May 26: Memory rules

As the saying goes, "Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad."

May 25, 2009 20:25

letters 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Memory rules Sir, - As the saying goes, "Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad." What madness of some right-wing politicians to wish to make it illegal for Israeli Arabs to mark the Nakba ("Arab MK says Israel like third Reich after anti-'nakba' bill advances," May 25). For generations, the nations have tried to prevent the Jews from marking their historical disasters, and failed. We of all people should understand the importance of memory and the impossibility of eliminating it, even by law. Let Israel's Arabs mark what was for them a disaster and in time they will, perhaps, realize that it was their leaders who led them to it as much, or even more, than anything the Jews did in self-defense. They may begin to learn that there are consequences to starting wars and losing them. TOM WEINBERGER Jerusalem Sharp and true Sir, - In her sharp "Lament in Oslo" (May 24), Elena Bonner was able to say in a few sentences what many of us feel: namely, that "two states for two peoples" would eventually lead to only one state, cleansed of all Jews. SUSI RUBIN-COHN Haifa Sir, - Just my thoughts based on years of experience dealing with Middle Eastern people in business: Give them a cookie, they want a glass of milk. As much as I like President Obama, I think he should be careful in his statements on the region's affairs. A Palestinian state next to Israel will never work; the Arabs will want more and more. If the Arabs feel the Palestinians should have a state, let them give it to them. They have a lot of land and plenty of money. And more important than any of this: The Bible states woe to any nation that stands against His people. And by the way, I am a Christian. TOM CARVELLAS Yucca Valley, California Sir, - Survival of the fittest Darwinian laws apply to civilizations also. If the Israelis keep getting duped by the land-for-peace gambit, then the damn fools deserve to go the way of the Dodo bird. JOHN PROFIT Boston Elusive peace Sir, - In response to "Obama: Innocent abroad" (May 22), my only question is: Of all the politicians whom Jonathan Spyer would consider as having vast experience in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, can he name a single one who has been successful in bringing peace and security to the region? Failure to do so would dismiss the argument that "experience" lies at the heart of securing peace and stability in the Middle East. THOMAS JACKSON Indiana The case for strength Sir, - Both your May 22 editorial "The week that was" ("Israel needs to ensure that it does not allow itself to be depicted as the obstacle to peace") and Caroline Glick's "Netanyahu's peace plan" (same date), which defined Netanyahu's greatest challenges in office as "prevent(ing) Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons while preventing the Obama administration from blaming Israel for the absence of peace," assume that peace is possible. Is this assumption based on reality? Yes, but not the way the Koran defines peace, which is submission by all to Muslim rule. So we need peace defined in a way which would fit both sides. Does such a way exist? Yes. Muslims are permitted not to wage jihad if the infidel side is perceived as too strong, in which case 10 years of hudna or cease-fire is permitted, after which the conditions for jihad are reevaluated. The best we can therefore hope for, until these concepts are rendered obsolete by Muslims themselves, is a perpetual state of back-to-back, 10-year-long hudnas. Clearly, amid such a reality, Israel's strength would not be perceived as an obstacle to peace, but as the only viable solution. MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC Beersheba The counter-jihad Sir, - "The State Department's love affair with Islamists" (May 25), Steven Emerson's discussion of what amounts to sloppy propaganda by American foreign policy makers, is another example of how the counter-jihad is best fought by an educated public. Slowly but surely, private citizens such as Bridgette Gabriel, Robert Spencer, Ali Sina, Steve Emerson and many others have staked out crucial niches in the blogosphere, where they lead a small but growing cadre of sophisticated pundits who aim ideological missiles at the Global Jihad. Many of these experts have personal backgrounds in Islamic lands, lending their expertise depth and passion. In this battle, we must look to the people for leadership, and not to a government bureaucracy. DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont Cataclysm now Sir, - Reading Caroline Glick's "The Europe of our dreams" (May 15), my thoughts focused on the exponential and pervasive rise in anti-Semitism there. Jabotinsky expended himself trying to convince European Jewry to make aliya, or at least get out. He failed, and the price will be an eternal scar on history. While God has sent no human messenger now, He is the obvious source of the same increasingly ominous message. The forces of final conflict are so massively converging that no rational individual can fail to see that we are coming to a cataclysm in history. Speaking sympathetically to European Jews who rationalize their refusal to see the writing on the wall, I would say: "Betray me once, it's your fault. Betray me twice, it's mine." PESACH GOODLEY Telz Stone More optimism, hope than a year ago Sir, - The respective victories and summit of Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu represent an exhilarating sea change over last year. Consider: • America's dynamic president, who combines the best of America's heartland, the best of the important Third World, and Kennedy's idealism; who also has an honest broker's ability to help bring Israel peace and security, and who is helping America - and the 80 percent of Jewish America that supports him - "rejoin the world." • The president of Israel tells AIPAC: "A tsunami of hope is rolling across the globe; its center is right here in America... I am convinced... (Obama) has the capacity to turn the crises into opportunity. May I say to President Obama - you are young enough to offer hope to the world and great enough to bring it to life." • Israel's dynamic premier, whom Israelis want to succeed, as Americans do Obama. • Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who does not spook me (and I don't know why he spooks the far Left). He will trade territories and, since the Right trusts him, can deliver. • Netanyahu videos AIPAC not only that "I respect President Obama," but "I believe that with the cooperation of President Obama and President Abbas, we can defy the skeptics. We can surprise the world." How much better off we are now with Obama and Netanyahu, who are popular, effective, realistic and have the will and strength to cooperate and deliver. The defective Saudi peace plan is not cast in stone - consider how far the Arabs have come since Khartoum's Three Noes. Nor is time cast in stone. The world changes, time is sometimes actually on our side, and - whether or not it is this time - how much more optimism and hope there is than just a year ago! ("Netanyahu: US to present new plan," May 18). JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts

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