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Question of direction
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Question of direction

Andrew Silow-Carroll objects to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s “comparing Saudi Arabia and Israel on gender equality, civil rights, and religious freedom.” (Editor’s Column, “One of these things is not like the other…,” March 11) Dowd, in her March 2 column, reported on an interview with Prince Saud al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia, which she called “an absolute Muslim monarchy.” She quoted the prince as saying, “We are moving in the direction of a liberal society” and “[w]hat is happening in Israel is the opposite.”

In the same article, however, Dowd also referred to the Saudis’ “gender apartheid and cultural repression.” She reported on various ways Saudi Arabia may be making slow progress toward less repression, whereas ultra-religious groups in Israel (as in this country) are attempting to be more repressive. Neither may succeed but, in re-reading Ms. Dowd’s column, I see no suggestion of the “moral equivalency” that Mr. Silow-Carroll objects to, but only a question of who might be going in which direction.

Lonnie Hanauer
West Orange

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