Letty Cottin Pogrebin is entitled to her criticism of Israel and her horror at the conditions in Hebron (“The ‘A-Word’ in Hebron,” April 1).
She is not entitled, however, to historically inaccurate analogies that severely damage the reputation of the state both of us love. Apartheid was a legal form of racial segregation enacted by the South African legislature in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The antecedent of apartheid was the colonization of southern Africa by whites.
The antecedents of Israel’s stance toward the West Bank are far different: Israel took control of the West Bank in the aftermath of a defensive war that stemmed from Israel’s neighbors’ threats against its very existence. Unlike South African blacks’ relationship to the apartheid regime, the Palestinians have a relatively easy way to resolve their differences with Israel: Accept Israel’s longstanding invitation to negotiate a peace agreement.
This is more than semantics. The apartheid canard is part of the larger effort to delegitimize Israel by essentially making Israel a pariah state. When Jews such as Naomi Klein and now Pogrebin jump on the bandwagon, anti-Semites around the world cheer.
RABBI JOSHUA M. AARONSON
Park City, Utah
Thank you, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, for shining some light into the benighted enclave of fanaticism and chauvinism that is the Jewish settlement in Hebron.
I would encourage many more Israelis and American visitors to go to Hebron and see for themselves the swaggering contempt and the humiliation heaped by the settlers upon innocent Palestinians who are seeking simply to live their lives unmolested in their own homes. I believe most would be equally revolted and ashamed and would hopefully demand that this unconscionable behavior be reined in.
New York, N.Y.