MAP Member Opinion "Peace"  

Criticism Does Not Make One Unpatriotic
by Florence Steichen
sent 3-10-03

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the fine editorial on patriotism Sunday, March 2. It is crucial to emphasize that criticism of the government does not make one unpatriotic. On the contrary, in a democracy, it is the duty of informed citizens to critique the actions of their government.That gets us past the "my country, right or wrong" stance. I see the next step as getting past the "our allies, right or wrong" position. I think we need to say loudly and clearly that criticism of the government of Israel is not anti-semitism.

In the interest of stability in the Middle East, I think the US government has a duty to criticize Israel for some of its literally outlandish actions. One example: the so-called security fence is a high, thick wall, built not on the border, but well within Palestinian territory. This amounts to land confiscation as several entire villages are on Israel's side of the wall. In other instances, Palestinian families find their home on one side of the wall and their orchard on the other. They need a permit to get to their own land. Your tax dollars pay for this. Are you concerned? Can this be the way to peace?

Florence Steichen
Middle East Peace Now; Pax Christi Twin Cities; retired educator

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