Steyn's so fine
Sir, - The juxtaposition of your November 20 front-page Comment & Features articles told a riveting story of its own. Mark Steyn says the future of France lies in its success in sorting out relationships with the Muslim minorities exploding in its midst. Below, Michel Marcus tells us there is no Muslim problem in France. One of these writers is giving us a lot of spin without much substance.
The most telling argument comes from Steyn, who describes exactly the attitude we see throughout Marcus's piece: "France faces tough choices... [but] in Paris you can't even talk about them honestly." Marcus says that "young people are directly challenging the state by attacking its representatives." So the State of France is suddenly represented by thousands of parked cars? And it's a "young people" problem.
To whether Europe has learned anything in the last 60 years my answer is that the Europeans have buried their heads so deep in the sand as to have lost all sense of reality. When they manage to extricate them, or are hit so hard that their heads pop up, they will find a world for which they are totally unprepared.
All kudos to Steyn, who always manages to tell it like it is, and not like how he thinks his readers want to hear it.
Law with teeth?
Sir, - Re "Austrians complete probe into Irving Holocaust denial case" (November 20): I wonder if the Austrians will have the guts to do their duty and give this man a 20-year prison sentence, or whether they will chicken out so as not to upset the UK.
Sir, - So Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is insisting he did not deliberately target a wedding party in a triple bombing that left 59 Jordanian civilians dead, and has appealed to Muslims to believe that he was not attacking them ("Al-Zarqawi threatens to behead Abdullah," November 20). He went on to say: "Our brothers knew their targets with great precision. God knows we chose these hotels only after more than two months of close observation.
Now there are reports that a jihad bomber detonated his car in a crowd of Shi'ite mourners north of Baghdad, killing at least 36 people and raising the death toll in two days of attacks against Shi'ites to more than 120.
No doubt we will again be assured that this wicked and evil deed was carried out by "our brothers who knew their targets with great precision." It would seem that even a funeral and its mourners are considered legitimate targets.
JACK DE METZ
Westcliff on Sea, UK
Against the Islamic Fascists
Sir, - In the 1930s and early '40s the world did nothing about the targeted murder of people because they were Jews. Almost all countries denied Jews safe haven, sending them back into the hands of their Nazi murderers. In recent times many of these same countries are drawing a moral equivalency between the targeted murder of Jews by Islamic Fascist Palestinian suicide bombers and the IDF's targeted killing of their leaders.
Why, now, are people in the West, including Muslims, surprised that these Islamic Fascists have also targeted other Muslims for suicide murder? The Koran is clear: As well as non-Muslims, kill Muslims who associate with your enemy as they are considered non-believers.
How many more innocent people will have to be slaughtered before there is a united front of Muslims, Christians and Jews against the Islamic Fascists?
A different coup
Sir, - Secretary of State Rice pressured Prime Minister Sharon to ease Israeli controls on the Gaza border ("Condi's coup," November 18). While Rice's goal is certainly to increase the likelihood of peace, this move may in fact only lead to more weapons being smuggled into Gaza, increasing the likelihood of more terrorism.
To move toward a real peace, pressuring Israel on border issues should not be Rice's priority. Instead she should concentrate on pressuring Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, to honor his commitments to the road map, disarm and dismantle the terrorist groups, arrest the terrorists and end the anti-Israel incitement in the government-controlled schools and media. If that were achieved, it would be a step toward real reconciliation.
MORTON A. KLEIN
Zionist Organization of America
Life on the line
Sir, - At this time, as I join Israelis and Arabs alike in remembering the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, I share a deep sense of loss for a visionary who had the guts to place his life on the line in a struggle for peace between Jews and Arabs ("Israeli Arabs recall Rabin as enforcer turned peacemaker," November 18).
Sir, - It is very interesting to know what will be the new Israeli direction in the coming elections with Mr. Amir Peretz as head of the Labor Party. I hope the result with the other party candidates will be a premier not giving up more land, in return for "peace" with the Palestinians. And I hope the gap between rich and poor Israelis will be narrowed ("Peretz, the morning after," Larry Derfner, November 17).
Copan Ruinas, Guatemala
Bite, not bark
Sir, - Your columnists Caroline Glick ("Israel's judicial tyranny," November 18), Evelyn Gordon ("Aharon Barak's agenda," November 17) and Jonathan Rosenblum ("Toward a renewed Jewish identity," UpFront, November 18) have done a most able job of diagnosing the ills of our judicial system. However, I doubt that the establishment finds the appearance of this diagnosis in print any more troubling than the proverbial barking dogs are to the passing convoy. To be effective your columnists must also tell readers about practical measures for change that people who agree with them should undertake.
Sir, - Were I an extreme left-winger, secular and/or not particularly in love with the governing practices of the State of Israel I would not hesitate to submit correspondence in support of those values. However, to use the term "us poor folks," as your letter-writer does in "Optimistically pessimistic?" (November 18), when one can afford the privilege of living in a private retirement home is beyond gall. Get thee gone, Stalin is no more.
Sir, - Despite a similarity in their profiles, it was easy to tell the pope from our president in your November 18 front-page picture: The pope was the one wearing the yarmulke!