Fact vs. opinion

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In Dan Simpson’s Jan. 1 column “Foreign Affairs in 2014,” he writes, “One troubling fact is the ability of the Israelis to keep Sunni and Shiite Muslims fighting each other rather than concentrating on acquiring a homeland for the Palestinians.”

To make such a troubling assertion, Mr. Simpson is required to marshal the data that support this assertion. The conflict between Shia and Sunni, as being played out in Iraq, in Syria and in Lebanon, seems to have many other, much more involved parties, namely Hezbollah, Iran and the Gulf states.

It also presumes that this conflict contributes to a loss of focus of the Muslim world on the plight of the Palestinians. I challenge Mr. Simpson to present the facts that Israel plays any significant role in this conflict relative to these other powerful states and factions. Also, there are plenty of data to show that many Muslim countries have given lip service but not strong financial or moral support to the Palestinian’s plight, independent of Israel’s action.

This type of editorializing masquerading as the presentation of “facts” is unhelpful to anyone trying to grasp the complexities of today’s Middle East.

DAVID BRENT
Squirrel Hill


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