Wednesday, August 13, 2003

A new letter in the Independent, August 13, 2003. This letter was written in response to two pieces printed in the Independent, one a courageous column by Johann Hari condemning the reintroduction of antisemitic discourse into British dialogue and the other an offensive review Los Angeles's Museum of Tolerance by the Independent's Los Angeles correspondent, Andrew Gumbel, which seemed to be almost a textbook example of what Hari was talking about, the kind of pernicious little piece which would not have been written a few years ago. Hari is an unabashed pro-Palestinian writer, but he seems to be one of those true activists who can favor a cause without losing his mind in the process, unlike a certain Robert Fisk, the Independent's rabid Middle East "correspondent".

Letter - Exile nation.
By MICHAEL BRENNER.

Sir: Kudos to Johann Hari for having the courage to condemn the antisemitism seeping into British dialogue on the Middle East (Opinion, 9 August). It is unfortunate, then, that just one day before, your paper published Andrew Gumbel's review of the renowned Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Gumbel says more about his own political proclivities than about the Museum, which he casts as a "pro-Zionist, religious Jewish" plot to drum up support for Israel. He even slams the failure of the Museum to include narratives about Palestinian rights and Jewish collaboration with Nazis. How would their inclusion, which obscures the crime of Jewish annihilation as the culmination millennia of baseless European antisemitism, and even gives comfort to those bigots who take perverse pleasure in blaming the victims, help people to be more tolerant of others?

To paraphrase Hari, would a review like this have been acceptable a few years ago?

MICHAEL BRENNER

New York.

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