Bigotry Toward Arabs

August 12, 1985

I had thought Philip Geyelin was more astute, but his claptrap polemic regarding anti-Arabism (Editorial Pages, July 28) leads me to believe I was mistaken. He may play games of semantics, but it is common knowledge, not to mention the definition found in most dictionaries, that anti-Semitism refers to hostility toward Jews and not to the Semitic peoples as a whole.

Anti-Arab feelings and denigration are wrong, but they are as a drop in the bucket when compared to the verbal and written abuse directed against both Jews and the state of Israel.

When the term Arab is bandied about, particularly in a political connotation, most people are referring to the leadership of the Arab nations and not to individual members of those nations. Like it or not, the excesses of the few often represent the feelings of the majority. The only two leaders or quasi-leaders of the Arab world, neither of them lovers of Israel, who attempted an accommodation with Israel, Anwar Sadat and Issam Sartawi, were both murdered.

Not a single Arab voice was raised over the Ma'alot massacre or the senseless coastal road massacre. Other than Sadat, not a single Arab leader has come forward to recognize and negotiate with Israel. None has dared show vision, foresight, or daring, and Geyelin knows this.

Not a single Shia leader spoke out against the crime of hijacking TWA 847. Not one Arab leader mourned the deaths of hundreds of American Marines in Lebanon, nor the murder of their fellow Arabs in Hama, Syria, by that repressive regime. These things are not anti-Arab; they are facts.

Israel receives aid from America because the Israelis are our friends and they are of the West. They stand as a bulwark against hijackings and terrorist bombings and as a lone bastion of democracy in a sea of feudalism.

Geyelin perpetuates true anti-Semitism by articles such as his, which distort world affairs, provide excuses for intransigent Arab leaders, and give comfort to the notion that Israel might in some sense be expendable.


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