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Guest Column: Reverend right to speak out on treatment of Palestinians

Guest Column: Reverend right to speak out on treatment of Palestinians

Local teenager responds to criticism of call for boycott

BY GEORGE KONRAD DEBLOIS For The Daily Gazette

I am George deBlois. I am 14 years old, and even at this age I feel I must address a topic I found in The Gazette about a boycott of Israeli products as a protest to Israeli policies.

I have long been an ardent opponent to anti-Semitic policies. Six of my ancestors died during the Holocaust during World War II. My great uncle, his sister, and many other children were orphaned in Greece when their parents were shot by the Nazis in retaliation for the discovery of Jewish refugees in their village.

Another relative of mine was drafted into the German military, and after making anti-Hitler remarks was sent to the Eastern Front, where he was killed. They are only a few of the millions who died in what is now known as the Holocaust.

I was born 55 years after the end of World War II, and I did not experience nor live through the horror of the Holocaust, but I have seen photographs and videos, read accounts of dozens of survivors, and have learned about the barbaric and senseless murder of 11 million people, including 6 million Jews, during the Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis.

We promised after the war never to forget the Holocaust, and pledged to never again allow the horror of genocide sweep the world. We swore to always remember, and to never, ever forget what humanity is capable of doing to one another, as shown in the terrible genocide in World War II.

But we have forgotten. Many of us have forgotten. For even now, 69 years after the Nazi death camps were liberated and the horrors of the Holocaust were exposed to the world, the same thing now happens in the Gaza Strip. Like the Nazis did to the Jewish people almost 70 years ago, Israel's "defense forces" have shelled hospitals and schools, killed hundreds of Palestinians , including women and children, and have unjustly stripped the Palestinians of their human rights.

As I write this letter, thousands in Gaza now suffer under Israeli brutality, as Israel now commits exactly what their forefathers had to suffer through, disrespecting the memory of millions of victims of the Nazi genocide by hiding behind the shield of the Holocaust to justify their senseless attacks on the Palestinian people.

Many people have refused to speak out against Israel's barbarity, either by choice or out of fear.

But when Reverend Alan D. Kinney of the United Methodist Church voiced his disdain for the Israeli genocide in Palestine and his intent to boycott Israeli products, there was a voice in our community trying to make a difference, trying to honor the memory of the Holocaust and millions of victims by ensuring that this genocide finally be addressed.

I am proud of Rev. Kinney for voicing his opinion and taking action against Israel's brutal slaughter of the Palestinians in Gaza.

But instead of people gathering together to finally take a stand against Israel's actions, Mrs. Josephine Errichetto wrote a letter to The Gazette in which she calls Rev. Kinney "anti-Semitic" and accuses him of "spewing hate."

This is typical of many pro-Israeli responses to objections to their actions.

Mrs. Errichetto, by writing this letter, is dishonoring the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and the ego of the Jewish people. She is helping to enable exactly what happened to the victims of the Holocaust almost 70 years ago.

This is not about the Jewish people. This is not an action against Judaism. This is not a discussion of religion.

This is an action against the state of Israel's unjust genocide against the Palestinians, and this is a voicing against hatred, racism, and prejudice.

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