Letters

FOA WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

In Sylvana Foa's May 14 Letter From Israel ["Jenin and the Twinkie Defense"], she dismisses as "Yasir Arafat's bullshit" the allegation that Israel may have buried hundreds of civilian victims of the Jenin raid in mass graves. Foa's complete rebuttal to that charge is "Give me a break. Anyone who believed that does not know Israelis."

In the next paragraph, Foa notes that a full accounting of the dead in Jenin will be a long time coming "because the Jenin authorities reportedly saved a few rubble-covered bodies" to unearth for any fact-finding mission that shows up. No further information is given about this charge.

Foa rejects one allegation while presenting the other as highly credible. She provides no basis for this distinction other than the statement that hiding bodies is something that Israelis wouldn't do, whereas it apparently is the sort of thing that Palestinians would do. The Voice ought to be judging allegations on the basis of evidence, not prejudice.

Jim Naureckas,
Editor, Extra!The Magazine of FAIR
Manhattan


MEANS OF PRODUCTION

In "Jenin and the Twinkie Defense," Sylvana Foa complains that the world media misunderstood Israel's recent operations in the refugee camp, writing: "[W]e went into Jenin to shut down the terrorist production line that turned out at least 25 of the more than 100 suicide bombers who have killed scores of Israelis in the last year." The "production line" Ms. Foa speaks of has been perpetuated by her government's dedication to illegal settlements and its refusal to release Palestine from a 30-year choke hold.

What Foa doesn't grasp is that suicide bombers are the result of the occupation, not vice versa. The reason Israel is having such a problem with its image is because it has decided to completely disregard world opinion, which clearly demands an end to racist imperialism.

Sean Slater,
Manhattan


LETTER FROM PALESTINE

I am shocked that The Village Voice allows Sylvana Foa to continue to make false statements about what goes on inside the West Bank towns, cities, and refugee camps in an obvious attempt at a smear campaign. I would say she is one of the "great Jewish masters of spin" she called for in her May 14 Letter From Israel.

It's appalling to read the same tired defenses for Israel's actions every week. Why do you not have a column called Letter From Palestine? The Voice should allow both sides to to be presented.

Emily Jacir,
Ramallah, Palestine

Sylvana Foa replies: I was, of course, wrong about the death toll. The total now, which seems final, is 42 Palestinians and 23 Israelis—eight Palestinians fewer than I estimated. Re the allegations of "massacre," check the Human Rights Watch Web site. It is a great place to find facts, not just propaganda from the Palestinians or the Israelis. I know both sides well, and would not believe a word either says.


WEB OF LIES

I am a regular reader of The Village Voice, and have appreciated its unique perspective on issues of relevance to myself as a New Yorker. However, I was most dismayed by a column by Nat Hentoff in your May 14 issue titled "Who's an Anti-Semite?: Hating Not Just Israel, but Jews" which brought up old, mostly spurious charges against a good friend and fellow student, Nadeen Al-Jijakli, accusing her of supporting anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic causes. Ignoring the mindlessness of this charge (anti-Semitism? If she's Arab, she is a Semite), I am calling on the Voice to do some more responsible work.

Nadeen has, time and again, apologized for the unfortunate mistake, and has never and will never support racism or bigotry. It is against her values and against the causes she has worked so tirelessly for. This is nothing but a consistent smear campaign by certain groups on campus that have felt threatened by a growing alliance of pro-Palestinian groups that have called on our government to end its own unfair actions and gross injustices, and have called, similarly, for a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Middle East that is fair and balanced. That Hentoff should swallow such a campaign, and repeat it wholesale, is, to say the least, disappointing.

The Islamic Center of NYU, which has over 200 members, has consistently stood for principles of fairness, equality, tolerance, and justice—and this has been recognized by the NYU administration. Last year, we were named Religious Club of the Year. This year, I won a President's Service Award for Leadership.

What are the true facts? Why is it that when an apology is delivered, with sincerity, it is not accepted, even a year after the date of the incident in question? It seems to me that some people have an agenda, and cannot help but constantly bring up old issues to prevent any progress with the real issues of the moment.

Haroon Moghul, President
Islamic Center of NYU
Manhattan

Nat Hentoff replies: Nadeen Al-Jijakli is quoted in my column and in the April 19New York Sun as saying that, if she had known who David Duke is, she would not have posted his material. However, it is not the author but the author's message itself in her e-mail that counts: "The primary reason we are suffering from terrorism in the United States today is because our government policy is completely subordinated to a foreign power: Israel and the efforts of world-wide Jewish Supremacism." She has indeed apologized for sending another "accidental" e-mail urging a presidential vote for Ralph Nader because "he DOES NOT have a Jew running for vice president." But even if she was going through many e-mails swiftly, the capital letters in that one would likely have leapt out, and that message is attuned to David Duke's message.

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