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Archive for Monday, April 29, 2002

False attitudes

April 29, 2002

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To the editor:

A published letter by Dana Dyer concludes with the question: "And if something is anti-Semitic, does that automatically make it false?"

If one recognizes that anti-Semitism is defined in the dictionary as hostility, prejudice and discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic or racial group, then the answer is an unqualified "yes." It is false because prejudice, of any kind, is based upon an irrational hostility or attitude toward a group of people without proper knowledge or information. Thus, if something is racist, is it false? If something is sexist, is it false? If something is anti-ethnic, is it false? Clearly, anything based upon prejudice and discrimination, by its very definition, is false and immoral.

The question that seems to be at issue really is: "If something is critical of Israel's actions or policy, does that automatically make it anti-Semitic?" The answer is "no." One can be critical of Israel's actions and not be anti-Semitic. Israel is a democracy, and like the U.S., there is active public debate.

Anyone who has visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington would truly appreciate and understand the heightened sense of caution on the part of the Jewish people to anything remotely suggesting anti-Semitism. Public debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should continue until a peaceful solution is found. That solution must recognize Israel's right to exist in peace, with the right of Palestinians to have their own homeland. Anything suggesting the destruction of Israel or terrorism against its citizens is unacceptable and should be considered anti-Semitic.

Ronald Schneider,

Lawrence

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