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'Genocide as a Political Science'

November 21, 1988

I appreciated Roth's comparison of Kristallnacht with the Israeli expulsion of Palestinians. How can a people behave in the same fashion as the perpetrators of their historical unprecedented persecution in the Holocaust? Granted that the expulsion of the Palestinians hasn't reached the horrendous proportions of the Holocaust, but the seeds which led to the terrible event are ever present. Nevertheless, some facets of the problem and comparison raised by Roth must be examined.

Prior to Kristallnacht the Jews of Germany did not declare war against the German nation; the Jews of Germany did not bomb German schools or shoot and kill German teachers and students; German Jews did not bomb public buses or bomb supermarkets; German Jews did not hijack commercial planes or ships; German Jews did not commit massacres at airports; and German Jews did not kidnap German athletes and destroy them at any international Olympic event.

The Israelis are Semites as well as their Arab neighbors. If Hitler hadn't been stopped, both Israelis and Arabs would have been part of Hitler's final solution. Both Israelis and Palestinians have their roots in the Bible's Old Testament. They truly have more in common than their differences. Turmoil in the Middle East will not be settled by continued violence and expulsions. There must be dialogue.

Perhaps Israeli leaders and Palestinian leaders could meet within the quiet confines of Camp David with President-elect George Bush. Dialogue in the United Nations must continue. There can be no other alternative. Violence can only beget violence.

CYRIL BERMAN

Newbury Park

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