19 MAY 1973, Page 27

Sir: I have declined an invitation to Sign a letter

from a group of anti-Zionist Jews denouncing Zionism and intended for publication in the national Press on or about May 15, 1973, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel.

The draft letter sent to me for signature purports to press a case which has my sympathy, the plight of the Palestinian Arabs who are now refugees. The letter attributes the predicament of the Arab Refugees wholly to Zionism; it also refers to ' Zionist persecution' of Arabs in Israel. Such puerile over-simplification and malicious overstatement is both self-defeating and thoroughly mischievous; it can only reinforce extremist positions nourished by fear and hatred. Virtually since 1917, the choice for the Arabs has been to negotiate or Make war and Arab leadership has almost invariably advised the latter course of action. The result has been that the Palestinian Arabs have lost their homes, their status, their dignity. Those who maliciously and falsely condemn Zionism out of hand as a 'racist' and 'persecuting' ideology thereby imply that the Arabs are correct to refuse to negotiate. From this premise it follows that the correct course of action is to pursue the war. The Palestinian Arabs should no longer be misled; genuine friendship does not shirk the thankless task of telling people they have acted very foolishly and been used as pawns in a nasty game of power politics. Mark Braham The Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, London, SWI.