Stephen Zunes Responds: Setting the Record Straight

To the Editor:

Re: Jeff Blankfort: Comments on Stephen Zunes’ Article

Please let your readers know that Jeff Blankfort is yet again misrepresenting me and my views.  Contrary to a series of charges he has made on this website and elsewhere:

* I have never believed that the nakba was justified; it ranks as one of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century.

* I do not consider myself a Zionist by almost any definition of the term.

* While I believe that the establishment of a Jewish state — like any other state established on behalf of a historically oppressed people — could be seen theoretically as a kind of global affirmative action, this does not make up for the fact that it took place on somebody’s else’s land and resulted it widespread and ongoing crimes against humanity.

* I do not pretend that support for Israeli policies by the United States government has "no rational explanation;" in fact, I have written extensively on the topic.

* I do not deny the existence of the "pro-Israel lobby."  I recognize that it is a powerful element, though in my view not the most important element, in shaping U.S. policy toward Israel and its neighbors.

* I have not fundamentally "changed [my] position" on what motivates U.S. policy toward Israel and Palestine and I certainly would not change any position based on concerns about career advancement.

* I have consistently opposed U.S. military and economic support for the Israeli government, including the loan guarantees, as I do U.S. military and economic support for all governments which engage in gross and systematic human rights abuses.

-Stephen Zunes is FPIF Middle East editor and a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco. He served as chair of the board of Washington State SANE/Freeze in 1991-92 and served on the board of the national Peace Action Education Fund in 2005-2006

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