Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Letters to the Editor

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

No Criticism Goes Unpunished

A member of our organization, The Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine, lost several family members in the Holocaust. After her letter criticizing Israel was published in a local paper, a Jewish woman said to her, "It's too bad that Hitler didn't kill you too." This is but one of many examples of the aggressively intolerant mindset of militant Israeli supporters.

No criticism of Israel goes unpunished and the punishment often takes the form of vicious personal attacks. Members of our committee have been called bigots, crackpots, slime, anti-Semites and-reserved for our Jewish members-self-hating Jews. What is most disturbing is that no elected official, no church or temple official, no newspaper editorial or op-ed piece has condemned these words and those who use them. And guess what, the Anti-Defamation League has not been heard from.

I have received letters and phone calls from both Christians and Jews applauding our efforts to shed light on the illegal and immoral actions of Israel. They confess that they do not speak out publicly because they are unwilling to expose themselves to the vilification they know will follow. Intimidation has silenced their voices.

In the words of Thomas Paine: "When opinion is free, truth will prevail." But any free expression of opinion critical of Israel or any objective analysis of this matter, as rare as it is, is met with a well-organized response from the pro-Israel thought police. Thomas Paine's dictum has been effectively proscribed.

Henry Clifford, Chairman, COPIP, Wainscott, NY

Currently, the most notable recipient of the treatment you describe is former President Jimmy Carter, for his new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (available from the AET Book Club). His first sin was to use the word "apartheid" in the title, which made Israel-firsters hopping mad.

But they don't represent all Americans by a long shot. Describing the first week of his book tour in a Dec. 8 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Carter wrote: "Out in the real world, however, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I've signed books in five stores, with more than 1,000 buyers at each site. I've had one negative remark-that I should be tried for treason-and one caller on C-SPAN said that I was an anti-Semite. My most troubling experience has been the rejection of my offers to speak, for free, about the book on university campuses with high Jewish enrollment and to answer questions from students and professors. I have been most encouraged by prominent Jewish citizens and members of Congress who have thanked me privately for presenting the facts and some new ideas."

Plus ça Change in Congress

Comments made before and after the 2006 election by Democratic leaders make it manifestly clear that there will be no change in our country's proactive and undeviating support of Israel. For reasons unclear to me, our political leaders, Republican and Democratic, and our national media, with few exceptions, appear to view the Palestinians with the contempt exemplified by Prime Minister Begin when he called them "grasshoppers." This is far more than a biblical excoriation. It renders the Palestinians less than human. It allows them to be treated with a ferocity reserved for dangerous animals.

Paul Hogue, Scarsdale, NY

It's clear to us that the American people are way ahead of most members of Congress. There are some representatives and senators who don't blindly follow the Israel line, however, as the following letter demonstrates.

Mischaracterization in Article

I just read Shirl McArthur's article entitled "With Notable Exceptions, Congress Rushes To Support Israel's Attack on Lebanon" (November 2006 Washington Report, p. 31).

I was dismayed that he describes H.Res. 945, introduced by Congresswoman Jackson Lee, by stating that it "simply expresses concern at 'the ongoing violence. …

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