In Praise of Charles Lyonhart
What a great letter! Charles Lyonhart (July 29) had originally agreed to perform at an anti-Israel forum in Woodstock, but then concluded that the people organizing the forum “wanted to perpetuate hate and ill feelings toward Israel.” And he quoted a friend as saying that “the people running this event seem to be very one-sided on this. Israel is all bad and the Gazans are all good.”
Lyonhart is clearly one of a vanishing species: a fair and open-minded human being. We need more people like him in the area ““ and in the world.
As for the published allegations from bigots, ignoramuses, and assorted creepy-crawlies that Israel is an “apartheid” state, let me quote from Facts and Logic About the Middle East, a nonprofit educational organization in San Francisco (www.factsandlogic.org):
“Israel is by far the most racially mixed and tolerant nation in the entire Muslim Middle East. Arabs, who are about 20% of Israel’s population, enjoy, without exception, the same rights and opportunities in all fields as their Jewish fellow citizens…. All non-Jews (which means primarily Muslim Arabs) have full voting rights. At present, 11 Arabs sit in Israel’s Knesset (parliament): Three Arabs are deputy speakers. Arabs are represented in Israel’s diplomatic service all over the world. Arab students may and do study in all Israeli universities.”
One difference: Jewish Israeli men must serve three years in the armed forces. For Arabs, service is voluntary.
Facts and Logic concludes, justifiably, that “To call Israel an apartheid state is an expression of ignorance, anti-Semitism, and malice.”