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Litmus Tests

February 5, 2013

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times

To the Editor:

You set up a straw man when you make that old and still inaccurate argument that there is a more vibrant debate in Israel than in America on issues relating to Israel (“Litmus Tests,” editorial, Feb. 5).

What America are you looking at?  On campuses all over the country there are speakers and rallies critical of Israel. In the media, journalists and editors speak out from a range of perspectives.  Indeed, so many institutions in America, from religious to cultural to professional introduce a variety of views concerning the Middle East, as other subjects.

What you call litmus tests are, in fact, legitimate raising of issues.  In the case of Brooklyn College it is the sponsorship of an anti-Israel program by the political science department, not the right to hear divergent opinions, that is the issue.

And as for the hearings for Senator Chuck Hagel, his positions in the past on Iran, on Hamas, and on Hezbollah seemed to diverge from the American consensus and warranted examination for an individual nominated to be the next Secretary of Defense.

What truly seems to trouble you is not the alleged lack of freedom to express opinions, which is absurd, but the fact that the American people continue to support Israel so strongly, recognizing in the turbulent Middle East that Israel is the lone true democracy, one that shares our values and interests.  


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