Sir, – In “3 terrorists killed in battle with security forces in Jenin” (March 23), you report that “Hamas members released in the Gilad Schalit prisoner release deal played a role in the terrorist plot” to attack Israeli civilians and military targets.
columnist Gershon Baskin has long sought applause for his role in the Schalit negotiations, ignoring the inevitable deadly ramifications.
He must finally admit that the mass release of prisoners for a single soldier virtually guarantee that someone else – perhaps many others – will die as a direct result of the deal he so proudly helped broker.
More importantly, this news is a cautionary tale for the future.
Recent reports suggest that the US might be willing to release Jonathan Pollard in exchange for the release of Israeli-Arab terrorists.
Much as we yearn for an end to Pollard’s interminable and unjustified captivity, these very different types of prisoners must not be conflated.
Pollard was imprisoned for passing classified information to Israel.
He was charged with neither treason nor intent to harm the US.
The deal leading to his guilty plea was abrogated for reasons that have never been fully explained, and he has languished in prison far longer than anyone else convicted of similar crimes.
The Israeli-Arabs who might be released were, on the other hand, convicted of violent terrorist acts, including the murder of innocent civilians. They would be released not because their sentences were unjust, but as a misguided attempt to keep the Palestinian Authority involved in the charade of peace talks.
Unlike an aging and ill Pollard who poses no conceivable future threat, many of these unrepentant killers will likely return to their terrorist ways, murdering even more Israelis.
The US now stands in the shoes of Hamas and other terror organizations that hold Jews for their own cynical purposes. Pollard is the hostage, and Israel is being asked to release murderers to gain his freedom.
Jonathan Pollard has become a pawn in a dangerous chess game, a means to force Israel to make further concessions to an unbending PA. This is proof positive that we can no longer (if we ever could) trust US President Barack Obama as a guarantor of Israel’s security.
EFRAIM A. COHEN
Sir, – The fact that Bernard Madoff deserves to be interviewed, much less that the interview gets published, is almost beyond belief (“Madoff says Ponzi scheme not betrayal of the Jewish people,” March 23).
Madoff’s multi-decade deception should certainly make anything he says today suspect, particularly when the reported pronouncements are entirely self-serving. His scheme defrauded individuals and institutions alike, disproportionately affecting Jewish people and Jewish-related charitable endeavors. The drastic reduction in necessary social services and the demise of whole institutions as a result of his scheme undoubtedly led to scores of deaths, making him an indirect murderer multiple times over.
For Madoff to claim that he “made more money for Jewish people and charities than I’ve lost” is particularly specious, as he never actually “made” money; his Ponzi scheme operated for decades by paying earlier investors with the capital funds of newer investors. It’s impossible to claim that he made money when no real investing actually occurred.
Unfortunately, we can’t credit Madoff’s current assertions as delusional, as he’s quite clearly aiming for some sort of ex post facto salvation. But he deserves no quarter and should be left to rot and be ignored in his cell. If people do deign to remember him, they should recall him as a liar, cheat and betrayer of trust, nothing more.
Sir, – In “Fire the defense minister” (Observations, March 21), Alon Pinkas writes that the “defense ministers of Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan... or any other US ally would never dare... moan, groan, complain or disparage US policy.”
He is quite right. In a conflict, the US would never dare demand that Britain divide its capital and give one half to its enemy; Canada free convicted terrorist murderers; Germany agree to non-defensible borders; France return land conquered in an unprovoked war; Italy tolerate thousands of missiles and rockets launched on its civilian cities; or Japan negotiate with a man who praises, glorifies and rewards people who kill innocent men, women and children.
Sir, – What a shame that Lior Akerman’s well-written piece about Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and his doubts that peace with the Palestinians can ever be achieved (“Ya’alon just said what everyone else is thinking,” Observations, March 21) was partly spoiled by his nonsensical comment that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “is not currently capable of convincing his cabinet to make any kind of concessions whatsoever.”
It should be pointed out that since becoming prime minister in 2009, Netanyahu has made a number of concessions, including a 10-month settlement freeze shortly after taking office and, most recently, the release of convicted terrorists, which was apparently necessary to induce the Palestinians to enter into negotiations.
As for the allegation about neither side being “seriously motivated” to reach a solution, such uncalled-for even-handedness shows a bias on the part of the writer that is hard to stomach. In the present so-called peace negotiations, the Palestinians do not hide their fervent wish for our country to be destroyed, while Netanyahu, by way of contrast, shows a determination to leave no stone unturned in his efforts to bring about peace, even though, as the article stated, such a prospect is seen by many as a vain hope.
Window is closing
Sir, – With regard to “Top UK vet challenges shechita” (March 9), the chief veterinary officer of the UK is now leading a campaign again Jewish religious slaughter. What is interesting is that he resorts to bare-faced lies and emotive words. He describes it as a “ritual,” which it isn’t. He says the animals bleed to death, which isn’t true. He calls stunning humane; anyone who has seen it will know it is far from humane.
Halacha ensures sub-second unconsciousness, cutting the sole artery to the brain. It should be noted that non-kosher animals like the pig have a subsidiary artery at the back of the neck, making humane slaughter impossible.
The feeling is growing that UK Jewry has its head stuck in the sand. Some representative Jewish panels either stay muted so as not to cause trouble (the Board of Deputies) or openly turn against Israel in order to curry favor (the Jewish Leadership Council).
There is palpable anti-Jewish feeling growing in the UK that is not seeking the cover of Israel. It seems that the political correctness campaigns, originally focused on people of color and now on Muslims, have bypassed the Jews, although Jews have a knack of being oblivious to this.
Jews mixing with their own circle or just dealing with nice people at work are living increasingly in a make-believe world. By the time they realize it’s time to leave, their fortunes, tied up in their property value, will crash, as many will seek to leave at the same time. Far fetched? Just look across the Channel as the once-thriving French Jewish community is being devastated.
The window for a comfortable aliya is now closing. Sure, it might stay open for a few decades, but who wants to wait until the last minute when anything can happen.
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