This is in response to Harry Sellers' Jan. 13 letter, "U.S. should stop supporting Israel," concerning Israel.
Mr. Sellers' suggestion that the United States should cease its support of Israel because of alleged U.N. violations is ludicrous and certainly not in the United States' best interests. Fortunately, all U.S. presidents during Israel's brief 54-year statehood have been generally supportive of Israel. Israel is the United States' most important and reliable ally in the Middle East. ...
Mr. Sellers' ravings that President George W. Bush should have Israel at the top of his list of terrorist nations and, as a last resort, militarily force Israel to relinquish occupied territories are absurd. ... The terrorism by the Palestinians resulting in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Israelis during the last two years has continued unabated, and is not only tolerated by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, but covertly encouraged by him and several of Israel's neighbors. Israel and the United States have continued to seek an Israeli-Palestinian peace, but each effort is again rebuffed by Mr. Arafat.
The last time the peace process was seriously close to reaching a successful culmination in late 2000, Israel offered generous territorial concessions that many Israeli leaders felt would seriously jeopardize their security. It is plainly obvious that Mr. Arafat has no interest in reaching a peace accord with Israel.
The portion of the letter I most disdain is Mr. Sellers' inflammatory remark that Israel is using Nazi tactics in the Middle East. I am convinced from Mr. Sellers' diatribe that his analogy between Israel and the Nazis was a deliberate attempt to open fresh wounds in making Jewish readers recall the barbarism the Nazis practiced during the Holocaust ... The relatively small percentage of survivors in the horrid concentration camps were forced into slave labor and many others in the camps starved to death or died of disease in the inhumane conditions perpetrated by the Nazis. ... Yet Mr. Sellers brazenly and unconscionably chooses to compare Israel to the Nazis.
Israel is not perfect and neither is the United States. However, I am thankful the citizens of these two countries can question their leadership, unlike Nazi Germany or the Palestine Liberation Organization. I respect Mr. Sellers' right to express his opinions, however small-minded they may be, but the way he has sought to do so is shameful.
Stephen Steinberg, Augusta
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