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A Shameful and Unsavory Editorial

by RALPH NADER

 

Dear Editor

Your editorial’s (Aug. 14) juxtaposition of my words, taken from my statement which was rooted in an advocacy for an Israeli-Palestinian peace, with a passage from a domestic group, rooted in prejudice, was shameful and unsavory, at the very least. [Wouldn’t you have the reaction were someone to pair an excerpt from you pro-Iraq war editorials with a selection from a bigoted anti-Islamic or Anti-Arab organization?] Suffice it to say that your objection to my description of the need to replace the Washington puppet show with the Washington Peace Show serves to reinforce the censorious climate against open and free discussion this conflict in the U.S., as there has been among the Israeli people. When Israelis joke about the United States being “the second state of Israel,” it sounds like they are describing a puppeteer-puppet relationship. Or, would The Post prefer using the descriptor “dominant-subordinate?”

The New York Times columnist and Middle Eastern Specialist, Tom Friedman, used stronger words than “puppet” when on February 9th, he wrote: “Mr. Sharon has the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat under house arrest in his office in Ramallah, and he’s had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval office. Mr. Sharon has Mr. Arafat surrounded by tanks, and Mr. Bush surrounded by Jewish and Christian pro-Israel lobbyists, by a vice president, Dick Cheney, who’s ready to do whatever Mr. Sharon dictates . . . all conspiring to make sure the president does nothing.”

When AIPAC works to obtain a recent 407-9 vote for a House of Representatives’ resolution which supported the latest Sharon strategy and rejected any mention of an independent Palestinian state, how would you describe such a surrender of the privately held positions of many Representatives, favoring a two-state solution?

Half of the Israeli people and over two-thirds of Americans of the Jewish faith believe the conflict can only be settled by allowing an independent Palestinian state together with a secure Israel.

Four hundred American rabbis, including leaders of some of the largest congregations in the country, protested the Israeli government’s house demolition policy. Hundreds of Israeli reserve combat officers and soldiers signed a declaration refusing, in their words, “to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people.” (www.seruv.org.il)

That these and many other Israeli and American peace advocates with impressive political, business, academic, military and intelligence experience, receive no hearing in official Washington is further indication of a serious bias inside both political parties. George W. Bush is a messianic militarist with a tin ear toward these courageous collaborators in peace. And what is John Kerry’s problem? He told us he has “many friends” in the broad and deep Israeli peace movement. Yet, Mr. Kerry issues a pro-Sharon statement that in its obeisance goes to the right of Bush.

Given that your editorial did not have any problem with these views, why do you object to a description of AIPAC as an awesome lobby on Capitol Hill, labeling it “poisonous stuff?” AIPAC has worked hard over the years to enlist the support of both Christians and Jews. Its organizing skills are the envy of the NRA and other citizen groups. Muslim-Americans are trying to learn from its lobbying skills to produce a more balanced Congressional debate on Middle Eastern policies. How does acknowledging such an achievement “play on age-old stereotypes?” The bias may be in your own mind.

Sincerely,

RALPH NADER

 

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Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

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