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Web Letter

Alterman's article is a second unfortunate example in as many weeks of a an exemplary Nation writer gone horribly wrong when straying from their field of expertise (the other is Alexander Cockburn writing about global warming). Convinced as I am that the current sorry state of mainstream media--particularly the liberal media--is hugely responsible for the disastrous state of our so-called Western "democracies," I eagerly search out and read Eric's column, "The Liberal Media" each week. May I point out that this one has nothing to do with its name and to plead with Eric to return to form and to topic?

The "horrible" I refer to is mostly contained in these two sentences:

...the apparently never-ending deadly violence between Hamas fighters and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Gaza--to say nothing of the murderous hatred both sides openly profess toward all Jews--ought to provide considerable cause for pause among those who demand an immediate end to the Israeli occupation, security concerns be damned. And yet from those who hold that position, one hears precious little about Israel's entirely understandable worries about the prospects of being asked to live alongside a failed, fanatical and heavily armed Islamic state."

"Murderous hatred" professed "toward all Jews"??? I suddenly felt I was reading an ADL or AIPAC pamphlet instead of The Nation. Is this what happens when one goes back to schul? At a time when radical imams and mosques are being singled out for condemnation, perhaps it is time to address what is being disseminated in synagogues, even the reformed variety that Eric attends. I have read too much and talked to too many Palestinians not to recognise the disinformation and paranoia in that statement.

As for "understandable worries about the prospects of being asked to live alongside a failed, fanatical and heavily armed Islamic state," this time I felt like I was hearing Bush tell us one more time about what would happen if the US was to end its occupation of Iraq--another tainted example of an occupier's disinformation about what will result if the occupation is ended--used as an argument to maintain it, of course.

I don't subscribe to The Nation in order to imbibe Israel Lobby propaganda or Israeli paranoia. Please Eric, return to holding the liberal media to account. Leave writing about the Middle East to Alexander Cockburn. And if you are communicating with him, please ask him to return to his subject of expertise. In his case, he needs to go back to school to learn more about science and the scientific method. His prejudices have unfortunately and horribly compromised his judgment (see Justin Podur's Znet article on this subject).

A. Whitten

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

May 27 2007 - 8:58am

Web Letter

Honestly, Eric, it is alot easier to see the situation as an X-Jew or an X-Christian or an X-Muslim. By taking the religious filter off of the viewfinder, things are clearer.

When I decided that the Unity of the Family that is Humanity was more important to me, religion had to go, for it is devisive.

My conclusion has been that much of the Philosophies and Teachings are good, and can be studied as philosophy and teachings.

The other point I want to make to Eric is that you will spin your wheels and waste precious time by obsessing about who said or meant what in the past. Today and the future need your attention.

I have always enjoyed your focus and thank you for your work.

Sky Willow Campbell

Athens, GA

May 22 2007 - 4:15pm

Web Letter

Can we talk? Certainly!

Is it helpful? Not necessarily! A talk is helpful only if there is willingness to compromise.

The willingness to compromise comes from our readiness to obey the universal principles of justice, fairness and equal human rights. If we abandoned those basic principles, then we would descend into "us vs. them" mentality. In such scenario there are no winners, just the losers on both sides.

We don't have to talk but we would be better off if we dealt with facts. What are the facts? There are going to be the Jews and the Arabs in the Middle East for they have to live there, but nobody else is forced to stay involved.

It means the USA doesn't have to patronize that region. The question is for how long America is going to be ready to underwrite several key governments in that region.

Taking into consideration an enormous budget deficit and federal debt, ever-growing trade deficit, export of American jobs overseas, burdening tax cuts, weakening value of dollar, enormous illegal immigration, shrinking of the middle class, crumbling auto industry, industrial rise of China and India, rising gas prices, the looming cut of fundamental Social Security benefits, the overstretched military and the cost of waging long-term war on terror, it is almost certain that we are going to face a serious economic crisis by 2015 and tectonic political changes by 2025 which nobody can reasonably predict.

All of this means that everybody in the Middle East would be better off if they started to compromise generously, having interests of both sides in mind for that is the shortcut to protection of own interests.

There is no hope for peace in the Middle East as long as a simple question is ignored.

The question is: What would I do if I were in their position?

Kenan Porobic

Charlotte, NC

May 21 2007 - 11:10am

Web Letter

Eric Alterman's heart is in the right place, but I urge him to have hope. With corrupt and incompetent government in Israel, continued Israeli oppression of Palestinians, and horrifying civil war among Palestinians, this is difficult but still possible.

But the outlines of a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians are well known. Or else, we can confirm it for ourselves by making lists of the demands of each side, crossing off what is unattainable, and seeing what is left. If there is nothing left, then and only then is it time for despair.

Similarly, I urge Alterman to look for people with whom he can discuss the issues and the conflict. Not all Palestinians have a murderous hatred against all Jews. Talk with those who do not. If there are none, then and only then is it time for despair.

Again, find Jews who believe that Palestinians are people with rights, interests, and flesh and blood like their own. If there are none, then and only then is it time for despair.

I expect that Alterman will find some reason for hope at the June 10 demonstration for a just Palestinian-Israeli peace, although of course it will also be possible at that event to find some reason for finding faults in the groups that have organized it.

Aaron Lercher

Baton Rouge, LA

May 17 2007 - 4:55pm

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