Editor — Regarding “Boxer cancels award for Muslim activist” (Jan. 6):

As a Jewish American and a supporter of Sen. Barbara Boxer, I say that it was wrong for her to withdraw the award that she gave to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which works to build bridges between Christians, Muslims, Jews and people of color.

CAIR has condemned violence by all sides and the organization’s executive director, Nihad Awad, has even appeared with President Bush. In the article, it was stated “Boxer said she was influenced by reading a conservative blogger, Joe Kaufman.” The organization, Americans Against Hate, that Kaufman heads, is a right-wing group that condemns the new Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota on its Web site.

I doubt that Boxer even believes in her decision to withdraw the award. The problem is that the Israel Lobby, consisting of AIPAC and other organizations, has far too much influence on American policy in the Middle East. We need a more evenhanded policy that will bring the two sides together to obtain a peaceful settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Walter Ballin


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