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In Their Own Words


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Syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer may be on firmer ground than she thinks after using an unflattering quote from Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon that CAMERA insists is a "hoax" [Hot Type, June 28]. With or without the quote, Ms. Geyer's column dealt with Israel's conduct and U.S. acquiescence, as underlined by the blunt declaration of Senate majority leader Thomas Daschle (D-South Dakota) on April 22: "U.S. support for Israel must be absolute, in fair weather and foul." The disputed Sharon quote, presumably about Israel's influence over America, fits with Senator Daschle's statement quite well.

But Israel's conduct, as Ms. Geyer reminded us, is no hoax. It has a legacy that is reflected in attributed quotes by some who had doubts:

"Is this the dream of the return to Zion, that we should pollute its soil with the spilling of innocent blood?" --Ahad Ha'am, Jewish scholar and writer, in a letter to the editor of Ha'aretz, 1922.

"A Jewish home in Palestine built upon bayonets and oppression is not worth having." --Rabbi Judah Magnes, letter to Chaim Weizmann, 1929.

And by some who had no doubts:

"I have no doubt that civilians deserve punishment." --Menachem Begin, addressing the Knesset during Israel's invasion of Lebanon, June 1982.

"Our purpose is to punish the population." --unnamed Israeli army officer to the Los Angeles Times, November 10, 2000.

"The Oslo [peace] accords may be regarded as the biggest disaster to befall Israel." --Ariel Sharon, in the Northern California Jewish Bulletin, December 2001.

I'm with Georgie Anne Geyer, Studs Terkel [Letters, June 28, 21, and earlier], and the doubters.

Paul Thomas

North Sheridan

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