Jump Start for Mideast Peace Talks

Why is the Bush Administration turning the issue of loan guarantees, for the humanitarian purpose of assisting Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union to resettle in Israel, into a cause celebre ?

The U.S. plans to guarantee more than $50 billion in loans to foreign countries over the next five years. Last year, the Bush Administration guaranteed more than $10 billion, of which $3 billion went to Arab countries. In none of these cases, save Israel's, do there appear to be any political strings attached to the guarantees. Yet many of the countries receiving the guarantees have appalling human rights records, support the economic boycott of Israel and condone terrorism. Yet only Israel is singled out and penalized. Why?

This is clearly a double standard. Either apply the same standards to everyone, or co-sign the loans for Israel now.

RICHARD GOODMAN

Chairman, American Jewish Committee

Orange County Chapter

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