52. Why shouldn't aid be 'politicized'?

Your September 14 editorial, "Bush politicizes Israel credit," is puzzling. You endorse the idea that "for humanitarian reasons, the United States should grant Israel the credit backing it needs." But the main purpose of U.S. foreign aid is not to do favors but to promote its policies abroad. Why has the United States withheld its aid to Yemen and Jordan in the context of Iraq/Kuwait crisis? Why has the United States opposed, until recently, granting the Soviet Union the status of most-favored nation? Foreign aid was, is and has always been politicized. Why should it be otherwise with Israel?

Back in March, in his address to a joint session of Congress, President Bush articulated very clearly his policy in the Middle East as follows: "A comprehensive peace must be grounded in U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of territory for peace." Shamir doesn't want to hear that, and why should he if he gets everything he wants? Charles Krauthammer, the loyalist supporter of Israel, said it candidly in one of his recent columns: "Iraq has been devastated. Egypt is at peace with Israel. Syria, having lost its Soviet patron, is too weak to fight. There is no way for the Arabs to make war on Israel" This is tantamount to saying: Mr. Shamir, don't bother. For Shamir to bother, Bush must act.

Referring to the Soviet Jews in the same editorial, you say that they are "in the process of fleeing the Soviet Union." Why do they have to "flee"? Why not stay and contribute to the rebuilding of their own country, its economy and its democratic institutions? You characterize them as "refugees," i.e. political refugees. They are, in fact, economic refugees. If it was up to them, they would have come to this country, the real "Promised Land," the true "land of milk and honey," but Israel made it clear that the Soviet Jews are "free" only to immigrate to Israel.

September 24, 1991