Letters to the Editor

BY THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Published October 1, 2001

Zahr uses column "as a base" for launching "anti-Israel rhetoric"

To the Daily:

First, I must point out that week in and week out, Mr. Zahr somehow manages to include some anti-Israel blurb in his column ("You are either with us or with the terrorists?" 10/1/01). Most recently, he mentions The United States" support for Israel as a seed of Arab/Muslim disgust. When describing Israel, Zahr uses very harsh and extreme language. In doing so, he skews the reality of the situation and presents an argument that is one-sided and incomplete (to say the least). It seems that Zahr cannot resist using his column simply as a base from which to launch anti-Israel rhetoric. U.S support for Israel is often used as an excuse in attempting to explain Arab/Muslim disgust with America. Yet Bin Laden"s hatred for America, for example, is not rooted in its support for Israel, but rather dates back to the Gulf War when American troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia.

Second, most of the Arab/Muslim disgust is disseminated outward, meaning all of the focus is on America. Here"s a noble idea: how about putting the blame on those who actually commit the atrocities Zahr mentions. True the United States supported Iraq in the 1980s. But it was Iraq, not the United States, that killed thousands of Kurdish men, women and children with nerve gas. If Arabs and Muslims should not forget, as Zahr advises, American support for Iraq, why have they already forgotten who was actually responsible? It just seems hypocritical to criticize the United States for having relations with repressive regimes such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, while totally ignoring the repressive regimes themselves. Why not speak out against those regimes, rather than using the United States as a scapegoat?

Lastly, the leaders of many Middle Eastern countries are notoriously corrupt and brutal, and subsequently find it easier to stay in power if they simply blame all of their problems on the United States and Israel as well. Unfortunately, Zahr also resorts to that same tactic. Zahr is correct in one respect however: Intellectual debates would be both useful and helpful. But this means being objective and complete. Declaring the actions of the United States as the problem is not the answer, especially when the activities of the countries that Zahr himself acknowledges as repressive are ignored.

Yonatan Heisler

LSA senior

Zahr attacks America, American culture

To the Daily:

It astonishes me how many articles I read in this newspaper that take a stringent left wing view about the United States and it"s surrounding neighbors. All I ever hear is "Democracy sucks," and "We"re doing it all wrong" etc.

Does the Daily ever wonder why there are over 7,000 Jews on campus and it rarely gets one to respond to any of its writers" Pro Palestinian viewpoints? Maybe it"s because they couldn"t care less, and the garbage columns the Daily produces shouldn"t even dignify their response.

Columns like Amer Zahr"s "You are Either with us or the terrorists" (10/1/01) promote negative viewpoints towards America and our culture. If he doesn"t like the way things are run in America, he should go into politics instead of filling the minds of students at this University with anti-Semitic and anti-democratic crap. Furthermore, by taking a left-wing view, columnists believe they are taking the road less traveled when unfortunately its difficult to find anything otherwise.

Brad Sugar

LSA first-year student