Angry at Ralph Nader saying that the relation between the White House and Israel is "a puppeteer-puppet relationship", Foxman the national director of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League writes to Nader .
Here is the response of Nader.
August 5, 2004
Abraham H. Foxman
823 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. Foxman:
How nice to hear your views. Years ago, fresh out of law school, I was reading
your clear writings against bigotry and discrimination. Your charter has
always been to advance civil liberties and free speech in our country by
and for all ethnic and religious groups. These days all freedom-loving people
have much work to do.
As you know there is far more freedom in the media, in town squares and among
citizens, soldiers, elected representatives and academicians in Israel to
debate and discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than there is in the
United States. Israelis of all backgrounds have made this point.
Do you agree and if so, what is your explanation for such a difference?
About half of the Israeli people over the years have disagreed with the present
Israeli government’s policies toward the Palestinian people. Included in
this number is the broad and deep Israeli peace movement which mobilized
about 120,000 people in a Tel Aviv square recently.
Do you agree with their policies and strategy for a peaceful settlement between
Israelis and Palestinians? Or do you agree with the House Resolution 460
in Congress signed by 407 members of the House to support the Prime Minister’s
proposal? See attachment re the omission of any reference to a viable Palestinian
state – generally considered by both Israelis and Palestinians, including
those who have worked out accords together, to be a sine qua non for a settlement
of this resolvable conflict – a point supported by over two-thirds of Americans
of the Jewish faith. Would such a reasonable resolution ever pass the Congress?
For more information on the growing pro-peace movements among the American
Jewish Community see: Ester Kaplan, “The Jewish Divide on Israel,” The Nation,
June 24, 2004.
Enclosed is the “Courage to Refuse – Combatant’s Letter” signed by hundreds
of reserve combat officials and soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces. It
is posted on their web at: www.seruv.org.il/defaulteng.asp . One highlight
of their statement needs careful consideration: “We shall not continue to
fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate
an entire people. We hereby declare that we shall continue serving in the
Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel’s defense. The missions
of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose – and we shall take
no part in them” (Emphasis in original). Do you agree with these patriotic,
front line soldiers’ observation that Israel is dominating, expelling, starving
and humiliating an entire people – the Palestinian people – and that in their
words “the Territories are not Israel?”
What is your view of Rabbi Lerner’s Tikkun’s call for peace, along with the
proposals of Jewish Voice for Peace, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and
Americans for Peace Now? As between the present Israeli government’s position
on this conflict and the position of these groups, which do you favor and
Do you share the views in the open letter signed by 400 rabbis, including
leaders of some of the largest congregations in our country, sent this March
by Rabbis for Human Rights of North America to Ariel Sharon protesting Israel’s
Have you ever disagreed with the Israeli government’s treatment of the Palestinian
people in any way, shape or manner in the occupied territories? Do you think
that these Semitic peoples have ever suffered from bigotry and devastation
by their occupiers in the occupied West Bank, Gaza or inside Israel? If you
want a reference here, check the website of the great Israeli human rights
group B’T selem.
Since you are a man of many opinions, with a specialty focused on the Semitic
peoples, explain the United States’ support over the decades of authoritarian
or dictatorial regimes, in the greater Middle East, over their own people
which is fomenting resistance by fundamentalists.
These questions have all occurred to you years ago, no doubt. So it would be helpful to receive your views.
As for the metaphors – puppeteer and puppets – the Romans had a phrase for
the obvious – res ipsa loquitur. The Israelis have a joke for the obvious
– that the United States is the second state of Israel.
How often, if ever, has the United States – either the Congress or the White
House-pursued a course of action, since 1956, that contradicted the Israeli
government’s position? You do read Ha’aretz, don’t you? You know of the group
Rabbis for Justice.
To end the hostilities which have taken so many precious lives of innocent
children, women and men – with far more such losses on the Palestinian side
– the occupying military power with a massive preponderance of force has
a responsibility to take the initiative. In a recent presentation in Chicago,
former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made the point explicitly – Israel
should take the initiative itself unilaterally and start disengaging from
the West Bank and Gaza and not keep looking for the right Palestinian Authority.
Amram Mitzna, the Labor Party's candidate for Prime Minister in the 2003
election, went ever further in showing how peace can be pursued through unilateral
withdrawal. Do you concur with these positions?
Citizen groups are in awe of AIPAC’s ditto machine on Capitol Hill as are
many members of Congress who, against their private judgment, resign themselves
to sign on the dotted line. AIPAC is such an effective demonstration of civic
action – which is their right – that Muslim Americans are studying it in
order to learn how to advance a more balanced Congressional deliberation
in the interests of the American people.
Finally, treat yourself to a recent column on February 5, 2004 in The New
York Times, by Thomas Friedman, an author on Middle East affairs, who has
been critical of both the Israeli and Palestinian leadership. Mr. Friedman
“Mr. Sharon has the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat under house arrest in
his office in Ramallah, and he’s had George Bush under house arrest in the
Oval Office. Mr. Sharon has Mr. Arafat surrounded by tanks, and Mr. Bush
surrounded by Jewish and Christian pro-Israel lobbyists, by a vice president,
Dick Cheney, who’s ready to do whatever Mr. Sharon dictates, and by political
handlers telling the president not to put any pressure on Israel in an election
year—all conspiring to make sure the president does nothing.”
These are the words of a double Pulitzer Prize winner.
Do you agree with Mr. Friedman’s characterization? Sounds like a puppeteer-puppet
relationship, doesn’t it? Others who are close to this phenomenon have made
similar judgments in Israel and in the United States.
Keep after bigotry and once in a while help out the Arab Semites when they
are struggling against bigotry, discrimination, profiling and race-based
hostility in their beloved adopted country – the U.S.A. This would be in
accord with your organization’s inclusive title.