LETTERS

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November 19, 2002

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

I am disappointed that a man with a name so promising as "Lovejoy" should repeat hackneyed arguments by the Israeli far-right on the possibilities for Palestinian nationhood. All Lovejoy aroused was my disgust and pity for his total lack of curiosity and analysis. The Israeli right wing likes to claim that Jordan is the Palestinian state because it avoids confronting the fact that Israelis live and profit in a country at the expense of lives and livelihood of the Palestinians who have also rights to that country.

Lovejoy writes, "Palestinians say they want their own country. They already have it—Jordan." It would be preposterous for me to say, "Jews say they want their own country. They already have it—New York." It would be racist to suggest that a people are effectively bits of rubbish to be transferred about when it suits someone or some group. It's condescending as well to say that the Palestinians' home is where we say it is and not the place where they have family and history. Lovejoy's assertion is the very same argument used by Serbian nationalists who worked to expel Albanians from Kosovo: Albanians already have Albania.

The simple fact is that Jordan and Palestine are two different countries with different traditions and political histories—though they share some culture, languages, history, and religions. This is to say generally that the facts which distinguish Jordan from Palestine are as distinct as those which distinguish Belgium from Switzerland. Both Belgium and Switzerland have large French-speaking populations, but the existence of the nation of France doesn't give the Flemish, Germans, and Italians the right to declare that French-speaking Swiss or French-speaking Belgians don't belong in their own country and instead should be forced to live in France.

Despite what leaders and pundits claim, Palestinians do not merely seek to have a state: a flag, a spot on a map, and a capital. They want to have their innate human rights recognized and restored. Their homes and lands were taken from them, and they are denied their internationally recognized right to return or receive compensation for this stolen property. Thankfully many Palestinians have found safe refuge in Jordan, but a Palestinian in Jordan does not a Palestine make.

Benjamin J Doherty

Circulation Supervisor

SSA Library