADker – wow IDF tweets and a jewish press blurb – very convincing – as reliable as Michael Oren the great Zionist truth teller.

    What does hasbara central pay you for your comments? Do you believe Jews are superior to Palestinians because they are Jews? Do you believe Palestinians are human beings that deserve access to universal human rights? Are you a racist?

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