Letter to the Editor – Christine Stewart

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Letter to the editor re Sally Campbell’s article in the Grapevine of Nov 23:

Most people are aware of the living conditions of Palestinians in Gaza before the present conflict. I do not dispute Ms Campbell’s personal experience. I do wonder why she felt she had to describe it to us in the way she did, in her article in last week’s Grapevine. Especially now when emotions around the Israeli-Hamas war are running high, and the media are reporting a rise in hate crimes in our own country. Surely the article wasn’t a veiled justification for the Oct 7 massacre and hostage-taking, the subtext being: “they had it coming”? It’s a sentiment as old as (recorded) time, and the reason for the existence of Israel today. If this is not what Ms Campbell was saying, her account will be used to validate those who are. 

Ms Campbell’s assertion that the conflict we are witnessing is about Israelis “getting all the land”, is simplistic, inaccurate, and inflammatory. Many Israelis support a two state solution – or they did before the conflict – and somehow I think Ms Campbell knows this. The repetition of her phrase in bold and italics doesn’t strengthen her argument. On the contrary. And it is not up to Ms Campbell to declare so confidently “what Israel-Palestine needs now”. 

I read this article during the fraught fragile pause in the hostilities when the media were talking about “a glimmer of hope”. Too bad I couldn’t see any good intent in what Ms Campbell wrote, or anything at all that was informative or beneficial. Her specious attempt to distinguish “Judaism from Zionism” doesn’t cut it. Speaking out against injustice and inhumanity is one thing. Doing it in a sensational, demagogical way that is harmful to another party, is another thing entirely. 

Christine Stewart