Sir, – In his Reality Check column (“Why is Labor still in the government?,” June 7), Jeff Barak equates Israel’s “feuding with Turkey” with “pushing our once strategic ally further and further into the arms of Syria and Iran.” I wish to remind Barak that a few years ago, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan decided his country needed to begin moving beyond its borders, and thus formed alliances with Pakistan and Iran, neither of which is friendly to Israel, at the same time souring relations with this country.
Barak’s claim, therefore, of an Israel “feuding” with Turkey is patently baseless.DAVID S.ADDLEMAN
Sir, – Imagine the Turkish response to a protest vessel carrying an Israeli flag, replete with 50 or so Israeli militants bringing Kurdish teachers and literature to Turkey.
It is time for Israel to accept that the Erdogan government has made a choice – and it is not for the Western side. Nothing Israel can do will mollify Turkey as it is now governed.
Israel should withdraw its ambassador in open protest of Turkey’s aggression and wait until, if ever, the spirit of Atatürk is resurrected.
Tel Aviv That feeling again
Sir, – A sense of déjà vu swept over me on seeing the headline “Vatican says world ignores Christian suffering in the Mideast“ (June 7). We have seen it all before, only in my time it was the Jews in the headline, while the Vatican, together with the rest of the world, was likewise silent.
Of course, the first paragraph confirmed what I knew was coming: It is all due to the Israel- Palestine conflict.CYRIL ATKINS
Beit Shemesh Long-hidden agenda
Sir, – Kudos to Yoram Dori (“An open letter to Helen Thomas,” June 7) for his intelligent and diplomatic response.
With her latest outspoken remarks, Thomas tainted her long and distinguished journalistic career. By calling for the Jews of “Palestine” to go back to Germany and Poland, she revealed a long-hidden racist agenda.
It is an insult to immigrants all over the world – especially to the Lebanese citizens of America, from which her own family comes. An apology will not undo the harm she has afflicted upon herself.MARILYN MANDELBAUM
Sir, – Regarding claims made by those such as Helen Thomas, there has been a Jewish presence in Israel for over 4,000 years. The reason Jews were in Europe was because they were forcibly expelled; when these Jews came to Palestine, they were returning home. They were not taking over or occupying other peoples’ lands. They were resettling in what was their birthright.
That Jews belong in Europe is a claim of those who wish to delegitimize Israel and deny the Jewish narrative.JORGE NELSON
Mexico City ‘Laws’ indeed
Sir, – The view on legislation discussed in the editorial “Booting MKs mid-term” (June 7), which would allow Knesset members to remove fellow parliamentarians for expressing views considered dangerous or anti-democratic, is that there already are “laws on the books to which MKs can be held accountable if their conduct constitutes a criminal offense.”
The editorial continues: “In 1988, Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach party, which advocated the transfer of Arab citizens, became the first list to be disqualified. So far Kach, which was blocked again in the 1992 elections, is the only party that has ever been outlawed on the national level.”
What good are “laws on the books” when they were not used against MK Azmi Bishara when he publicly praised Syria’s “struggle to free occupied Arab land and its resistance against occupation?” Now, of course, there is MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad), who even had the chutzpa to stand in the Knesset and lie about the actions of our soldiers.
Arab MKs can stand in public and call for the destruction of the State of Israel, go round the world to enemy states and condemn us, incite against us in the vilest forms and stand clearly on the side of our enemies, but the democratic process must be upheld – except, of course, against Rabbi Kahane, who was prepared to live and speak the truth, and ultimately was murdered for it.EDITH OGNALL
Netanya The system’s to blame
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s head may be on the block, but he is being unfairly pilloried, as there is more than enough blame to go around for the flotilla fiasco, trap, raid, whatever it is called.
At its core, responsibility lies with Israel’s flawed political system.
No coalition government, with its tyranny of minority parties, can govern effectively.
Netanyahu is literally a prisoner of his intemperate, unrestrained coalition.
Unless and until Israel sheds this system, no prime minister will function effectively.MELVIN BENARDE
Princeton, New Jersey They’re just words
Sir, – We value the advice of our friend from Los Angeles (“So does the right word,” Letters, June 7) to use “Coast Guard safety inspection,” a softer term than ‘blockade,” so as not to antagonize public opinion.
John F. Kennedy and the US used the word “blockade” against Cuba in the early 1960s.
No matter what words Israel uses, though, it will never please the UN and the Arab street.ISSY HASS
Ra'anana And that’s no blarney...
Sir, – May I say as an Irishman that I, and most of my compatriots, do not agree with the socalled “freedom flotilla” using the flag of our country in a misguided enterprise to bring in what is called “humanitarian aid.” (“Navy boards ‘Rachel Corrie’ off Gaza,” June 5).
Ireland has a surplus of misguided individuals who believe they have a monopoly on the truth. I have to tell you, they do not represent Irish opinion in spite of the mouthings of our politicians.
I and many friends who have taken the time to study the actual circumstances of the conflict agree totally with Israel’s stance.PHILIP TOBIN
Dublin ...or poppycock
Sir, – I feel moved to write to you to express my deepest apologies for
my government’s attitude toward your forces’ action in boarding the
“aid” vessels (“As ‘friend,’ British PM calls on Israel to end
blockade,” June 3).
I can’t imagine a situation developing within the UK in which any sane
government would stand idly by and allow entry by a vessel carrying aid,
legitimately or otherwise, when there is a possibility, however remote,
of it also being used to carry arms or any other kind of weaponry
destined to cause harm to its citizens.
I can’t imagine, after witnessing the carnage caused by the rockets
regularly launched into Israeli civilian areas, why whatever Israel does
to protect itself and its citizens is considered aggressive and an
I can’t imagine why any government could expect Israel to sign a
non-nuclear policy, knowing full well that one nation in particular has
publicly stated that it wants to see your country destroyed.
I, along with most of the UK population, saw on camera the initial
boarding of the ship bound for Gaza. I saw those boarding being
attacked. Most likely, if those on board the vessel had allowed a search
to be carried out, no one would have been injured or killed.TONY ROSE