Sir, – You report that Prime Minister Netanyahu mentioned two
principles enshrined by Menachem Begin – supremacy of the rule of law and that
there can be no civil war under any circumstances.
“He knew that a civil
war was the end of the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said (“Ulpana on his mind, PM
invokes Begin at ‘Altalena’ memorial,” June 11).
In fact, by allowing
Yitzhak Rabin, on the orders of David Ben-Gurion, to fire on the Irgun arms ship
Altalena without retaliation, Begin took away the right to preserve life. Those
who died bringing much-needed arms to the nascent state died for nothing,
because today we see that the same pattern is expected of us.
did not follow the High Court ruling on Ulpana because it was the law – there
was no ruling on the legality of the Jewish homes. He brought in Kadima to
enable him to destroy these homes while ignoring all illegal Arab building
throughout our land.
His so-called sweetener for the Ulpana residents is
that he will build more homes. But he has also made clear they will only be in
those parts he is expecting to keep after his so called peace process is
Our prime minister continues the humiliation by begging the
terrorist Mahmoud Abbas to talk to him so that he can hand over Judea and
Samaria. Everything he does is with one eye on Obama to see if it is
Ben-Gurion was a dictator, just as Netanyahu has shown
himself to be, and like Ben-Gurion our current prime minister brooks no
interference in his rule, no matter how it must be enforced. This, more than
Begin and the volunteers on the Altalena defending themselves, could be the end
of the Jewish state.
A breather for us
Sir, – In
your editorial “The Syrian conundrum” (June 11) it is clear that there is a lot
of handwringing about the bloodshed in Syria. That is admirable from a moral
point of view, but from a practical point of view the chaos in Syria and other
Islamic countries has for Israel been a boon.
The fact is, there is no
truly democratic and pro-Western faction in any Islamic country that is
significant enough to actually take over that country. All the blood and
treasure squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan testify to that.
real way forward for the region is for its native inhabitants to wake up and
realize that their adherence to an ethic of hatred and domination will only
bring ruin. Meanwhile, the infighting among those who would gladly train their
sights on Israel or other foreign targets gives the rest of us a
Sir, – Susan
Hattis Rolef (“Who’s afraid of Richard Wagner?,” Comment & Features, June
11) somewhat naively asks, “Why was Wagner, who died in 1883, singled out among
all the German composers, many of whom were known for their anti-Semitism?” The
answer has been provided countless times before, which is why it is rather
amazing that she doesn’t even mention it.
More than others, Wagner penned
and published vicious anti-Semitic essays, including “Das Judenthum in der
Musik,” first under a pseudonym in 1850, and again in 1869 under his own name,
as well as “What is German?” in 1878. In addition, Hitler openly admired Wagner
and much of the latter’s anti-Jewish polemic was used in Nazi
One may still argue whether we should separate the man from
his music, but the ban in Israel on Wagner’s operas and compositions is indeed
based on his open and public Jewhatred and his being part of the inspiration for
Hitler and Nazi racist theory. To ignore this fact is not only disingenuous, it
is downright historical revisionism.
Sir, – Kevin Zdiara (“When delegitimization is met with silence,”
Comment & Features, June 11) has every right to get lathered up about the
crisis of delegitimization of the State of Israel and to decry the danger of
being silent about it. But even though he has every right, he is dead
Israel is not being delegitimized.
Even if there were
independent boycotts against us that were organized in a hundred countries it
would still not amount to delegitimization.
The weapon of delegitimizing
a country is something that can only be wielded by governments, and it’s people
who are responsible for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement,
While Zdiara advocates protest and expressions of
condemnation against those who seek to boycott Israel, the most strategic policy
The expression “silence is golden” means silence has a
tremendous psychological value. It is worth its weight in psychological gold. It
denotes self-confidence and steadfastness.
Nothing that vile, boycott-
advocating bigots can say makes any more difference than a hill of
Sir, – A sure-fire way
to fail to solve a problem is to misdiagnose the cause. This is precisely what
Charles S. Maier does (“Europe needs a German Marshall plan,” Comment &
Features, June 11).
After World War II Europe was in ruins. There was an
acute shortage of everything and a huge pent-up demand. What was lacking was the
machinery, tools and organization for production.
The Marshall Plan was a
brilliant concept that provided the capital to kick-start a European economic
Today, much of Europe is in shambles because of excessive debt –
a predictable result of the false premise that one could operate a common
currency without a common government.
No amount of money in additional
loans can possibly solve the problem caused by this basic structural
There are only two possible solutions: One is the abandonment of
the euro, that is, a return to the status quo ante, with each country having its
own currency. The alternative is a political union of the European countries
involving the abdication of national sovereignty to a government of
I do not believe that a single country containing such diverse
populations, with different languages and different cultures, could survive. On
the other hand, a return to individual currencies would be chaotic, but would
What is certain is that each pitiful effort to delay the inevitable
will make the eventual collapse more painful.
STEPHEN S. COHEN
Sir, – An unfortunate exchange that took place in
one of seven sessions of an international workshop conducted recently by the
Department of Middle East Studies of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev received
some publicity due to a column by Seth J.
Frantzman (“Incitement U:
Confronting hate at Israel’s academy,” Terra Incognita, June 7) and a response
to that column (“Unfair portrayal,” Letters, June 11).
I am proud to
serve as chairperson of BGU’s Department of Middle East Studies, which for the
past 17 years has hosted hundreds of Israeli and international scholars, who
have always been deeply impressed by the pluralistic, open-minded and diverse
academic environment of our conferences and workshops.
workshop in question, attended by a large number of international scholars,
participants engaged in profound critical debates in an air of mutual respect. I
am certain that one incident, which I indeed regret, does not blemish our
excellent reputation in the field.