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Focus on Israel, Not 'Jew-Hatred'

July 21, 2002

Re "Call It What It Is: a Global Surge of Anti-Semitism," Commentary, July 17: Yossi Klein Halevi wrote a brilliant piece bringing our attention to what he identifies as "Jew-hatred." He even anticipates and inoculates his argument against the obvious criticisms, yet he succeeds only in citing as examples of anti-Semitism the actions of very few individuals and fewer states or institutions.

Far from denying the Holocaust, which is Halevi's corollary charge, I imagine that having survived that horrible period, when anti-Semitism was not just a notion of a few ignorant zealots but the overt policy of more than a few governments and an operative undercurrent even in the U.S., Jews everywhere might accept as incumbent upon themselves the principles of compassion, tolerance, peace and nonviolence.

Since Halevi writes that it is legitimate to criticize specific Israeli policies, why don't we (why doesn't he?) take active exception to Israel's policies of extrajudicial executions, preemptive strikes, torture of detainees, suppression of international media and flouting of U.N. resolutions, for starters?

It is idiotic and futile, not to mention barbaric and against the spirit of Islam, for suicide bombers to continue their ignorant violence against Israelis. Israel has exercised an iron fist for decades and is showing no signs of unclenching. Has anybody noticed that neither strategy is working? Do Israelis or Palestinians enjoy peace and security? One definition of insanity is said to be to repeat an action but to expect a different result.

Gary Paudler



The subheading on the commentary on the recent anti-Semitic killings and rhetoric all over the world so frankly states: "Amid blindness to hate crimes, something familiar and sinister is arising." Well, I can truly and sadly attest to the validity of this comment.

I am a Jewish woman who, as a child, survived the Nazi Holocaust in Europe. Unfortunately my six siblings, mother and father did not. While all this was going on, the world turned a blind eye. Frankly, I never dreamed that I would witness a similar pattern during my lifetime. I am concerned for everyone! That includes my five grandchildren and their parents.

What is so disturbing is that our U.S. officials refuse to call the terrorists what they are--terrorists. I believe that they should know better.

Margaret Marketa Novak

Beverly Hills

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