Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

August 19, 2006

Don't blame bigotry for Israel's conflicts

As a teacher, I will use David Mamet's essay "The catchall solution: First blame the Jews" (Opinion Commentary, Aug. 10) as an example of how an author can distort facts, and use guilt to persuade the reader to believe in a false premise.

The premise is that anti-Semitism is the driving force in blame for Israel for the tragedies of the Middle East.

And Mr. Mamet tries to convince the reader that Israel is only seeking peace with her neighbors and that the reason she was held responsible by many in the West for the crisis in Lebanon is anti-Semitism.

As a member of the Western culture, I take offense at this notion, since I do hold Israel responsible to a certain degree for the region's troubles.

The reason I hold Israel responsible is the occupation of the Palestinian territories and other Arab lands that Israel has controlled since it launched a pre-emptive strike in 1967, not because it is a Jewish state.

My beliefs are based on historical facts and events while Mr. Mamet uses artistic license to make his points.

For instance, note the reasons he cites for Israel losing the public relations war.

"Israel," he writes, "is endangered because the Arabs, sworn to the annihilation of the Jewish state, are somehow putting a better spin on their case."

Mr. Mamet speaks against the dangers of anti-Semitism yet he boldly states that all Arabs seek the destruction of Israel.

Has Mr. Mamet forgotten the peace treaties signed by Israel, Egypt and Jordan?

The public relations war was won by Lebanon because it was the underdog being ripped apart by a mighty army, not because the West suffers from anti-Semitism.

And if Mr. Mamet is correct in saying that Israel has given back the land acquired in Israel's defense, why is there all this fuss about the West Bank?

Mr. Mamet correctly points out that peace was almost achieved by President Clinton in 2000 and that PLO leader Yasser Arafat made a mistake in not agreeing to the peace plan.

Instead of blaming Israel's woes on anti-Semitism, what Mr. Mamet should suggest is that the Camp David peace plan of 2000 be revisited.

Robert Jones

Arnold

Anti-Semitism takes 21st-century shape

I thank The Sun for its courage and for the public service it performed by publishing David Mamet's column "The catchall solution: First blame the Jews" (Opinion Commentary, Aug. 10).

It is vital for good people to recognize old-fashioned anti-Semitism when it appears in its 21st-century incarnation. Bigotry first has to be recognized in order to be resisted.

Visual images which speak directly to the emotions are particularly persuasive sources of prejudice.

Seen on TV, demolished streets and houses in Lebanon seemed self-evidently "disproportionate" and the fact that terrorists used those neighborhoods as launch sites for missiles and rockets aimed at Israeli civilians -- well, that didn't make it into the shot.

All the doctored photos and emotional exaggerations of the destruction wrought by Israel on innocent victims obscured the fact that Israel's target was a well-armed and trained terrorist army.

Anti-Semitism is a deep and powerful motivator. Thank you for helping us identify it.

Renee Garfinkel

Washington

Bigots always find ways to blame Jews

Thank you very much for the powerful, no-holds-barred column by David Mamet ("The catchall solution: First blame the Jews," Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 10).

He is absolutely right: Those who are always so quick to condemn Israel for self-defense against brutal terror groups seeking to destroy the country seem to hold Israel up to a unique, and suspect, standard.

Radical Muslims hate Israel because they believe it has no right to be there, not because of any actions the country does or does not take.

Anti-Semites throughout history have found reasons to blame the Jews.

Jewish statehood -- and Israel's attendant responsibility to protect its citizens -- should not be yet another one of them.

If only more playwrights and celebrities took a page from Mr. Mamet's script.

Sara Miller

Queens, New York

Plot vindicates security efforts

I am writing to comment on The Sun's totally inadequate editorial concerning the discovery of the alleged Islamo-fascist plot to blow up airliners coming to the United States from the United Kingdom ("Back on alert," Aug. 11).

The editorial was a pathetic response to the news revealed the previous day of the excellent job done by Pakistani, British, and U.S. intelligence agencies to ferret-out a despicable plan to be executed upon innocent travelers.

Instead of concentrating on and congratulating the work of the countries involved in unearthing this horrible conspiracy, The Sun chose to nitpick about appropriate and inappropriate responses, reasons why fanatics would hatch this plot and what this country needs to do at airports.

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