letters to the editor 88.
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Why it's so important to fight the PR war
Sir, - As Gil Hoffman pointed out in "Israel's delay in screening Kana footage causes PR disaster," (July 31), public relations should be an integral part of how every IDF operation is planned. The world needs pictures immediately.
Times have changed since 1948. The media determines the message presented; right and wrong hardly matters. After the PR disaster at Kafr Kana, Israel must understand that it has to include media analysis as part of any Security Cabinet decision.
Sir, - Why don't we see pictures of the children who are losing parents and loved ones because of Hizbullah's rocket attacks on Israel? Why aren't we seeing video of Israeli civilians sifting through the rubble of collapsed buildings, or clips of Israeli mothers cuddling teary-eyed and terrified children in their arms? Are these children worth less than the children of Lebanese mothers?
Why doesn't the world crucify Hizbullah and Hamas for hiding missile and weapons caches under the homes of their own people, or the press not publicized the fact that Hizbullah does not allow civilians to leave the areas about to be bombed, forcing them to be its human shields?
The world was deathly silent when Hizbullah sowed its seeds of war. Now if the world cannot stand up and put the blame for civilian deaths squarely on Hizbullah's shoulders, it should be quiet and let Israel rid the area of those elements who would squash all hopes for peaceful coexistence.
Simply put, the world should either put up, or shut up.
Sir, - Israel is doing the right thing in the war against Hizbullah.
You did not start this war, but by the grace of God you will finish it - and you must finish it. In spite of the outcry regarding the deaths of innocent Lebanese civilians, you must stand your ground and destroy your enemy, lest they rise up again against you and destroy you.
I am appalled at the way the media is covering the war, showing only the rubble from your rockets. Where is the coverage of dead Israeli women and children, and the rubble of Israeli buildings?
This is a deliberate attempt to paint Israel as the aggressor, and Lebanon as the innocent victim.
Sir, - Hizbullah seems to be winning the PR war. What about the civilians killed in Israel? Can we put a human face on the airways, please? Are Israeli lives less valuable than Lebanese lives?
Israel needs to have stronger PR.
Rego Park, New York
Sir, - While apologies are appropriate, we must put a news clamp on what is going on. Obviously our spokespeople are not doing a good job of explaining ourselves to the world. Perhaps we should stop talking and just do our jobs.
If we must fight this war, let's fight it. We can do the talking later.
Sir, - I can understand - even if I disagree - when the Associated Press reports on Israel's "Lebanon offensive." But the use of the same term by The Jerusalem Post shocks me. We are in a defensive war; we are responding to an attack.
To call our actions "offensive" will just feed foreign perceptions of Israel as the aggressor ("'It was all so very fast - the shooting, the shouting.' Golani commander hails heroism of his soldiers at Bint Jbail," July 28).
Sir, - Hizbullah has pulled a page from the Palestinian handbook. When the Israeli bombing gets too intense, the Palestinians use their own children as human shields and then call in CNN, the BBC, and the Associated Press to witness the results.
ARTHUR J. SCHWARTZ
Raleigh, North Carolina
Sir, - We're going to be hearing ad nauseam now about the inhumane targeting of Lebanese civilians following the events in Kana. The fact of the matter is, Hizbullah knowingly and willingly puts their ammunition among civilians. They are cowards of the worst sort.
Israel is put in the position of having to choose between allowing the rocket attacks from civilian areas to continue, or going in and hitting these places, knowing there might be civilians still inside. At the same time, Hizbullah sends rockets into civilian areas.
There comes a point where these cowardsah have to know they cannot use our humanity against us. Our higher regard for human life makes us weak in their eyes. In dealing with an enemy like this, there's only one choice: Get them before they get us.
War is a dirty business, especially when the enemy has minimal regard for human life.
Sir, - In our enemy's eyes there is no such thing as an innocent Jewish or Israeli civilian - be it in Haifa, Nahariya, Sderot, Nazareth or Seattle ("57 killed after IAF strike on Kafr Kana," July 31).
