Uninformed or Misinformed?

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 22, 2006

To the editor,
    Seeing as how the Middle East crisis is more than 2,000 years old, and that the Jew vs. Arab battle of historical accuracy and religious value of the land is more than 1,500 years old, I find it insufficient that The Austin Chronicle would allow the fight to transpire into its “Postmarks” and “Point Austin” [News, Aug. 11] sections by inferring that this is as black-and-white an issue as a con-lib tax debate, especially in light of the false information coming out of the area. I mean, if it's been proven that Jenin was not a massacre, that photos printed by Reuters out of Beirut have been doctored, and that the Israeli Navy did not shoot a torpedo at a family of picnicking Palestinians, isn't it possible that there wasn't a doctor kidnapped (or abducted) out of the West Bank just before Hezbollah started shooting rockets into Haifa as Mr. Michael King insists to be true?
    But without getting pathetically hyperbolic (or, as I would like to coin the term, hyperpathetic), I would like to point out the simple fact that this battle in the Middle East is not so much a question of Palestinian autonomy (which has been offered by Israel and turned down by the Palestinians as late as in the year 2000), but rather over the belief of Israel's right to exist at all. After all, those who are attacking Israel and Israelis – organizations like Hamas, the Party of G-d (Hezbollah) and Islamic Jihad as well as the ruling governments of Syria and Iran who have brazenly announced their desire to destroy Israel via nuclear war (and, for that matter, Mel Gibson's dad) – happen to insist that all of Israel is occupied Palestine. They also happen to insist that World War II never occurred, that the only reason for a Jewish state in Israel is Western guilt (and not the 3,000 years of archaeological evidence), and that the No. 1 ranked Jewish shrine (the Western Wall) pales in comparison in importance to the No. 3 Islamic shrine (the Dome of the Rock). Knowing all of this, shouldn't the onus be placed on those who have consistently started these attacks rather than those who find themselves defending against these same attacks?
    Mark Twain once said: "If you don't read newspapers, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you are misinformed." I wonder what Mr. Twain would have said about glorified gossip rags.
Asher Garber
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