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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letter to the editor: Spritzler’s letter misrepresents history

Published: March 9, 2007
Section: Opinions

To the editor:
John Spritzlers[1] vitriolic anti-Israel letter (Professor Shulamit Reinharz Full of Contradictions) itself is a huge distortion of history. The very fact that we must debunk denials of Israels earned right to exist is sad proof that anti-Semitism in this form is still alive and well. Denial of this right is anti-Semitism because it denies the Jewish people a right that all other nations have. Israel is the only legitimate country that is subject to denial of its right to existthat the Jewish state is singled out for an accusation that would be considered ridiculous if applied to any other state demonstrates that this is pure anti-Semitism.

Spritzler says that the idea of a Jewish state is extremely controversial, using a quote from 1946 (two years before Israels founding) by Albert Einstein, who opposed the idea of the state. This logic is as preposterous as saying that Americas existence is controversial because some Tory colonists opposed the idea of independence before 1776, and hence, America should not exist. The idea of a Jewish state (like that of the 13 colonies) was debated before its founding, but to say after 59 years of existence that it should be dismantled is outright anti-Semitism. While he opposed political Zionism, he supported the idea of the land as a Jewish cultural center that would serve as a shelter for refugees[2];

yet he was still a very strong and involved Zionist, and would he have been alive today, would certainly support Israels right to exist. Israel is controversial only among anti-Semites and those who seek to deprive the Jewish people of their hard-earned right.

Spritzler says that a Jewish state would require that Jews make up a large majority of the population. True, but Israel is no racist state as he insinuates, but rather has one of the best human rights records in the world;

this is especially true when accounting for the terrorism it faces, and when it is compared to other Middle Eastern states, such as Saudi Arabia, where only Muslims are eligible for citizenship.
Spritzler accuses Israel of causing the Palestinian Arab refugee situation under ethnic cleansing. Lets examine the facts. The refugee situation was sparked when Arab militias imposed a siege on Jerusalem prior to Israels independence. The Jews fought to gain control of the vital road between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, along which they encountered violence from Arab villages. Those that fought against the Jews were expelled, but villages that did not participate, such as Abu Gosh and Ein Rafah, are still there today. In Ramle and Lod, where the Jews were fighting a defensive war against Jordan, they warned the Arabs there not to rebel;

the warning was ignored, and since the Jews could not fight both sides at once, the Arab residents were expelled. Although there were some instances of unwarranted violence by Jews, the vast majority of Arabs left on their own, often encouraged by the invading Arab armies to leave, or were expelled because they fought and thus threatened the Jewish states existence.

Is this ethnic cleansing, which refers to the elimination of an unwanted ethnic group []? Arabs that fought were expelled, which was necessary in war. The Arabs were not an unwanted group, since those who wanted to live peacefully, though potentially an internal threat were allowed to remain. Those who fought and endangered Jewish lives have no right to return as a reward. Indeed, Arab citizens of Israel, about 20% of the population, enjoy greater rights than they would in other Arab countriesfreedoms of speech, religion, press, and sexual expression. Ethnic cleansing indeed!

Israel has a great tradition of global humanitarian aid and providing long-term development assistance to over 140 other countries;

it has a democracy, protection of minorities, and civil rights unparalleled in the Middle East. What Spritzler proposes is the epitome of anti-Semitism because, if suggested for any other country, it would be considered outrageous. Now there is a democratic Jewish state that has been internationally recognized for almost 59 years, and an Arab territory which is not a country and is governed by terrorist groups. He proposes to eliminate the Jewish state that already exists and replace it with a new Muslim state, in addition to the more than twenty that already exist. Weve already seen the dismal human rights and democratic record of the current Palestinian-Arab administration. The equality before the law that he hopes for a Palestinian state already exists in Israel, for Jews and Arabs citizens alike. I wonder what evidence Spritzler has to show that Israel, with its solid human right record and contributions to the world, a state that has existed for almost 59 years, deserves to be destroyed, especially when his historical account is an outright lie?

Samuel Ackerman '08

[1] Id note that if one looks at John Spritzlers website,, which claims to be working for a democratic revolution, and goes to the page War, one would find that the majority of the articles focus solely on attacking Israel, as if Israel, the Middle Easts only liberal democracy, is the primary cause of war in todays world. Sprtizlers repertoire also includes articles such as Do Jews Really Rule the World, thus continuing the promotion of anti-Semitic ideas that have been popular fare among anti-Semites for many years.
[2] See Allen Howard Podets The Success and Failure of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry