July 19, 2000
No Israeli tool
Allow me to suggest that the anger expressed in your editorial concerning
sanctions against Iran to be proposed by Rep. Brad Sherman (Democrat-California)
and dumber"] is misdirected, and has produced a caricature of
a political process that is neither quite so sinister or cynical as you
seem to believe.
You attribute Rep. Sherman's move to his attentiveness to "outraged
Jewish constituents and powerful pro-Israel lobbyists." But it is
not clear to me why the hidden hand of Israel must be invoked here. The
outrage of American Jews seems entirely sufficient to stir a U.S. Congressman
or two to act on behalf of their coreligionists abroad, and indeed, of
their compatriots abroad: according to the Los Angeles Times, not least
among Sherman's outraged constituents are Iranian-American Jews. Should
they fall silent in the face of events in Shiraz? If they protest, should
Rep. Sherman ignore them?
You make no attempt to hide your own rather low opinion of the Iranian
government. What gap, then, lies between yourself and Rep. Sherman? One
might call it a difference over tactics. Rather than painting him as an
opportunist, perhaps you might entertain the notion that legitimate differences
of opinion can be held in the matter. I myself believe that sanctions are
counterproductive, but I am not moved to insinuate that Rep. Sherman is
the tool of the Israeli government, or that he seeks every chance to score
points at home by spiting Iran.