A recent letter to the editor (Monday, July 21, titled "Columnist is anti-Semitic in 'Peace Train' editorial") by Jason Schreiber made accusations of anti-Semitism. He apparently is unaware that there is a difference between legitimately criticizing Israeli policies and anti-Semitism. Please read the article about this distinction by Judith Butler (lrb.co.uk/v25/n16/judith-butler/no-its-not-anti-semitic).

Schreiber also seems unaware that there is a difference between the news and opinion sections. Given the incredibly biased mainstream coverage on this Israeli attack, there is little need to repeat the Israeli arguments.

Schreiber might also benefit by reading an excerpt of comments made by Israeli poet, novelist and journalist Yitzhak Laor after Israel's 'Cast Lead' attack (lrb.co.uk/v31/n02/gaza-writers/responses-to-the-war-in-gaza), as quoted below:

"We've been here before. It's a ritual. Every two or three years, our military mounts another bloody expedition. The enemy is always smaller, weaker; our military is always larger, technologically more sophisticated, prepared for full-scale war against a full-scale army. But Iran is too scary, and even the relatively small Hizbullah gave us a hard time. That leaves the Palestinians.


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Israel is engaged in a long war of annihilation against Palestinian society. The objective is to destroy the Palestinian nation and drive it back into pre-modern groupings. ...

The extent of the cruelty, the lack of shame and the refusal of self-restraint are striking, both in anthropological terms and historically. The worldwide Jewish support for this vandal offensive makes one wonder if this isn't the moment Zionism is taking over the Jewish people.

But the real issue is that since 1991, and even more since the Oslo agreements in 1993, Israel has played on the idea that it really is trading land for peace, while the truth is very different. Israel has not given up the territories, but cantonised and blockaded them....

We control the roads, and the checkpoints and the borders. We control their electricity, their water, their milk, their oil, their wheat and their gasoline. If they protest peacefully we fire tear gas at them. If they throw stones, we fire bullets. If they launch a rocket, we destroy a house and its inhabitants. If they launch a missile, we destroy families, neighbourhoods, streets, towns.

Israel doesn't want a Palestinian state alongside it. It is willing to prove this with hundreds of dead and thousands of disabled, in a single 'operation.' The message is always the same: leave or remain in subjugation, under our military dictatorship. We are a democracy. We have decided democratically that you will live like dogs."

Ron Forthofer,

"Peace Train" columnist