J Street founder and president Jeremy Ben-Ami (“Israeli security and Palestinian rights go hand-inhand,” Observations, June 10) appears to live in a make-believe world, where rampant anti-Semitism just doesn’t exist. His hypothesis, as expressed in the headline, is disproved by what is taught in Palestinian schools and the many statements by Palestinian leaders to the effect that we Jews have no rights whatsoever in the Holy Land.
We do our best to preserve the rights of all minorities within Israel, and also those of Arabs in areas that were occupied by Jordan between 1948 and 1967, even in light of their terror attacks against us.
When the Islam of the Palestinians returns to that which backed Muslim Arabs who invited 70 Jewish families to return to Jerusalem after the victory over the Crusaders, and the caliph of Jerusalem who come to Jaffa to welcome Jewish refugees from Torquemada’s Spain, then and only then can Arabs coexist with Israel in peace.
DAVID LLOYD KLEPPER Jerusalem
Jeremy Ben-Ami asks the following question: “Can an independent Palestinian state exist alongside a secure State of Israel?” A quick look at the map shows that there already is a Palestinian state called Jordan, whose residents are more than 70 percent Palestinian and the only reason there is a refugee problem is that the king took away the passports of those Palestinians living in Israel.
It is incumbent on the king to restore the citizenship of Israeli Palestinians and work out a power- sharing deal with the PLO as a first step to settling the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. There is no doubt in my mind that if this is accomplished, all other problems can be worked out.
PAUL BERMAN Shoham
A free Kotel
Yaakov Katz is straight out of the mold of all our third- and fourth-generation media maestros.
Here we go with his mantra that all we have to do is abandon the ancient practices of Judaism and turn Israel into a modern day Isle of Lesbos, and the world will love us (“A free Kotel,” Editor’s Notes, June 10).
Immediately next to Katz’s piece, Caroline B. Glick (“Israel rises in the East,” Column One) certainly leavens his mantra, but she should explain to him that Jews without Judaism cannot argue for entitlement to the Promised Land.
KALMAN BOOKMAN Jerusalem
I am sorry to see Yaakov Katz, editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, no less, writing about the Kotel and Women of the Wall (WoW), and leaving out essential information.
WoW, as well as the Reform and Conservative movements, made their deal at the expense of the original mission of the Women of the Wall – to have a women’s prayer group presence, together with Torah and tefillin, at the women’s section of the Western Wall. With the “historic” deal, any woman who wishes to pray in this manner will be forbidden from doing so.
Katz writes that the Western Wall, like the Torah, “belongs to all Jews.” All Jews, that is, except the original Women of the Wall, who wish to remain at the Kotel.
BAKOL RUBEN GELLAR
Jerusalem Arab League the key With regard to “De-risking peace – part 2” (Encountering Peace, June 9), progress toward a Palestinian state is still possible if the Arab League is interested in one.
It is not Israel that holds the cards. As the Arab goal for the past hundred years has been to drive the Jews into the sea, perhaps the concept of two separate states, a Jewish one with a large Arab minority, and an Arab one that is ethnically cleansed of Jews, is no longer feasible.
From 1967 to 2000, there were no demarcation lines between the Gaza Strip, Israel and Judea and Samaria. Israelis and Arabs crossed back and forth freely. Trade schools and universities were built in the former Egyptian- and Jordanian- occupied areas where none had existed before. Electricity usage grew. Infant mortality rates declined. The standard of living rose.
Perhaps the answer lies somewhere between a binational state and two totally separate states.
Perhaps a confederation, with separate civil administrations, an Israeli military and joint policing and economic cooperation. This presupposes, of course, that the Arab League would allow an infidel entity to share the Middle East.
LEN BENNETT Ottawa
Quality, not gender
Regarding “Women in Knesset say Clinton’s victories inspire them” (June 9), I would expect women MKs to support the apparent Democratic nominee for US president based on her qualifications and ability to lead, not her gender.
A true feminist, as some of our women lawmakers claim to be, should be able to transcend gender and find inspiration in the best candidate.
JUDY LEV Ra’anana
What’s the point?
Like reader Michael D. Hirsch (“Good only for FOTCR,” Letters, June 9), I travel back and forth regularly between Israel and the US, my former home. Unlike him, I do not consider the Israeli synagogue- state model a “pathetic disgrace.”
Whereas in the US in December, one might only occasionally – after extended lawsuits and political exertions – glimpse a Hanukka menorah in the public square, here one’s heart soars at the sight of Israel’s cities, not to mention the Knesset, proudly adorned with large, lighted menorot.
Similarly, restaurant kashrut certifications in the US represent a varied alphabet soup of standards and practices, all but incomprehensible to one not versed in their minutiae, as opposed to the unitary system here in Israel.
Granted, there are areas of Israeli governance that can be improved, just as there are in any functioning society, irrespective of animating principle. At bottom, however, if Israel is not an expression of Judaism elevated into the public sphere, what is the point of a Jewish state? IRVING WIESEN Jerusalem
Turned on her head
I urge your readers not to believe a word of “Hannah Arendt, white supremacist” (Terra Incognita, June 6), and to read her inspiring texts for themselves.
The methodological problem lies in searching for an apparently damaging quotation from Arendt’s texts that is ripped out of context and read as a statement of her own views. So Seth J. Frantzman quotes her depiction of the race consciousness of late 19th-century Boers, who thought of themselves as escaping civilization for a “dark continent” populated by “native savages” – as if it were Arendt herself who thought of Africa in these terms.
Frantzman does not seem to realize that the term “dark continent” was drawn from William Conrad’s magnificent and terrible Heart of Darkness. Arendt compared the archetypal colonial adventurer with the character of Kurtz: “hollow to the core, reckless without hardihood, greedy without audacity, cruel without courage.”
Her comment on the extermination of hostile tribes in African native wars, illustrated by the murder of “only” a million or so members of other tribes by Zulus, was meant to contrast with the magnitude of the colonial experience and bring to light the senselessness that might help explain why human destruction is so often “not remembered by human history.”
White supremacism? Surely not.
It’s almost funny how Arendt, whose whole intellectual and political life was oriented to understanding and resisting the temptations of totalitarianism in the modern age, has been turned on her head.
ROBERT FINE Leamington Spa, UK The writer is an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Warwick.