The campus muzzle
Sir, – The article “BDS and academia” (Comment & Features,
January 31) points out the blinkered nature of acceptable free speech on campus.
While it is okay to debate boycotting Israel, examining Islam as a problematic
political ideology is off limits, despite its ubiquity in the news.
will be no equivalent of the Herzliya Conference on American
There are consequences to academic irrelevance. One is that
serious critical study of such topics as Shari’a Law, international terrorism
and strategic threats to the West is being increasingly adopted by think tanks
and private organizations outside universities. In the free market of ideas,
there is no monopoly.
The grotesque displays of radical chic on campus
are a sign of intellectual decadence and conformity rather than
Jericho, Vermont That’s how it is
Sir, – In
“Is the European Union doomed?” (Comment & Features, January 31), Douglas
Goldstein continuously cites opinions without providing sources. He also says
the global economy will collapse if the European Union breaks
There is no evidence of this.
Certain currencies may become
weaker and others stronger.
Certain countries will go bankrupt and some
will have stronger economies. This is how the market works.JOJO GINSBERG
Jerusalem One-state victory
Sir, – Gershon Baskin writes in “A victory for our
side?” (Encountering Peace, January 31) that a one-state solution for Israel and
the Palestinians will soon be inevitable. His reason: Building in Jewish towns
and villages is taking away land “sliceby- slice” from a possible Palestinian
Baskin has been saying the same thing for many years, without
bringing a solution one step closer.
If he were to change his perspective
by just a few degrees, he would understand that Jewish residents and their
dwellings are no threat at all to “Palestine.”
What Baskin and his
ideological colleagues should be saying is: “Let the Jews stay and build all
they want. Jewish towns and villages do not prevent the creation of a
Palestinian state any more than Arab villages prevent an Israeli state. Nor do
they unilaterally determine Palestinian borders. Palestinians should pursue
diplomacy and state building without any reference to Jewish residents in their
future state. They should welcome Jews and all others who are willing to live as
citizens in Palestine.”
If the Palestinians and their supporters in
Israel and around the world negotiate on this basis, new possibilities would
open up in the diplomatic process toward a two-state solution.DOUG
Sir, – Gershon Baskin speaks of the contribution of Israeli
leaders to the failure of the recent peace talks in Jordan. He blames Prime
Minister Netanyahu for playing a game with words while in reality wanting to
His column of criticism includes Yitzhak Shamir. At
the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991, then-prime minister Shamir justified his
decision to participate by saying we would negotiate with the Palestinians for
20 years and move half a million Israelis into Judea and Samaria. “That was
perhaps the most honest thing an Israeli prime minister has ever said about
negotiations with the Palestinians,” baskin writes, “and Shamir’s vision or plan
has been realized.”
Baskin further informs us that he had a meeting with
a Palestinian minister last week. “He told me what was on the table ‘was a loaf
of bread – and as we speak the Israelis are eating the bread slice-by-slice, but
saying the loaf belongs to both of us, let’s talk about how to slice
What Baskin does not grasp is that the loaf of bread belongs to
Israel, and we speak about giving Israel away in slices. Did he forget that we
gave the Arabs Gaza, which was then made into the largest terrorist base in the
Mideast? Israel also gave away parts of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian
Authority. The peace we received in return was rockets, missiles and Katyushas
from Gaza, and Israeli bodies, blown to pieces in terrorists attacks by Arabs
living in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.
What have we achieved so
far? Not peace, but pieces.
It boggles the imagination what would have
happened if Arafat accepted 99 percent of the bread that was offered to him by
former prime minister Ehud Olmert. The Palestinians refuse to accept anything
but the whole loaf.
With all this, Baskin still questions how we can
consider the defeat of the Palestinian state “a victory for our side.” My answer
is: Very easily. By ending this farce of a peace process and prohibiting the
emergence of a Palestinian state, Israel will not be committing
Sir, – Gershon Baskin tries
unsuccessfully to blame both sides for the failure of a twostate solution.
However, has he ever really asked PA President Mahmoud Abbas the hard questions?
For example, why does Abbas meet publicly with released terrorists? Why does
Palestinian TV broadcast messages of praise for the Awad cousins, who murdered
members of the Fogel family?
If recent events in the Middle East have taught us
anything, it’s that true peace is made by nations, not by leaders. So is it any
wonder that Baskin has never convinced us that Palestinian Arabs are ready to
make real peace with the Jewish state of Israel? MATTIAS ROTENBERG
Sir, – With regard to letter writers Sydney L. Kasten and
Efraim A. Cohen (“‘Hasbara,’ and how!,” January 30), Kasten seems to think that
digging up one article from a whole halfyear after the Six Day War, from a
single newspaper in just one country, can undermine the universally known fact
that Israel enjoyed astronomically-high Western popularity before the occupation
of the West Bank and the settlement expansionism there.
Cohen, in saying
that all countries use public diplomacy, blurs the meaning. He makes no
distinction between the normal promotion of a country’s policies, which Israel
used to do so successfully, and the two sad types of public diplomacy Israel
uses today – explaining its right to conquer another land and people, and
railing against the Western delegitimization (with which I disagree) that has
come about as a tragic consequence.JAMES ADLER
Cambridge, MassachusettsConfused citizen
Sir, – The article “Peace Now posts ‘Migron File’ in online
campaign against outpost” (January 27) raised several important
First, how did Israel gain authority over Judea and Samaria? This
land fell to us in a defensive war purchased with the blood of our sons and
brothers. The Arabs, as the aggressors, forfeited all rights.
is it that we allow Peace Now to provide our enemies with intelligence, even
aerial photography, and to appeal to our High Court of Justice on behalf of
these enemies? Does this not border – to put it mildly – on government
negligence? And now, how is it that the Israeli government is willing to
negotiate with the Arabs over land that is no longer theirs?
citizen has a suggestion. Set up a planning and zoning commission for Judea and
Samaria and start auctioning the land to citizens who served in the IDF. And in
the meantime, launch a really thorough investigation into Peace