True roots of the conflict: not racism
Sir, – However much I like Seth
Frantzman’s texts, this time (“Racism: The reality whose name we do not speak,”
November 3) I must very strongly disagree with him.
Racism is in brief
defined as an a priori negative attitude towards someone of another race. As
such it can be found in Israel as anywhere else in the world, but I am quite
sure that it can be found much more in, say, Ashkenazi- Falasha interaction than
in the Jewish- Arab one.
I would not like to generalize too much, but
most Israeli Arabs see Jews as those that made them into a minority in what they
still view as their own land. They see them as invaders who set the playground
so that they would be much more successful in economic competition, and so
Add to this growing Islamic radicalism and you have enough reasons
for fully conscious hate and everything that stems from it.
At the same
time Jews – often quite rightly – see Arabs as a fifth column of those that keep
pushing for destruction of the Jewish national home. Again more than enough
reasons for full-fledged hate.
Looking for racist roots in the Jew-Arab
conflict in Israel is not only a mistake but it above all prevents us from
seeing and treating the true roots of the conflict.
She should thank her lucky stars
Sir, – When Ray Hanina speaks about MK Haneen
Zoabi and her claim that Israel only claims to be a democratic state (“Unfazed
and unafraid,” Yalla peace, November 3), he misses a major point.
Zoabi was a citizen of any other country in the region, whether Lebanon, Syria,
Jordan, Egypt, Iraq or Iran, and then boarded a boat to break a blockade that
the country maintained against an enemy entity, she would probably disappear one
day and never be heard from again.
Even American citizens, living in that
great democracy of the West, would have been arrested 10 years ago if they
attempted to travel to Cuba.
Our legislators have to understand that
being a Knesset member carries with it certain obligations to uphold the laws of
the country they serve. Attempting to run a government blockade is nothing less
than the willful breaking of the law.
Zoabi should be arrested and tried
for treason – that’s what real democracies would do. So I guess she is right,
this is not a real democracy and she should thank her lucky stars for
Sir, – If MK Haneen Zoabi acted out in
Saudi Arabia or Iran, for example, she might get stoned to death or be given a
A member of the Israeli Knesset should be expected to uphold
Israeli law. The Mavi Marmara was not a peaceful ship bearing only goodwill for
Gazans. It was manned by anti-Israeli troublemakers and thugs who could easily
have had their humanitarian goods brought into Gaza by other means.
democracy should or would willingly expose its citizens to the risks of weapons
being smuggled to its borders.MICHAEL WASSERMAN
Chicago Address the root
Sir, – Dennis Ross’s speech (“Intensifying the pressure on Iran,” October
29) includes many points that seem to be trying to impress his audience as to
how effective the Obama administration has been in handling Iran and in dealing
with the Middle East peace process.
Frankly, I’m not impressed with
At the end of the day, Iran just keeps marching steadily towards
their goal of obtaining a nuclear arsenal. I am not convinced that the US
administration will take all steps necessary to prevent this. All indications
are that they have come to accept the possibility of a nuclear
Regarding peace, Ross says that “no one is more familiar with the
challenges of reaching an agreement than I am.”
Oh really? In that case,
why hasn’t he advised the president to finally address the root cause of the
entire Arab-Israeli conflict – namely, the continued refusal by the Palestinians
and the Arab states to acknowledge that the Jewish people have a deep historical
connection to this land going back several thousand years, and that therefore
they do indeed have a natural right to at least parts of this land (and not due
merely to sympathy for the Holocaust, as President Obama stated in Cairo)? This
refusal to acknowledge Jewish history is the reason the Arabs rejected the
Partition Plan in 1947 and attacked the newly born Jewish state in
This is the reason they rejected prime minister Barak’s generous
offer for a state in 2000 and similarly prime minister Olmert’s offer in
This is the reason Mahmoud Abbas claims there never was a Jewish
Temple in Jerusalem and incited his people to violence in 2009 when the Hurva
synagogue was rebuilt.
This is the reason they continue to look for all
excuses not to negotiate peace with the Netanyahu government and can’t even say
the words “Jewish state.”
President Obama gave them extra incentive not
to negotiate when he created the settlement “boogeyman” and put the Palestinians
up a high tree from which they cannot now get down. After all, they can’t be
seen to be any less “Palestinian” than Obama, can they? The moment the
Palestinians acknowledge our Jewish history here in this land, the entire
dynamic will change. The moment we hear Abbas say something like “You know what,
the Jewish people do have a history here and do have some rights here; let’s
share the land,” you will see Israel bend over backwards to make a Palestinian
state thrive and succeed.
No, it will not be on 1967 borders.
Palestinians had 19 years to build a state on those borders and chose not to.
They therefore don’t have rights to those borders now.
believe the majority of Israelis will support the creation of a peaceful
Palestinian state with security guarantees as described by Netanyahu in his Bar-
If Ross really wants to help solve the conflict, then let
him address its root cause, and tell his president to stop creating stumbling
blocks that didn’t exist before.LARRY BIGIO
Collaborators with oppression
Sir, – Caroline Glick (“The Age of Dissimulation,”
November 2) voices her well-founded frustrations with the widespread
unwillingness to criticize Islam. One reason for that is fear.
protects itself from internal criticism by making apostasy a capital offense.
Even when highly respected scholars dare to call for reform, they take their
lives into their hands.
For example, Prof. Abu Zayd, a leading Egyptian
Koranic thinker, was accused of apostasy and forced to flee the country after he
openly opposed the jizya, or poll tax on unbelievers, as
Dr. Ahmed Mansour of the prestigious Al-Azhar University
in Cairo was imprisoned for six months when he dared to challenge the
authenticity of some of the hadiths. The Sudanese reformer Mahmoud Taha was
assassinated. Author Salman Rushdie is still in hiding since the Ayatollah
Khomeini declared him an apostate for The Satanic Verses.
protects itself from external criticism by making blasphemy, even by
non-Muslims, a capital crime. The fatwas and murder attempts against several
Western artists and cartoonists attest to the dangers of violating Shari’a, or
Criticism is thereby muted, but badly needed reforms are
retarded because of the inability to point out errors.
stagnation of Islamic society may be regrettable, but the ignorance and
cowardice of people in the non-Muslim world is inexcusable. While some people
may congratulate themselves as tolerant, they are really just unwitting
collaborators with oppression.DAVID KATCOFF