January 2002

Frank Dialogue Needed

I found David Stolinsky’s article, “‘Except Jews’” (Oct.) deeply depressing. What a sad, frantic, one-sided, Manichean, embarrassingly self-delusional defense of Jews. If only he gave the Palestinians a tiny bit of credit for trying to exist.

Alas, Stolinsky is right about much, but only about part of a much bigger picture. The other part is covered by Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Ron David, and Barbara Lubin, all members of the “Jewish faith” who point out persuasively that Israeli policies and their supporters are not totally justified, are actually self-destructive, and should be evaluated as objectively and thoroughly as anyone else’s.

What we all need now is some frank dialogue that allows one to critically evaluate Israel’s policies without being labeled anti-Semitic (or self-hating if one is Jewish), without starting off with the Crusades, the Inquisition, and Pope Pius XII, and without being required to assume beforehand that all historical blame is on one side.

Perhaps the NOR, the gutsiest of the journalistic pack, can get this dialogue going. It would be better than fresh air. It would make us more honest, more understanding of each other, and hopefully defuse the terrible feelings of recrimination developing everywhere since the September 11 attack.

William Charlesworth
Stockholm, Wisconsin

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