Letters to the Editor

Israelis value civil liberties for all

My wife and I are considering relocating from Northern New Jersey to the Tucson area. To learn more about Jewish life in Arizona, we subscribed recently to the Arizona Jewish Post.

Letters from members of the Arizona Jewish community obviously are of great interest to us since they reflect the views of people that may one day be our neighbors. I am responding to a letter from Mr. Julius Gordon that appeared in the July 1 edition.

Mr. Gordon’s comparison of the situation in the West Bank and the Nazi atrocities committed in the Warsaw ghetto is as insulting as it is embarrassing. It is on the level of the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel garbage appearing with greater frequency on YouTube (some of which is unfortunately of Jewish origin). That a Jew could write such a letter for publication is nothing short of disgraceful.

My wife and I just returned from a trip to Israel, which included a visit to the West Bank. We saw nothing to justify painting Israel as the dictatorial police state Mr. Gordon seems to think it is. To the contrary, we saw numerous indications that the Israelis value the civil liberties of all people, regardless of who they are or where they come from. (And no, we were not on some government-sponsored tour that sanitizes what you see and filters what you hear.)

In Jerusalem, the family of Gilad Shalit has set up a tent on the sidewalk near the prime minister’s residence. Their goal is to continually remind the prime minister of their desire to have the government do everything possible to bring their son home. If a similarly situated Arab family set up such a tent in Damascus, Cairo or any of those other “democratic” Arab capitals, the authorities would haul them away in minutes.

In addition to other inaccuracies, Mr. Gordon quotes the observations of a Sara Roy concerning the conditions of Palestinians in the West Bank. Any back-up material is glaringly absent from Mr. Gordon’s letter, leaving Ms. Roy’s observations totally unsupported by hard facts.

Israel is far from perfect, and I think we can all agree that the government’s handling of Palestinian issues is not always on the mark. But with all of its faults, Israel is far from a totalitarian dictatorial state, the Palestinians are not the absolute good guys Mr. Gordon makes them out to be, and the comparison to Nazi atrocities is so far off base as to be out of the ballpark. In that light, his letter is uninformed, irresponsible and offensive, and I think he owes the entire Jewish community an apology.

—James S. Friedman, Midland Park, N.J.