NOTE: This example is on the long side (279 words); most editors will want your letter to be 150-300 words at most. Your letter should refer to a recent article, so if you choose to adapt this text, make sure to tie it in with something that’s come up in your paper. More ideas: see Hannah Mermelstein’s short op ed for ideas on how to make your letter personal (and more likely to be published), and use the site palestineremembered.com to find events that happened on a given day in 1948 to make your letter timely.
This May, Israel will mark 60 years of statehood. On May 18, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia will sponsor an Israel 60 Parade and Festival. Meanwhile, Palestinians around the world will mourn 60 years since the Nakba – Arabic for “catastrophe” – of 1948. Sixty years ago, Zionist militias destroyed over 500 Palestinian villages and made more than 800,000 Palestinian people refugees in order to create a Jewish state in a land where the majority was not Jewish. This does not deserve to be celebrated.
Today the Palestinian Nakba continues. In order to maintain Israel’s artificial Jewish majority, the Israeli government has continued campaigns of ongoing displacement, violence, and occupation. Inside of the 1948 borders of Israel, Palestinian citizens are denied equal rights to Jews under the law. Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem are denied access to land, water, health care, and other basic resources. Palestinians experience international isolation, economic devastation, and continued closures and invasions including the current horrific siege of Gaza. Today there are more than 6 million Palestinian refugees around the world, all of whom are denied their internationally recognized right to return to their homes and land.
Instead of celebrating “Israel 60,” many Jews in the United States and Canada are participating in “No Time to Celebrate: Jews Remember the Nakba” (notimetocelebrate.org). We support Palestinian people’s right to return, individually and collectively, to the homes they lost in 1948 and in the violent decades since then. We reject the notion that we have been chosen to displace others. As North American Jews, we stand with Palestinians in mourning 60 years of al-Nakba and in honoring 60 years of vibrant resistance.