Ray Hanania is a syndicated columnist whose articles regularly appear in the Chicago Daily Herald. CAMERA has frequently received complaints about the writer's work and has, on occasion, published critiques of it. Below is Mr. Hanania's response to a CAMERA critique:
January 25, 2004
I wanted to write to CAMERA and acknowledge that I was excessive and inaccurate in my criticism of Israel when I wrote regarding Israel's nuclear weapons in a column dated Jan. 10, 2003: “Israel is the only one where thousands of civilians have died at the hands of its military.”
I still believe Israel has a moral responsibility to answer for its nuclear weapons policy, that while other Arab nations are under scrutiny, Israel is not and should be. I see that as a double standard and believe Israel's nuclear weapons program should come under International scrutiny.
While I do and will continue to criticize Israeli government policies, I am sure I may write and say things that will tend to reflect more emotion than fact, it is something I will strive to avoid and correct. But, I think it is more important that I am a moderate Palestinian voice in a world filled with fanaticism on both sides. I have written and will continue to write many things that are good and should be encouraged, including with respect to the Arab World and the Palestinian community.
I am not a coward and I believe in accuracy. I believe that when I do cross the line, I should acknowledge an error, without undermining an entire lifetime of writing and saying the right things. Things that include:
Denouncing without equivocation anti-Semitism in the Arab World
Saying that the Palestinian Right of Return is not realistic
Suicide bombings are wrong, immoral and acts of terrorism without exception
I oppose violence of any kind against Israelis and Palestinians
Hamas is a terrorist organization
Palestinians must speak out against violence and support true compromise and peace
Anyway, sorry for the delayed response. I am going to continue to write and express my opinions on a wide range of issues. And as difficult and emotion-fraught as this conflict is, I will continue to struggle to define not only the Moderate Palestinian Voice, but also a voice of reason that reflects moderation among Palestinians, Israelis, Arabs and Jews. We can criticize each other. We can disagree. But we can do it within the parameters of respect that underlines a belief that in the end, the vision of coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians is a most important goal. And I am sure that if you scrutinized many of the fine writers you do support, they have made similar errors and should acknowledge them. How many have?