(photo credit: Courtesy)
'Post' policy and...
Sir, - France 24 presents TV news and commentary in English all day and all night. Its review of the world press usually includes The Jerusalem Post.
A recent review referred to the Post as a right-wing or right-leaning newspaper, referencing Larry Derfner's "Israel should get out of Gaza now" (January 8). The reviewer claimed that this was an indication of a change of heart among the Israeli population. If viewers only knew how small a percentage of Israelis support the views of Mr. Derfner.
One wonders if they are aware of the Post's admirable policy of printing articles even by authors whose views significantly differ from those of the editors.
MONTY M. ZION
...the mights & maybes
Sir, - If I understood Larry Derfner's op-ed correctly, he would not object to a scenario whereby Israel stopped her offensive and Hamas continued firing on the Israeli troops as they withdrew from all of Gaza; as well as continuing the firing of missiles into southern Israel. Only then would Hamas consider a cease-fire on its terms. A truly unacceptable set of circumstances.
Mr. Derfner would like to believe that when the new US president comes into office on January 20, he will demand that Israel call a halt to Operation Cast Lead. I wonder about the basis for this assumption.
After closely following the elections in the US, my impression is that Mr. Obama is a very clever man and very much aware of the danger a terrorist group such as Hamas poses not only to Israel but to the Arab states that side with US policy. It is Hamas that should be shaking in its boots, and not Israel.
There were so many mights and maybes in Mr. Derfner's op-ed that I found it difficult to take it seriously.
Larry Derfner responds:
Contrary to Paul Berman's understanding, I have been writing that if Hamas kept shooting even after Israel agreed to a cease-fire that included a lifting of the siege on Gaza, Israel would be justified in reimposing the siege and shooting back. If Israeli troops withdrawing from Gaza came under fire, the IDF would, of course, be entitled to protect them by firing on their attackers.
Where the spotlight is
Sir, - What is glaring is that Israel is the militarily stronger party. This contributes to the added attention toward the bombing campaigns in Gaza ("Diplomatic front: The cease-fire game," Gerald Steinberg, January 9).
Israel needs a campaign to expose the extremist ideology of the militant Hamas and the effects of its rockets on Israeli civilian areas. At the same time, it needs to make efforts toward resolving the land dispute by embarking on a speedy journey toward nationhood for the Palestinians. This would bring more international support and better prospects for peace in the region.
Good for Peres
Sir, - Our president is the only one I have heard who hit the nail on the head in answering the BBC interviewer who asked him why there were so many civilian casualties on the Palestinian side and so few on the Israeli side. Peres answered, "Where are our civilians? Where are our children? They are in the shelters."
Why did Hamas not provide shelters for its citizens? Since it was preparing for war it must have known that shelters would be needed.
Palestinian demonstrators shouting about their civilian casualties should shout at Hamas, not at Israel. Here all schools and kindergartens within a 40-km. range of Gaza have been closed since the outbreak of the fighting.
I feel very sorry for the victimized civilian population of Gaza, at the mercy of a terrorist organization like Hamas which goes to war and provides no protection for them - or was this Hamas's calculation, that the more Palestinian casualties, the better, in order to turn the world against us? It paid off; the world is against us because of it ("Thousands gather in Lebanon, Germany and England to demonstrate against ongoing Gaza campaign," January 11).
What are they shouting about?
Sir, - Having closely watched the pro-Palestinian demonstrations in London and across the world in apparent condemnation of the Israeli air strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza, I find myself asking what exactly these crowds are demonstrating against.
There were no such demonstrations when Hamas was murdering fellow Palestinians aligned with Fatah, throwing them off high-rise buildings or summarily executing them in the streets, hospitals and jails.
The public execution of fellow Palestinians on the mere premise of belonging to a different "faction" or mere suspicion of collaborating with Israel - or even of being a Christian among a Muslim majority - was seemingly nothing to shout about. Indeed, statistics clearly show that prior to the ongoing conflict with Israel, more Palestinians were killed by fellow Palestinians than by Israeli forces.
There were no such demonstrations then; nor when Hamas intentionally targeted Israeli civilians with thousands of mortars and missiles on a daily basis, year after year: thousands upon thousands of unprovoked Palestinian missiles and mortars over eight years.
Israeli children, homes, hospitals and schools being hit raised no protests from the likes of Ken Livingstone, George Galloway, Bianca Jagger and Annie Lennox. It was only after eight long years of seeing its citizens traumatized, wounded and killed by Palestinian missiles and the breach of a so-called "truce" by Hamas that Israel retaliated.
Then and only then did the masses of the world suddenly taken to the streets to protest. Through their hypocritical and selective silence, these "demonstrators" unashamedly absolve Hamas of all responsibility of committing acts of unquestioned terror against Israel's population ("An open letter to Annie Lennox," Yoram Dori, January 11).
Let's cut to the chase. It is clear for anyone with eyes to see that these demonstrations only provide a pretext to express hatred of Israel and the Jews, a hatred independent of Israeli actions and solely dependent on Israel's existence.
What "solution" are these politically correct anti-Semites seeking to the Arab-Israeli problem? Surely not another "final" one.
Sir, - Yoram Dori is right in his attempt to portray the human tragedy of the war in Gaza. Unfortunately, he misses the point. The Arab propaganda machine is filled with sob stories of Arab children who are helpless victims of violence, and these stories skew the real issue, which is the moral right of Israel to fight this war and win it.
Sir, - Here in the US we are bombarded with graphic photos of damage, deaths and injuries in Gaza. Where are the statistics and photos of Hamas's rockets being fired into Israel? It seems it would be to Israel's advantage to have a Web site listing the rockets fired into Israel, with photos of the damage.
Fort Mill, South Carolina
Israel as a model
Sir, - I fully support Israel's offensive against the terrorists. What country will accept thousands of rocket attacks and still show restraint? ("Two rockets slam into Ashkelon, injuring one - 21 rockets fired at other areas in the South," January 11.) Hamas and Hizbullah are just proxies. The real fight is against Iran.
Let's get it straight: There should be no compromise a la Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton, the effeminates, vis-a-vis the Islamists: Either Hamas accepts the right of the Jews to exist in the Mideast, or the Islamists get toasted.
We in India are taking the Israeli action as a springboard for our actions against the cowardly Pakistani terrorists. In a newspaper poll, over 70 percent supported a call for similar Indian action. We've lost more than 20,000 in the last 22 years in this proxy war with Muslim terrorists.
If the civilized world doesn't get them this time, it can prepare for a barrage of 9/11s and Mumbai 11/26s.
One person, one shekel
Sir, - I would like to create a project whereby everybody would donate NIS 1 toward psychological help for the children of Ashkelon, Beersheba and Sderot. It would show the world how united we are as a nation and also that, unlike Hamas, we actively care about our people.
I would like to get this project up and running and look forward to hearing from readers how this could be done. Anyone who can help, please email: email@example.com
Sir, - Of course David Benkoff has it right that the kippa or yarmulke is not sacred and should not be kissed ("Myths of Judaism," January 8). But he goes too far when he says it may be stepped on. There is a prohibition known as bal taschit, which means we are not to destroy any useful object.
By the way, my late father, who was ordained in the Mir Yeshiva in Europe, never kissed the mezuza, which does have holiness as a container of the scroll bearing the Shema paragraph.
Another myth Benkoff could have exploded was the idea that the wedding ring was ordained by Moses ("You are betrothed to me according to the law of Moses and Israel" - wedding ceremony). In fact, the ring is not mentioned in the Torah or in the Talmud.
The sad fact is that we took it from the Romans, who used it in their weddings.