Re: “Letter to the editor: Writer blames wrong people for Middle East troubles” (Dec. 7): It is irresponsible of Mark Aranson to call critics of Israel anti-Semites and liars, providing no sources for such claims and misrepresenting historical facts.

The horrible acts of ISIS and Syrian President Bashar Assad deserve everyone’s condemnation but are unrelated to the Palestinians’ struggle for justice. Extremely relevant, however, is the early (1890s) Zionists’ announced intent to displace Palestinians from their homeland of at least 1,300 years, when Jews there were a small minority.

When Palestinians rejected the U.N. giving a Jewish minority control of 55 percent of Palestine, Zionist forces initiated their ethnic-cleansing plan, forcing 750,000 Palestinians to flee. They then confiscated Palestinian property, homes, and businesses, along with another 22 percent of Palestinian territory. (Sources: Jewish Israeli historians Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim and Benny Morris.)

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign aims not, as Aranson claims, to destroy Israel but to bring an end to its 48-year brutal, illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, and to grant the right of Palestinians expelled in 1947 to return to their homes and land in Israel.

While such a return might upset Israel’s plan for a Jewish-majority state, informed students of the conflict know that Palestinians will gladly live peacefully with Jewish neighbors once the crushing denial of their own dignity and rights ends.

BDS further demands that Israeli Palestinians enjoy the same citizenship benefits as Jews. They now do not: Some 50 laws make them distinctly second-class citizens (see

Aranson also falsely claims, again without specifics or supporting evidence, that Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have “no interest in living in peace.”

Yasser Arafat recognized Israel (1988), and the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly committed to peaceful coexistence in return for a sovereign state and fair resolution of Palestinian refugee claims.

Bob Schaible

chair, Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights