Accord with Turkey
After six years, our “negotiators” reached an understanding with Turkey (“Jerusalem and Ankara agree to normalize ties,” June 27).
One has the feeling that Turkey needed this move more than Israel. However, as in previous negotiations, our team missed a wonderful opportunity: We agreed to allow Turkey to provide humanitarian aid via Ashdod to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s true friends, the leaders of Hamas; could our negotiators not have told the other side, “You can start your shipments after Israel receives a humanitarian gesture from your Gazan friends by returning the Israelis they are holding, as well as the remains of our soldiers”?
Turkey would have hemmed and hawed, but in the end, it would have had to take action, and not just compose a letter promising to do so in the future.
Do we really believe that this leopard is going to change his spots? My only hope is that we do not build a gas pipeline to Turkey and give the Turks a chance later on to renege and hold us hostage to their demands. Much better to build a pipeline to Cyprus, where we have a far more reliable and trustworthy partner.EMANUEL FISCHER Jerusalem
At the end of May 2010, the Mavi Marmara, a “humanitarian aid” ship sent to the Gaza Strip by the radical Turkish Islamist organization IHH, was boarded by IDF soldiers.
In addition to genuine humanitarian workers, several passengers were trained commandos, IHH terrorists who had prepared weapons in advance and viciously attacked the soldiers, beating one with a metal bar so severely he almost died. The entire episode was extensively documented by Israel, and the documentation is easily accessible on several websites.
The Turks who died were the victims of their own stupidity and years of vicious brainwashing. The thought that my tax money will go to Turkey, quite frankly, turns my stomach.ELIZABETH YUVAL Kiryat Tivon
This is just another example of rewarding bad behavior. The rewards are never enough, and only spur the perpetrators to even greater abuses.
SAM ROSENBLUM Beit Shemesh Gentile identity style
Dennis Ross is the victim of an optical illusion (“Report: As Israel becomes more nationalistic, liberal US Jews become distant,” June 27).
Like calling the dawn “sunrise” (the sun is not rising, the earth is turning), it is not Israel that is “changing and becoming more distant.” It is US Jews de-Judaizing at warp speed.
The reality is that most US Jews do not live Jewish lives as have been lived for thousands of years (e.g., keeping the Sabbath, practicing the spiritual appetite control of kashrut). Ross’s US Jews are typically non-observant Americans who might identify as Jews, but commonly spend no more than a few hours each year doing something distinctively Jewish (e.g., attending a Passover Seder, fasting on Yom Kippur).
This mass of nominal Jews, likewise, know no more of the reality of Israel than what they see and read in the news, which is commonly a distortion of the truth. Of course, they have no feelings for us Jews in Israel under these circumstances.
And Ross deludes himself when advising more programs like Birthright, at the same time saying that “Israel is becoming more nationalistic.” Which is it? If they recoil from national identity, what is the point of trying to sell them an Israeli national identity? Unless Jewish identity radiates from its true, religious core, Ross’s gentile-style of identity must fail.SHA’I BEN-TEKOA Efrat Where’s the logic?
In “De-risking peace – Part 4” (Encountering Peace, June 23), Gershon Baskin predicts how many Israelis would vote for a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
What he is not wiling to do is predict how many Palestinians would approve.
It is very hard to understand his analysis when, at the same time, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is blatantly accusing Jews of wanting to poison Palestinian wells.MATTHIAS ROTENBERG Petah Tikva Let’s get real
Douglas Bloomfield wrote an interesting column (“What hath Bernie wrought?” Washington Watch, June 23), but I disagree with a lot of his analyses.
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might be leading Israel in the wrong direction (actually, his leadership is more directionless than anything else), but this was not the cause of the schism in US-Israeli relations. The schism was caused by President Barak Obama’s policy of trying to establish daylight between the US and Israel in order to be more appealing to the Arab world.
2. Netanyahu is not swinging Israel to the far-Right. If anything, he is trying to bring the Likud to the Center.
3. Bernie Sanders’s call for a more evenhanded approach to Israel has been heard before, mostly from Arabists in the State Department and pro-Arab lobbyists sponsored by the petroleum companies. That is what disturbs those in the American Jewish leadership who have been around long enough to have heard it all before and understand exactly what evenhandedness means.
4. I have heard several times about Netanyahu’s alleged endorsement of 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. However, no one has been able to produce a public statement by Netanyahu to that effect. Private statements don’t count – unless we also count Obama’s aside to Russian President Vladimir Putin, caught on an open microphone, that the Israeli prime minister was a big pain in the butt.
5. Whether or not Netanyahu wants to see a Palestinian state alongside Israel is not important. He has publicly committed himself to the two-state solution, and did it before an audience at Bar-Ilan University that should have been opposed to this view. It cost him politically. Every time someone like Bloomfield insists that Netanyahu is not committed, he or she is simply ignoring what goes on in Israeli politics.
6. I find it rather ironic that the only people treating the Palestinians without respect and dignity are the pro-Palestinian types like Sanders, who refuse to look at what the Palestinians are saying and doing, and continue to treat them like little children.
There is a lot to criticize about Netanyahu’s performance as prime minister. I don’t like the man. I have never voted for him and most likely never will. What I find unacceptable, though, is criticism based on falsehoods.
Let’s get real when talking about what is going on here.EFRAIM PERLMUTTER Sde Nitzan Wasn’t a Nazi
I am the son of Hanns Scharff, the interrogator who is the subject of “FBI gets an unexpected lesson in interrogation from a former Nazi” (Comment & Features, June 26).
With all due respect and appreciation for the complimentary article published about my father, I must point out that he was not a member of the Nazi party. He was simply a businessman drafted into the German army, and never rose above the rank of corporal despite being very successful in his job.
Yes, since he was in the German forces, one could say he was interrogating for the Nazis.
But that is far cry from being a Nazi.HANNS CHRISTIAN SCHARFF Carlsbad, California
CORRECTION The correct line from Tennyson’s Locksley Hall is “In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love,” and not as stated in “All you need is love” (Trivia Quiz, Arts & Entertainment, June 28).