To the editor:
(re: “Getting your Israel facts straight,” Sept. 24)
Ron Wegsman accuses me, in my letter to the editor, of calling the Jews of Israel “a mostly European population.” Actually, he writes that Israeli Jews from Europe, the western hemisphere and the former Soviet Union are now only 40 percent.
But what I had actually written was, “Many use the horrors of the Holocaust to justify a mostly European population taking over the land of a ‘Third World’ people.” Does he deny that the Jews who came to take Palestine away from its mostly native Arab population were overwhelmingly of European descent — including from North America and Russia?
Of course, once Israel had become established, the Israeli-Arab conflict caused further clashes within the neighboring states, resulting in most Jewish Arabs fleeing, many settling in Israel. That the Arab states persecuted their Jews was a crime to be condemned — although Israel also encouraged the region’s Jews to flee their countries.
Mr. Wegsman says that “Israel is no different” from the other countries that base themselves on “an ethnic or religious identity.” This is nothing to be proud of. I do not think that there should be a Jewish state, a Muslim state, a Christian state, a Hindu state, nor any officially atheist state. It is indeed a virtue of the “unique nature of the United States,” as Mr. Wegsman says, that it was founded on the separation of church and state.
Finally, the writer says that, in my case as in others, “hostility to Israel is nothing more than a symptom of hatred for America.” But I do not hate America, let alone the American people. I hate the foreign policies of the American government, which all too often have been militaristic, aggressive, domineering and imperialistic.
This includes support for Israel’s denial of self-determination to the Palestinian Arab people.