Michael Salberg's criticisms [''Different circumstances,'' Vol. 28, Iss. 3] of Steven Newcomb's column, ''American Zionism,'' were off the mark. The fundamental problem between Palestinians and Israel comes from the fact that the Zionist movement wanted all the land between the Mediterranean and Jordan to become a Jewish superiority state with most non-Jews expelled. This is a caricature of traditional Jewish religious aspirations for life after the return of the Messiah.
Orthodox Judaism (in which I was raised, but no longer practice) taught that Jews will return to the Promised Land when God thinks they have repented for their sins. According to the Talmud, it is a serious sin for mass migration to Israel. God would bring redemption when he judged the time was right.
As Newcomb wrote, Zionism is analogous to the notions of privilege and entitlement of the Pilgrims. I would also add its ''theology'' is similar to the Dutch Boers in apartheid South Africa. All the prattle about Israel's desire for peace means nothing when its leaders demand that Palestinians accept permanent submission and exile.
- Stanley Heller
ChairmanThe Middle East Crisis CommitteeWoodbridge, Conn.