Re “Sheriff wrong if he thinks we’ll give up our freedoms” (Letters, Jan. 31): As the leadership of the Jewish community of Modesto, we strongly support everyone’s constitutional rights to privacy. We also believe that all the Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have a sacred responsibility to work together to bring peace and respect for human rights to all people.
We strongly object to the phrase “apartheid Palestine” in the letter. Apartheid was the horrible system of racism carried out by the colonialists of South Africa. While Israel is not a perfect place, as no country is, and it does have it share of challenges to resolve, Jews are among the indigenous people of the land of Israel and can’t be accused of being colonialists in their own homeland. Israelis, including the 20 percent of citizens who are Christian Arabs and Muslim Arabs, come in all colors and Jews are not a race, but are an ethnic/religious identity.
We encourage all people to resist simplifying the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or demonizing any side.
Doug Highiet, President, and Rabbi Shalom Bochner, Congregation Beth Shalom, Modesto