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

Mutual Admiration

I just wanted to drop you a note and thank you for helping us collect so many endorsers for our action against the Israel Philharmonic. It couldn't have been as successful as it was if you hadn't sent our original plea out to your e-mail subscribers.

I know that Women In Black/Los Angeles is now doing a heck of a lot of actions and vigils and demonstrations and speaker assignments, but part of the reason we have become so active in the past two years is because of your magazine and its support.

Greta Berlin, via e-mail

As WIB admirers, we were happy to contribute to the effort, and thrilled to learn of the results. See p. 53 for the report by our Southern California correspondents Pat and Samir Twair. Washington Report readers and others wishing to be kept informed of such actions around the country are invited to visit our Web site, and click on "Join our e-mail list" in the left-hand column.

Logic vs. Prejudices

Occasionally, I find that "logic" interferes with my "prejudices" (or those of others), and this may be one such occasion:

I recently read that when the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the late King Ibn Saud were debating the need for a "Jewish state" in Palestine, and Roosevelt noted that 3 million Polish Jews had been killed, Ibn Saud replied that there was now room in Poland for 3 million replacement Jews!

This triggered my thinking: cannot it be argued that the Zionists succeeded in adding on to the "success" that the Nazis achieved? The Nazis wanted to rid Europe of its Jews, and so did the Zionists! (There is more to this story in the years before the total defeat of Nazi Germany!)

Roger D. Leonard, Bowie, MD

As you no doubt are aware, author Lenni Brenner has documented Zionist relations with the Nazi regime. And in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem, philosopher Hannah Arendt describes Eichmann as a Zionist, not a hater of Jews.

Historical Ironies

The fact that Americans are not the students of history they once were has allowed major national headlines of the past few weeks to go unchallenged.

Keith Ellison from Minnesota has been hailed as the first Muslim elected to Congress. This is not true. The first Muslim elected to Congress was John Randolph of Virginia, who served in Congress from 1799-1834. During his political career, Randolph was befriended by Francis Scott Key, author of the "Star Spangled Banner," and president of the American Sunday Union-a position he held for 55 years. Through the influence of Key, Randolph later converted to Christianity. But, the fact remains that when he was elected to Congress, Randolph was Muslim.

A second irony in the news vs. history of this event was that there was much to do about Ellison being sworn into office with his hand on a Qur'an that had been owned by Thomas Jefferson. That copy of the Qur'an had a very interesting history, which apparently Ellison did not know.

In 1784, Jefferson was part of a delegation of Americans sent to negotiate with the Barbary Pirates, which consisted of four Muslim powers-Tunis, Morocco, Algiers, and Tripoli. These groups had been attacking American merchant ships and enslaving their crews. The American delegation found that it was necessary to understand the Qur'an in order to negotiate with this enemy. Since the U.S. did not have a Navy at the time, we had no choice but to pay high ransoms and extortion fees to protect our merchant ships.

While John Adams was president, America developed a Navy. Then when Jefferson became president, knowing from experience that negotiations were not possible, he sent the American Marine Corps aboard our new Navy vessels to subdue the Barbary Powers. Facing the force of the new American Navy and the Marine Corps, three of the Barbary nations backed down, but Tripoli did not. Therefore, the American Marines stormed the "shores of Tripoli" and successfully subdued America's first major post-revolutionary enemy. …

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