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A Revolt Against Humiliation

Ed. Note: The following letters were submitted in response to an article, “A revolt against humiliation,” that was written by faculty members Alan Richards and Edmund Burke. The article appeared in the spring 2011 issue.

Alan Richards’s and Edmund Burke’s distorted perspective on the turmoil in the Middle East was inappropriate for the Review. It was political opinion with gratuitous negative comments regarding Jews and Israel.

The professors rightly state that most Arabs despise their regimes because of corruption, but to claim that the revolt in Libya and Syria is linked to their regime’s support of Israel is ludicrous. In reality, many of the regimes used hatred against Israel to divert attention from their own corruption.

The professors claim we should be supporting Arab “democratic values,” but what they really mean is that the U.S. should drop its support for Israel and instead support diverse movements that have yet to demonstrate that they espouse liberal values such as sexual equality, religious tolerance, and a free press.

—Gil Stein, Stevenson ‘71, Politics

I am no fan of the foolish endeavor to invade Iraq, nor am I an uncritical supporter of Israel or an uncritical viewer of American meddlings in other countries.

But the authors of this article fairly salivate their open disdain for American foreign policy by jumbling together sweeping shibboleths about the rapacious U.S. interventions in local conflicts around the world, with particular antipathy toward Israel.

They state for example, “Most fundamentally, however, most Arabs despise their regimes—for their corruption, nepotism, violence, and complicity in American and Israeli abuses of power.” Does Israel abuse its power? Sometimes it has, but surrounded for 60-plus years by incessant hostility from multiple enemies who frequently state the goal of obliterating the country’s existence, they could hardly be condemned in total because they sometimes make mistakes.

Further on, the authors refer to American profiteers who provide “... mindless support of unsustainable Israeli occupation policies.” The occupation of Arab lands by Israel is a thorny problem; sometimes Israel overreaches to ensure its self-preservation, but its occupation behaviors are born of random rocket attacks, terror-driven civilian bombings, suicide attacks, and even a Palestinian position that still denies in its textbooks that Israel even exists as a country.

—Richard Greyson, Parent of alum

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