241. Columnist off-base on Mideast issues

Analogies are never perfect. But they are sometimes enlightening. Cal Thomas' analogy, however, in his column of Aug. 5, is totally skewed.

He attributes to a Hamas spokesman the following: "Jews should leave Israel and `return to where they came from.'" This, in his opinion, is analogous to a white supremacist demanding that African Americans go back where they "came from."

The problem with this analogy is that African Americans were brought to this country to be enslaved. The Jews that Cal Thomas is talking about "immigrated," many of them illegally, from Europe, to usurp another people's homeland.

The rest of his column is more of the same. He wrote: "there are no living 'moderates' among the Palestinians." The fact is that 55 Palestinians, among them Sari Nusseibeh and Hanan Ashrawi, signed a petition in June condemning suicide bombings. Also, Mr. Nusseibeh called for the Palestinians to renounce the right of return to Israel. In return, Sharon ordered the closure of Mr. Nusseibeh's offices in Jerusalem. A funny way to cultivate moderates among the Palestinians.

As far as maps are concerned Cal Thomas accuses the Palestinians and most of the Arab states of not showing Israel on their maps. But this is exactly what Israel is doing. Pamphlets distributed in this country by Israel Ministry of Tourism show the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights all included within Israel's borders. Cal Thomas, conveniently, overlooks this fact.

"Israel is prepared to coexist," asserts Mr. Thomas. Indeed, in a Bantustan-like country for the Palestinians

August 13, 2002