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Accountability is necessary for Israel

To the editor:

Following Hamas’ horrific crimes on Oct. 7, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) has been very public in her praise of Israel. She has asserted: “Israel is indeed a miracle, an outpost of freedom, of Western values, of civilization, a striking example of human potential.”

Israel’s current government, however, is characterized by extremism. Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir was convicted of supporting a terrorist organization and incitement to racism.

And Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has argued, “Is there a Palestinian history or culture? Nothing. There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.”

Notably, human rights organizations Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as Israel’s B’Tselem, consider Israel to be an apartheid regime.

Moreover, the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Israeli Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair have agreed with this assessment.

According to Human Rights Watch: “We reached this determination based on our documentation of an overarching government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians coupled with grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.”

After Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa, he declared, “But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Regarding America’s close relationship with Israel, it has been said that “love without accountability is not real love.”

Let’s heed the words of another Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, who fought tirelessly for the rights of women, children and refugees:

“If the 21st century wishes to free itself from the cycle of violence, acts of terror and war, and avoid repetition of the experience of the 20th century — that most disaster-ridden century of humankind, there is no other way except by understanding and putting into practice every human right for all mankind, irrespective of race, gender, faith, nationality or social status.”

Terry Hansen

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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