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'Not in the U.S. Interest'

December 22, 1987

How ironic that Israel, which touts itself as the Middle East's only democracy but has no constitution or bill of rights, should pressure our Congress to close down the PLO's U.N. mission, never accused or charged with illegal or criminal activity.

As poignantly expressed in your editorial, this pressure is indeed a "flagrant violation of First Amendment guarantees to free speech."

On May 14, 1948, Israel's first president, David Ben-Gurion, proclaimed Israel's independence. The proclamation read by him provided that a constitution "based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel . . . to ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex" be adopted not later than Oct. 1, 1948.

Almost 40 years have gone by, but Israel has no constitution or bill of rights. And the day-to-day reportings of your newspaper are woeful witness to the sad fact that the 1948 promises of complete equality of social and political rights have not been fulfilled for some 1.5 million Arab-Palestinian inhabitants of Israel proper and its occupied territories.

Your editorial characterized our Congress as appearing before all the world not only as "mean-spirited and pusillanimous but also as utterly contemptuous of the very respect for the rule of law that its statesmen talk so eloquently about upholding" if it yields to AIPAC's pressures.

But whether Congress yields or not, isn't that charge more appropriately directed to Israel, the power behind AIPAC, whose failure to deliver on its 1948 independence promises shows mean-spiritedness and contempt for the rule of law that its statesmen talked so eloquently about upholding 40 years ago?

WILLIAM H. DENTZEL

Montecito

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