While Michael Levine’s November 16 article “Unraveling the Realities of Israel” claims to be a response to four complaints voiced against Israel by columnist Chris Wedeman, these complaints are neither effectively countered nor seriously addressed in his op-ed.
Levine and I share a deep concern for the security of Israel and we both support a two-state solution. Levine is perhaps correct in his conclusions concerning the boycott—but the simplistic manner in which he expresses them exposes his total inability to face unpleasant facts about Israel.
Levine’s unsupported assertion of Israel’s “strong human rights record,” his outright incorrect claims about the creation of a Palestinian state, and his quick dismissal of comparisons between Israel and Apartheid South Africa can perhaps be explained by his naivety. The latter claim has been strongly argued by Jimmy Carter, among others; these are substantive arguments and anyone who is serious about defending Israel must address them.
Levine is not necessarily wrong to criticize this boycott—but he is certainly wrong to use sweeping generalizations to call attacks on Israeli policy “baseless.” His argument is based on half-truths and mischaracterizations about the conflict, and, by his own reasoning, Bowdoin students should oppose his position. Such a claim illustrates the absurdity of his argument.
As someone who believes this is an incredibly complex issue, I find his piece disheartening. I expect better on these pages.
Sean McElroy ’12