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The Actions of Israel, the Epithet 'Nazi'

June 02, 2004

Walter Reich is correct that criticism of Israel often cloaks anti-Semitism, particularly when the "Nazi" epithet is hurled to equate Israeli policies with those of Hitler's Germany (Commentary, May 28). But it is also true that defenders of Israel often hurl charges of anti-Semitism (or Holocaust denial) to intimidate critics and shield conduct of the current government that even many supporters of Israel find abhorrent.

Reich should acknowledge that comparisons to Hitler and World War II were seriously misused by pro-war hawks (including many leading Jewish voices) to justify the invasion of Iraq. Given the state of the world, we desperately need an open discussion about the dangers of fascism, totalitarianism, genocide, nationalism, racism and anti-Semitism. But that debate will be most productive (and the memory of Hitler's victims best honored) by treating the Holocaust and Nazism as the unique horrors that they truly were.

David Karnes

Los Angeles

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Reich, like most apologists for Israel, is quick to condemn Palestinian violence. Reich is also quick to shout "anti-Semitism" at legitimate criticisms and understandable anger toward Israel. But he is in a state of denial about the serious and troubling war crimes that Israel is continually committing against the Palestinians.

Israel's wrongheaded desire to colonize occupied Palestine by means of land theft and the exercise of brutal military power has made the world a more dangerous place for all of us who are Jewish -- not a safer place.

Larry Saltzman

Santa Barbara

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Reich's article is right on target. Not only do those on the left fail to compare the genocide in Sudan to the Nazis, but they put Sudan on the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Any Jew or decent person who despises President Bush and worships the "enlightened Europeans" and the U.N. should read this article and think very carefully about the positions he or she now holds.

Ronnie Lampert

Los Angeles

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