Sad to see the headline in [Wednesday’s] paper: “Jewish group says owner shut down party out of anti-Semitism.” What the paper should have written was “Militant Israeli group sues claiming anti-Semitism” (“Shangri-La accused of civil rights violation, Aug. 1).

What does the Friends of Israeli Defense Force represent? The Israeli Defense Force, known as the IDF, is a vicious and self-righteous militant force in Israel that has been responsible for so much death and destruction, I don’t even know where to begin.

The first thing that comes to my mind is how the IDF murdered Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old U.S.-born Jewish peace activist who was killed on March 16, 2003 when she was crushed by an IDF bulldozer on the Gaza Strip that was bulldozing yet another Palestinian home, part of the routine ethnic cleansing carried out by Israel. Sure, such horrors are sponsored and then overlooked by the U.S. government. But that should not keep the IDF and the so-called Friends of the IDF immune from scrutiny.

In 2008-09, the IDF was responsible for carrying out that horrific attack known as Operation Cast Lead which killed approximately 1,400 Palestinians, most of whom were unarmed and innocent.

The IDF also carried out that vicious attack on the boat that was seeking to bring humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding several unarmed passengers.

The IDF is arrogant and callous as it carries out the bulldozing of Palestinian homes and routinely carries out assassinations of Palestinian people, many of whom were innocent, except for resisting an encroaching apartheid state that has pushed them and their ancestors from their homes, land, farms in what used to be known as Palestine but is now called Israel. None of these people have been compensated for their losses as they are forced to live in settlement camps. Now the majority of Palestinians live in a virtual prison and the IDF is responsible for keeping those Palestinians hostage as the IDF’s checkpoints keep Palestinians from traveling freely within that virtual prison system.

Next, there is a long list of Jews who are against the policies of the Israeli government and what the IDF represents. Would that make those Jews anti-Semites? No it would not. There are many Jews who value human rights, dignity and peace who do not support the IDF and have led all-out boycotts on Israeli goods. Just because someone is against the Israeli government, the IDF and their collective policies does not make someone anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic. It makes them pro peace and pro people.

As a businesswoman who happens to be Muslim, the owner of the Shangri-La probably knows the real history of the Israeli Defense Force all too well. In my humble opinion, it should be within her rights to not allow a militant group as the Friends of the Israeli Defense Force to set up and celebrate their arrogance in her hotel. Doing so would practically be an endorsement of the IDF and their disgusting policies. The headline, reinforcing the accusation of anti-Semitism is not only wrong, it is ignorant, for Arabs are Semites, too.

There is a lot more to this story than meets the eye. I am sure as it unfolds, the owner of the Shangri-La will prevail on legitimate grounds.



Greg Chamberlain

Santa Monica

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