There has been a lot of heated rhetoric recently about the American Studies Association boycott of Israel and academic freedom and a lot of wild accusations being tossed around, but on thing seems to be missing from this whole brouhaha ("A chilling effect," March 10). People keep talking about "discrimination," but there doesn't seem to be any realization of who exactly is being discriminated against, with both supporters of Israel and supporters of academia claiming to be the "victims."

What everyone seems to be ignoring here are the actual victims — the Palestinian Arabs living under apartheid conditions, trapped behind barricades and slowly starving to death. It's shameful, and what's most shameful of all is that if it were any other group living under these inhumane conditions, everyone would be protesting just like we protested the apartheid government in South Africa. But because the Palestinians are Muslims, most Americans could care less. Even though these particular Muslims have no connection to the attacks of Sept. 11. But when did that matter?

William Smith, Baltimore

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