Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Name Calling Rebuttal against Me

In the rejectionist camp
Updated 12/30/2008 11:38:25 AM CST
To the Editor

My father used to say that when someone sticks in a "and by the way" at the end of their conversation it is likely to be their most important agenda item and that everything else might well be a subterfuge.

Elizabeth Mayfield's "and by the way" conclusion to her letter of Dec. 18 illustrates the subterfuge perfectly. At the end of her letter which she might describe as "only criticizing Israeli policies," Mayfield pulls up a 1938 quote that Israel as a political entity is not really needed.

That the mass murder of Jews between 1941 and 1945 recontextualized the debate about Israeli statehood (and moots the point of the 1938 quote) is of no interest to Mayfield.

She'll use the 1938 quote anyway because, as she expressed on her Web site for more than a year, she questions the need for - and, by extension, the right of - Israel to exist.

One would think Mayfield's rhetoric would be transparent by now, but maybe not. As demonstrated in her current letter, her demonization of "the Zionists" both dehumanizes and casts as evil the vast majority of Jews in Israel (and elsewhere) and promotes the hope one day, when "the Zionists" are overthrown, the world will not have to endure a state explicitly created by the United Nations as a Jewish state. In the foregoing sentiments Mayfield is joined, of course, not only by Iran's intolerant regime but by Hamas, Hezbollah and by arguably countless millions of neighbors, as well as Mayfield's domestic allies.

The implications of Mayfield's ideology are clear. If Israel has no right to exist, then Israel bears the entire responsibility for the tragic plight of the Palestinians, and the Palestinians themselves bear little or no responsibility at all. This is not right. The complex matters between Israel and the Palestinians must be resolved, yet to claim that "Palestine has already complied" and to keep insisting in subtle ways that Israel has no need to exist and no right to exist places Mayfield in the rejectionist camp and not in the peace camp.

Mark S. Finkelstein
director of community relations
Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
Des Moines


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