Democrats on Israel
Sir, – With regard to “Democratic platform removes reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital” (September 5), Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, is probably right in stating that President Barack Obama is apt to throw us under the bus. The Democrat platform does not even mention hope for a united Jerusalem. This is incomprehensible! Perhaps Democratic senators and representatives should urge Obama to make a very clear statement at the end of the election process that the party believes very strongly that Israel is the best friend America has in the world and it will work diligently to assure that Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, remains undivided.

They can take their lesson from president Ronald Reagan, who told the evil empire, the Soviet Union, that Berlin should not be a divided city.

THELMA SUSSWEIN
Jerusalem

Sir, – Thanks go out to Hilary Leila Krieger for laying out on Page 1 of your newspaper the US Democratic Party’s frightening positions on Israel. The news is symptomatic of the Obama administration’s entire belittling approach to the Jewish state.

Following statements by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Mitt Romney after the Republican presidential candidate’s visit here, it should be clear to one and all that the real red line is not Iran “acquiring nuclear weapons,” as the Democratic platform states, but nuclear weapons capability. Is the Obama administration so foolish as to tell Israel, American Jews and the world – and Iran in particular, again and again – that as long as Tehran has not armed a weapon with nuclear capability Obama will not push? Rather than Israel being “thrown under the bus,” as some would have it, Obama is doing everything possible, including the lure of expanded military aid, to make sure that Israel sits quietly inside the bus, under the illusion of security, with no hand on the wheel!

AARON BRAUNSTEIN
Jerusalem

Krauthammer gets it...

Sir, – Charles Krauthammer’s “The ‘deterrence works’ fantasy” (Comment & Features, September 4) is long overdue. Why did it take him so long to write it? It will be remembered as one of his best and possibly the one that will have the most impact on the world.

Israel indeed refuses to trust its very existence to the convenient theories of comfortable analysts living 6,000 miles from its Ground Zero. Even more so, it refuses to trust its existence to a US president who supports the most virulent anti-Semitic and anti-American organization, the Muslim Brotherhood.

MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC
Beersheba

Sir, – Charles Krauthammer aptly describes the traumatic situation that exists for Israel today. He documents thoroughly how meaningless the idea is that some military techniques work.

Krauthammer’s words need to be broadcast world-wide!

THELMA BLUMBERG ABRAMOWITZ
Jerusalem

...while others don’t

Sir, – Gershon Baskin (“Nukes out of the box,” Encountering Peace, September 4) urges Israel to end voluntarily its policy of nuclear ambiguity and place itself under IAEA inspection – all this so that the rest of the world will be “fully empowered” to oppose Iran’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons.

The purpose of Israel’s longstanding nuclear policy is not solely, or even primarily, to be a bargaining chip against the current threat from Iran. Rather, it is meant as deterrence against attacks from Israel’s many other enemies.

Even if one were to accept the untested premises of the rest of the world to oppose Iran more forcefully, and that the opposition is successful, Israel would simply be trading one threat for another.

In any event, the world already has all the justification it needs if it chooses to act. As Baskin himself states, a nuclear Iran “is an existential threat to the world.”

At a time when many experts believe a credible military option – one we all hope will never be exercised – is the best way to dissuade Iran from furthering its nuclear ambitions, Baskin would have Israel voluntarily reduce its military capabilities. Israel is the country that most reliably offers the military option as a counterweight to the failing diplomatic track.

If anything, Baskin’s suggestion would make a nuclear Iran, and a subsequent Iranian attack against Israel, much more likely.

EFRAIM A. COHEN
Zichron Ya’acov

Better monitoring
Sir, – While I agree that something needs to be done about suicidal soldiers in the Israeli army (“Suicide in the IDF,” Comment & Features, September 4), I do not know how much of the responsibility can fall on commanders.

Commanders are educated to watch over large groups of young men and build them into trained combat soldiers.

These same teenage commanders, who have been in the army for a year or so, are also given the task of dealing with suicidal soldiers. The IDF seems to believe that for troubled boys the army is a great chance to grow into a man; therefore, commanders tell their soldiers to “be strong” and it will be okay.

A soldier in my unit, who was left on base without his weapon since he had claimed he wanted to hurt himself, told me recently that he had put a loaded gun in his mouth but just couldn’t pull the trigger.

How a soldier can be on gunleave and not be seeing a psychologist – until I ran to my commanders with the news – is unexplainable.

I do not believe commanders can make proper decisions about how to deal with troubled soldiers. The army needs a new way to monitor their mental progress.

NAME WITHHELD
The writer is currently serving in the paratroopers brigade

Futile viewpoint
Sir, – David Newman (“Evacuating Migron: An exercise in futility,” Borderline Views, September 4), suggests that a possible solution to evacuation could be “cross-citizenship” for those now living in the disputed territories. Is he not aware that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has categorically stated that no Jew would be allowed in his new state? Incidentally, I would like to know why Newman considers Jewish settlers illegal, whereby the many more Arab settlers are justifiable.

DAVID FREEMAN
Netanya/London

Poor analogy
Sir, – Reader James Adler (“Crossing a line,” Letters, September 4) claims that Rachel Corrie’s death seems to have come out of a callous, inhumane and negligent value system.

He accuses the judge in the recent trial of showing terrible bias for stating that Corrie made the choice to put herself in danger and could easily have distanced herself from it. In fact, it is Adler’s own terrible bias that is revealed in his statements.

He likens Corrie’s actions to those of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Lech Walensa and Erich Honecker, all described as peaceful civil rights demonstrators, and asks if civil rights activists around the world should stay in their homes. He completely ignores the fact, mentioned by the judge, that the Philadelphi route, where the accident happened, was effectively a war zone and formally had been declared a closed military zone.

Peaceful demonstrators are all aware that placing themselves in such a zone will involve serious danger.

MONTY M. ZION
Tel Mond

Sir, – It is amazing that reader James Adler can compare Rachel Corrie, who worked together with Hamas, to the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela!

ISSY HASS
Ra’anana

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