Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor


News, Feb. 21: “Canceled Concert Sparks Attention”

Deeply resent label

As a Jewish protester involved in the action outside the Matisyahu concert on Feb. 14, I want to set the record straight. This protest had nothing to do with antisemitism and everything to do with calling attention to the artist’s history of support for the genocidal actions of the Israeli Defense Force. Many of us, myself included, have relatives who survived the Holocaust. We deeply resent being called antisemites and are saddened at the refusal to hear the many, many anti-Zionist Jewish voices that exist in this city and country.

Second, I want to address the idea that we are somehow policing thought. From the Birmingham lunch counter sit-ins to South African apartheid, highlighting businesses, public figures and, yes, artists, who support abhorrent views is a time-honored tool of movements for rights and justice. This is not about limiting ideas. In fact, it is the opposite: an important tool allowing all of us to think critically about those who engage in politics while pretending to “just” be making art or to “just” be doing business. When an artist plays for an occupying army, they enter politics. They should expect politics in return.

Teresa Davis, Santa Fe

Avoid conflation

The article raises the question of whether criticism of Israel is the same as antisemitism. The answer is “No.” These are two separate phenomena and should not be conflated.

The call for Meow Wolf to cancel the performance of the musician Matisyahu, came from a coalition of Santa Feans, including Jewish Santa Feans. The issue was not that Matisyahu was Jewish; the issue was Matisyahu’s support for genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza. In an interview with Newsweek (Jan. 24), Matisyahu clearly articulated his belief that whoever advocates equal citizenship for Israelis and Palestinians should be destroyed: “I would like to see any terrorist, Hamas, or person who believes Israel has no right to exist or the Jews have no right to it, I would like Israel [to] destroy those people.” Nonetheless, the New Mexico Jewish Community Relations Coalition portrayed Matisyahu simply as “a Jew with an affinity towards Israel.” This is hardly an accurate portrayal of the musician’s harsh views. True antisemitism represents a dangerous threat to us all. It should not be conflated with legitimate criticism of Israel and its genocidal enablers.

Stanley M. Hordes, Jewish Voice for Peace - Albuquerque

Cherry-picking progress

I’ve been speaking out for Palestinian rights (and have been an ex-Zionist) ever since I lived near the West Bank before, during and after the Yom Kippur War. But why do all the progressive and Wokesters shouting for “Free Palestine” silently condone Hamas’ and the majority of Mideast Muslims’ absolutely gynophobic culture of female genital mutilation (explaining all the rape and genital mutilation of Israeli women they won’t even admit to, on Oct. 7), and honor killings (OK, “liberal” families merely disown girls who date or marry un-pre-approved guys, or who don’t pass the periodic intact hymen exams)…I’m just sayin’…everybody over there is beyond crazy with generations (2,000 years’ worth, in the Jews’ case) of historical PTSD. And I don’t say what I do from Zionist propaganda, either…I was friends with Palestinian teens, as well as Israelis, back then and heard a lot more outrageous stuff than the above. Yes, it’s way past time for the Israelis to stop the horror, but it’s also time for the “progressives” to stop cherry-picking their targets for righteous indignation. Everybody over there needs to grow the bleep up and stop sacrificing to their gods of vengeance.

Rebekah Levy, Santa Fe

True intentions

Matisyahu and his followers accused the protestors at Meow Wolf of being antisemitic and against artistic expression. As one of the protestors, I’ll share our true intentions with your readers:

If an openly antisemitic performer came to Santa Fe, we would not sit idly by and let them have their “artistic expression.” Anti-racists would show up in droves to speak out and take a stand against blatant antisemitism! Why should it be different with Palestinians? That was our motivation.

Matisyahu is openly anti-Palestinian, refers to all Gazans as Hamas and wants them “destroyed.” He uses racist tropes against them, while telling the world he wants peace and has “compassion” for Gazans.

We went expecting to raise awareness among the concert-goers of how Matisyahu is profiting off political hate speech. We were unaware the show was canceled until we arrived ready to leaflet and talk to the concert-goers.

Those accusing us of antisemitism fail to recognize that a majority of protestors were Jewish. We follow our ancestors’, including Abraham Heschel’s, beliefs that we must stand up for all oppressed peoples as if they were us. Our liberation, safety and security is tied into Palestinians’ freedom, equality, safety and security.

Gaile Herling, Santa Fe

Smearing activists

Thank you, Alex De Vore, Meow Wolf, and SFR.

Matisyahu preaches racist hate and incites violence against Palestinians. He gives free concerts to IDF soldiers as they head out to commit atrocities in the occupied territories. These are not reggae values.

