letters to the editor 88.
(photo credit: )
Prelude to Deir Yassin
Sir, - With "The ghosts of Deir Yassin" (April 8) Yehuda Avner as usual served readers a most interesting morsel to help them understand the complexity of Israel's history. I would add only one thing:
Within sight of Deir Yassin, across a valley, lie the remains of the Roman and Crusader fortress of Castel. The Israeli forces and the Palestinians under the Grand Mufti's nephew, Abdul Kader Husseini, fought battles for this strategic stronghold, which passed from side to side for almost a month, and was in Israeli hands on April 7, 1948. After midnight the Arab leader himself was shot by a sentry and died at dawn. The news went out to all Arab villages in the vicinity.
The Israeli forces at Castel left temporarily, leaving behind wounded and some officers to look after them. Arab villagers and irregular forces came by the thousands to claim Husseini's body and, finding our wounded and other soldiers, attacked them. Those Jews who could, fought to the death. Many wounded committed suicide with grenades; the rest were killed and their bodies mutilated. When the Jews returned later they found this horrible sight.
The attack on Deir Yassin came on the morning of April 9, and I find it hard to believe that the attackers did not know about the massacre and mutilation of our troops at Castel. Did that not spur them on at Deir Yassin?
ROBERT G. KENNETH
Sir, - Since this was a classic "fog of war" event, the kind that obscures truth, I wonder if instead of knowing what really happened, everyone sees Deir Yassin in the way that best supports their view of the conflict as a whole.
It concerns me both that massacre-deniers won't admit something out of the ordinary may have happened, and that massacre-affirmers don't notice that in most wars atrocities happen on both sides, and that Jews were mainly more humane and did not have to be spotlessly immaculate to be mainly in the right in the 1948 war.
Sir, - Re "Irish artists' call to boycott Israel meets with mockery" (April 8): It appears that the "mockery" in question emanated from one journalist - a notorious right-wing contrarian - writing for the Evening Herald. However, another source - an alleged "Aosd na member who did not wish to be named" (why not?) - claimed that "The move is being largely derided here" without specifying where, or by whom. The authenticity of this source is further put in question by his/her assertion that "by being elected to Aosd na as an artist, you get an annual salary from the state," a myth much credited by Aosd na's enemies, but with no basis in reality. Once elected, members are indeed eligible for a modest stipend, but by no means all avail themselves of this option.
It is hardly surprising that the Irish government is in disagreement with the Aosd na initiative, since it is precisely EU inaction on the Israel-Palestine issue that forces the hand of civil society. Nonetheless, government boasting of its "inclusive approach of dialogue with and between Israelis and Palestinians" rings hollow at a time when the EU is boycotting the democratically elected Palestinian Authority.
The successful motion concludes with a reminder of "the undeniable courage of those Israeli artists, writers and intellectuals who oppose their own government's illegal policies towards the Palestinians." There is a growing international movement to isolate the Israeli state until it complies with international law, ends the occupation, and dismantles its settlements and its separation barrier. The Irish artists' vote was just one small contribution to that movement.
County Dublin, Ireland
...and free speech
Sir, - The Jerusalem Post is a fine example of free speech because it allows comments critical of Israeli policies or actions. This is quite unlike some of our own on-line newspapers in the UK, which have a very definite agenda to promote and will display no contradictory viewpoints. One wonders if we really are living in a "democracy" here in Britain, as little pointers show the way to larger issues.
Sir, - I was struck by this sentence in the AP report about the captive sailors returned to Britain ("Iran calls for goodwill gesture from UK," April 8): "Iran dismissed the news conference as propaganda - just as Britain had condemned the crew members' frequent appearances on Iranian TV during their captivity."
The Associated Press seemed to be implying that the question of which statements were more credible - those made by prisoners at the mercy of Iran, or those made by ex-prisoners in the service of the British armed forces - was not one for AP to take sides on. But AP did take sides: "Teheran says the crew was in Iranian waters" while "Britain insists its troops were in Iraqi waters." Teheran is portrayed as exuding the calm confidence that comes with being in the right ("says"), Britain as excitedly denying ("insists").
Further down the page an article is headed "Most Europeans would support strike to stop Iran from getting the bomb." How much longer will that be true if they keep reading slanted news?
MARK L. LEVINSON
Sir, - Once upon a time I was born in the land of Cyrus the Great and Esther. It was like a sweet dream. I was proud to be Iranian. Today I am a convert to Christianity and a Torah lover. My love for Israel grows deeper each day.
Over 28 years Iran has become an endless nightmare. Today I am ashamed to say I was born in Iran. When I see Ahmadinejad and the mullahs it makes me ill. They should be ashamed and punished for their beyond-imagination cruel ideology of Islam.
The world should take them seriously. They will attack Israel and dominate the world. Even if they don't reach their nuclear ambitions, they will attack with the cheapest method - using innocent children and stupid women to become so-called martyrs by blowing themselves up.
They should be stopped, today. Unfortunately, the only solution is military action. I wish I had been born in Israel.
Sir, - Prof. Hillel Shuval's view regarding two EU neighbors overlooks the reality that Arabs don't really want to move here. What they want is to create a situation for another "Anschluss," this time of Israel ("Learning from the Germans and Czechs on refugees," (April 5).
He worked for it
Sir, - I was somewhat bowled over, and delighted, to see my son Harry Ingram appear in a photo-story covering his presentation of a defibrillator to MDA (April 8). However, the 5,000 he raised was achieved through arranging garden fetes and charity cinema showings, and sheer hard work, rather than an exorbitant afikoman gift from an affluent father!
Radlett, Middx, UK
Sir, - Two items in your April 8 issue made my day. The first was the Dry Bones cartoon, which I would call a classic - a gem. For dessert we had "Exit stage left," the letter from your reader in Leeds on the subject of Ilan Pappe.
I cannot understand why Pappe didn't cross over and take up residence in Gaza, unless he was afraid of his friends there making him keep Alan Johnston company.