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Different circumstances

Steven Newcomb is wrong to compare the mistreatment of American Indians by the United States to the historic plight of the Palestinian people as a result of the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 [''American Zionism,'' Vol. 27, Iss. 51].

In 1947, rather than accept a United Nations plan to partition British-mandated Palestine into two states, one for Palestinians and another for Israelis, the Arab nations rejected the plan and waged war against the nascent Israeli state. In the midst of this war, some Palestinian Arabs fled, while others stayed and became citizens of Israel.

The Israeli-Arab conflict is a political dispute over national borders and ensuring the fundamental right of the existence of a Jewish state, which the Palestinians denied for decades.

Since its founding in the aftermath of the Holocaust, Israel has tried to negotiate peace and continues to embrace every opportunity to resolve the conflict. Yet Israel's many overtures for peace have been met with threats, wars and terrorist attacks against civilians.

Newcomb's conclusion that the Jewish relationship to the land of Israel is akin to colonialism (which he predicates on an English translation of the Jewish bible) oversimplifies complex theological concepts and ignores the fundamental Jewish attachment to the land, which was the historical birthplace of the Jewish people and is the cornerstone of Jewish religious life since the Jewish exile from the land 2,000 years ago.

- Michael Salberg

Director, International AffairsAnti-Defamation LeagueNew York City