A ‘Jewish’ state
Sir, – In “Ya’alon: Abbas is not a partner for a peace deal” (March 16), we learn that US Secretary of State John Kerry has decided it is a mistake for Israel to insist that the Palestinians make a public declaration regarding its Jewish character.
With political correctness, Kerry notes that international law already defines Israel as a Jewish state.
In the same spirit of political correctness, it must be noted that the name “United States of America” is a misnomer. Much of the North American continent was wrested from the indigenous Indians by plain aggression.
That the Americans themselves are embarrassed about calling this area the “USA” is clear – they call it instead the “US.”
I submit that “USA” be changed to “FIT” – Former Indian Territory.
GERRY MYERS Beit Zayit
Sir, – We are being put in a position of thinking we have to prove the justice of our existence.
Maybe we must start ignoring the verbiage being created to besmirch us and be the very Jewish state we already are by taking control of our existence instead of having to relegate ourselves to a category that has to be “recognized” by a neighbor that itself is not a state.
Collective self-respect is what is needed now, strong and sure of all that we do and believe in, with a quality of life and intellectual expertise so that the world can see through the fog our enemies create every day. We are what we have always been and do not have to justify or prove who we are: law-abiding, creative, peaceful people and the original returnees to our own land.
We are the Jewish State and have been since 1948.
MARGERY GLASER FEINSTEIN Jerusalem
Sir, – US Secretary of State John Kerry says there is no need for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the Jewish state because the UN resolution of 1947 mentions a Jewish state many times.
Unfortunately, he neglects to mention that every Muslim state in the UN voted against that resolution, and several of them then invaded the “Jewish state” in an attempt to destroy it, not to create a Palestinian state. With the exception of Egypt and Jordan, all those countries – and the Palestinians – have continued to refuse to recognize the existence of the Jewish state, Israel.
ANDERSON HARKOV Modi’in
Sir, – US Secretary of State John Kerry has been accused of being naive and wanting in nuanced sophistication in conducting negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. His willingness to gloss over the issue of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state lends credence to this conclusion and is most indicative of a lack of sensitivity to the core issue at stake.
The Arab world is still not able to come to grips with a Jewish state in its midst. Jewish sovereignty over Israel, no matter what its final borders, is just unacceptable, and as fundamentalist fervor sweeps the Arab world, Kerry should remember (or, if he is still unaware, acquaint himself with) the fact that jurisdiction over any part of the Land of Israel by “infidels” is against the deeply held beliefs of Islam.
It is a matter of principal with Abbas and the Arab street. But to Jews, too, it is a matter of crucial principal, and Abbas’s rejection of what Kerry says Yasser Arafat already acknowledged is a clear indicator of the Palestinian leader’s rejection of Israel and a retreat from what was previously agreed to.
I am amazed that the secretary of state has the temerity and callous insensitivity to urge Israel to abandon this central point.
AVRUM M. KOWALSKY Jerusalem
The rabbis knew
Sir, – The item “Survey: 86% of Israelis satisfied with life” (Business & Finance, March 13) stands as an important comment as to what it means to live in a place that, to the outside world, seems beset with endless difficulties.
What is particularly profound, however, is the direct correlation of greater religious commitment to higher levels of satisfaction.
Not surprisingly, a Harvard professor got it wrong. It is not communal and social ties that account for the differential. Rather, it is the simple but world-changing idea that if you put God instead of yourself into the center of things, you are far more likely to find satisfaction.
The ability to forge a connection with a God Whose comfort transcends one’s material well-being and Who validates one’s life despite its myriad hardships produces satisfaction and happiness.
“Who is happy? He is who satisfied with his lot.” And who is likely to be more satisfied with his lot? He who realizes that life is not all a function of what we ourselves do or not do.
Those who can more readily delegate the determination of earthly matters to Divine Will have a significantly better chance of enjoying the ride. The rabbis figured this out way before Harvard was founded.
DOUGLAS ALTABEF Rosh Pina
Sir, – With regard to “Battle shaping up over inclusion of Israeli Arabs in next prisoner release” (March 12), I find it very confusing why Israel would continue to release terrorists when the Palestinian Authority has failed to recognize Israel as an independent, Jewish state, and Jerusalem as the capital of that state; promise to protect Jewish citizens living in the West Bank; and concur with Israel’s right to retaliate for any terror attack.
JAMES BRACKENRIDGE Benoni, South Africa
Sir, – The scheduled release of the final 26 prisoners gives us: • 26 more cave-ins regarding the “peace process” • 26 more reasons not to ride the bus • 26 more reasons that our children need cell phones • 26 more reasons that our bereaved families will again be in mourning • 26 more joyful celebrations on the other side • 26 remorseless beings ready to resume the activities they were jailed for, with hate in their hearts but smiles on their faces because we are soft and not the fierce fighters of times gone by • 26 empty promises We will never achieve peace by listening to the outside world and giving in to the pressure of our “friends.”
LIBA HIRSCHMAN Beit Shemesh Denying the facts
Sir, – It is troubling that Prof. Allan Lichtman, coauthor of FDR and the Jews, is, despite all the evidence, unwilling to acknowledge that US president Franklin Roosevelt made anti-Semitic remarks (“Historians grapple over FDR’s legacy, with the future of Israel at stake,” March 11). All Lichtman could say to your reporter was that “FDR could speak loosely about the Jews.”
Dr. Rafael Medoff and the David Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies have documented statements in which Roosevelt agreed with a Soviet diplomat’s remark about “kikes.” The president complained that there were too many Jews among federal employees in Oregon. And he said the Germans had “understandable complaints” about Jews because German Jews supposedly dominated the fields of law, medicine and academia.
Roosevelt also boasted to a friend that “we have no Jewish blood in our veins” and, according to FDR’s own grandson, frequently made jokes about Jews, complete with a mock Jewish accent.
If they want to be taken seriously, historians have to be willing acknowledge unacceptable behavior even in their favorite president, and not get so defensive as to deny the facts.
DAN ADLER New York