First of all, full disclosure: Mr. Rizwan A. Rahmani, who penned a Labor Day op-ed regarding the questionable allegiances of Sen. Joe Lieberman, is my husband, so when I respond to the letter from David Altschul, I do so not only because the letter in question is full of “foul foolishness” (Mr. Altschul’s own letter-closing zinger), but also because he attacked the man I love, and unlike the aforementioned Sen. Lieberman, I know where my loyalties lie.
Foul Foolishness (FF) No. 1: He begins by misquoting Mr. Rahmani, saying it was a “stupid lie that Sen. Joseph Lieberman ‘agreed totally with’ President Bush.” Mr. Rahmani did not state or insinuate that Sen. Lieberman agreed with the President Lord King of Foul Foolishness, i.e. Bush, on every issue, just the war. (Mr. Rahmani in fact voted for the Gore-Lieberman ticket in 2000 and is not a one-issue voter.)
Foul Foolishness No. 2: He continues by slandering Mr. Rahmani’s wording as “grammatically illiterate, meaningless gasbaggery”—true statesmanlike discourse and debate, hm? Of course, personal insults are a typical response to “the truth hurts” issues—lashing out at the packaging or delivery rather than the content of the charge. (Never mind the fact that English is Mr. Rahmani’s fourth language: If you can’t formulate your opinions with unimpeachable grammar, don’t bother—free speech for English majors only!)
Foul Foolishness No. 3: “I’ll bet anything that Rahmani doesn’t have ‘any altruistic allegiances’ either, but that’s not my major point.” First of all, keep silent on points you know less than nothing about, e.g. my husband’s allegiances. Secondly, the comparison is illogical: Sen. Lieberman’s record is a public matter and he is an elected official.
Foul Foolishness No. 4: He notes that Israel has the best record in its region concerning environmentalism, free speech, freedom of religion, gay rights, medical aid to Africa’s poor, medical research, and women’s rights. Hm: “In its region.” Can’t say the competition was very stiff. But more importantly, just because a country does some things right doesn’t mean the world has to turn a blind eye to the things they do WRONG. (But such an assertion sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Love it or leave it? Patriotism = keep your mouth shut?)
Foul Foolishness No. 5 and, really, the crowning moment of ignominy in his letter: “Yes, I refer to Israel which, like the United States and unlike the homeland of Rahmani’s ancestors, has such confidence and moral courage concerning its basic principles that it affords even a Rahmani the freedom to foment factless, factionalist, filth.” My goodness. How does the all-knowing Mr. Altschul know the homeland of Mr. Rahmani’s ancestors? It’s not where he obviously thinks it is, which is kind of amusing for someone who espouses such enmity for factlessness.
Sonja Fitz is an Oakland resident, an English major, and has been married to Mr. Rahmani for 22 years.