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In Response

In March, 2003, William Carlotti published an anti-Israel letter in The Voice that falsely accused Israel's supporters of screaming "anti-Semitism" whenever that nation was criticized. Alan Stein responded with the following, published March 28, 2003.

Anti-Zionism Sometimes Is Anti-Semitism

By Alan H. Stein, Waterbury

William C. Carlotti, in the latest of his anti-Israel diatribes [Yesh Gvul (There Is a Limit), March 21], seems to feel that supporters of our only real friend in the Middle East, the democratic state of Israel, are looking under rocks to find connections between attacks, verbal and otherwise, against Israel and anti-Semitism.

I wonder whether Mr. Carlotti can convince Yon Odonnat and Noam Levy, who had to be taken to the hospital a few days ago after being attacked by "peace" demonstrators who apparently felt that war is bad but assaulting Jews is just.

I wonder whether Mr. Carlotti can convince the young woman who, after participating in a debate about the Middle East conflict, was attacked by three masked men who carved a Magen David into her arm.

I wonder whether Mr. Carlotti can convince Michael Lerner, the extremely left-wing editor of Tikkun who is almost as critical of the Israeli government as Mr. Carlotti, who was not permitted to speak at an antiwar rally because he had the audacity to express the opinion that there was room in the world for a predominately Jewish state.

Aside from his knee-jerk criticism of anything Israel does to defend its innocent citizens from terrorist attack, his jingoist misuse of loaded language, and his inclusion of testimonials against Israel from some wonderful people and organizations who just seem to have moral blinders on when it comes to anti-Semitism and attacks against Jews and Israel, Mr. Carlotti plays fast and loose with the facts.

Just one example: Carlotti states that "The Sharonite/ Likudian zealots are the self-proclaimed opponents to recognizing the Palestinian state, and the self-proclaimed proponents of the establishment of armed Jewish settlements on Palestinian land." Taking those false statements in reverse order, one can debate the wisdom of Jews establishing communities in portions of the disputed territories, where they are surrounded and outnumbered by Palestinian Arabs full of hatred. But those communities have almost universally been established on land either owned by Jews or public property, and the only reason they are "armed" is that the residents otherwise would be slaughtered by their Palestinian Arab neighbors. And far from being "self-proclaimed opponents to recognizing the [non-existent] Palestinian state," Ariel Sharon has endured criticism for refusing to rule out agreeing to the establishment of another Arab state in Palestine. Of course, restricting themselves to the truth has never been much of a consideration for anti-Israel zealots.

Mr. Carlotti also criticizes Israel for having fewer casualties than the Palestinian Arabs in a terrorist war the latter launched against Israel. By his logic, America and our allies in World War II must have been morally inferior to the Nazis and their allies because we had fewer casualties. And, according to Carlotti's logic, we must be morally inferior to Saddam Hussein because our forces seem to be having fewer casualties than Iraq's.

As I write this, I am also hearing news reports that a dozen of our soldiers were captured by Iraqi forces. By Mr. Carlotti's logic, I should feel morally uplifted in the realization that this moves our casualties closer towards parity with Iraq's losses. Somehow, rather than feeling uplifted, I simply feel very sad; I'd prefer there were zero American casualties.

Most Americans realize that much of the opposition to Operation Iraqi Freedom is based on hatred of America rather than the reasons generally given. Similarly, although it is generally difficult in specific cases to determine whether criticism of Israel is legitimate or based on anti-Semitism, it is unquestionable that a great deal of criticism of Israel really has nothing to do with Israel's actions. Rather than, as Carlotti accuses, supporters of our democratic friend rushing to scream "anti-Semitism" when Israel is attacked, they almost always refrain from suggesting anti-Semitism is involved even when it almost certainly is.

Today, the United States and Israel not only share democratic values and a love of freedom, but also share enemies who hate us not because of what we've done but because of what we stand for and simply because we exist.

Voice News March 28, 2003

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