April 5: Friends & foes

Avigdor Lieberman's suggestion for a loyalty oath has drawn a lot of criticism from leftists worldwide, yet the necessity of such an oath is clear.

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April 4, 2009 21:44
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Friends & foes Sir - Avigdor Lieberman's suggestion for a loyalty oath has drawn a lot of criticism from leftists worldwide, yet the necessity of such an oath is clear, as witnessed in "Balad's Zoabi praises Iran's nuclear quest" (April 1) and "Tibi meets Arab leaders in Doha" (same date). Under no circumstances should MK Haneen Zuabi be pictured with the Israeli flag behind her. I'm sure she finds that as insulting as loyal Israelis do. MK Ahmed Tibi is no better. "Despite divisions, Arabs unite to censure Israel, back Sudan" (same date) is all the proof needed to understand that the Arab summit is not exactly a pro-Israel rally. How these people are allowed to serve as MKs in our parliament is baffling, opposition or not. While we're at it, why not allow Fatah and Hamas to have parties in the Knesset? After all, they are opposition parties too - opposing the Jewish state. That we have enemies of the state "serving" in our government is not a sign of our wonderful tolerance but of our weakness and stupidity. The same goes for Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor's comment that "for elected personalities to meet counterparts even from hostile countries in the framework of multilateral events is not outside the bounds of law." Democracy is a wonderful thing. But being so liberal that you are unable to treat your enemies differently from your friends is suicidal. JON SHARON Holon Sir, - The blunt, straightforward talk of Avigdor Lieberman is refreshing. It is better than the political correctness of recent years ("Lieberman trashes Annapolis process," April 2). HENRY TOBIAS Ma'aleh Adumim Missing minister Sir, - Re "Size matters" (Letters, April 2): Our new government is groaning with a plethora of ministerial positions, but after scanning the list carefully it occurred to me that there is one glaring omission. We have never had a minister of peace, and perhaps this would set an example to the other nations in the region and elsewhere on this conflict-ridden, peace-less globe. Such a minister would ceaselessly explore the possibilities and avenues for bringing peace to our region, and would hopefully conduct meetings and negotiations with peace ministers from other governments. He would be expected to work for peace night and day until his tireless efforts were rewarded by the advent of peace and prosperity for all the peoples of the Middle East. DAVID HERMAN Jerusalem Callous - yes Sir, - For once, I agree with Larry Derfner that we in Israel were callous about human life during the war in Gaza ("The IDF fog machine at work," April 2). Only he got it back to front. The lives we have treated callously are our own. We have allowed our citizens to be attacked on a regular basis (please God, never again). Additionally, we sent our soldiers in to get injured and murdered because we did not want to treat the lives of the Arabs living in Gaza callously by sending a squadron of F16s to end all the attacks, permanently, in under 10 minutes. YECHIEL AARON Hashmonaim 'Sell to the Jews, and you're dead' Sir, - The Palestinian Authority has threatened that anyone selling land to Israelis will be shot ("PA: Those who sell land to Jews face death penalty for 'high treason,'" April 2). Even a concert for Holocaust survivors played by an Arab orchestra was viewed as treasonous; the poor conductor who did such a terrible deed was sent away from her post and her village. The price of any accommodation with Israel is too high for the average Palestinian, who is constantly threatened by death and expulsion carried out by his own people. No wonder some Palestinians are being coerced into terror assignments on behalf of their leaders. If the United Nations were truly interested in peace in the Middle East, they would expose this thuggery and encourage an alternative, true leadership for the Palestinians. THELMA SUSSWEIN Jerusalem About CEANA Sir, - Contrary to what Samuel Kaplan implies in "Argentina's attitude" (Letters, March 25), I have carefully studied the conclusions of the Commission of Enquiry into the Activities of Nazism in Argentina (CEANA). Indeed it is on the basis of these very conclusions that my criticism of it is justified. CEANA's brief was to "reach an informed estimate of Nazi war criminals' arrivals, in addition to determining whether Nazi loot entered the country during and post-World War II" and it certainly did much valuable work. But its finding that about 180 Nazi war criminals and collaborators entered Argentina after the war was simply perverse. Uki Goni, working alone and without its resources, documented 300 individual cases and most historians believe the true total is in the thousands. CEANA's conclusion that "Nazi gold never entered the country physically" and its findings regarding other clandestine Argentine-German financial transactions have also been contradicted by Goni, Gaby Weber and others. The reluctance of some state agencies to properly cooperate with CEANA's researchers and the destruction by others of relevant archival material may largely account for these failures. But some of CEANA's other actions are less readily explained. Perhaps Mr. Kaplan, who worked with the commission in an advisory capacity, might explain why CEANA immediately archived Directive 11, discovered by Beartiz Gurevich under its auspices, and refused to include it in its reports. He might also clarify the circumstances surrounding the inclusion, on CEANA's recommendation, of Luis Irigoyen on the list of 12 Argentine diplomats honored by the Foreign Ministry for showing "solidarity with the victims of Nazism" - 10 years after Haim Avni exposed Irigiyon's nefarious role. Or why CEANA repeatedly cited the fact that 40,000 Jews entered Argentina in the Nazi period in mitigation of Buenos Aires' behavior, despite the fact that it knew half of these Jews entered illegally, while the majority of others were forced to pose as Catholics or pay hefty bribes. Little wonder that Gurevich and Goni both resigned from CEANA over its lack of transparency and thoroughness, and that President Kirchner dissolved it in 2005 amid accusations of whitewash and cover-up on its part. SEAN GANNON Limerick, Ireland Blind bowlers, bravo Sir, - An organization that truly deserves coverage is the Israel Lawn Bowls Association for the Blind, whose 20th anniversary was marked this week. The event brought together the current, active bowlers with past coaches and bowlers. Bowlers and their coaches have travelled to many parts of the world to participate in International competitions and returned with grand results and medals. A new band of coaches, a group of soldiers doing their regular army service, has been trained and recently came on the scene. I feel it is time we gave these dedicated volunteers some publicity - along with a word of praise for the organizers, who keep up such a high spirit among the bowlers. MAVIS MILWIDSKY Kiryat Ono Dressing down Sir, - Further to "Believe it or not, a British Airways poll on travel habits finds: Israeli airline passengers are more tolerant than Europeans" (March 29): I find that our sabras often stick out embarrassingly in airport lounges, and other places as well. Sadly, too many Israelis have no idea how to dress correctly for an occasion. I've even seen people arriving at my synagogue for a bar mitzva in cut-off, ragged shorts. GLORIA MOUND Gan Yavne

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