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Column trivialized suffering of Jews, homosexuals

I am writing to respond to several anti-Semitic slurs and factual inaccuracies in Bill Jackson's column in Friday's Tech ["GAMIT confuses academic debate with hostility," March 16]. I attended religious Jewish school for 14 years. I do not eat pork. Jackson flippantly describes a hypothetical situation in which a group of "pork eaters" desecrates a synagogue to demonstrate their "right to eat pork." He ends that passage with the sentence, "The above is a joke." Anti-Semitism is not a joke. The scene Jackson describes is not merely a humorous hypothetical example. It is a terrifying reality that has occurred far too often in the history of anti-Semitic violence. The desecration of synagogues, including smearing them with dead pigs, is something that was a systematic part of the actions taken by the ancient Romans and more recently the Nazis as part of a plan to de-legitimize the Jewish faith.

Clearly Jackson has never experienced being a member of anything other than the privileged majority, for he lacks a basic understanding of what oppression means. The Jewish law against eating pork persecutes no one. Anti-gay legislation in this country is responsible for ruining the lives of many people. One of the most fundamental beliefs in Judaism is that it is strictly forbidden to attempt to convert someone else to your beliefs. No Jewish leader has ever condemned non-Jews for eating pork. Jewish organizations have never caused harassment, assault, and criminal legislation against pork eaters.

Jackson also misreported the incident at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. First, I question what, if any, relevance that incident has to the discussion about Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Friends at MIT (GAMIT). The organization which planned that protest was the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP). The protest was not a bunch of gay activists protesting the Catholic Church's view that homosexuality is immoral. Everyone has the right to believe whatever they choose with regard to their own morality. The protest was a group of AIDS activists protesting a specific action in which officials of that church actively blocked AIDS education materials from being distributed. Officials of the church had even attempted to prevent life-saving information pamphlets from being distributed elsewhere. As a result, ACT-UP held a "die-in" to protest the church's genocidal views.

Jackson's flawed analogy trivializes the persecution that gay, lesbian and bisexual people face every day in this country. Jackson claims this should be an "academic debate." I suggest he tell that to the freshwoman at a local liberal arts college who is now dead. This bright young woman recently committed suicide. She did so because her parents exercised their "right" to tell her that homosexuality is immoral, for themselves and for her, that she was disgusting, and that therefore they were disowning her. His analogy also trivializes the brutal anti-Semitic attacks on synagogues which have terrorized many people's lives. Please, help stop the hatred.

Rebecca Kaplan '92->