Our responses to Rabbi Dan Fink's Op Ed in the Idaho Statesman

Letters to the Editor

Edition Date: 11/23/07

RABBI FINK

Israel-firsters play anti-Semitic card

Rabbi Dan Fink’s claim (Nov. 10 Religion column) that “Israel-bashing,” led by authors Mearsheimer and Walt, Jimmy Carter and other progressives, is “just the latest face of the age-old scourge of anti-Semitism” is egregious, inaccurate and reckless.

His assertion is an effort to drown out anyone who disagrees with Israeli governmental policy vis-a-vis the occupied territories and the treatment of Palestinians. The first hand played by Israel-firsters like Fink, when confronted by people presenting facts that don’t fit their paradigm, is the old canard that they must be “anti-Semitic.” This is a blatant attempt to divert attention from the apartheid conditions that exist in Israel and the occupied territories.

In effect, that has been the strategy of the pro-Israel lobby in this country. These groups and individuals have had a disproportionate and deleterious influence on the decision-making process regarding Middle Eastern policy to the detriment of this country and that of Israel as well. We must create an environment for open and rational discussion of the issues if we are to make any progress in solving this tragic conflict.

GAIL C. HAWKINS, Boise

Neo-Nazi analogyis simply outrageous

Rabbi Fink’s opinion piece is an especially troubling example of the attempt to defend the illegal occupation of Palestine by slandering those who go beyond “measured disagreement” with Israeli policy.

To point out that Palestinians live in isolated Bantustans and can travel between these only by passing through Israeli military checkpoints is not anti-Semitic.

To point out that the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee is the most powerful and influential foreign lobby in the United States is not anti-Semitic.

To point out that Israel’s democratic theocracy is flawed by its disenfranchisement of the Palestinians under occupation and by its violations of the rights of Arab Israelis, to point out that Israel is not the only (flawed) democracy in the region, and to point out that the most repressive of the neighboring regimes became that way as a result of U.S./Israeli support and CIA/Mossad blowback is not anti-Semitic (or anti-Israeli, or anti-American).

The Israeli citizens and American Jews who share my opposition to Israeli policy are not anti-Semites, and comparing us to neo-Nazis is an outrageous and reactionary attempt to silence critics.

MARTIN ORR, Boise

dan fink

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