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Jilting at windmills.

I love reading The Washington Monthly. I especially love reading Charles Peters's "Tilting at Windmills" column for its readiness to skewer sacred cows of the liberal establishment. That is why I was dismayed to find in his December column three--count them, three--items blaming Israel unilaterally for the continuing violence in the Middle East. Describing Arafat as "slippery" hardly does justice to a man who has lied, broken sworn agreements, and fostered violence. One may have issues with Ariel Sharon (I do), but he is the only Middle Eastern head of state to have taken office in a contested election. Arafat's election was as contested and democratic as that of Mubarak in Egypt or Saddam Hussein in Iraq. I know that it has become "politically correct" in liberal circles to bash Israel, but it is Palestinian violence that is preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state. Were the violence to end and were the Palestinians to give up their dream of destroying Israel, they would have their state within months. I expect more balance from Peters and from The Washington Monthly.

Rabbi Harold Kushner

Natick, Mass

A New York Times reporter and Charles Peters ("Tilting at Windmills," December) both discussed the wisdom of removing all chairs from conference rooms. They must be avid readers of your publication--specifically, the May 1996 letters column--because it was there that I distilled all the wisdom I had gained from working a lifetime inside the bureaucracy. Repeat after me: "When meetings cannot be avoided, there are two ways of lessening their impact. Rule No. 1: All meeting rooms should be provided with office supplies--but not with food, drink, or chairs. Rule No. 2: All meetings should be scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Fridays."

William M. Burke

San Francisco, Calif.

Charles Peters replies: William Burke was clearly. first with "no chairs." And his 4 p.m. Friday suggestion is absolutely inspired. In response to Rabbi Kushner, I very much want Israel to survive, but I'm against the Israeli right wing and its American allies who I believe are out to sabotage any peace that would be fair to the Palestinians. Such a peace is the best guarantee of Israel's survival.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Washington Monthly
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Previous Article:Art of compromise.
Next Article:Tilting at Windmills.

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