Ilhan Omar: Sticks and stones
Regarding “Ilhan Omar’s antisemitism” (February 12), Omar says that Jews are buying off the US to support Israel. It is sad and frightening that in this age a new member of the Congress has as her first order of business an attack on the Jews of America. It gives one shivers.
The speaker of the house asked her to apologize, however, what we need to hear is not an apology but an outright dismissal from the Committee on Foreign Affairs and from the Democratic Party.
Omar previously stated that Israel has hypnotized the world and now she says Jews have purchased control of the USA. She is well down the road of Israel bashing and Jew hating; what comes next is attacks on Jews. In France, Britain and all countries that promote anti-Israel propaganda, people verbally attack Israel and then physically attack Jews. Jews are frightened in Europe; thank goodness they still feel safe in America. But for how long, if elected representatives continue to stir up the population with vile comments on Israel and Jews?
Omar’s views are clear, so what is she apologizing for? For the fact that she got called out on her racism before she had a chance to implement whatever antisemitic policies she has in mind?HOWARD WOLLE
TorontoThe importance of settlement
Ezra Bernstein (“It’s time for a little more vision,” February 10) laments the fact that Zionism has been hijacked by the religious.
This is ridiculous. The contested territories were regained – not conquered – in the Six Day War. No one except Britain recognized Jordan’s authority over east Jerusalem or the West Bank. Suddenly the international courts have decided that it is illegal that Israels live in these ancestral territories that they won back fair and square from Jordan, which attacked Israel in order to drive the Jews into the sea.
Israel was willing to give up these territories to Jordan, but the Arabs responded with three no’s: no peace, no recognition, no negotiation. How convenient for the world to “forget” that – under the onslaught of Palestinian propaganda, including downright lies.
I would ask Bernstein, if not for religion (for which we have been massively persecuted) then what is the reason for us being here ?FREYA BINENFELD
Putting aside the obvious fact that it is the inalienable right for Jews to live anywhere they choose in their indigenous homeland despite its occupation by Arab colonizers, Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria have value because they promote peace.
If we adopted ideas like those proposed by Bernstein and refrained from moving into those areas or stopped all growth there, then what motivation would there be for Arabs to make the compromises necessary to forge a real peace? As long as Jews refrain from building there, the Arabs know have nothing to lose by continuing to demonize Israel and refusing to negotiate.
Expanding settlement activity is the surest path to accelerate Arab efforts to reach a settlement.SHARON JAFFE
I have genuinely tried to understand Ezra Bernstein’s point) but am left with no clarity of vision at all. His search for vision is severely clouded and fuzzy and I know why.
I counted and underlined no fewer than 10 times the word “international” or“internationally,” followed by “community,” “standing,” “recognized,” “accepted,” etc.
It would seem that Ezra places great importance on what the international community thinks about Israel. That is a disastrous guideline for Israel’s policymakers to follow.
The last time we enjoyed the world’s sympathy was following the Shoah. We will never let that happen again.
Does he mean the international community that regularly condemns Israel at the United Nations and remains absolutely silent to all the deadly evil perpetrated by so many rogue dictatorial entities? Are they the ones whose approval we crave?
Ezra seems to question the security value of settlements. I suggest that he study the ongoing calamitous aftermath of the Gush Katif expulsion.SHOLOM GOLD
JerusalemUnity in the world’s darkest times
Alex Ryvchin (“Amnesty International renews its attack on an old foe,” February 10) identifies the September 2001 World Conference Against Racism’s NGO forum as the origin of the “long war waged by… human rights organizations intent on turning public opinion against Israel.” His description of the “appalling racism” that characterized that event brought back perhaps the most memorable week of my diplomatic career.
As a member of the US delegation to the ill-conceived conference, I witnessed the contempt and hatred that “honorable” people felt toward Israel and the Jewish people. Demonstrators chanted antisemitic slogans, distributed caricatures of Jews that would have done 1930’s Nazis proud, and brandished The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This was the only time in my diplomatic career – including service in Iraq in 2004 and in Israel during two wars – when I feared for my personal safety.
I was proud that the US withdrew from the hate-fest. Following our emergency evacuation from Durban, I returned to the ostensible safety of American soil.
Days later, our report on the Durban conference was interrupted as we were informed that the Twin Towers had been hit. I watched plumes of smoke rising from the Pentagon. For the second time in a week, I participated in an evacuation – this time from the State Department building itself.
These two events demonstrate that the fates of Israel and the US are inextricably linked. Both countries represent freedom, democracy and human rights against forces of evil that would return the world to its darkest times. We must not forget that we are strongest when we act together to further our common values. EFRAIM A. COHEN
Former US diplomat
Zichron YaakovCash for killers
Regarding “PA: If we have one dollar, we will spend it on ‘martyrs’” (February 11), the fact that they admit that they prioritize use of the money given to them to incentivize and reward murderers seems like a pretty good reason to not give them even one dollar.IRV FAUNCE
The PA said if Israel deducts the funds that it collects from the tariffs and duties it collects on their behalf it will not accept any of the money Israel transfers to it under the terms of the Oslo Accords – more than 100 million dollars a month.
