I was deeply saddened by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s decision to cease “publicly partnering” with the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary because of the seminary’s hosting a lecture by the head of the largest and most respected Palestinian/Israeli Christian organization (“Presbyterian seminary speaker spurs Federation to cut ties,” May 25).
The conflation of Rev. Ateek’s criticism of Israeli governmental policies with anti-Semitism that was displayed in the comments by Josh Sayles was deeply disturbing. While it is tempting to do so, that conflation is harmful to efforts to combat genuine anti-Semitism and also, many of us believe, to the long-term survival of Israel as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.
To say that a Palestinian speaker is discredited because he is one-sided is to discredit the thousands upon thousands of speakers in American Jewish venues who do not attempt to present the Palestinian point of view. Understanding and peace can only come about by hearing each other out in respectful ways. I hope the Federation can eventually agree.