Response to Oct. 5th Editorial

Upon reading Jason Maruso’s column on political extremism and the Anti-War
rally, I found three points on which ?the author is apparently misinformed. First,
Mr. Maruso incorrectly ?equates the groups “Free Palestine-US” and the “Party
for Socialism and Liberation” with those who committed the terrorist attacks on
9-11. Militant Islamic fundamentalists carried out those attacks, not non-
violent? Palestinians, Socialists, or animal rights activists. This tactic of equating
all??who do not? fully support? U.S. foreign? policy with al Qaida is usually
reserved for far right-wing pundits, not someone who calls himself a “moderate
liberal Democrat.” I think it is?Mr. Maruso, not ANSWER,?who is confusing the

Second, Mr. Maruso’s analysis of ANSWER’s platform as combining two goals
that are “mutually exclusive and ultimately unattainable” is self-defeating: the
ending of all war and racism may be? unattainable in reality, but does that mean
we just stop trying to achieve peace and end racism? Does that? mean that all
civil rights groups in our country should throw in the towel? ?The fact that
ANSWER was the group to effectively organize an anti-war rally does not take
away from the reality that over 200,000 people came out to protest this
administration’s policies, which include invading and occupying a sovereign
nation, as well as supporting oppressive regimes around the world. It was
promoted as an anti-Iraq War rally, it was covered as such by what little media
decided to cover the event, and it will be regarded as such in years to come. The
fact that people supporting freedom for Palestinians, Hatians, Mumia and animal
liberation used the rally to also support other issues of justice ?does not take
away from the fact that they all came together to support a peaceful end to the
Iraq War. The anti-war movement did not use these issues, but rather these
groups used the anti-war movement to get their group’s names on C-SPAN. Not
to mention that?? many in the anti-war movement view? America’s? occupation
of? Iraq and? Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories as two
manifestations of the same disease.

Finally, the fact that Mr. Maruso considers?Israel the “only functioning
democracy in the Middle East” reveals ?his lack of? knowledge of Israeli
government policies.?? Israel has occupied ?the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and
till recently,? Gaza since 1967.??During those nearly 40 years, Israel has ruled
those territories militarily but has never?provided the Palestinians living under
occupation the right to vote it its elections. Anyone from around the world who
is of the Jewish faith is immediately granted Israeli citizenship, while
Palestinians who have lived there for centuries continue to lose land to illegal
settlers, and Palestinian refugees are denied the right of return to their
homeland. Palestinians living under occupation? cannot move about freely
through the territories, thus making it nearly impossibe to find or keep a job or ?
provide? children? with consistent? access to education and healthcare. Israel?
has also subjected its own Arab? citizens to ?segregation ?laws akin to those that
African Americans were subject to? decades ago.??This is closer to the Apartheid
regime in South Africa than it is to a democracy. That is certainly not a
democracy by American standards. If Egypt, Jordan and?Lebanon do not make
Mr. Maruso’s list of Middle East democracies, then why should Israel???

One can? support a free and viable Palestinian state and still support Israel’s
right to exist in security. Those goals?are not mutually exclusive, nor are they
Anti-Semetic. To the contrary, they are interdependent.

For more information, please visit James Zogby’s Arab-American Institute
, Americans for Peace Now
, and If Americans Knew

Michael Kabbash