letters to the editor.
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Sir, - With three botched terror attacks in two days, Britain has the rare, lucky opportunity to wake up to the Islamic threat and learn, without actually having suffered any casualties (apart from one of the would-be suicide bombers at Glasgow Airport, who was hospitalized).
Brits have to start educating themselves. They have to realize that what is happening in Britain today has nothing to do with Iraq or the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and everything to do with the ideology of the attackers ("Is this a war? Britain still hasn't quite decided," July 2).
Sir, - All the theories so far about terrorists have not succeeded in encompassing the implacable nature of fundamentalist Islam, which has gained such a hold on the minds of those who believe Islam must rule the world.
Two of the terrorists involved in Britain's terrible nightmare are physicians, who are supposed to heal. They are educated and worldly. For some reason the picture of the Nazis who conspired to bring about death camps, horrible torture of Jews and others who disagreed with them - and yet could then sit back and enjoy their cultural achievements and scientific progress fills my mind at this time.
Comparisons may be odious, but sometimes they are true.
Sir, - After two car bombs were found in London and a burning jeep crashed into Glasgow Airport, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a June 30, 2007, televised statement: "The first duty of the government is the security and safety of all the British people."
Let us hope that in the future Mr. Brown, his new foreign minister and Mideast peace envoy Tony Blair remember that the first duty of the Israeli government is the security and safety of all the Israeli people.
Sir, - With respect to the car bombs found in London, I expect at any moment to read the following news: "In an immediate reaction to the attempted blowing up of two car bombs in London by suspected Islamists, the Automobile Association of Great Britain has announced that it will boycott Israel."
Sir, - In view of the car bombs in London and Glasgow, wouldn't it be more useful for Tony Blair to stay at home instead of coming to the Middle East - since the Middle East has come to Britain?
Shocking things & chicken wings
Sir, - There is really nothing much to laugh about in the "Katsav Affair," so I was grateful to Vardit Zafri (Letters, July 2) for bringing a smile to my face. In my almost 30 years in Israel I have heard many reasons for North Americans not making aliya, my favorite being "The chicken wings are hairy."
Ms. Zafri states: "Women all over the world who want to make aliya are watching this case very closely." I find it hard to believe that anyone really wanting to make her home in Israel would be deterred by this albeit horrendous affair. On the contrary: This case should tell any woman contemplating aliya that we need her here - to protest, to be active, to help Israeli women come the "long way North American women have come," to help improve our judicial system.
If she doesn't really want to come here, she need not look to the Katsav Affair. The chicken wing excuse should do her nicely.
Sir, - You report that those who oppose the agreement reached with former president Moshe Katsav tend to be associated with women's rights groups and leftist organizations ("Opponents mobilize to undo Katsav plea bargain," July 1). The agreement, says Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, spares Israel a long, embarrassing and humiliating trial. But these opponents say that the voice of justice is more important than considerations of "state" and "stability."
Yet aren't these the same people who are shouting loudest for the very unjust freeing of convicted killer Marwan Barghouti and thousands of Palestinian terrorists? And they are doing it, they say, for the very same overriding reasons of "state" and "stability" (in this case strengthening Fatah and the Palestinian Authority) that they reject regarding Katsav.
I'm left with the sad conclusion that for these so-called civil rights groups and the Israeli Left in general, groping women is a much more serious crime than murdering Israelis.
Sir, - Yesterday's Letters column numbered 13, all about Moshe Katzav. It seems the mood of the people is absolute outrage and disgust. But where is the outrage over Sderot, where rockets are still falling and people are still displaced?
Who cares about a "dirty old man"? Can't we get our priorities straight? ("Meridor: Gov't must fund home front defense," July 1.)
Sir, - I find the decision by Prime Minister Olmert to immediately deport Sudanese refugees back to Egypt horrifying, if not surprising ("Refugees will be returned to Africa," July 2).
He based his decision on "assurances" from President Mubarak that the Sudanese will not be harmed. Who will monitor these assurances? The Organization of African States? The UN Commission on Human Rights? Amnesty International? Human Rights Watch?
I propose that Israel cancel this decision - a death sentence for many of the refugees - and:
demand that the UN High Commission for Refugees shoulder the cost of their upkeep in Israel;
call upon the world community to offer refuge to those coming over in numbers proportionate to their own populations;
call for the establishment of a UN Special Tribunal to investigate the plight of Sudanese refugees in Egypt.
If any of my children were serving at the border point where the refugees cross over, I would tell them to refuse an order to send them back to death, torture, suffering and imprisonment, invoking the precedent of the Nuremberg trial rulings on the obligation to disobey unethical orders. And were that child sent to jail for refusing an order, I would be honored to join him there.
ELIHU D RICHTER
Work with, not against me
Sir, - Mendel Kaplan's attacks on me and other WJC officials are most unfortunate ("Kaplan accuses Bronfmans of behaving 'incorrectly' in WJC vote," June 25). As an officer of the WJC, Mr. Kaplan should respect the outcome of the recent elections, in which he garnered only 17 of 94 votes.
For seven months Mr. Kaplan was responsible for resolving the WJC Israel Branch's non-compliance with regulations governing the dispensation of charitable assets. He failed. Instead of resolving the legal impediments he sought to circumvent them with shadowy backroom deals.
For over two decades Mr. Kaplan held senior management positions at the WJC. During this time proper rules of governance and financial management were systematically violated. It is these failures and Mr. Kaplan's own incorrect behavior that led to his resounding defeat, and not any action by Mr. Bronfman or myself.
In recent weeks, Jewish communities around the world clearly voted to preserve integrity and chart a new future. I invite Mr. Kaplan to work with me in support of these important goals instead of publicly fighting the will of the people.
STEPHEN E. HERBITS