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Lerner on Peace Process in Israel

April 19, 1998

Re "American Jews Need to Stand for Peace," Column Left, April 12: In his pronouncements about peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, Michael Lerner views the road as being only one-way. He is totally self-absorbed in his own view of righteousness and leaves little room for those in the peace camp who differ with him.

Were it not for his obvious Jewishness, his constant sniping at the Israeli lobby, as if it were a nefarious poison injected into the body politic, would reek of anti-Semitism. There are many in the American Jewish community who desire peace as fervently as Lerner, but believe that the road there does not lead through naivete or ugly recriminations, but rather through reasoned discourse. And the road to this point does not just involve Israeli giving and Palestinian taking, but compromise to achieve a desired solution.

RICHARD REBHUN, Los Angeles

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Lerner is truly a breath of fresh air. The editor of Tikkun magazine is critical of what he calls the rejectionist government of Israel's right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Lerner calls on the American Jewish community to speak out forcefully against the expansion of West Bank settlements and to demand that Netanyahu implement the Oslo peace accords, as Israel promised to do. Peace groups in the U.S., Jewish and Arab, should unite to demonstrate that not all support Israel's current harsh policies.

As an American of Lebanese descent, I hope that Semitic peoples everywhere will ultimately sublimate ethnic, cultural and religious differences to join together in the greater cause of peace. The Irish are doing it; the North and South Koreans are working at it; it's time for thoughtful Jews and Arabs in this country to demonstrate there is another way to go.

EDMONDE A. HADDAD, Port Hueneme

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Amy Wilentz (Opinion, April 12) concludes that Netanyahu is to blame for Hamas terrorist attacks because of his "terrible and irresponsible foot dragging" over Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. The implication being that a withdrawal would satisfy Hamas and it would therefore suspend its terrorism.

Yet, she also writes that Hamas intrinsically opposes the peace process! So how does she draw the conclusion that Netanyahu's actions have bearing one way or the other on Hamas terrorism? In fact, it was a series of terrorist attacks by Hamas, during the "golden period" of the peace process, that led to Netanyahu's election as prime minister.

STEVEN SAHL, Burbank

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