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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Tracing the Root Causes of International Terror

August 31, 2003

Re "Terror Stings Its Pal, the U.N.," Commentary, Aug. 27: Alan Dershowitz uses charges of widespread anti-Semitism as a smokescreen to defuse criticism of Israel and to obscure his own bigotry toward Palestinians, whom he refers to as the group "that invented and perfected modern international terrorism."

The United Nations does not encourage terrorism, Mr. Dershowitz. It simply tries to address the underlying causes of conflicts that give rise to it.

Kenneth Gozlyn

San Francisco

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To blame the U.N. for creating terrorism in the world is an insult of the worst kind to all U.N. workers, peacekeepers and, in fact, to all peace-loving people. I met many U.N. personnel while living in Geneva. Most of them were underpaid (sometimes not paid at all for weeks for lack of funds), yet all remained extremely idealistic people, trying in so many different ways to make this world a better place. (UNICEF alone saves millions of children every year in hot spots.)

It is not dialogue and diplomacy that create war and terrorism. It is arrogant big and small leaders who repeat the same old slogans of "toughness and revenge." History shows that this method has never created peace but only more hatred and more extremists.

It is time to give the U.N. the support it needs, financially and morally, to do its job properly. Shame on Dershowitz for insulting so many people who sacrifice their lives all over the world to pay for the mistakes of others.

Leila Heim

Manhattan Beach

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Dershowitz's commentary on how the U.N. supports, rewards and enlarges terrorism hit the nail on the head so precisely, truthfully and forcefully that I would be surprised if any nail is left. If you reward bad actions, you will create them. In spades.

Michael Cregan

Santa Barbara

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How convenient that Dershowitz, in his survey of terrorist organizations, overlooks the activities of the Stern Gang and Irgun, terrorist organizations that contributed greatly to the demoralization of the British occupiers of Palestine and the eventual creation of the state of Israel. This is the example the Palestinians no doubt seek to emulate.

Tom Somers

Loma Linda

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