Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 2006, pages 5-6

Letters to the Editor

A Courageous Decision

Thank you very much for your courage to reproduce “The Israel Lobby.” I am one of the lucky Americans who have a subscription to The London Review of Books, so I received the article when it first came out. Of course I was delighted to read it and promptly renewed my subscription to the Review for their courage. I have already renewed to your magazine and sent a small contribution, which I believe has arrived at a good time. I will see what I can do to send another contribution in the next week...hopefully for the same amount.

I send your e-mail “alerts” to all those concerned that I can think of and try to attract signatures, etc. My personal biggest question is how can we do more? All this information is out there for Americans, but they continue to bury their heads and many just do not read. I am angry and embarrassed for the U.S....what has happened to us? Having lived overseas for more than 35 years I know just why the people of the Middle East hate America, but not Americans, in general.

Anyway, once again THANK YOU, THANK YOU and I hope everyone reads the article and passes it along. The May/June issue is full of lots of good articles. Best wishes and thinking of you all.

Linda Thain-Ali, via e-mail 

We debated whether it would be redundant to reprint Mearsheimer and Walt’s “The Israel Lobby,” as it was readily available on the Internet. The response has been wonderful, however, so it looks like we made the right decision. In addition to sending “Other Voices” to all our subscribers, not just those who pay the extra $15 per year, we sent the May/June issue to thousands of Presbyterians and journalists, in order to reach people who are in a unique position to make a difference. We really went out on a financial limb to put out the May/June issue, however. In addition to paying £1,500 for the right to reprint “The Israel Lobby,” we had significantly increased production and mailing costs. So we’re in an even more precarious financial state than usual, and it’s friends like you who help keep us alive. We believe the tide is beginning to turn in this country, so it’s more important than ever that the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, be around to spread the word and give the American people the information their mainstream media decline to provide.

From Browser to Subscriber

I have started doing some research on Christian Zionism and in the process I came across the Mearsheimer-Walt paper on the Israel lobby. That very weekend I went to Barnes and Noble to get one of the magazines where the article was quoted. While browsing I came across a copy of your magazine with the study as an insert. Thus I read the review and also most of the magazine.

I am a Christian (reformed in persuasion) and have always been Republican in my political orientation. Now I am finding that the main speakers for justice in the Middle East are liberal or at least moderate, since most of the rightward-leaning conservatives have accepted the heretical teaching of Christian Zionism and have influenced most of our leaders, including the president. I am making some attempts to contact Palestinian Christians as a way of letting them know that not all professing Christians embrace the teachings of the Christian Right. I have sent in my card to start a subscription to your publication and will be most interested in the sections dealing with the Palestinian Christians and the errors of the Christian Zionists. Thanking you ahead for the magazine, I remain.....

Pierre C. LeMaster, M.D., via e-mail, 

We are most pleased to welcome you as a new subscriber, and think you’ll be glad to discover that not all conservatives are neoconservatives or Christian Zionists. When it comes to the Middle East, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, counts among its friends such conservative journalists as Charley Reese, Joe Sobran and Patrick J. Buchanan.

The U.N. Partition Resolution

In his otherwise very informative article regarding the Jack Abramoff scandal, Juan Cole erroneously states “[t]he partition of Palestine in 1948, tragic as it was, had a United Nations Security Council resolution behind it” (“Lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s ”˜Charity’ a Front for Terrorism,” March 2006 Washington Report on Middle East Affairs,).

In fact, Resolution 181, the Partition Plan, was passed by the General Assembly and was thus non-mandatory or recommendatory only.

Furthermore, apart from being grossly unjust regarding the human rights of the native Palestinians, the Partition Plan was also contrary to international law.

The ensuing violence in Palestine caused the General Assembly to realize that the Partition Plan was unworkable. Hence, as requested by President HarryS Truman, member states were in the process of debating whether it should be shelved when Ben-Gurion et al. proclaimed the Jewish state of Israel on May 15, 1948.

To the great shock of the U.S. delegation at the United Nations, President Truman, succumbing to Zionist pressure, promptly recognized Israel de facto and the U.S.S.R. immediately followed with de jure recognition.

So began the tragedy of Palestine which continues to this day.

Gary D. Keenan, Vancouver, BC 

We are proud to have you as a long-time subscriber!

