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Letter Two

6th July 1988

Dear A

Thank you for your response to my request to remove the poster from your door. This was received while I was on holiday.

Your point of view is legitimate.

However this place is a home. There are places to argue your cause in the University and Polytechnic environment, without causing offense.

While I take your point that many could feel that the Israeli Government's attitude towards Palestinians is divisive and racist, our Association still must maintain that if individual Jews wish to live in this Residence they should be allowed to do so. They should be able to feel comfortable that they are not under threat by a public display of an attack on their country. Obviously if they were themselves holding racist views against Palestinians or others they would not be welcome here as individuals.

Please imagine how you would feel if you saw a public poster showing an Israeli soldier beating Palestinian children with the words "take action now against all Palestinians" on it.

We have had white South Africans live here who have not been racist or anti-black and we have had black and Chinese people here who have shown clear racist attitudes against each other.

Let me repeat this is a home for individuals to live and meet with each other, away from the unfortunate labels and pressures which Governments put upon us.

Yours sincerely




Reply Two

6th July 1988

Dear Mr. L.

Thank you for your latest request.

Initially your reason as to why I should remove the poster from my door was as follows:

"We do not allow Public display of any material not in English. This is to prevent inter-cultural misunderstandings."
I pointed out to you that all the writing was infact in english. Now, in your latest correspondence, you have tried a different line of reasoning in order to get the poster removed. It seems to me that you object to it at a personal level and hence are looking for 'any excuse' in order to get it removed. Please enlighten me on this matter.

As for your current reasons as to why the poster should be removed:

(1) You stated in your letter that "there are places to argue your cause ... without causing offense".

  • I did not pin the poster up in order to "argue my cause", no arguments are mentioned in the poster, as stated in my first letter it was simply "a general invitation to demonstrate against Israel".

  • I fail to see how it could cause offense to any one other than those "holding racist views against Palestinians" and hence supporters of the racist state, Israel. This minority as you have kindly stated in your letter are "not welcome" in this residence, and hence the poster shouldn't offend any resident here.

(2) You suggest that the poster "threatens" jews by "attacking their country" and hence making them uncomfortable and unwelcome in the residence.

  • The poster makes no reference to jews, the reference made is to zionism. A jew is a member of the religion Judaism, a zionist is a follower of the secular, racist idealogy called zionism. The two have nothing in common. It is most unfortunate that some people do not realise this, as this misunderstanding can lead to antisemitism.

  • As stated above, jews do not constitute a race or a nation, but a religion. Hence to suggest Israel is "their country" and hence an "attack" on it is an attack on the jewish people is ludicrous. Many leading jews have attacked Israel and have demanded its dismantling, they are certainly not attacking the jewish people.

  • I fail to see the comparison you are trying to make between my poster, which depicts an attack on zionism ( a form of racism) and calls for a demonstration against the zionist state, and your imaginary poster, which depicts a Palestinian child being beaten by an israeli soldier ( a common occurence in the racist state since its birth) with the words "take action now against all Palestinians". While my poster depicts an attack on racism and calls people to demonstate against racism, yours depicts an attack by an upholder of racism on an innocent child and calls for further racist acts to be committed.

Yours sincerely