A fictitious account | AspenTimes.com

A fictitious account

Dear Editor:

When we were told Richard Goodwin had written a letter to The Aspen Times this past Saturday about the Aspen Counterpoint symposium held at Paepcke on July 15, we thought, “Why would he write a letter about the symposium five and a half weeks after the event?” Upon reading his letter, we concluded he wanted to give attendees and readers enough time to forget what was discussed so he could purposefully distort what was said.

It appears Mr. Goodwin believes he is the only person who wants peace between Israel and her neighbors. We can assure him those who attended the symposium want to achieve the same goal. Nonetheless, the exemplary symposium speakers, with far more experience than Mr. Goodwin will ever have in that part of the world, all raised legitimate concerns about the inability to find real partners for peace from either of the Palestinian communities in Gaza or the West Bank, who adamantly refuse to recognize the existence of the State of Israel.

Nowhere in the entire program did anyone “espouse an alternative to peace.” There is no alternative to real peace, unless Mr. Goodwin disagrees with you. No one declared that “peace for Israel will seal its fate and destruction.” But, all were concerned that Hamas will not allow real peace as demonstrated by Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza for peace, 8,000 Hamas-launched missiles ago.

When Mr. Goodwin asked one of us if he could make an announcement about an upcoming “J Street” event in the area, he was told “no” because of the inordinate amount of time he normally takes when “announcing” or asking a question. Nothing was said about not mentioning J Street at all, except in Mr. Goodwin’s distortion of the truth. We are sure many readers appreciate the irony of Mr. Goodwin’s complaint about lack of “diversity” of ideas when he attacks those very ideas that differ from his!

As to the fiction that Mr. Goodwin promotes about the question he claims was asked of Charles Jacobs, an activist from Boston, “What do you think of the Aspen Institute’s efforts to create businesses, opportunities and loans, in the West Bank?” The response was “It’s a waste of money.” Here, Mr. Goodwin reaches new levels of distortion of truth, even for him!

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In fact, the question was actually asked of Khaled Abu Toameh, a Palestinian journalist who lives in East Jerusalem and knows the Arab street situation far better than Mr. Goodwin will ever know it. Mr. Goodwin attributes that line to the wrong speaker to create the impression that an activist from Boston gave a snotty, negative answer, when, in fact, nothing of the sort occurred.

More importantly, Mr. Abu Toameh risks his life every day because he has the courage to disseminate the truth about corruption within the Palestinian Authority, but Mr. Goodwin doesn’t want you to know that. Peace at all costs even if the facts tell a different story and attempts at peace have consistently been unachievable.

Furthermore, the reason many attendees left the symposium with doubts about the potential for real peace was because of the facts posited by Caroline Click from the Jerusalem Post; R. James Woolsey, former head of the CIA; John Bolton, former ambassador to the UN; Phyllis Chesler, renowned feminist; as well as Abu Toameh and Charles Jacobs.

They revealed the truth about Hamas; the facts about why the PA has not held long-overdue elections in the West Bank (because they would lose to Hamas in a heartbeat); the facts about Iran, Syria, Hezbollah; the truth about how women and homosexuals are treated with the approbation from these left-wing darlings who look to destroy Israel on a regular basis. But, accuracy is not something Mr. Goodwin wants disclosed. His unfortunate view runs contrary to the purpose of the symposium: to reveal the facts as they are and clearly documented on the DVDs from the symposium.

Frankly, we do not believe Mr. Goodwin maliciously distorts the truth. Instead, he does so to further his own personal agenda. He has conveniently forgotten the main theme of the Aspen Counterpoint symposium stated back on July 15: “You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.”

Alan Altman and Elaine Sandler

Aspen Counterpoint, Aspen