Netanyahu's comments don't reflect Israel's treatment of Arabs

To the editor: Your editorial presents a one-dimensional view of the realities of life for Israeli Arab citizens and falsely suggests a potential incompatibility between the Jewish and democratic character of Israel. ("Netanyahu's remarks on Israel's Arab citizens part of a disturbing conversation," editorial, March 25)

Yes, election-day comments regarding Arab voters made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were disturbing and worthy of apology. And yes, there are many challenges facing the Israeli Arab minority with respect to issues of discrimination and equality. But there is no serious effort to restrict Israeli Arab rights. Indeed, Netanyahu's comments were condemned across Israel, including by President Reuven Rivlin.


Furthermore, your editorial fails to mention the numerous government initiatives aimed at bolstering the quality of life for Israeli Arabs, including advancing educational opportunities, supporting efforts to increase employment among women and providing financial incentives for companies and businesses employing Israeli Arabs.

Israeli democracy, like our own, is not perfect. More work remains to combat discrimination against Israeli Arabs, and offensive statements by politicians and others must stop. But to suggest that Israel is in imminent danger of abandoning its foundational commitment to the democratic values of equality and fairness of treatment for all its citizens is simply false.

Amanda Susskind, Los Angeles

The writer is director of the Anti-Defamation League's Pacific Southwest Region.


To the editor: I am a supporter of Israel but do not agree with many of Netanyahu's positions. I am a Jew who while visiting Israel observed an overtly discriminatory society against Arabs.

Reading the editorial, I was starting to appreciate The Times' point of view until I read this: "Of course there are many Arabs in Israel who identify with the Palestinian cause or who are hostile to the very idea of Israel." This suggests that many Israeli Arabs express hostility toward their own country. It shines a light on the fundamental issues.

This causes me to consider that Netanyahu might have reason to be concerned.

Bob Hoffman, Redondo Beach


To the editor: The prime minister, who attempts to walk back his opposition to a two-state solution and apologizes to his Arab citizens, should note the ancient words of Omar Khayyam:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Barbara H. Bergen, Los Angeles



To the editor: I am really getting frustrated with all these humdrum alarms in response to Netanyahu that amount to nothing more than the usual wrist slap for Israel.

The Israeli election has once again exposed Netanyahu's true colors. He snaked his way through the campaign, using the Palestinians in Israel and especially the Obama administration as his trump cards.

It's time for President Obama to take tangible actions against Netanyahu's government. Otherwise, he'll just bow to Israel like all his predecessors have.

Jack Samara, Northridge

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