(photo credit: REUTERS)
From time to time, we read proposals for recruiting Israeli citizens for centrally organized public relations efforts on the country’s behalf. The problem is that consensus runs only so deep. Would a citizen recruit be authorized to publicly oppose ceding the Golan? Suggest annexing the West Bank? Call Hamas a potential peace partner? Call Oslo a mistake? Lawrence J. Epstein’s suggestion (“Israeli ‘e-residents,’” Comment & Features, June 24) would thus mean creating a force that cannot be governed.
Certainly, the state can’t deploy thought police.
What if a well-organized anti-Zionist effort produces a letter signed by tens of thousands of e-residents calling Israel a criminal state or endorsing a boycott? In a less extreme case, simply suppose the e-residents held an alternative Knesset election and favored a different Israeli political party.
The state could be easily embarrassed by those it attempts to embrace, and as cases such as J Street have shown, the motivation to embarrass Israel by use of Jewish voices is widespread.
MARK L. LEVINSON
Herzliya Burke’s law
In “Nuclear protocol” (“On My Mind,” June 23), Kenneth Bandler discusses ongoing negotiations on Iran’s nuclear development.
He writes: “US Secretary of State John Kerry said last week that historical behavior is not as important as Iran’s future commitment.”
I wish to call his attention to a well-known aphorism by Edmund Burke, the 18th-century Irish statesman and philosopher, who famously said: “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”
Jerusalem Just one problem
Mikhail Fridman commends US actor Michael Douglas for embracing his Jewish identity and passing it on to his son (“The Genesis Prize: Reflecting on Jewishness,” Observations, June 19). Very nice. But there is one problem: Mr.
Douglas is not Jewish, and neither is his son.
If the actor wants to identify with being Jewish, he is more than welcome to become Jewish, which is not just culture and philosophy, nor rituals performed mechanically. It is a state of being, a “head” space, an understanding of how the world works and an interactive relationship between a person and He who created him.
Anything else is being either a robot or merely fashionable.
Jerusalem Give it a try
The most basic obstacle to a two-state solution with the Palestinians is the very real possibility of terrorists like Hamas, ISIS or others taking control of the West Bank and turning it into a terrorist stronghold, bristling with missiles and making ordinary life impossible in every corner of the country.
The United States and other peace brokers have long argued that this problem can be solved with rock-solid security guaranties.
They envision some type of international force patrolling the territory, preventing weapon smuggling and a terrorist takeover.
Israelis are understandably skeptical, given the track record of such forces.
Today, though, there is a golden opportunity to test such a force. That opportunity is called Gaza.
Inviting such a force into the Gaza Strip would accomplish one of two things.
First, it might just work. If it does, everyone benefits – Israel, from new-found security on its southern border, and Gaza, from the opportunities that could be available when it is no longer ruled by Hamas and no longer under blockade.
Israel risks very little under this plan, for it has no presence in Gaza and no desire for one.
But if the experiment fails, it will also benefit because its position on the necessity of a permanent military presence in the West Bank will be validated in the field.