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Shahak and His Claims



To the editors of The Crimson:

One would expect more responsible journalism from The Harvard Crimson than was evidenced by the Sept. 29 article on Israel Shahak. Shahak's claims also appear in a book which is currently being circulated in Europe. The description on the back cover begins with: "The threat of death at the hands of the Israeli fascists hangs over the author of this book." The front cover bears the name of Israeli Shahak. Besides his name, in prominent letters, are the words "Professor at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem".

Shahak does not shrink from using his professor ship at the "Zionist/racist" Hebrew University to defame the State of Israel. The Arab propaganda machine has been distributing this professor's material throughout this country, particularly on college campuses. The title of The Crimson article, "An Israeli Professor Fights for Human Rights" bears witness to your gullibility. The Harvard Crimson has made the anti-Israel propagandists' job that much easier at Harvard University.

What are Shahak's claims that were so important as to merit a full page special? Mistreatment and torture of Arab prisoners is common practice; concentration camps are rampant throughout Israel; Menachem Begin has a "covenant" comparable to that held by the PLO. But if one looks a little further than The Crimson article one finds that Shahak himself admits that he has "no proof of this (torture".)

Under pressure there have always been and always will be, in every country of the world, instances of the misuse of physical power. Yet to compare this to the genocidal policy of the Nazis, as Shahak does, and to speak in terms of the "Nazification of Israel" -- this is nothing more than the workings of a sick mind.

The concentration camp theory as propounded by Shahak operates according to the "big-lie theory". But should we be surprised? After all, what should be expected from an Israeli who describes the Jewish people as "a fanatical and bloodthirsty mob searching for blood"?

Once more, how could any rational mind accept the similarity between Begin and the PLO covenant? The latter's constitution expressly states the destruction of the State of Israel as its first and foremost aim. In his most nationalistic speeches Begin has never expressed the determination to exterminate the Palestinian population. He demands borders which would protect his tiny country from the sea of Arabs surrounding it. The similarity escapes me.

But it does not seem to matter to The Crimson, if Shahak's statements are lies, half-truths, and outright slander. When Shahak says that the discrimination against Arabs in the Jewish State closes all branches of the government to them, how does he explain the presence of Arab members in Israeli Labour Party and in that party's Central Committee, as well as in the Israeli Parliament? On the other hand could anyone tell me the number of Jews in the Egyptian Arab-Socialist Union, or in the Syrian or Iraqi Ba'ath Party, or perhaps in the Jordanian Parliament? But to digress to a discussion of the double standard of morality where Israel is concerned is not my aim here.

Perhaps Shahak and his lies should simply be ignored. Such is the view of Uri Avineri, a dove and outspoken Israeli government critic. That Shahak has been and continues to be allowed "to express his ideas freely without removing him from the University" is perhaps the best refutation of Shahak's claims. It is unfortunate that The Crimson devoted not inconsiderable attention to this publicity-mad-man. Jessica Sandler '78

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