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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | FEBRUARY 10, 2010 7:30 AM

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Use of King’s words misguided

Patrick Hitchon stated in his Feb. 9 column that “what applied in 1963 in the United States applies to the current situation in Palestine.”

Really?

From 1960 to April 4, 1968, I was privileged to work with Martin Luther King Jr. as a political adviser, his lawyer, and draft speechwriter.

I have not yet visited Israel or the territory Hitchon described as Palestine. I know that there has been criticism of some security measures instituted by Israel to protect itself against episodes of wanton violence and terrorism from territory under the political control of Palestinian leadership.

Hitchon’s description of the current situation in Palestine as equivalent to the conditions of American Negroes described by King in 1963 is open to challenge, even though his right to do so is not.

Hitchon pimps and corrupts the language and precepts expressed by King in his “I Have A Dream” speech when he cites it as an authentic source for his criticism of Israel’s conduct toward people living in the Palestinian territories.

America is America. Israel and Palestine have their own historical and political dynamics, having nothing to do with the struggle of African-Americans under the moral and political leadership of King.

Hitchon is entitled to express his opinion about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, with or without reference to any actions by Palestinians against Israel. These actions also can be the subject of criticism. If he chooses to use or apply the words of King in support of his criticism of Israel, those of us who worked closely with King, often 24/7, have a responsibility to challenge the appropriateness or correctness of Hitchon’s use of King’s words — obviously, chosen only to enhance the credibility and authenticity of his criticism of Israel.

I think I should know, because I helped craft the text of King’s speech for the March on Washington.

Clarence Jones
Scholar in residence, Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute

Anti-abortion ad freedom of speech

After reading Rachael Lander’s Feb. 3 column “Medium: Super Bowl advocacy ad,” I was so puzzled I had to iterate the hypocrisy I was reading.

Lander claims that CBS has a responsibility to ban advocacy ads during the Super Bowl or show a contra ad promoting a woman’s right to choose (versus the pro-life ad). The thing I just can’t wrap my mind around is why she believes freedom is limited to off-air time.

First, freedom of speech is fundamental to our society. All have the right to air their opinions. Why then should they not be allowed to make a commercial? Politicians do it, liberals do it, conservatives do it, etc. An ad is always an opinion: You should buy this, you should visit us, and you should not do this are all equal. Where does the line blur? Furthermore, why does CBS have a responsibility to ensure an opposing ad is aired? I suspect it didn’t ban a pro-choice ad — and wouldn’t have — but none was offered.

If people believe in that stance, they should choose to support it with a commercial during the Super Bowl, one I would contribute to if asked. But the thing I can’t stand is the idea that simply because an opinion is contrary to someone else’s belief, it has no business being in the public domain. Every ad is meant to influence people, and political and religious issues are no different. I fear the ignorance of youth that wants to ban commercials based on differing views. The article offends me, and still I hope Lander can continue to print her views — if for no other reason than that simple freedom is what makes us a great nation.

Larry Hau
UI senior

Pro-choice hypocrisy

The idea that it’s sexist for a man to be a public figure in the abortion debate because the issue somehow doesn’t affect him makes absolutely no sense. But the pro-choice forces are desperate, so inane and illogical arguments are to be expected. By that reasoning, a woman past child-bearing age shouldn’t be allowed to speak out either, I suppose? Slavery didn’t really affect a lot of white New England abolitionists — should they have kept quiet as well?

Given that Tim Tebow is alive today because his mother ignored a doctor’s counsel to have an abortion, it’s fair to say the abortion issue has “affected” him. And he has every right to air his anti-abortion views in any forum. Abortion-rights advocates have apparently forgotten that we have freedom of speech in this country.

And, ultimately, people who call themselves “pro-choice” shouldn’t object to Tim Tebow and his mother telling their story in a Super Bowl ad. Pam Tebow had a choice, and she chose life. Who but the most strident pro-choice advocates would have a problem with that?

Jeanne Bryson
Iowa City resident


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