The Heart of the Problem

Concerning Hamas leaders’ refusal to recognize Israel, Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization were facing the same dilemma 30 years ago. Two men, one Irish and the other Palestinian, writing in the 1970s, best expressed the problem. The Irishman, the late Erskine B. Childers wrote:

“The West was, in effect, asking this indigenous people to acquiesce in their own political extermination and physical eviction, in order to enable the West to pay for crimes of which the Arabs were innocent...No other indigenous people has ever been asked to make such third-party payment by obliteration. It can scarcely be held surprising, or immoral or ”˜unrealistic,’ that the Arabs have been refusing to accept such a fate ever since.”

Sabri Jiryis, member of the PLO National Council, said:

“No Palestinian Arab can ever accept as ”˜legitimate’ a doctrine that he should be excluded from most parts of his homeland, because he is a Christian or Muslim Arab, while anyone of the Jewish faith anywhere in the world is entitled to settle there. Realism may require recognition of the existence of a Jewish state in Palestine and that this fact be taken into account in seeking a settlement. But this can never mean approving the expansionist and exclusivist tendencies of Zionism.”

Arafat and the PLO finally bowed to the demands and pressures; but after years of engaging in a so-called peace process and negotiations, they had nothing to show for their compromises and concessions, and Arafat ended up a prisoner in his own headquarters. If the Palestinians are to continue down the same path, they will soon find out that they have nothing left to negotiate about.

W. Zahawie, Amman, Jordan

Whoa, Cowboy!

Reports in the media that Iran is enriching uranium are certainly alarming. Given Iran’s history, attacking our interests and even our Embassy, the American public should demand decisive action to eliminate the threat. But this is the same inept administration that created the Iraqi debacle, botched hurricane relief along the Gulf Coast, and still hasn’t caught Bin Laden. It seems to me the greater threat to Americans would come from relying on these people to handle the Iran threat.

Rather than exulting at the prospect of a big story, perhaps the media should remember their complicity in the Iraqi debacle. Let’s not get fooled again! The leadership and guidance provided by the media are too important to be used by an administration whose only true skill is misleading the American public. And where is Congress? Is there no one in Congress who has the courage to stand up to this administration? This is not a matter of ideology or conservative versus liberal. This is about competence to lead.

In a little while this cowboy and his administration will be riding off into the sunset. The next president already has a mess in Iraq to fix. With several years before Iran is likely to actually have nuclear weapons, do we really want to rush into another ill-considered, ill-planned disaster? It is time for the media, Congress and the American public to say, “Whoa, Cowboy!”

Creigh Shank, North Little Rock, AR 

Let’s not forget this country’s history either—particularly the 1953 overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. Americans might also want to remember that the “I” country that has refused to sign, much less abide by, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is Israel, not Iran.

Medieval Tolerance

I read the letter “Smearing Assyrians” in the March 2006 Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

I have studied comparative Semitic linguistics and literatures for over 40 years. While I agree that we should go easy on the ancient Assyrians, we should also take care not to smear the medieval Arabs. It has been well established that the so-called “Islamic Invasions” were first Arabic invasions, and only later did the conquered areas become Islamic. Despite the outstanding “Sword of Allah,” some of the Arabic leaders were not Muslims themselves. Many in the initial invading armies were not Muslims. At times a part of the invading army was composed of fellow Hamites—Semitic speakers who were not from Arabia. Palestine and Syria continued to produce Christian literature in the Syriac language for many centuries after the Arabic invasions. In Egypt Christian Coptic literature was still being produced until about 1500 A.D., more than eight centuries after Egypt was first invaded by Arabs.

One serious historian after another has commented on the noted tolerance of the early medieval Arabs. Certainly the invading Arabs killed people, in driving the Greeks out of Hamito-Semitic speech areas, but one must be wary of saying that they killed people for not believing in God. Medieval histories in Arabic and other languages must be researched. Many modern Western writings are well-done distortions keen on degrading Islam.

There might be some question concerning the “barbaric bloodthirsty nations 3,000 years ago” who “surrounded” the Assyrians. Properly studied they too might be seen in a less inflammatory light.

Bill Strange, Fort Garland, CO 

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Cockeyed Optimists?

My father used to say, “There is goodness in every person; give one the chance and I will bring it out.” What optimism!

My mom warned: “People are indoctrinated en masse by deceit and delusion, but are enlightened only one at a time.” That was to warn us not to accept utterances at face value.

I am 81 years old. I am confused. I must be dumb, in spite of all the high educational degrees I hold. I love you and I love your optimism. Keep up the good work. I am retired now. I wish I could afford more.

S.K. Abul-Haj, M.D., Ventura, CA 

Even without your generous $100 contribution, the fact that you love this magazine testifies to your brilliance.

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