Letters for October 10, 2002

Hawks versus doves versus free-weekly lovers versus anti-Semitic rag haters

Before Israel turns Iraq into a large ashtray, it would be wise for us to pull the plug on the thug.

Elliot Goldenberg

Tamarac

While he's ready to pull the plug on geopolitically informed columns: Bob Norman's article, really more an editorial than factual reportage, deserves comment. While it assured us of his even-handedness by condemning both Arafat and Sharon, the piece is really a hatchet job on Congressmen Wexler and Deutsch, and worse.

Apparently, according to Norman, holding views in support of Israel is by definition an anti-American position. Your cover describes them as "congressmen from Jerusalem," and the lead-in to the article carries the bold and unattributed proclamation that they are "clearly serving foreign interests rather than the national interest." Later, the article identifies the source of this opinion as a "Muslim political activist." Presumably this Muslim political activist, whose views on the Middle East differ from Wexler's and Deutsch's and are more to Norman's liking, is serving our national interests, not foreign interests.

Implying that one's political opponents are foreign, disloyal, and vaguely traitorous is a time-tested refuge of scoundrels and is easier than coherently defending one's views. Norman's pretense at objectivity would be more compelling if he had refrained from characterizing every utterance by these congressmen as "propaganda" or "robotic."

Norman advocates a U.N.-sponsored "two-state system fair to both Israel and Palestine." Too bad that the Palestinian people and the neighboring Arab states didn't accept the U.N. partition plan of 1947, preferring to initiate a war that has continued, with intermittent outbreaks of peace, to the present. Too bad that Arafat did not accept the Clinton partition plan, preferring, in the fall of 2002, to initiate a bloody intifada sequel.

Finally, Norman lets us in on the U.S. imperialist plot to "conquer the Muslim world militarily." No evidence provided. We went into Iraq several years ago to restore the sovereignty of Kuwait and left shortly thereafter. We went into Afghanistan to restore its sovereignty and are in the process of extricating our forces to allow international peacekeepers and nation-builders to do their jobs. We went into Kosovo to permit the Muslim majority to preserve its autonomy from Serbian domination and left.

If we are imperialists, we're totally incompetent. Perhaps Bob Norman should avoid geopolitical commentary to focus on corrupt local politicians; he does that really well.

Jacob Lazarovic

Boca Raton

While she (finally) has been waiting for this: Great article about the pro-Israel, South Florida connection. I was truly surprised that a local paper would print such a piece, given that any criticism of Israel and its supporters is vilified and condemned by almost everyone. When I was a reporter in Southern Arizona in the '80s, I ran into trouble with pro-Israeli groups. I'm delighted that New Times wasn't afraid to print your story.

One point that wasn't raised directly is how the hawks for Israel can legitimize their efforts. Isn't it a double standard to support a Jewish state when in this country, we're supposed to be about the separation of church and state? I know this has never been a problem for Americans, but shouldn't someone point out the double standard? If this country is going to pretend to be a secular society, then why should there be any exceptions?

Patricia Sagastume

via the Internet

While he is quite the alarmist: How dare Bob Norman point to Jewish hypocrisy. Can the Holocaust be far off?

David Wilson

Brooklyn, New York

While clarity impresses him: I am amazed at the clarity with which Bob Norman told the underlying truth of this region's conflict. But I am even more amazed that he had the courage to speak this blindly unpopular point of view. I'm sure that those who cannot see two sides of a coin are making it hard for an American writer who doesn't cave to political pressure. Bravo!

Chris Korzen

Deerfield Beach

While he ridiculously thinks we are actually pro-anything: Once again... you show your paper to be pro-Arab. You want to turn Jews into Nazis. But let's not forget the truth: All Israelis want is peace. There is no peace without victory. We must protect this country from terrorists. Think what suicide bombers can do with a nuclear device!

Do you think you can publish the New Times in any Arab country? Why doesn't Israel have problems with Turkey? It's a Muslim country. Maybe you should not protect Arab extremism and your pro-Arab league!

Ralph Kotler

via the Internet

While this conspiracy theorist missed that some New Times editors are Jews: I have enjoyed Norman's writings for New Times, especially his articles on the sleazy mayor of Pompano Beach. The article on Wexler hit a bull's-eye. In my opinion, 9/11 would never have happened if the United States had not been the main contributor to Israel.

I am opposed to the invasion of Iraq. Only an idiot would not see that it would be only to protect Israel. When did our country decide to be a protector of Israel? Why are we not a protector of the Arab people? As a World War II veteran, I am tired of sending our young American troops off to be killed for reasons that have nothing to do with protecting our country. Palestinians are being killed, and the news services barely mention the fact. But when someone from Israel is killed, it makes for big headlines.

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