To the editor:

Normally reading the letters to the editor in the Leavenworth Times is an enjoyable endeavor, which usually consists of following the banter of a number of ideologically-driven letter writers. 

Ms. Heflin is an avid contributor to this ongoing conversation. However, I was shocked and dismayed to read her letter printed March 14 concerning Israel. Ms. Heflin’s argument concerning Israel was uninformed, bigoted and anti-Semitic. For a person who is supposedly educated, I was amazed to read her uninformed understanding of the state of Israel and her blatantly anti-Semitic statement equating Zionism with Nazism. 

It is quite clear Ms. Heflin has little knowledge of present day Israel. Unbeknownst to her, Israel is a vibrant, prosperous, democratic country. It is a leader in the world in information technology, water management and entrepreneurship. It has the highest GDP in the Middle East (to include all the oil-producing states). It will also be energy self-sufficient in the near future with the discovery of natural gas in its coastal waters.

Ms. Heflin need not worry, it feeds its own people and exports agricultural products around the world. Israel’s military (IDF) is the most powerful in the Middle East, with nuclear capability. The IDF is self-equipped, minus fighter aircraft. For good or bad, Israel Armaments Industries (IAI) is one of the largest arms sellers in the world. 

Israel has its own external and internal problems, given it is in the most volatile area in the world, with neighbors who do not recognize Israel’s right to exist as a state, and an unresolved internal problem revolving around the Palestinians. Hopefully, Ms. Heflin now has a better understanding of Israel as a state.

However, what makes Ms. Heflin’s letter unacceptable is her statement comparing Zionism (the 20th century movement for the establishment of a Jewish state) to Nazism. This is an extremely hateful and bigoted statement, due to the fact that the people who were most effected by the Nazis, the concentration camp survivors and descendents of the family members who were murdered in the Holocaust, are the same people you are claiming are acting in the same manner as the Nazis.

Ms. Heflin, you might not agree with the Zionist cause, that certainly is your right, but to link that cause with the most vile regime of modern history is absolutely anti-Semitic. This hateful linkage first surfaced in the United Nations in the 1970s and was forcefully denounced in a famous speech by Ambassador Moynihan, who called the claim that you advocate “obscene.” Ms. Heflin’s views concerning how Jews feel toward Israel is just uninformed and biased.

Ms. Heflin, I can educate you on the state of Israel, but unfortunately I do not believe I can change your prejudiced, ant-Semitic, bigoted view of Jews and Israel. Changing an individual’s perception is extremely hard. I do not believe this letter will do that, but I hope it will make the Leavenworth Times readership better informed about the ongoing issues involving a rising tide of anti-Semitism in the U.S. and the world. Finally, this is not a conservative versus liberal argument, this is a response to Ms. Heflin’s bigotry and anti-Semitism.