MIRIAM L. GAVARIN
Sir, - Israel must stop its slaughter of civilians and children. The IDF's actions are not helping the Jewish people or the Jewish state. Please, just stop.
Sir, - Israel seems determined to drive away people like me who have been long-time supporters. Your latest destruction of dozens of innocent lives under a pretext of self-defense is only a small example.
You have abandoned the moral high ground. Your strategy of destruction and misery for innocent people as a method of reprisal brings shame upon your own country and upon the US for supporting your brutality.
Great Fallas, Montana
...the double standards
Sir, - There were few who condemned the massacre of Israel's children with rockets, Kalashnikovs and suicide bombs. But when Hizbullah is struck the international media talks about massacres. While Hizbullah uses old women and children as sandbags, the world condemns Israel ("Europeans slam IAF raid, demand cease-fire," July 31).
If terrorism is to be rooted out in the world, the Arabs and all the nations that support terrorism should face economic boycott. The world should stop buying oil from the Arabs. Can we muster the courage?
Sir, - Kofi Annan appears outraged at Israel's accidental killing of four UN observers ("Slain Canadian officer reported UN post not deliberately targeted," July 30).
Maybe Mr. Annan can tell us what the UN "observers" have been "observing" while embedded in Hizbullah strongholds for so many years. Why have they never reported the shipments of Iranian and Syrian missiles to Hizbullah, or the digging of tunnels to conceal them?
Those are questions the UN must be made to answer while Israel apologizes for this unfortunate event.
Camden, New Jersey
Sir, - The fact that Israel is doing the "decent" thing is not impressing our Islamist opponents, or the biased segment of the international community. Unnecessary Israeli civilian and military deaths are hardly an acceptable outcome of such "decent" behavior ("Now is the time for a better use of airpower," July 28).
Sir, - The hesitation of our government to go all the way will prove disastrous for our country. ("Israel may be pressed to end war by Thursday," July 30). Nasrallah will be able to obtain nuclear weapons from Iran in three years. The village of Bint Jbail should be leveled totally, along with other Hizbullah centers. Unless we go to the limit, we can expect another holocaust.
Sir, - Responsibility for the tragic deaths of scores of Lebanese children in Kana falls primarily on Hizbullah and its backers, Syria and Iran - not on Israel. An attacked country has the moral right and obligation to militarily reduce the enemy as quickly as possible at minimum cost to its citizens. Any cease-fire serves only to embolden and strengthen the terrorists and their sponsors, and thereby may cause many more innocent deaths in the future. ("Rice sticks to script on sustainable cease-fire," July 31).
If Israel is guilty of anything, it's of not using all of its military might to swiftly annihilate the Hizbullah threat. History demonstrates that this is the only road to peace, especially when confronted by bloodthirsty killers.
The fact that many Western leaders and commentators are focused on chastizing Israel and calling for an immediate cease-fire indicates a widespread epidemic of intellectual and moral bankruptcy.
Sir, - We decry the deaths caused in this conflict. But there is no equivalency between the two sides. Hizbullah wants nothing less then the destruction of Israel. Israel wants nothing more than to live in peace on land one six-hundredth the size of that which belongs to its surrounding Arab neighbors.
A cease-fire will not bring peace. It will give Hizbullah time to rearm.
HAROLD & SUE ROSENTHAL
In vino veritas
Sir, - Reading the article concerning Mel Gibson's recent anti-Semitic remarks, two old sayings, in English and Latin, came to mind ("Mel Gibson apologizes for 'despicable' anti-Semitic comments," July 31).
The English phrase, "Dutch courage" tells us that a coward becomes a hero when he is drunk enough. The Latin phrase "In vino veritas" translates to "In wine, there is truth."
Such behavior is little different from the drunken Polish peasants whose pogroms terrorized the Jews in my mother's home town. Its roots lie in the same type of rabble; the booze just helps bring it to light.