To the editor:
I received an email from Marblehead acting Superintendent Michelle Cresta. The subject line: “Stand with Israel.” The Marblehead school curriculum focuses heavily on diversity, equity and inclusion through assigned readings, guest speakers and special events. Recent guest Tara Silberg of ShadowLight, an organization that urges us to learn from past atrocities and to be aware of current ones, asked students if they saw any signs of hate or prejudice in their own community. As a full-time student of life, I raise my hand.
There is a form of intolerance in “Stand with Israel” because what is lost in sensationalized headlines about “beheaded babies” and Hamas being responsible for the deaths of innocent people, both Palestinian and Israeli, is the narrative. In fact, these sensationalized headlines spread hate with the intent to divide and confuse. It appears the only crime of a Palestinian is being born on land coveted by another group of people.
With no say in 1948, their land was simply ripped away from them. It led to the largest refugee population. 750,000 Palestinians fled. Thousands were massacred. It’s called the Nakba, or “Palestinian catastrophe.” Yet, I often hear that Palestine was “a land without a people.”
Another group of people, living comfortably or not comfortably from other places around the globe, decided that they would be the people to occupy this “place without a people.” If my neighbor decides they also want to occupy this place, they can “return” to the place in which they were not born?
The root of this problem is not Jews vs Muslims. It is old-fashioned colonialism. What happened to “never again”? Is that reserved for only one group of people? We bring cattle cars to the school to remind us of what happens when hate goes unchecked. Why not bring a Palestinian to the school to talk about life in Gaza where they are surrounded by concrete walls topped with barbed wire and watchtowers and armed men?
In this Israeli-made ghetto, Palestinians crush by the thousands through checkpoints attempting to go about their daily lives. They cannot go to school without being harassed. Pregnant women are left to give birth at checkpoints or cannot travel to a hospital because of an Israeli tank or dug up road. They are allowed water and electricity for only limited times during the day, while Israelis enjoy backyard swimming pools.
I would like to see an email from the school that stands with the right of every race and group of people and their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — not just one group of people.