Dear Editor: Regarding John Nichols' column: “Pocan waging lonely fight for deeper thinking on Israel and Palestine."

I haven’t been to Israel in almost 40 years, so I must bow to our Congressman Mark Pocan’s currency on street buzz. But I try to stay informed and what I think I know is greatly at odds with his address to Congress after his vote against a resolution condemning the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement.

Pocan doesn’t support BDS and that’s his prerogative, individually and as our representative, but he defends his vote on the basis, apparently, of its infringement of "our" First Amendment rights. He doesn’t address Palestinians' right to boycott but given that he holds Israel a strong democracy, we should be able to assume they’re included. But are they?

It seems likely that Israel’s recent passing of the “Nation State Bill” will seriously erode Palestinian rights in Israel and outside Israel, in the West Bank and Gaza, rights are something dispensed to assure Israel’s “security requirements." I wonder though whether Pocan has thought about Palestinians' security and how to see to it after 52 years of occupation, in violation of international law. Generations knowing nothing but internment in a non-nation, where democracy is contorted by oppression, with options for a better life limited to leaving home behind.

I agree with Pocan’s advocacy of a two-state solution, because as international law, it is (or was) our only reality-based solution. But, given the proliferation of illegal Israeli settlements, the Oslo two-state goal appears unattainable and the original bi-national solution is compelling, if not the only way.

So I would ask Pocan what Palestine would look like today, compared to what those generations grew up believing it should and if he would discourage American strikers with fear of hardship.

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John Costello


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