Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the pro-Israel lobby and military humanitarian efforts.

Does the pro-Israel lobby have too much influence?

In response to David Francis's May 12 commentary, "Why the presidential candidates won't talk about Israel": It is hardly surprising that the analysts quoted by Mr. Francis concluded that the US presidential candidates are being pressured to be silent on Israel-related issues, given the fact that those analysts are uniformly harsh critics of Israeli policy and are vocal about a "Jewish lobby" that they assert stifles free debate about US-Middle East policy.

The examination of this complex question is limited to Shirl McArthur, an "expert" contributor to The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a publication of an anti-Israel group that has been a longtime promoter of the myth that the so-called "Israel/Jewish lobby" has too much power.

The article also relies on the views of former Congressman Paul Findley, cofounder of another virulently anti-Israel organization, and on the discredited notions of one of the most recent proponents of disproportionate Jewish control of US foreign policy, Professor Stephen Walt, who has traversed the country with his colleague, Prof. John Mearsheimer, trumpeting these distorted views.

Opinion polls show that the American public is consistent and strong in its support of Israel over the past decades, as is US bipartisan support for Israel as an ally and a democratic country that shares our values.

Unfortunately, the author chose to ignore these facts in his one-sided commentary.

Michael A. Salberg
New York

Director, International Affairs

Anti-Defamation League

Regarding David Francis's recent commentary on why candidates will not mention Israel: Actually, no one in the media mentions the groundswell of resentment against the Israeli power faction in the United States and the burden it has put upon us – from draining the country by fighting Israel's wars in the Muslim world to undercutting the very moral foundation of this nation with hateful propaganda from the US government as it institutes torture and constant fear.

The millions of people on the chat groups have been way ahead on this issue for years. All you have to do is listen.

Mary Kay Baker
Nunnelly, Tenn.

Regarding David Francis's recent commentary on the Israel lobby: The United States could exercise considerably more influence toward the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The people of both territories deserve a peaceful resolution that will allow both societies to truly flourish.

Jerry McIntire
Viroqua, Wis.

Look at military's aid goals

In response to the April 11 article, "The US military's new role in Africa": Correcting unwarranted cynicism on this topic (on the part of Frida Berrigan of the New America Foundation, as quoted in the article) is essential.

It's easy to understand such jaundiced views of otherwise well-intended efforts, following eight years of deceptive, narrowly self-serving policies by our current administration. But in point of fact, the US military has been providing humanitarian aid – and more – as outlined in this article, for as far back as most of us can recall. My brother and I served on a Task Force 77 arrier. When in port, we worked with leper colonies and orphanages, taught English to education-hungry Japanese students, and performed a wide range of community development projects – the same sort of works performed by our Peace Corps, with which I also served proudly! Over the years, our military has increasingly become adept at helping civilians caught up in conflict to both protect and rebuild their lives. The Navy's "floating hospitals" have saved more lives than you can even imagine.

J.N. Seamus Boylson
Milpitas, Calif.

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