Sir, – With regard to “PM working to get EU to freeze publication
of new guidelines on West Bank, east J’lem” (July 18) by Herb Keinon, Israeli
leaders must speak to the European Union in language it understands.
it must proclaim loudly that Jewish settlement in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem
is legal under international law based on the League of Nations’s Mandate for
Palestine of 1921.
It is a grave injustice and the height of racism to
call it illegal and to boycott Jewish-owned businesses in these
This government has not adopted the Levy Report on the legality of
Israel’s presence in these areas, and never contradicts the Europeans or
Americans when they call Jewish settlement illegal. That is exactly why the EU
did what it did – the Europeans respect only those who respect
LARRY BIGIO Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – The EU’s decision is a
direct consequence of the recklessness and incompetence of the present
government, which allows the state to function without a foreign minister and
willfully ignores the disarray within the Foreign Ministry.
this dysfunctional style of governance, the prime minister has abdicated any
responsibility for his own ministers’ irresponsible public declarations that
flatly contradict the official government line – two states for two peoples.
Indeed, no one really knows what the prime minister actually wants, so the
international community has no problem making decisions that do not serve
Until the government formulates and articulates a
comprehensible policy, Israel will be unable to challenge the Palestinian
narrative because, if nothing else, the pro-Palestine lobby skillfully maintains
a consistent theme.
RAYMOND CANNON Netanya
Sir, – Who is Europe to preach
to us about occupying the territory of another people? When the UK cedes
Gibraltar to Spain and Northern Ireland to the native Irish; when France gives
back Alsace Lorraine to Germany; when Poland returns Silesia and Prussia to
Germany; and when Romania gives up Bessarabia to Russia, please remind me to pay
attention to the Europeans’ superior moral standards.
borders of today were determined by territorial disputes or wars that were won
decisively by one side. History then moved on.
JACOB GRYBSTEIN Jerusalem
Sir, – All I can say is, thank God that at long last the European Union has hit
Israel in the face with its true intentions, waking up our right-wing
(“Right-wing ups pressure on PM,” July 18).
The politicians said that
before the EU’s decision they were prepared to tolerate Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu making limited gestures to the Palestinians so as to bring them to the
negotiating table. But now they see that there is no point in such steps because
international pressure will come no matter what Israel does.
not our right-wing MKs see what was so obvious? We have woken up and smelled the
coffee. Let’s not forget the smell, or the sting of the slap to the
BARBARA GINSBERG Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – Who said the EU isn’t strong
on foreign policy? Of course, it hasn’t been able to decide whether Hezbollah is
a terrorist organization despite years of evidence, but look how decisively it
has determined for us exactly where our borders should be.
appropriate comment is one I saw on the Internet, to the effect that if France
is so eager for a Palestinian state, it should give the Palestinians France.
They can call it Frankenstine.
NAOMI SANDLER Jerusalem Haredim and
Sir, – I don’t know how other readers reacted to “Leaflet seemingly
calls for murder of haredi soldiers” (July 16), but I feel
Since the attacks on ultra- Orthodox soldiers began some
weeks ago, I have opined to family and friends that the rabbis attached to the
IDF’s haredi units should instruct their troops that if they are confronted by a
menacing crowd, they should load their rifles and use them according to the
standard self-defense guidelines the army provides for soldiers under threat
There is a rabbinic principle: “Harog v’al yeihareg” (Kill
and don’t be killed) – if one is beset by someone who, he fears, has come to
murder him, he shall murder the other person rather than forfeit his
I believe that the appearance of this leaflet supports my
MICHAEL D. HIRSCH Kochav Yair
Sir, – The thundering silence
of haredi MKs in light of the despicable physical attacks on religious soldiers
(“Haredim attack third religious soldier in a week,” July 15) and the ongoing
abuse hurled at ultra-Orthodox young men who elect to serve is beyond belief.
Still, another voice is not being heard – the vox populi.
with governmental policies that are widely perceived as perilous (Oslo, Gush
Katif, etc.), mass demonstrations are organized to voice the righteous outrage
of the people. Is there any greater symbol of our sovereignty than the IDF,
whose mandate is to protect and defend every citizen? Why is there no public
outcry in support of all our soldiers, and ringing denunciations of all who
would lift an evil hand against them and those who would give them legitimacy by
their silence? I, for one, stand up proudly to raise my voice in
JOEL KUTNER Jerusalem
Sir, – Kol hakavod to the Kibbutz Movement
for offering to protect haredi soldiers who enter Mea She’arim (“Program
launched to protect haredi soldiers,” July 18).
What a sad sign of the
times that these soldiers have to be protected from other haredim when all they
are doing is walking through their own neighborhood.
I guess it will take
a while for the Messiah to come if we can’t get along with each other even
HANNAH SONDHELM Jerusalem
We’re already here Sir, – Our friend Sally
Berkovitch rightly bemoans the fact that Israel has waited far too long to get
its act together in the hasbara (public diplomacy) field, and missed so many
opportunities to promote its good image to the world and combat the
misinformation and downright lies that circulate about our country (“Waking up,”
Letters, July 16).
What she ignored, however, are the 114 grassroots
hasbara groups in Israel and around the world operating under the umbrella of
CoHaV (Coalition of Hasbara Volunteers), of which our organization, the British
Israel Group, was a founder member. These groups have been laboring away for
years – in the main without any funding – to disseminate positive information
and fight the lies.
We give talks abroad, write letters and articles for
newspapers all over the world, meet with visiting politicians, offer hospitality
to visiting groups (especially Evangelical Christians), and provide information
for pro-Israel activists abroad to use in talks, seminars and
Sadly, our efforts to work with the Foreign Ministry largely
have been ignored, and where useful contacts have been made there has been a
complete lack of continuity.
Good luck to Danny Ayalon and his group, The
Truth about Israel. Even with the huge amount of funding it has at its disposal,
it is going to be fighting a tough battle. We, the members of existing hasbara
organizations, wonder whether he will work alongside us instead of duplicating
what is already being done.
NORMAN and LOLA COHEN Jerusalem The writers
chair the British Israel Group (BIG)