How many cliches can a director of publications at the Israeli Democracy Institute cram into one short newspaper article? Judging by Uri Dromi's latest effort ("A Letter to an American Jewish Friend," Commentary, June 17), quite a few. His ideas are old, worn out and wrong. Some of them are even dangerous.
To imagine, at this stage of the game, that by giving up the settlements Israel would suddenly become much stronger and united is a naive delusion recognized by most Israelis. That's why Prime Minister Ariel Sharon currently enjoys such a wide public support. Only a few staunch leftists, Dromi among them, refuse to understand that irresponsible, one-sided concessions to the Palestinians would bring not peace but war.
Dromi seems to miss a few other things. Too bad he doesn't understand that by writing an insulting and condescending open letter to his imaginary friend in America, he doesn't help Israel. To sow dissent between his terrorized homeland and its friends in the American Jewish community--not "fair-weather friends" but real and committed ones, the kind who support Israel all the way--is another sad example of the irresponsible way in which some Israelis sabotage their country's self-interest. I would question the motives of a man who is so quick to spit into the well he drinks from and antagonize the most supportive community Israel has in the world. Hey, Uri, what happened? You finally found the real enemy?
Despite Dromi's well-intentioned appeal for moderation, he unfortunately repeats the erroneous Israeli spin that Yasser Arafat rejected Ehud Barak's "unbelievably generous offers" and is therefore responsible for the current violence. He fails to note that Barak lost his parliamentary majority in the Knesset and support in Israeli public opinion precisely because Israelis themselves rejected the Barak proposals. And this happened before Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, before the Palestinian rejection and before the second intifada.
Dromi laments that Jewish Americans are canceling their participation in this year's Maccabiah Games. Out of curiosity, I looked up the Maccabiah Games on the Internet and located the application form. To my consternation I discovered that, because I am not of the Jewish faith, I cannot participate. From Section 12, this declaration is required of all applicants: "I hereby declare that I am of the Jewish faith and if selected will conform to all rules governing the U.S. Maccabiah Team."
To exclude non-Jews is discrimination, just as it would be discrimination to stage an Olympic-type event and exclude Jews.
Re "Israel's Dangerous Approach to Arafat," Opinion, June 17: Khalil Shikaki bemoans the declining popularity of Palestinian leader Arafat and his Fatah faction of the PLO, implying that Arafat's loss of legitimacy is bad for the peace process. But the Fatah constitution ( www.fateh.net , click on "publications") still calls for Israel's destruction. Palestinian schoolbooks encourage jihad and glorify martyrdom.
There can be no peace in the region until Arafat speaks the language of peace to his people.