- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Defining the 'bad guy' donors to Georgia campaign

The article regarding the Democratic congressional primary in Georgia's 4th Congressional District ("GOP gets out vote for foe of McKinney," Page One, Monday) does an admirable job of portraying the complex dynamics of this race, but due to sentence construction before my quotation, it may be less than clear to whom I was referring when I discussed "some bad guys" with your reporter.

As I made clear during the interview, Arab Americans and Muslims have every right to contribute to campaigns and play an active role in American politics, just as American Jews do. The "bad guys" to whom I was referring are the handful of outspoken supporters of Hamas and other terrorist groups and those with financial ties to organized terrorism.

While it may be legal to accept support from these individuals, all campaigns regardless of party should send a clear message by refusing such contributions, thereby isolating the supporters of wanton terrorism.


DAVID A. HARRIS

Deputy executive director

National Jewish Democratic Council

Washington

'Illegal occupation' fuels Palestinian-Israeli conflict

Last Wednesday's Commentary column by Jack Kemp, "The territorial truth," is significant for denying the existence of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land. This is the lie that has been fueling the fire of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for decades.

Mr. Kemp denies the internationally accepted fact that Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian land. Yet Israel itself acknowledged its status as an occupying power when it accepted the U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967, which emphasized the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" and called on Israel to withdraw from the territories "occupied" in the Six-Day War. This resolution is the basis for peace between Palestinians and Israelis, according to both sides. Both President Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell have reaffirmed America's position that these are occupied territories.

The denial of an occupation is ludicrous and cruel. The Palestinians have been forced to live with the collection of daily cruelties and humiliations, along with the steady loss of their land to illegal Israeli colonies, that make up Israel's occupation. In America, we would not tolerate occupation and all the cruelties it entails for one month, much less 35 years.

Mr. Kemp also quotes aggressive statements by some Arab leaders over the years but says nothing of the steady stream of extremely racist and hostile statements by Israeli leaders, including today's extreme right-wing government. It was Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who told a meeting of right-wing Israelis, in 1998 when he was foreign minister, that "everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements, because everything we take now will stay ours." These are not the words of a peacemaker.

It is not in anyone's interest to continue to deny Palestinians their freedom and then to deny the very problem occupation that is at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.


MIRYAM RASHID

Council for the National Interest

Washington

Read the Koran, not a bowdlerized textbook

I have read the Koran (English translation by Penguin Books) and have come to two conclusions.

First, the Koran teaches respect and kindness toward women. Yet, that law obviously is not being followed by Muslims around the world who have developed social customs that denigrate and enslave women.

Second, the Koran teaches war, death and destruction against "Unbelievers." The message is stridently clear. Unbelievers are Jews who do not strictly follow the religion of Abraham according to Muhammad's lights and Christians who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

If the University of North Carolina wants to teach its students about the Koran, then let it require them to read the Koran in the original not some book that promotes only the book's "pretty" parts ("Judge won't block Koran reading," Nation, Friday). It will be an eye-opener for the students, not a propaganda tool.


KATHLEEN ROWE

Flushing, N.Y.

Czech flood victims could use a dollar-lined life jacket

As noted in David Jones' World Review column Sunday, the situation in the Czech Republic is very serious and requires immediate financial assistance to the Czech Red Cross and other government humanitarian agencies working with flood victims. The European Union is estimating $2 billion worth of flood damage, with more than 200,000 people displaced from their homes. The Czech Embassy in Washington and the American Friends of the Czech Republic (AFoCR, a nonprofit organization to which contributions are tax-deductible) have established a fund so that Americans can provide tangible help to flood victims. The fund, called the AFoCR Prague-Needs-Help-Flood Relief Fund, permits tax-deductible contributions through the Czech Red Cross.

Checks or wire transfers should be made payable to the fund and sent to CitiBank, 1901 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20007. (The account number is 1507-4188; the routing number, ABA 2540-70116.)

The need is immediate. The challenge presented to Americans is compelling.


MILTON CERNY

President

American Friends of the Czech Republic

Washington

Barking about Page One

I was disturbed when I unfolded my paper yesterday morning and saw the pictures on the front page of the dog being gassed by al Qaeda terrorists. Every time this was reported on TV, the anchors warned viewers that there would be a disturbing story. I avoided seeing the stories on the gas tests all day. I am a committed animal lover, and even though I know this went on, I didn't want to have to see it.

I think it was very poor judgment to put this photo on the front page very disappointing from a paper that normally shows good judgment. I will admit this is newsworthy, but I think a story without pictures would have sufficed.


MARY SEALE

Springfield

A 'pre-emptive' lesson?

Conservatives should reject President Bush's dangerous call for "pre-emptive" war on Iraq ("Bush says he'll 'consult' with Hill on Iraq strike," Page One, Saturday). The word "pre-emptive" seems designed to erase the civilized distinction between defensive and aggressive war, since any country might be called "potentially" dangerous.

By Mr. Bush's logic, one could even defend Japan's "pre-emptive" attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Franklin D. Roosevelt was clearly hostile to Japan and sought to cut off its access to vital resources such as oil; he posed a growing military threat; and in time he would ruthlessly bomb Japanese civilians. In fact, he became the first ruler to acquire "weapons of mass destruction" that would endanger all mankind. It might have seemed prudent to cripple his threat early.

But Japan's "pre-emptive" strike not only failed; it backfired. We may find a lesson here.


JOSEPH SOBRAN

Burke

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