To the Editors of The Crimson:

On a recent visit to Cambridge I chanced to see David R. Caploe's review of Susan Sontag's documentary "Promised Lands" (Aug. 9). I am aware that Israel is no longer the liberal cause it was during my undergraduate days, but nevertheless take umbrage at the blatant anti-Zionism of the review.

The worst example of this bias is Caploe's reference to Amos Kenan as "the Israeli writer who serves as the Zionist apologist to the Liberal/Left press." Kenan and his like--I am privileged to know a few--have a hard enough time in Israel without having their motives caricatured in this fashion.

I do not like to credit the film's thesis that Israel arose out of Auschwitz, and do not find the present Israeli cult of the holocaust to my taste. But the trauma is there and makes nought of Mr. Caploe's tasteless numbers game. Hitler actually killed not six million Russians, as Caploe erroneously thinks, but at least twenty million. Yet the cause was not the same as for the Jews and neither was the effect.

Finally, it is simply not possible in any meaningful way to compare the Jewish tragedy in Europe to the tragedy of the Palestinians. One of the many differences is the open doors for the Arabs and the closed ones for the Jews. These closed doors and all that followed caused the Jewish demand for immediate statehood at the risk of everything laboriously built up over two generations. It is this Israeli state which has now begun to recognize a Palestinian entity but not the right to an irredentist Palestinian mini-state.


The Arab tragedy in Palestine is real; I believe that with luck, determination and more political sagacity than they have shown heretofore the Palestinians will get their state. But no one who sees them as indirect victims of Hitler is doing them a real service. Alfred A. Greenbaum '50   University of Haifa