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Whose moral excellence?
Sir, – What Donniel Hartman’s op-ed lacks in clarity, it
more than makes up for with sanctimony.
Hartman’s piece (“The future of
Zionism depends on moral excellence,” September 26) is a great case in point of
a growing political phenomenon: the substitution of seemingly self-evident
platitudes for reasoned thinking.
What are we to do with his “moral
excellence”? Why does building in Ma’aleh Adumim allow us to wrap ourselves in
the mantel of moral excellence, while building in Ofra does not? And how does
the president of a major institute focused on education decry “educating
Israelis and Jews about its history?” Why is it incumbent on Israel to be
looking to flee areas that it came to control through justifiable self-defense
when all history has shown that such behavior has proven to be self-defeating?
Why is that morally excellent? One thing that Hartman gets exactly right is that
often our greatest enemy lies within. However, for Israel that great enemy today
is the crowd of self-righteous Jews who are uncomfortable with Israel’s
tenacious assertion of its own rights and claims.
If only Dr. Hartman
would study the Jewish history he deems to be so deleterious. He would find that
wishful thinking wrapped up as great moral aspirational posturing has been our
downfall time after time.DOUGLAS ALTABEF
Sir, – Regarding
Donniel Hartman’s op-ed: It is absolutely absurd to describe a people who, in
response to brazen aggression, return to a land that under international law
belonged to no one, as “occupiers.”
One would have to adopt a false
narrative about Arab residents who were supposedly on the land “from time
immemorial” to see us as occupiers.
Joan Peters long ago did a masterful
job proving that most of the Arab inhabitants of the land were migrants from all
over the Middle East who came here, following the waves of Jewish immigration,
to find employment and better living conditions.
Dr. Hartman, your
morality poses a clear and present danger to Jewish lives and makes the peace
process so much more difficult. Any Palestinian reading your essay and others
like it would naturally conclude that we are the bad guys and he is the poor,
aggrieved, occupied victim.
You paint a grotesque and distorted picture
Your fellow Jews are aggressors and occupiers, cruel and
brutal, and the Arabs are underdogs fighting for their dignity and
Why should any Arab want to make concessions or
for peace? Your morality encourages Arab intransigence and much, much
Over the last 63 years, little Israel has taken in
Jews who have fled from lands of oppression (including Arab lands). Our
antagonists, on the other hand, have shown inhumanity to Arab refugees
the main, fled because their leadership told them to, so that they could
back and take over all the Jewish homes.
I profess to ascribe to a
morality, the most significant and vital of all.
statelessness and following the Holocaust, the safety and security of
People in this Land and worldwide is the highest good.
underprivileged Palestinians, whose cause you champion, pose the
to that moral principle. In 63 years and since the 1993 Oslo accords, I
recall a single compromise, concession, or gesture of peace or goodwill
them, while every concession of ours brought bloodshed in its wake. The
disengagement need not be belabored any more. Only people who are
reality still think it was a great idea.
Our policy should always
build, build, build, so that if the enemy does not wake up and become
soon, there will be nothing left for him. Incidentally, aggressors who
pay a penalty.
Dr. Hartman, Jewish lives are infinitely more
than your bleeding-heart morality! Your morality has cost us dearly. I
thought that it was long ago discredited, but it seems I was mistaken.
fact, the future of the Jewish people depends on the excellence of
Turn inward, and look out for the needs of your own
we are not for ourselves, who will be for us? RABBI SHOLOM GOLD