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Letter to the Editor: Middle East’s image of America not caused by war

To claim that the Middle East dislikes the United States mainly for its support of Israel would be a great understatement.
First of all, the United States has offended the Middle East in various ways. The U.S. military presence in Iraq, Iraqi invasion in 2003 and bases in the Persian Gulf are strongly disapproved of throughout the Middle East.
They are not a stabilizing force, but rather they cause more conflicts.
Usually our troops do not learn Arabic or conform to strict Islamic rules, such as not drinking. Abiding by these general laws and attempting to fit into these norms are expected, at the least.
The self-proclaimed world policeman duty of America to “spread democracy” intrudes and forces ideals onto these countries, which hold completely different cultural values than us. Middle Eastern citizens view the United States as having a pro-Christian, anti-Islam agenda. Besides, Americans are notorious for their need to maintain and control oil resources for their own needs.
In addition, the United States has supported autocratic governments, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as long as they cooperated with U.S. Foreign Policy goals. Thus, there are doubts about whether or not the United States does support fostering democracy in the Middle East.
Finally, after Sept. 11 a wave of discrimination against Muslims in America made it seem that the United States was prejudiced towards Muslim people. They were interrogated at airports, fired from jobs and even jailed overseas.
It is true that the Middle East views the U.S. as an ally of Israel. However, what Michael Kittleson fails to consider is that Hamas is a terrorist organization that trains Palestinian youth and adults to participate in suicide bombings against civilians, launch rockets into Israeli territory, murder civilians and kidnap Israeli soldiers sometimes even torturing and killing them. One should consider the viewpoints of both parties when evaluating a situation.
Unfortunately, both Palestinian and Israeli civilians have been killed. Therefore, it would be reasonable to say both sides have been oppressed.
To say that “thousands of innocent Palestinians have been killed by Israeli aggression” is inaccurate, as Mike Kittleson wrote in his column last week. We should not condemn Israeli aggression because it was a defensive tactic aimed towards the perpetrator.
Kittleson also argues that we should support Hamas because they were democratically elected. Although it appears that they were, this does not mitigate the fact that they are a militant group which hold anti-Semitic views.
To compare Israel to the analogy of a Jewish homeland in Illinois is not feasible. All the Jewish people did not just migrate from Europe to Israel after World War II. Jewish people were already there for thousands of years before.
Mizrahi Jews are descendants of the Middle East and North Africa, meanwhile Sephardic Jews are from the Iberian Peninsula and Ashkenazi Jews are from Central and Eastern Europe.
Using the Israelis and the recent war in the Gaza Strip as a scapegoat for the poor American image in the Middle East is unjustified.
Sarah Brooks
Senior political science and Spanish major
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