Talk about a refutal

Dear Editor:I am refuting from personal recollection statements made by Sue Gray in her letter titled “Spreading Islamaphobia” (July 19).Gray calls Dr. Tawfik Hamid’s invitation to speak in Aspen “a transparent effort to combat the revelations in recent letters to the editor …” Since many of these letters came from Gray herself, this is a revealing example of grandiosity.Because I was the local volunteer responsible for Dr. Hamid’s security, I am familiar with the background to his appearance in Aspen, which was the result of Hannah Hanani (wife of the internationally renowned cellist) contacting ALERT (American League for Effective Responses to Terrorism) about sponsoring a speech by the Islamic scholar and reformist.Gray makes much of the fact that the co-founders of ALERT were members of a small short-lived ad hoc committee formed two summers ago called Valley Voices for Middle East Peace. According to Gray this group “had as its goal the destruction of the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition.” I was at a meeting of that committee when it was decided to initiate a dialogue with the peace group.Is Gray implying that ALERT, a national organization publishing a daily blog, building alliances with similar organizations nationwide; that has on its advisory board one of world’s leading experts on Islamist terrorism, is merely a front to destroy a local peace group with which she has long been publicly identified? Talk about grandiosity!As for the RFPC, Judith King wrote letters for over a year urging participants in that group to repudiate Holocaust denial and was met with a revealing silence. When a response finally came it was just prior to the coalition’s annual fundraiser. The letter read something like this: Yes, there was a Holocaust; come to our peace jam. Talk about self-serving!I vividly recall a meeting with other concerned friends of Israel in Aspen in September of last year because I attended that event with my Israeli wife when we were expecting our first child within a week. My wife is from a community in the very north of Israel which had been that summer of ’06 under bombardment from Hezbollah-fired Iranian-made missiles.At that meeting Doug Weiser and King spoke of a speech in Aspen by Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-American warning about the Islamist threat, and the screening in Aspen of the film “Obsession,” depicting that threat. Weiser and King said they had come to see Israel as the first line of defense in a world-wide struggle against Jihadism. They talked about forming an organization that would serve to counter Jihad influences in America, be an advocate for Israel and combat anti-Semitism in the U.S.The organization that they co-founded a few months later was ALERT. This had about as much to do with the RFPC as the invitation to Dr. Hamid to speak in Aspen had with Gray’s letters in local newspapers.Jerome MarksEmma