An open letter to Senator Kamala Harris of California:
Dear Senator Harris,
I am an 81-year old resident of Alameda County and I have lived here for 19 years. I grew up in the U.S. northeast and in France, and I have also lived in Scotland and Israel. I am Jewish and I am a committed Palestinian solidarity activist.
It therefore pains me to know that you have been drinking the pro-Israel Kool-Aid. With your international background – not to mention your law degree (I come from a family of lawyers) – I would have thought that you might have understood the brutal reality that is today’s Israel. Your pandering March 28, 2017 speech in front of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was a disgrace which only reflected and highlighted your ignorance and your willful blindness to the brutal and grotesque reality that is today’s State of Israel. Unfortunately, your recent 2018 remarks to AIPAC have not yet been made public.
I had so hoped that you would be a California politician whom I could support, of whom I could be proud. It seems, though, that you have chosen to pander to moneyed Zionist interests. Your support for Israel is the diametric opposite of a path to peace in the Middle East. I am so sorry that you are not the politician that I was hoping you’d be.
If you should ever wish to become informed about the “real Israel”, there are easy ways to do this: read Jewish-Israeli historian Ilan Pappé; read Jewish Israeli-American author and activist Miko Peled; read Jewish-Israeli Ha’aretz journalists Amira Hass and Gideon Levy. And please do read Jewish-American writer and analyst Max Blumenthal. I particularly recommend Blumenthal’s 2013 best-seller Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, which is a real page turner; the book is an easy read, with some of the chapters only two to three pages long.
Senator Harris, not only have I lived in Israel, I have hundreds of family members there, most of them descended from German-Jewish immigrants to Palestine in the early 1930s. I am in touch with many of them, and I am also in touch with many Jewish-Israeli friends who still live in Israel. I know whereof I speak.
I should also mention that three of my Jewish-Israeli family members (including a 9-year-old boy) were killed in the West Bank in July 2002; they were shot at point-blank range by, presumably, Palestinian snipers while they were traveling by automobile to a friend’s home for Shabbat. So I am not untouched by the violence afflicting Israel-Palestine.
Unfortunately, Israel is not the wonderful sanctuary for Jews that most of us were told that it was. The Jews did not make the desert bloom because the desert was already blooming as a result of the efforts of Palestinian farmers. Palestine was not a land without people for a people without a land. (Read Walid Khalidi’s 1984 Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876–1948.) The Zionist effort was and is a project built on murder and ethnic cleansing. Please do not add your support to such criminality.
With every good wish,
Alice Diane Kisch
(This post first appeared on Facebook and Kisch gave us permission to republish it. –Ed.)