I say so be it. If you don’t like, it sue us. This action is the result of this latest heinous murder and should be a tipping point where enough is enough.
The government’s paramount duty is the protection of its people and their voices should be heard loud and clear whatever it takes.
For the PA, the lesson to be learned is hurt one and you hurt us all.STEPHEN VISHNICK
David Weinberg points out (“Et tu, Benny?” February 8) that Benny Gantz favors “unilateral Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank.” However, continues Weinberg, “precedents prove that unilateral Israeli withdrawals only guarantee continuation of the conflict and even its escalation”
Albert Einstein once remarked that a sure sign of insanity is to do something again and again in the hope that somehow, this time the results will be different.PROF. NATHAN AVIEZER
Regarding “Gantz is firing blanks (February 11), why would anyone in Israel vote for another former ramatcal (military chief of staff) as prime minister?
We have had now three former chiefs of staff as prime ministers all with horrible legacies.
After the failed prime ministerships of Yitzhak Rabin (Oslo Accords), Ehud Barak (exit from Lebanon and failed Camp David conference) and Ariel Sharon (disengagement from Gaza), why would anyone think that Benny Gantz would be any better?NORMAN DEROVAN
Ma’aleh AdumimNot Israel? Not news
In “Egypt pumps toxic gas into smuggling tunnel, killing two Palestinians” (February 12) there is no mention of any international outcry or calls for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council, over this “murder of innocent civilians” as would almost certainly have been the case had Israel been the “perpetrator.”
Do I detect a hint of double standards? Or am I suffering from Jewish paranoia?MARTIN D. STERN
Salford, EnglandCounterproductive cartel
Your editorial “Medical Ariel” (February 10) is not only correct, but a timely alert and warning to the government of Israel and the public. The “cartelization” of educational facilities and funds by some unscrupulous administrative heads of our institutions of negatively impacts higher learning – not only in development of educational facilities, but also in the sponsoring, publication, funding and encouragement of original research.
This should be a wake-up call to our ministers to revamp this committee and to install on its board a governmental representative not affiliated to any university to oversee that they do not violate the trust of the public at large.
I believe the state controller should investigate this subject. NISSIM MOSES
Indian/ Bene Israel Heritage ResearchFinns and the Holocaust
Regarding “Report confirms Finnish soldiers took part in Jewish massacres during the Holocaust (February 11), the headline and wording in the article are misleading. The headline refers to “Finnish soldiers,” implying that the volunteers who worked with the SS were in the Finnish military, which is not apparently the case. This falsely implicates the Finnish people as a whole, and rightly would be considered offensive and slanderous by any Finns.
The headline belies what should be the lede (which is somewhat buried in the article, which is “Zuroff praised Finland for its ‘willingness to investigate and expose a dark chapter in its history, which had previously never been revealed, [which is] an example of unique and exemplary civic courage’ and for their determination to expose the historical truth even if it was painful and uncomfortable.” Shraga Engelczyn
Reporter Ilanit Chernick responds:
After being attacked by the Soviets and fighting a bitter war between 1939 and early 1940, Finland decided to align itself with Nazi Germany – entering into a pact – out fear of further attack by the Soviets.
As part of the pact, Nazi SS chief Heinrich Himmler insisted that Finland dispatch soldiers (volunteers from the Finnish military) to the SS Wiking division. These are the Finns who, according to the report I wrote about, murdered Jews in the Ukraine during the Holocaust. This is similar to the military manpower the Germans demanded from Nazi-occupied Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, among others.
The story here is not about Dr. Zuroff’s praise (I mention his important role in the second graf of the article). The story is about the revelation that Finland played a role in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust, something that has been hidden and unexplored for the last 70 years. It is truly commendable that Finland openly acknowledged their dark and difficult past, with the encouragement and hard work by Zuroff.Not ‘apart’ – rather, taking part
Regarding “Amnesty International renews its attack on an old foe” (February 10), one of the epithets used to falsely attack Israel/ Zionism/ Jews is “Apartheid.”
Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial segregation in South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s. The non-European (non-white) population of South Africa did not have the vote and so had no representation in government and parliament. They had to carry ID cards and were not allowed to live in “white” neighborhoods.
Their schooling was inferior. They did not attend university so couldn’t aspire to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. Medical attention was second-rate; they were not treated at superior “white” hospitals. They had separate public transport, entrances to banks and post-offices, park benches, beaches and were not admitted to any hotels.
I know all this personally, as I was born and grew up in South Africa.
Calling Israel an apartheid state implies that the Arab population in Israel is similarly treated by the Jewish majority. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Every citizen of Israel has the right to vote and there are a number of Druze and Arab members of Knesset with complete freedom of speech.
The percentage of Arab students in Israeli universities and colleges is similar to that in the general population. Jewish and Arab patients attend hospitals and clinics staffed by Jewish and Arab doctors and nurses; the director of one of the major hospitals is an Arab.
Arabs and Jews mingle freely in buses, at shopping malls, holiday resorts, recreation centers and beaches. They travel overseas on Israeli passports.
I know all this personally because I live in Israel.
If you call Israel an Apartheid state, you are a deliberate falsifier of facts, an inherent antisemite or simply ignorant of the real facts.BERYL RATZER
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