Sir, – Attempting to show equivalence in the violence
perpetrated by parties on opposite sides of a conflict may result in presenting
unacceptable and at times distasteful ideas. In his latest column, Larry Derfner
falls into this trap (“One man’s terrorist...,” July 29).
Many of the
points Derfner makes need to be answered and criticized.
dismissing the claim by Sarah Agassi, that the occupants of the King David Hotel
were warned of the impending blasts a half hour before the event, as not being
meaningful and perhaps not true is totally unacceptable.
The veracity of
the claim has been established and the time given for the occupants to leave was
sufficient to have prevented most, if not all, the fatalities.
the target was a military headquarters, and the warning was to ensure protection
for civilians working in the area.
How does this compare with the
massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics? How do the warnings given
by Etzel compare with the failure by Gazan terrorists to warn about impending
rocket fire? Derfner graciously accepts that Menachem Begin should be regarded
as the most beloved leader in Israeli history. He then complains that we are
outraged when the Palestinians, beginning with their leaders, eulogize Muhammad
Oudeh, who planned the Munich massacre, or name a square in Ramallah after Dalal
Mughrabi, leader of the Coastal Road bus hijacking that killed 37
By applying his distorted reasoning, he would presumably feel
that we should be concerned that streets in most of our cities, as well as our
international airport and a prominent university, are named after the only
leader in Israeli history to have ordered troops to fire on fellow Jews coming
to help in defense of the new state. But unlike those who only find fault with
so-called right-wingers, we are happy to pay full respect to the first leader of
our country.MONTY ZION
Tel Mond Larry Derfner notes: I didn’t write that
Begin “should be” regarded as Israel’s most beloved leader, only that he is, and
I wasn’t being gracious. Rather, I was trying to show that Israel venerates its
Sir, – Terrorism is not a freely used journalistic
term, but a legally defined concept. As such, it always concerns attacks against
noncombatant civilians. With all due respect, blowing up the King David Hotel
does not fall into that category.
At the time, the hotel was used as the
British military headquarters in Palestine.
There are many things to discuss or
question, primary among them whether the number of “collateral” victims was
worth it. On the other hand, Palestinian terrorists practically always attack
civilian targets.RICHARD PRAGER
Sir, – In Palestine, the British
did all they could to sabotage our state-in-the-making. Anything we did to stop
them was legitimate. It was a fight for our survival.
War is war, Mr.
Derfner. We will not go quietly and politely and without counter-aggression, no
matter how rude you think we are.MARCELLA WACHTEL
Sir, – Rabbi Emanuel Feldman’s op-ed piece “Conversions of
convenience or conversions of commitment?” (July 29) is the most lucid, cogent
discussion of the issue I have seen. He distills its essence and easily discards
the expediency of politics.
Conversion is an admittance to what is
eternal about the Jew.
Cohesion to that eternity is the only validator.
Telz Stone Please! Not coal!
Sir, – Today, as the
world goes green, Israel’s Uzi Landau wants Israel to take a step backwards
(“Landau: Coal-fired power plant in Ashkelon is merely responsible decision,”
Coming from Yorkshire, England, and seeing the ecological
damage caused by coal power in my childhood, and later as a biologist, I
couldn’t believe the naivety of this country when it was decided to use coal for
the Caesarea power plant. It is a total disgrace to repeat the same mistake
Israel itself carried out many surveys as to which fuel to use,
and coal was definitely eliminated by the reports. Coal power is detrimental to
the health of the population living nearby. We have several alternative sources
of cleaner power and we do not need to wait long to implement them.
understand that local employment is a factor, as is speed.
does not warrant the criminal pollution of our country. Is it because the Ofer
brothers are wielding their power as they supply the transportation for the
coal? This shameful state of affairs is supported by Minister Landau, whom we
have always considered an honest and caring man. I have written him and asked
him to reconsider.EVELYN ROSS
Herzliya Learn and understand
Sir, – Is
there no end to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s stupidity? He complains
bitterly about Israel’s blockade of Gaza but makes no mention whatsoever of
Egypt’s (“In Ankara, Cameron slams Israel for flotilla raid, conditions in
Gaza,” July 28).
I think Cameron would agree that if Eire were lobbing
2,000 deadly rockets a year on London, he might be prompted to do something
about it or lose his job as prime minister within weeks. That is democracy at
But what of Egypt? The Palestinians are Egypt’s brother Muslims and
the Egyptians are not being attacked at all, so why are they intent on starving
the people of Gaza? Their crime is a hundred-fold worse. Why no condemnation of
Egypt? Egypt actively participates in the blockade of Gaza because the Egyptian
aristocracy and political elite fear the fundamentalist Islam of Hamas every bit
as much as do the Israelis. If Hamas got a toehold in Egyptian society, the
Egyptians would lose everything.
Learn and understand,
Mr. Cameron, learn and understand.RALPH ELLIS
Cheshire, UK It’s all relative
Sir, – Ray Hanania (“Good news is hard to come
by,” July 28) is spot on – good news is hard to come by from the Palestinian
side. Hanania could only celebrate the fact that the Palestinians have not (yet)
built a monument to the Libyan terrorist who brought down Pan Am flight 103 over
Maybe it’s because they are so busy naming streets and
squares, sports events and schools after their own terrorists that they haven’t
yet gotten around to glorifying other nations’ murderers.
Is this really
the only good news we Israelis can celebrate from the Palestinians? Hanania
could not mention one practical Palestinian step toward peace with us. The
Palestinians can’t even bring themselves to enter a negotiating room with
Hardly good news if you are an Israeli, Ray.BARRY SHAW
Netanya Apology would have been a start
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
just met with King Abdullah of Jordan (“PM in surprise visit to Jordan to get
king behind talks,” July 28). I hope they discussed the Hurva Synagogue as it
was in all its glory before the Jordanian army demolished it to the very ground
over 60 years ago.
It is a sad day to remember how the Jordanians
destroyed a beautiful house of worship.
It would have been an act of
reconciliation, sensitivity and justice had the king begged for a pardon from
the Jewish people for this act of wanton destruction.TOBY WILLIG