Letters - 15 March 2019

From pointing the finger to Brexit

Pointing the finger

I can understand why concern has been expressed about the protests and boycotts by Friends over the treatment of Palestinians by Israel, harsh and brutal though that treatment may be.

Israel does seem to be singled out when scant, if any, concern has been expressed by Quakers over the treatment by China of the Uighurs and Tibetans, whose repression has been far harsher; or Myanmar over the Rohingya; or, for that matter, the UK over the Chagossians, notwithstanding a High Court Judgment in 2006 and a declaration by the International Court of Justice that forced expulsion from the Islands, and the denial of return, is illegal. This was carried out under a Labour government and supported by subsequent governments. A lease of Diego Garcia, one of the islands, was then granted to the USA for a military base.

Might not the finger of anti-Semitism be pointed at Friends for selectively choosing one wrong when others are ignored, especially one very close to home?

David Keating


Mary Jo Clogg’s letter (1 March) about the rapid increase in human population raises an issue which is more fundamental than climate change – because it is the root cause of the human-induced component of climate change. When last the oceans rose, between ten and fifteen thousand years ago, humanity survived because all technology was portable and there were places to which people could migrate. These conditions no longer apply. There are also questions about the rate at which natural resources are converted into artificial products; have we reached or even surpassed a sustainable limit?

Feel-good options such as promoting Fairtrade bananas and loft insulation will have only a minor impact on the potential horrors into which we seem to be sleepwalking. Putting major efforts into increasing children’s education and women’s employment opportunities, especially in parts of the world with high birth rates, as well as improving all forms of maternal healthcare, including easy access to contraceptives, might make a difference.

Laurel Phillipson

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