The Thomas affair
Re "Don't single out Thomas," Opinion, June 12
It is no surprise that professor Saree Makdisi downplays the offensiveness of Helen Thomas' remarks; like her, he also refuses to acknowledge that the land of Israel is the rightful homeland of the Jewish people.
The Jewish claim to a home in historic Palestine is not due to the Holocaust but to religious ties rooted in historic fact. Thomas' attitude that the Jews are European interlopers in the Middle East was also held by the Palestinians in 1948. This destructive and hateful belief led them to refuse to share a tiny part of the Middle East and to start a war that caused their own displacement.
Makdisi has used the Helen Thomas affair as a vehicle to make another of his diatribes against Israel. In doing this, he resorts to meaningless generalizations, unproven and out-of-context quotes and subjective interpretations of historically ambiguous events. He again brings up the apartheid canard and the disingenuous "single democratic and secular state for both peoples" Trojan horse.
None of this changes the facts. Makdisi wants to give Thomas "the benefit of the doubt." Doubt about what? She said that Jews should go back to Germany and Poland. If she had added "back to the ovens," would it be more clear to Makdisi?
My praise for Makdisi's article regarding Thomas' remark about Israel. It is unfair that the Palestinian people are paying the cost of the Nazi Holocaust, whereas the German people have their own sovereignty and a healthy economy.
I read Makdisi's Op-Ed with great sadness. He starts off in such a promising manner, saying that a "just and lasting peace in the Middle East fundamentally requires reconciliation between Palestinians and Israeli Jews." I certainly agree with that.
But he turns bitter. Referring to Israel, he says that "such a state could only have been created in a multicultural land by ethnically cleansing it of as many non-Jews as possible."
This is hateful. It illustrates why peace is so elusive. Peace will only come when people on both sides are willing to see beyond their prejudices and agree to compromise. Sadly, that time seems to be a long way off.
In his misguided plea for a single, secular democratic state that would eliminate the Jewish homeland, Makdisi asks, "Are we seriously to accept the idea that some people have more rights than others?"
I would remind him that in Israel, Arabs serve in the Knesset and enjoy the freedom to worship as they please.
Perhaps the professor is suggesting other countries in the region rewrite their constitutions and change their form of government. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, you can practically be prosecuted for BWJ: Breathing While Jewish.
What's good for Gaza
Re "Gaza's plight a crisis with a difference," June 13
In the truly heart-wrenching story concerning the death in Gaza of the little boy who had been born with a heart blockage, The Times neglected to include an important part of the story.
If Gaza would make a very few concessions to Israel, such stories could be prevented in the future. If Gaza would forswear sending deadly rockets into Israeli neighborhoods, if Gaza would agree to forswear bringing about the annihilation of Israel and its population, there could be uninhibited travel and trade between Gaza and Israel.
And if Gaza's neighboring wealthy Arab nations would help it financially, instead of smuggling in weapons, the little boy's unemployed father could be living in a country with a vastly improved economy.
Terrorists, including Hamas, have repeatedly said that they love dying more than we love living, and that is why they will win this struggle with Western values. This article only proves their point: They would rather have their people suffer under their rule than have peace with Israel.
The Times' editorial page has asked when will Israel realize the blockade is not working. The answer is quite simple: As soon as Hamas realizes that terrorism will not work. Then the blockade will end.
Where are all the voters?
Re "Unrest is not enough to get voters to polls," June 13
Democratic political veteran Bill Carrick bashes voters and demonstrates why they decline to vote en masse.
Americans are neither stupid nor fools. The reason so many don't bother going to the voting booths is that they recognize that voting in America is largely an empty ritual with utterly no meaning or significance.
Contrary to their behavior indicating that "they don't care," their behavior shows political sophistication. Pols who complain are like kids who cheat at marbles and then blame the other kids when they won't play with them.
Paul L. DuNard Jr.