The real stench
Sir, – On the front page of your May 4 issue you had an article
about a mysterious odor that covered the Tel Aviv region. It was headlined
“What’s that foul smell?” The answer was on Page 4: “Yigal Amir’s brother and
coconspirator Hagai Amir to be released today.”
Watching Amir’s family
welcome home its hero on the evening news made me even sicker than did the foul
Sir, – Regarding “IDF removes
key W. Bank roadblocks” (May 4), does the army really believe that the so-called
cooperation it has with the Palestinian Authority to curb Hamas terrorism is in
any way related to the Palestinians’ intention to live with us in peace?
insanity goes on, with Israel continuing to allow Palestinian battalions to
train in Jordan when eight, including 4,000 American-trained soldiers who are
conveniently called “policemen,” are already deployed in the West Bank. I seem
to recall that the Oslo Accords called for 400 to 600, but who’s counting?
should be no doubt that these highly trained men will eventually turn their
weapons on us and we will have been the author of our own
While we are spending billions on fortifications to prepare
for the war we know is coming, it never occurs to those who should know better
to actually destroy the enemy rather than wait for it to make war. We refuse to
acknowledge facts on the ground and, like the ostrich, prefer to bury our heads
in the sand. Our bodies will follow in due course.
Tough like Maggie
Sir, – The Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails who started
the hunger strike are the ones who need to stop it, not the Israeli government
(“High Court drama as MK Tibi treats fainting Palestinian prisoner,” May
Looking back to 1981, IRA terrorists in British jails did the same
but finally stopped after 10 of their number died. The British press hailed this
as a triumph for then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher. It prompted Sinn Féin to
move toward electoral politics and eventual peace negotiations.
government needs to take the same position as Thatcher. Once you start
paying a blackmailer it never stops. This now goes for the hunger
Sir, – I am stunned
at the very real possibility that the government will vote to hold early
elections (“Election fever,” Editorial, May 4), especially considering that this
is the most stable government the country has had in years.
Where is the
responsibility to citizens who will have to foot the enormous expense of pre and
post-election juggling? Even taking into consideration new parties (Atid) and
new party leaders (Shaul Mofaz), the Likud will get the most seats and Yisrael
Beytenu will still join the coalition, as will the religious parties.
knows how much fatter a new government, and the resulting expense, will be? Does
anyone really believe that anything will change? Why does it seem like people
view elections as a kind of lottery game, constantly turning to statistics to
predict seats? What is the matter with this country?
must show them
Sir, – Uri Savir (“The ‘Hasbara’ Syndrome,” Savir’s Corner, May
4) asserts that “No country in the world, except for us, has an explanation
policy,” and concludes naively, “Good policy sells itself.”
Even the most
moral policy can be of limited value if it is not adequately publicized and
explained. Consider the minimal benefit in world opinion from the Lebanon
pullout and Gaza disengagement.
The activities of the US Department of
State’s Bureau of Public Affairs are just one example of the importance that
Western democracies place on spreading their message globally. The bureau spends
millions each year to advance America’s values and policies through a wide range
of educational, cultural and traditional press events.
For too many
years, Israel labored under the misguided assumption that the rest of the world
would recognize the morality of its actions. By remaining silent, it gave free
rein to its enemies to define the issues and convince anyone who would listen
that their narrative was the only truth.
Certainly, good policies are
essential. But robust proactive public diplomacy – hasbara – is a vital weapon
in the battle against those who would deny Israel’s very right to exist as a
Jewish state. As with any other democracy, Israel must not only do good, it must
be seen to be doing good.
EFRAIM A. COHEN
served as cultural attaché at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Sir, – Very
many years ago, when I was a prosecutor in traffic court, many an accused would
ask, “Why did the cop stop and ticket me when there were others committing the
same offense and they were overlooked?” If a cop was selecting certain motorists
and ignoring others his conduct would not be acceptable because he was not being
honest. This, plain and simple, was discrimination.
South African Bishop
Desmond Tutu may be critical of Israel’s failings, but his judgment is suspect
when he ignores despotic countries where crimes against humanity are so
painfully patent and unquestionable (“Desmond Tutu urges divestment of United
Methodist Church from Israel,” May 2). Tutu is a bad cop.
Sir, – Regarding “Volatile migration” (Editorial, April
30), in the past two years Israel has been flooded with thousands of hearty and
good-willed citizens of Sudan. They are Africans abused by oil-rich African
Before returning them, Israel could train a select group as a
defense corps and provide them with weapons to fight off hostile Sudanese
aircraft and mobile terrorists back home. The rest could be taught advanced
Early on, Israel made a name for itself by exporting seeds
of the highest quality. Israel also developed the drip-method of irrigation and
found water under the desert. Six months of training would provide these
migrants with all they require for a new life in Sudan.
This is what
Judaism was intended to do. This is our raison d’etre.
In their shoes
Sir, – Two recent editorials said Israel “would like
nothing more than to live in peace” (“Right to remember,” April 23) and that the
Palestinians are more “impediments to peace than settlements” (“Power of truth,”
April 20). But it seems Israel likes the settlements even more than it does
peace or its own security.
You say the Palestinians are difficult
negotiators. But would you negotiate easily if you were in their shoes, if you
lived on the last 19 percent of your foreparents’ land and the Palestinians had
spent decades gobbling up even this with half a million settlers? The Israeli
government pretends that its brief halt to gobbling up Palestinian land was an
act of sublime ethical nobility.
This is also the Kipling-Smuts and
Orwell-Kafka doublethink of your columnists Caroline B. Glick, Sarah
Honig and Martin Sherman.
Thank heavens, though, that the Post also has
voices of ethics, justice, human decency and conscience – Gershon Baskin, Ray
Hanania and others – who oppose the relentless gobbling up of land and support
the possibility of human dignity, peace and security for all.