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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


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) ["Dumb 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.

Josh Pollack
Baltimore, MD


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