Reactions to Moscow
Sir, – The murder of 39 people in the Moscow metro by two female suicide bombers is a shocking and reprehensible act (“Moscow terror masterminds will be caught, Putin vows,” March 31).
There is no cause that can justify this action, and I utterly condemn those involved in its planning and execution.
I offer my sincere condolences to the families of all the victims.
My thoughts and prayers are with them as they come to terms with the awful trauma in which they are now engulfed.
CLLR. SALMA YAQOOB
Leader, Respect Party
Sir, – At least 39 people were killed and scores wounded in two suicide bombings in Moscow. President Dmitry Medvedev said, “We will continue the fight against terrorism unswervingly and to the end.”
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin went one step further, saying the “terrorists will be destroyed.”
US President Barack Obama, for his part, condemned the incident as a “heinous terrorist attack” and assured Russia that Americans “condemn these outrageous acts”.
No shortage of the “T”-word.
Despite the outrage, it is to be hoped that both Obama and the UN will also remember to condemn Russia for its long-standing provocations of the alleged perpetrators, the valiant freedom fighters of Chechnya, and will furthermore urge the Russians to show restraint. One useful term the US president and the UN Security Council might wish to employ in the subsequent UNSC debate on Russia’s treatment of Chechnya is “proportionate response.”
And should Russia overstep the mark, Justice Richard Goldstone can be quickly called upon to author an objective and thorough report. He already has the template ready.
Gothenburg, SwedenPeace at any price? No
Sir, – The funerals of the two wonderful soldiers from the Golani Brigade made me cry. The death of the young man of 32, Eliraz Peretz, son of Miriam Peretz, should affect all of us (“‘I don’t know which son to mourn first,’” March 29). He was living in Eli, the same community as Ro’i Klein. Both of their houses have been ordered demolished through the actions spurred on by a relentless Peace Now, which strongly stands for peace at any price.
This brave soldier leaves a widow and four children. The “peace at any price” folly leads me to reflect on the actions of former prime minister Ariel Sharon, whose unilateral actions in Gaza led to more and more Hamas shelling of Sderot, Ashkelon and the western Negev. He created 10,000 refugees and caused bitter feelings toward the army – and all for nothing. These soldiers died because Gaza is a true war zone. Peace can never be achieved at any price. We cannot accept the peace of the grave.
Sir, – Dr. Barry Rubin attempts to offer some explanations as to why the Obama administration is placing both undue and largely unhelpful pressure on Israel, its only reliable democratic ally in the entire Middle East (“The single payer option, March 29).
I would suggest that the Obama administration is so riddled by inexperienced and diplomatically ignorant “experts,” including President Obama himself, that they have simply adopted the worst possible way to advance the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Indeed, within hours of Obama’s first real condemnation of Israel, we saw some of the worst Palestinian violence in our area in years. Even now, many Israeli experts fear a possible increase in that violence.
It appears to me and many other Israelis that Obama is ideologically hostile to Israel. The rest of them, like Samantha Powers and David Axelrod, are probably only familiar with the New Left narratives and post-Zionist dialogues, and thus concoct their approach to Israel in the worst and most ineffective manner possible.
There is little that Israel can do to change these hostile attitudes. Our only real hope is that these inexpert “experts” come to the realization on their own that they are doing far more harm than good to the cause of Middle East peace.
KENNETH S. BESIG
Kiryat Arba An affront to the Jews...
Sir, – The American Jewish community has crossed a threshold, yet my own representatives as an American Jew – AIPAC, ADL, the federations, et al – have missed the final cue (“Malcolm Hoenlein: Negative portrayals of US-Israel ties should not be ‘allowed to fester,’” March 31).
President Barack Obama’s mistreatment of the prime minister of Israel is not an affront to Mr. Netanyahu; it is an affront to the Jewish people. Yes, presidents have had differences with Israeli leaders, but it represents a crossing of the Rubicon to abuse our most strategic ally in the region while giving comfort to America and Israel’s enemies. Insults, calumny and abandonment to genocidalists are the medicine for the Jewish state; beseeching, apology and obsequiousness for Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Morales, Assad and the like are the Obama sobriquets offered. Try to imagine the reaction of other Americans to this type of abuse of their co-ethnics or homelands.
This unprecedented conduct by an American president – against the interests of the United States, the West generally and Israel in particular – will bode ill for our collective strategic interests. It will unleash the very attack on Iran that Mr. Obama believes he can avoid with his empty verbalizations. Combined with his weakening of the nation through unprecedented debt and government growth, every American will reap the whirlwind of so radical an agenda.
JEFFREY S. WIESENFELD
Israel Independence Fund
Great Neck, NY ...but from whom?
Sir, – I am an American Jew (Reform) and a long-time supporter of Israel. However, I am dismayed at the prime minister’s arrogance and disrespect of the current US administration (“PM’s trip shows need for a better read on the mood in DC,” March 29). Insisting on continuing new construction of settlements at a time when the US is trying to broker a peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and at a time when the US is trying to unify the world against the Iranian threat – both for your benefit – is very unwise.
Netanyahu’s need to appease the hard-line base of his coalition is frankly not our problem. You might not realize what a PR nightmare this has become in the US, but when support of Israel, even within the American Jewish community, begins to erode, there is a serious problem.
Sir, – When I read of the treatment the prime minister of Israel received at the White House, I thought of Menachem Begin and wondered how he would have reacted. I imagined him looking at Obama when told that Obama was going off to dinner with his family and saying something like, “Mr. President, your priority in wanting to be with your family is admirable. I hope you will understand the respect I am showing you in emulating you by returning to my family this evening. Good night.”
Begin would have understood instinctively that, whatever personal feelings were involved, Obama was insulting not Binyamin Netanyahu, but the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Begin would have realized an immediate reaction was required. Yehuda Avner wrote about Begin’s reaction to a suggestion Carter made about Jerusalem and Carter asking Begin to think a response over before replying. Begin insisted on responding immediately and prefaced his reply by telling the story of Rabbi Amram and the composition of “U’netaneh Tokef.”
Toronto Similar hobbies?
Sir, – The arrest of a Jewish activist carrying a goat at the Old
City’s Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem (“Activist with goat arrested in J’lem,”
March 31) coincides with the anniversary of the arrest of an Arab woman
carrying crocodiles (“Woman with crocodiles strapped to her stopped at
Rafah crossing,” March 27, 2007).
Maybe common interests and hobbies could form the basis for mutual understanding among peoples in the region.