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Guest Opinion: Zionism is not the problem

In a world where non-Islamist and Christian women and children are captured and sold into sex slavery or beheaded by Islamists, where gay people are hung from construction cranes until they die — or they are simply murdered the old-fashioned way, by stoning — where rape victims are stoned to death, where a Christian woman in Pakistan is sentenced to death for drinking water from the local Muslim village well, or school girls are attacked in the face with acid — or shot in the face like Malala, or cafe patrons in Sidney, Australia, are held hostage at gunpoint and forced to raise a black banner with the Shahada, the primary prayer of Islam, Herb Rothschild Jr., chairman of the board of Peace House in Ashland, has once again chosen to focus on Zionism as the sole reason for problems between Israel and her genocidal neighbors (Tidings, Dec. 13).

Contrary to Mr. Rothschild's assertion that voices critical of Israel/Zionism are not allowed to be heard in the United States, the opposite is true. Students and lecturers who support Israel are the ones shouted down — not debated, but silenced, physically attacked, and live in fear on the majority of college campuses in America, especially the elite schools with huge Saudi Arabian endowments for Middle Eastern studies departments.

Are conditons for Palestinians living under the PLO miserable? Yes. Their lives significantly worsened when they began bombing civilians in pizza parlors, buses, and Passover seders in Israel instead of coexisting.

Do the checkpoints and the security barrier that Israel built to prevent suicide bombings make life extremely difficult for the Palestinians? Yes.

Does Hamas force innocent Palestinian children to dig terror tunnels into Israel and then murder those children? Yes.

Do Hamas and the Palestinian Authority arrest reporters who are critical of their Palestinian leaders? Yes.

Does the billionaire leader of Hamas use our international aid funds to live lavishly in Qatar while Gazans suffer? Yes.

The Middle East isn't Ashland — or Boulder, where we have similar "peace" groups. Last I checked, there weren't millions of people surrounding Ashland or being indoctrinated to hate and wipe Ashland off the map. Yet this is the threat Israel faces, and has always faced, long before there was anything called "the '67 borders" or "settlements."

Mr. Rothschild attempts to distinguish between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. There are people who are legitimate critics of Israeli policy who still understand the need for Jews to have their own state, given the rest of the world's historically demonstrated and continuing unwillingness to accept Jews among them (see Europe today). But the end result of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is the same: dead Jews.

Gary Acheatel lives in Ashland.