Response to Chicago Sun-Times’ “Palestinian Group Questioned”
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein writes in a letter that the group Sabeel is “belied by its stridently anti-Israel, anti-Jewish message” and has no interest in ensuring that justice for both Israelis and Palestinians comes about when the conflict ends (“Palestinian group questioned,” Oct. 7). Yet Eckstein fails to appreciate how great of a move it is for this group to organize a conference with the purpose of discussing “the active pursuit of justice and peace for Israelis and Palestinians.”
Sabeel is a Palestinian advocacy group, so naturally it will spend more time exposing the plight of the Palestinian people than blaming them for the conflict. The Israeli government also practices this natural action daily by concerning itself with protecting the lives of its citizens without caring if Palestinians are either inconvenienced by the building of the wall or killed by raiding of refugee camps in search of terrorists.
Many Israeli groups work for peace with the Palestinians and do not criticize the most brutal actions of their government. Does this make them less inclined to pursuing justice for all involved? Being pro-Palestinian does not automatically make you anti-Israeli, just as being pro-Israel does not mean you are anti-Palestine. Sabeel may not have a perfect record, but by choosing to put aside its feelings for true pursuit of a peace treaty equitable and acceptable to both sides, they deserve praise rather than criticism.