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Letters: Zionism and modern Israel

March 24, 2013

Re "Israel needs a new map," Opinion, March 21

Ian S. Lustick suggests that early Israeli Zionist goal of building a "modern secular democracy" that would eventually exist in an Arab region that had also become modern and secular hasn't been met.

Anyone who studies the history of Israel knows that it was built by the exigencies of political brutality, not a plan. The Russian Jews escaping the pogroms and the European Jews escaping Hitler had only one plan in mind: survival. Lustick says that Zionism today is no longer relevant since anti-Semitism is not at the root of Israel's problems. There's one issue: Some of Israel's neighbors exhibit an anti-Semitic fervor that rivals Hitler's.

Today's Israel is not a plan gone awry, but a sad fact of history that could not be avoided. Most of the world chooses to forget this fact.

David Del Bourgo

Woodland Hills

Many thanks to Lustick for his deeply insightful critique of the ever-resurfacing Zionism that threatens to destabilize the fragile coexistence of the entire region.

Zionism by any other name in any other setting would be understood as racism and condemned as such. It is tenacious, implacable and outdated. Israelis and Palestinians must be prepared to compromise to achieve a two-state solution. Zionism, imperialism or any other "ism" that would block or replace tolerance and cooperation has no place going forward in creating a better life for all who live in and love this long-suffering region.

Peace really can happen, and the parties must settle for nothing less.

Marianne Menter

Canoga Park

I was dismayed after reading Lustick's one-sided article about Israel. Perhaps the fact that Israel is so hated around the world has more to do with the haters than it does with Israel.

Regarding what Lustick calls Israel's "holocaust mania," it was just 70 years ago when one-third of the world's Jewish population was murdered; this lies deeply in the heart of every Jewish psyche.

Are the Palestinians suffering? Of course. But after Israel's independence in 1948, 850,000 Jews living in Arab countries were expelled. Israel, the size of New Jersey, took them in. The Arab states, many times the size of Israel, are unwilling to take in their brothers and sisters.

Maybe it's the Arabs who need a new map.

Roberta B. Gillerman

Los Angeles

Jews deserved a safe place away from the onslaught of European persecution. Today Israel is an established state. It should be considered a state like all others, and one that provides security for Jews and anyone else who lives there. Instead, it has moved to a pariah status thanks to its outdated Zionism that allows Israel to hate or kill anyone it decides is anti-Semitic.

If Israelis choose to live in this region, the only chance for them surviving is not nuclear weapons and war, but embracing their neighbors as worthy of the same respect they wish for themselves.

Lillian Laskin

Los Angeles

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