Predictably, Meow Wolf is now being accused of antisemitism and censorship. Standing up against hate speech is not censorship; nor is it antisemitic. Pushback is the natural consequence of hate speech. The trending practice of equating criticism of Israeli state genocide and its supporters with antisemitism is as dangerous as its ridiculous. It obscures the very real antisemitism of neo-Nazis marching through our cities and murdering Jews in synagogues.

Matisyahu’s support for genocide has nothing to do with his being Jewish, and assuming that the two are related is itself antisemitic. The smearing of anti-genocide activists as antisemitic is a deliberate smokescreen to obscure the fact that the resistance to Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people is largely organized and supported by Jewish activists, here in Santa Fe and throughout the US. The antisemitism smear was enacted because the well-funded pro-genocide campaign has no legitimate facts to stand on.

Cate Moses, Santa Fe

Fire them

We call upon Meow Wolf to fire those who caused the show to be canceled, and to host an evening of celebration for the Jewish community to show they don’t tolerate antisemitism.

Rabbi Berel Levertov. Santa Fe Jewish Center

Don’t censor creatives

What an absolute joke this town has turned into. Here we are supposed to be upholding creatives and instead we are censoring them because of their religion and political beliefs. The same people who are running the pro-pally rallies in Santa Fe have undoubtedly rubbed shoulders with some very transphobic Muslims but that doesn’t phase them—only a Jewish transphobe does.

Liv Orovich, Santa Fe

Slowly dissolves

The more we support censorship of art the more over time it will become normalized…then one day something you are passionate about will be seen as offensive or wrong by “other” and that is how freedom of speech slowly dissolves into oblivion and we have a censored society.

Lauren Mantecón, via Instagram

Rolling Back

Quick question: Are we also not baking cakes for gay people and making Black people use the back entrance again? How far back do we want to roll human and civil rights in New Mexico…or is this just for Jews?

Mara Raden, via instagram

Perpetuated trauma

Thank you to the people who showed up for the actions, and those at Meow Wolf who contributed to canceling musician Matisyahu. My father was a Jewish refugee from the Nazis in 1940. I view what the Israeli government and those who profess extreme Zionism are enacting as the actions and beliefs of trauma survivors who are perpetrating their trauma on another people. The persecution of Jews through centuries wherever that occurred—in early Diaspora, the Inquisition, pogroms, the Holocaust—has clearly created enough residual trauma that the Israeli government can hold people in its thrall through fear, and smokescreen what has been happening all along for Palestinians. Gaza is like Vietnam was for Americans until the veterans, the medics, the journalists and Vietnamese came into light with photographs, filming, honest sharing of their experiences, their wounds and their visible and invisible trauma. Are Americans blind to what happened in 1948 with the formation of Israel because that’s what happened here? Colonization and genocide cannot be disguised forever. Without knowing how it will be reconciled here, I say it’s an international war crime to be recognized as such, and come to a stop in the world. The ongoing merry-go-round of unnecessary pain, suffering and revenge is a choice. People who want to see that keep going don’t have to be welcomed in the name of “Free Speech.” Freedom expresses best on a carrier wave of responsibility. It’s not responsible to advocate falsehoods, prejudice, brutality or killing.

Lola Moonfrog, Santa Fe

Fueled hate

This shouldn’t have happened. The worst thing we can do as a society is silence people. Meow Wolf and these protesters are not acting inclusive and simply over-simplifying a dynamic, nuanced conversation. All this did was fuel the hate. A loving thing to do would have been to let him perform. It’s saddening to see this happening in my community. I’m disheartened and disgusted.

Cheryl Casden Carpenter, via Instagram

Approved message only

Not shocked in the slightest to see intolerance and antisemitism is alive and well in Santa Fe. The city has built itself around artistic expression but only if that expression is a 100% approved message.

Dale Weaver, via Twitter @SinklarD

Op-Ed, Feb. 7: “Trauma-informed teaching in an era of standardized testing”

Economic outlook

Thank you for the stimulating OP-ED about public K-12 education in New Mexico. As an economist, I conducted a time-motion study of a leading public school and discovered:

1. The USA Federal Government spends almost nothing on public, K-12 education.

2. State governments do not fund public education as mandated by state constitutions.

3. Excellent teachers are poorly supported and too often exit the profession.

4. Home based, pre-school reading dramatically improves K-12 success and graduation.

5. Standardized testing discriminates against students and blocks teaching to many.

6. Hostile environments of poor food, no recess and public pressure hinder learning.

Thank you for your interest in making New Mexico a great place to be a kid.

Bill Kerrey, Santa Fe


A caption in last week’s cover package on the SFR Photo Contest winners gave the wrong caption for a photo of tiles depicting the Virgin of Guadalupe. The photo, “Lupita on Alameda,” by Nancy Egan, was taken near Galisteo and Alameda.

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