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In response to last week’s staff editorial: A Zionist’s perspective

Dear Campanil editors and readers,

As I read the editorial in the last issue of The Campanil, I felt like there was no safe place for me, certainly not in this Campanil, and perhaps no place for me at Mills. I felt unsafe. I felt excluded from the dialogue. I felt demonized.

Is Mills a place I need to worry about being proud of my Judaism? My Zionism? Will I be verbally attacked? Ignored? Will this be a common event? Do I need to worry about my physical safety?

In my experience, virulently anti-Israel talk leads directly to anti-Semitic talk, which leads directly to anti-Jewish acts. Look at what happened at UC Berkeley last year: Divestment talks quickly led to swastikas painted on Jewish students’ doors. I’m not saying that anti-Israel sentiments should be censored; I’m explaining that, from where I stand, there is no difference between anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic speech.

I want you to know that last week’s staff editorial is only one perspective on an incredibly complex issue. I want to make it clear that Jews are not monsters. Israel is not a monster, just a country reacting — sometimes in less than ideal ways, just as Palestine sometimes reacts in less than ideal ways.

To me, Zionism means that, no matter what happens here in America, I have a home in Israel.  It means that, if there were another holocaust or more pogroms, I have a safe place to go. Zionism is about the dream of Israel: It is working toward bettering reality to make it more like that dream. The Zionism I believe in includes a separate state for Palestinians. It does not mean taking over all of their land or killing them all. Where boundaries should be drawn is complicated and, quite frankly, I don’t know enough to weigh in.

The authors of the editorial say the staff is “typically in favor of ‘both sides’ and ‘fairness.’ The occupation and continued ability of Jewish (read, pro-Zionist) groups to silence so many voices that try to speak out is hardly fairness.” So because you feel others are unfair, you should be unfair? Because you feel that someone else’s voice has been silenced, you will silence my voice? I won’t let you silence my voice. I am a Jew. I am a Zionist.


—Caroline Taymor,  first-year