In his Sept. 22 letter, “A prevalent form of propaganda,” Greg Leviton addresses a number of points that are often brought up concerning issues in the Middle East. Although I appreciate his ardor in support of Israel, many of these topics are more nuanced than appear. For example, Israel is often cited as “the only democracy in that part of world.” But Iran was a true democracy until the United States helped overthrow Prime Minister Muhammad Mosaddegh in 1953. The 2006 election of Hamas in the Gaza Strip was seen by international observers as free and fair, yet neither the U.S. nor Israel would honor the result.
The very fact that a nation is a democracy does not guarantee that its actions will be just. Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos died in the Aguinaldo rebellion after the U.S. seized the Philippines in the Spanish American War. Casualties and torture in Iraq resulted from a war of choice over false pretenses. The good of a nation’s democracy at home is usually lost in its empire abroad. The benefits of Israeli democracy do not apply to occupied Palestinians.
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