Perspectives on Israel

The commentary ``American visits Jerusalem,'' Nov. 18, should be required reading for those American Jewish groups who are worried by John Sununu's appointment as chief of staff because he declined to sign a proclamation denouncing a United Nations resolution equating Zionism with racism. Their clamor over Mr. Sununu's appointment contrasts starkly with their silence concerning the Israeli actions and reveals them as less than benevolent. Philip Ganem, Wolfeboro, N.H.

This commentary raises the question of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians by asking, ``How could the Jews, who have suffered from racist proscriptions for centuries, subject another race to similar suffering?'' Unfortunately, the issue is much bigger than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; it seems written into the human experience. History has repeatedly seen the oppressed becoming the oppressors.

The early Americans left Europe to find a haven from injustice. Establishing the ``land of the free,'' they kidnapped Africans from their villages for servitude, swept the native Americans into reservations, and passed alien land laws to prevent Orientals from freely entering the economy on the West Coast.

Dutch Afrikaners who settled in South Africa were treated with hostility by some native groups and tormented by the British settlers. Finally gaining political control, these same people created a Nazi-style political system which has denied normal livelihood and dignity to black residents for generations.

The Communist Party arose to liberate the Russian people from the unjust rule of the czars; it soon became self-serving and grossly unjust to the very people it set out to liberate.

The Israelis, long victims of unconscionable oppression, have likewise now become the oppressors as they seek to guarantee their gains by denying normal livelihood to those already inhabiting the land.

The issue is a tragic mix of selfishness and fear. It is easy to forget others still oppressed after one's own liberation. Having attained a new status, people often become fearful lest something shall take it away. Gerald M. Ford, Spokane, Wash.

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