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Reasonable people can critizice the Israeli government

Joseph Stein
Saturday May 18, 2002

To the Editor: 

In her letter about boycotting Saudi Arabia (May 10), Rachel Schorr speaks for some in the Jewish community who console themselves by stigmatizing as “anti-Semitic” any criticism by the press of the Israeli Government. Ironically, her revelations that a Saudi Arabian prince owns stock in AOL-Time Warner and that the BBC’s main reporter (whoever that might be) on the Middle East is married to a Palestinian is reminiscent of claims by anti-Semites that the world press, American politics and the global economy are manipulated by Jews. 

If Israel is (in Ms. Schorr’s words) portrayed in “a negative light,” it is because the Israeli government has wantonly killed innocent children, women and men and destroyed the homes, orchards, and meager infrastructure of the Palestinian homeland Israel illegally occupies. If anything, the American press has failed to fully report on the crimes of the Sharon regime. 

To its great credit, some elements of the Israeli press do provide both objective reporting and reasoned analysis of Israel’s folly. “Ha’aretz,” an Israeli newspaper that is published in print and online in Hebrew and English, is a reliable source of information and analysis that has been unsparing in its criticism of the government. 

Perhaps since “Ha’aretz” is not owned by a Saudi prince Ms. Schorr will entertain the notion that it is not anti-Semitic to expose and denounce Israel’s crimes; indeed, many Jews understand that it is their moral and religious responsibility to do so. 


- Joseph Stein