Free speech

Sir, – With regard to “Don’t let dissent be stifled” (Observations, August 1), the defense of traitorous remarks by Israeli Arabs seems to overlook several important points.

We are a nation at war. These Arabs are Israeli citizens, and wishing death on our soldiers in a public forum is treachery. No matter how you pour oil on it, it is incitement and intended as such. Posting a picture of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as a werewolf, while a bit pathetic, is also designed to incite.

The bitterness of these Arabs is understandable, but if I were a soldier in a hospital I would want to steer clear of that nurse; indeed, I would try to get him or her transferred to the Arab wards. Oops! We don’t have such a thing? Well, never mind – it doesn’t stop these people from insisting we do.

As for the statement that Arabs are being singled out for criticism, Jews don’t wish death on their soldiers.

MARCELLA WACHTEL
Jerusalem

Sir, – I consider myself a very strong proponent of free speech.

Still, I would find it odd if an employee who tells a co-worker “You look very fetching in that outfit” can in theory be dismissed for creating a hostile work environment or some such, but one who says “I will celebrate if your son is killed” cannot.

I realize that the examples cited by David Brinn are of things that happen outside the workplace – generally on social media – and might make all the difference. But if the opinions become known around the office, can the employer really expect people to work shoulder- to-shoulder with someone who is known to loathe them?

MICHAEL BERKOWITZ

Alon Shvut

So many of us

Sir, – I wish to thank Francine Robinson for her “I am a mother” (Observations, August 1).

The sentiments are true for so many of us.

Now we pray for the safe return of our soldiers, whom we raised with special values to love the freedom of being Israeli. I am both a mother and a grandmother, and share that dream with my children and grandchildren.

JACKIE SCHWARTZ
Netanya

Twisted logic

Sir, – Try as I may, I cannot fathom the twisted logic presented repeatedly by Gershon Baskin. In his most recent column (“Observations and questions: War, Gaza, defeat and victory,” Encountering Peace, July 31) he states he cannot comprehend why the government of Israel is waiting for someone else to propose solutions to end the conflicts.

I doubt Baskin is suffering from retrograde amnesia, so I must postulate that he is appearing to disregard all Arab attempts to annihilate Israel, starting in 1948 and including the War of Independence, the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur war, the intifadas and the repeated unprovoked rocket attacks across our northern, eastern and now southern borders.

He needs to be reminded of the Israeli solutions offered at Oslo and subsequently by former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, all turned down by the Palestinians. It is time he realized that the Palestinians will never agree to a sovereign Jewish state with all the necessary securities needed and will seek demographic annihilation by insisting on the right of return for their so-called refugees.

No Israeli government can agree to this.

MONTY M. ZION
Tel Mond

Sir, – I find Gershon Baskin’s assessment of Israel’s current position unfairly dismissive and fatalistic.

Baskin marshals unfounded claims (“Hamas is now stronger than it has been in years”) while offering a grim prognosis (“We will be in the same place again in a year, two years or three years, only much worse.”) His conclusion, of utopian proportion, is to “adopt an initiative which advocates peace, without compromising on security... but willing to end the occupation....”

Baskin seems to intentionally feign ignorance regarding the reality of Israel’s current operation, what precipitated its entry into Gaza and exactly what Hamas calls for. He also fails to mention the ever-growing disapproval of Hamas within the Arab world.

Now is not the time for concessions or pollyannaish sentiments.

I believe Israel’s leadership deserves more credit.

ZVI SCHINDEL
Los Angeles

Gaza in prayer...

Sir, – Rumor has it that Hassan Nasrallah, who has been following the news of Gaza and the fate of Hamas on TV, has instructed his Hezbollah subordinates to add the following to their daily prayers: There but for the grace of Allah go I.

ISSY DYKMAN
Ganei Tikva

...and sport

Sir, – I was pleased to read “ICC bans Moeen Ali from wearing ‘Save Gaza’ wrist bands” (Sports, July 30) during cricket matches. Also, a cyclist at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was not allowed to wear gloves with similar slogans.

Whatever a player’s political affiliations, they do not have a place in sport. Simply not cricket.

SALLY SHAW
Kfar Saba

Unwise funding

Sir, – With regard to “UNRWA probing discovery of rockets in Gaza school” (July 18) No responsible country should be funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

Does anyone truly think it wise to give millions to an organization that is either so complicit with Hamas or so completely incompetent that it doesn’t notice the hundreds of rockets stored in its schools, the tons of UNRWA cement sacks used to construct terror tunnels or the blatant way that Hamas uses civilians as human shields? If any other governmental or private organization tasked with helping and protecting refugees performed this poorly, its contract would have been terminated long ago.

Instead of investigating alleged Israeli war crimes, the UN should immediately investigate UNRWA’s massive failures and fraud against the world and, most unfortunately, the Palestinian people.

JULIE MENDELSOHN
Zichron Ya’acov

Sir, – The loss of life in Gaza is terrible. Yet it would not have happened but for the insistence of the Arab states that anyone with even one ancestor who claims to have been displaced in Palestine in 1948 to be counted as a refugee.

By colluding in this, I fear that UNRWA is mainly to blame for the Palestinian tragedy. This is unlike the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which attempts to rehabilitate and resettle any other refugee in the world and does not allow their status to become hereditary.

UNRWA should be abolished and its duties handed over to UNHCR, and the privileged status of the Palestinians should be abolished.

UNRWA will oppose this since it has a vested interest in perpetuating the ludicrous current state of affairs – otherwise its bloated payroll would all be out of a job.

MARTIN D. STERN
Salford, UK

Finest hour

Sir, – I do not know how the International Court of Justice in the Hague works and I might be accused of being naive. But in my opinion we should gladly pick up the gauntlet that the Palestinians or anyone else throws down by threatening to take us to this court.

It would give us an international platform where our top lawyers will be able to stun the world with details of the efforts made by our military to avoid civilian casualties.

The evidence would be so convincing that there might be charges drawn up against Hamas.

This could be our finest hour.

S. MANNS
Tel Mond

Unforgettable

Sir, – As hard as it is to look, it’s so important to publish the names, pictures and brief biographies of our fallen soldiers. We must not forget them! Thank you for helping us remember.

ESTER KATZ SILVERS
Shiloh

Priority is given to letters that are brief and topical, and which bear the writer’s name and place of residence, as well as the name and date of the Post item being referred to. They may also be edited and shortened. letters@jpost.com

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