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Questionable Comic

The Friday issue of The Tech has hopefully reached its lowest point ever as a newspaper worthy of anyone’s time. The caricature on page four comparing Israel in 2002 to the Nazi regime of 1942 is despicable and shows a complete and utter lack of knowledge in both history and understanding. It is something I would expect from one of the state-run Arab newspapers hoping to rouse anti-Israel sentiment for whom journalistic integrity is an oxymoron.

The National Socialist regime carried out a planned and methodical annihilation of groups of individuals based solely on their religion. It was a government built on hate and complete disregard for the value of human life or the sovereignty of other nations. Over 6 million Jews and millions of other ethnic minorities were murdered. At no point in time did these individuals pose a threat to the German civilian life. They were harmless civilians themselves and loyal Germans. Members of the European Jewry were not committing suicide bombings in downtown Berlin. They were not harboring resistance fighters.

If you are seeking to imply that Israel is beating down a harmless, innocent population, you are sadly mistaken. While it is true that Israel is the superpower in the region, it is not always the case that Israel brings all its power to bear, as was the case in Jenin. As much destruction as there was in the refugee camp, which is different than the actual city, Israel could just as easily have employed superior firepower in the assault and leveled the entire city without endangering a single soldier’s life. Yet, the country whose actions you compare to Nazi Germany’s sent in its infantry to minimize casualties to innocent Palestinians. Yes, innocents were killed. No war, and believe me this is war, comes without the loss of life to innocents. However, the Government of Israel could no longer rely on its past partner for peace, a supposed reformed terrorist who has since returned to his roots, to guarantee the security of Israel’s citizens.

In your haste to criticize Israel, I recommend you don’t overlook the treatment handed out towards Palestinian collaborators by their countrymen: blindfolded, hog-tied, shot in the head, dragged through town, and then hung up in the public squares without anything resembling a trial. Actually, many of these individuals are pulled out of their jail cells, whose guards typically step outside to “smoke a cigarette.”

As firm believer in democracy I find your tying the Israeli government to any tyrannical regime as ignorant and deplorable. As a Jew, I find your likening of Israel with Nazi actions inexcusably insulting. Of course, you are free to write your opinion here.You would be free to do so in Israel as well. Such is the luxury a democratic country affords its citizens. Do you think you would have enjoyed the same freedom in Nazi Germany or in any country outside of Israel in the Middle East? Use your tuition money and buy a clue.

Andrew Cowen ’03

Joshua Gold ’03

When you chose to reprint David Catrow’s cartoon in The Tech, I imagine that you expected to be criticized, and that you put a lot of thought into satisfying yourselves that you were justified in printing it. I imagine that you decided that it was okay to print a cartoon that equivocates the Third Reich with Israel because you provided “balance” by also printing a cartoon that compares restrictions on Arafat’s freedom of movement with those that his terror campaign imposes on Israeli civilians.’ “Sure, they’re both controversial,” you probably thought, “but they’re controversial in opposite directions, so we can’t be accused of bias.”

I am not writing to accuse you of bias. I am writing to condemn your impropriety. The morality of Israel’s choice of response to Arafat’s terror campaign is controversial to many. The morality of Arafat’s decision to target and kill Jewish and Arab civilians as part of his Intifada is controversial to some who are caught up in the moral equivalence game. The morality of Hitler’s drive to remove Jews and other “sub-humans” from the planet is controversial only in the most hate-filled and/or ignorant forums. Does The Tech want to be such a forum?

Many people, driven by a love of clever irony and moral equivocation, try to compare the mission of the Israel Defense Forces with that of the Nazis, but those who repeat this vulgar comparison do not add legitimacy to it. Instead, their resort to reductio ad Hitlerum contributes to the general effort to drag discourse into the amoral gutter. The Tech should apologize to all of its readers for stooping beneath its usual high standards of judgment.

Isaac Moses ’02

[LTE]A Palestinian Viewpoint[body]
Professor Dershowitz, and the many contributors to the Friday, May 11 Tech, seem to believe that legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies can be addressed by ad hominem attacks on critics, throwing around charges of anti-Semitism, or blaming these policies on Arabs. But they do not address the main issue: how can the United States’ government (or the MIT or Harvard corporations) justify support for Israel, if Israel is a major violator of human rights and international treaties and resolutions?
The MIT Social Justice Cooperative is organizing an event this Tuesday, May 14, at 6:30 p.m. in Room 2-105. We will be hosting Lara Sukhtian, a Palestinian-American journalist, recently returned from an interfaith pacifist delegation to Palestine. She has witnessed the latest violence first hand (including in the Jenin refugee camp), and will show pictures and answer questions about her experience. At the same event, we will hear from Amer Jubran, a local Palestinian activist.
Please come, whether you are pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, or just concerned about human rights, the first step in building peace is finding truth, and building understanding.

Julia Steinberger G[sig]