March 5: Free fall

How about a common sense-saving device? The US administration seems in dire need of one.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Free fall Sir, - Nothing better illustrates John Bolton's comment that US foreign policy is in a free fall than "The Palestinian Authority is expecting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to provide it with a 'face-saving device' that will allow it to return to negotiations with Israel" ("Rice expected to focus on Gaza-Egypt border arrangement," March 4). The Palestinians launch dozens of rockets a day at Sderot and Ashkelon, but the Americans are expected to provide them with a face-saving device. How about a common sense-saving device? The US administration seems in dire need of one. MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC Beersheba Dealing with the devil Sir, - Re "Sderot youth can learn from kibbutzim how to alleviate terror trauma - study" (February 28): Sderot and the Western Negev have been in a hostage situation for seven years, and counting. The northern kibbutzim and their youth during the Second Lebanon War knew they were in a situation where officially the IDF was engaged in open combat with official Hizbullah. They were not in this endless series of life-threatening "hit-and-run" episodes, to which there may or may not be an Israeli response. The problem for psychologists to ponder is that the prolonged state of being a hostage leads to the "Stockholm Syndrome," i.e., an identification with the aggressor - an early sign of which is the belief that one can deal even with the Devil himself. MIRIAM L. GAVARIN Jerusalem Dubious facts Sir, - Benjamin Weinthal's "Outcry over alleged anti-Semite at German gov't agency dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism" (March 3) told your readers more about the author than about my publications (www.watzal.com). Let's put some of the dubious facts straight: I never published an article on the Lebanonwire Web site. This pro-American site took my book review ("Ghada Karmi, Israel's dilemma in Palestine," Pluto Press), which I published originally on the counterpunch Web site, without my permission and manipulated the personal details. The second questionable source is John Rosenthal. On February 26, 2006 he wrote a slanderous article on TCS Daily in which he offered "deep" insights into an ongoing witch-hunt against me like the one Weinthal wants to revive. If Weinthal had been a serious journalist he would not have relied on the owner of the juedische.at Web site, Samuel Laster. His Web site published an article on January 27 by Jonathan Mann in which he stated that I had "called in my past writings for solidarity with Hamas and Hizbullah." One day later, Mann reformulated this passage, referring to a Web site on which I had published articles and book reviews in the past. This Web site called for solidarity with Hamas and Hizbullah. Concerning my case, Weinthal tried to tape interviews with two people involved in the case without telling them. Having noticed that, both concluded the interviews at once. After these tricks I did not answer Weinthal's inquisitorial questions. In fact, my case is very clear: There is no "anti-Semitism" or "hostile sentiments" in any of my writings. The black-and-white picture Weinthal presented to Israeli readers does not match my publications. LUDWIG WATZAL Bonn Benjamin Weinthal responds: There is no question of a witch-hunt here; the issue is the public interest in alleged anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements by an employee of Germany's Federal Agency for Civic Education, a body responsible for combating anti-Semitism. I sent two e-mails to Mr. Watzal asking for clarification regarding use of his article on Lebanonwire, but received no reply. Mr. Rosenthal's "slanderous" article in TCS consists mostly of translated excerpts from Mr. Watzal's own writings, which speak for themselves. The interviews referred to were by telephone, and the interviewees were aware that they were on the record. The road not taken Sir, - It was refreshing to read Amnon Rubinstein's interesting "Homemade Israel-bashers" (February 28). Two comments: These Israel-bashers are the direct product of the secular society which Prof. Rubinstein so readily supports and considers the correct way of life. Orthodoxy, on the other hand, offered him a taste of a real Shabbat, which could be considered the correct path to a perfect world. JOYCE KAHN Petah Tikva Double error Sir, - Alex Sinclair's impeccable logic showing the unsatisfactory character of all alternatives now open to the Israeli government in regard to halting the terror-rockets of Hamas from Gaza fails when it comes to his bottom line: that talking with Hamas is a way to bring a cease-fire, which may eventually lead to elections in which Fatah replaces Hamas ("International condemnation is good for Israel," March 4). The mistake here is double: first, in assuming that Hamas will ever wholly stop the violent actions against Israel that are its raison d'etre; and second, in supposing that Fatah's ultimate goal is a real peace with Israel. Nothing the Palestinians say among themselves indicates that they are really willing to accept a Jewish state for the long term. Our only real alternative for now is thus not to conduct wishy-washy military operations with big names but to decisively crush the Hamas regime and any sign of violent opposition emanating from the other side. Our citizens in Sderot and Ashkelon, and who knows where else next, have to be given the kind of security every sovereign state owes its citizens. SHALOM FREEDMAN Jerusalem Model UN project Sir, - Ehud Zion Waldoks captured the essence of the Model UN project in Israel ("The future is bright," February 25). As the coordinators of the Israel Model UN (IMUN) conference in Jerusalem, we believe that the key to the program's success is student empowerment. Credit goes to the student secretariat and chairpeople,12th grade L'Yada students, who ran the entire conference for 11 schools this year and supervised student training at other schools. In addition to the Foreign Ministry, our sponsors also include the Jerusalem Foundation and the Jerusalem Education Authority (MANCHI), Hebrew University High School and Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Working closely with our sponsors, our emphasis is on high academic standards and constant training during the five months leading up to the three-day conference. One minor correction: L'Yada High School sent its own delegation of six students to the Georgetown University Model UN conference in Qatar this year, where our delegates received several awards, including one for Best Delegate. It was a unique opportunity to meet teenagers from countries which have no official relations with Israel. The Israel Model UN (IMUN 2009) will take place in January 2009. Applications from Jerusalem schools can be submitted in May for a limited number of delegations. For more information, contact Harold@netvision.net.il. EVREA NESS-BERGSTEIN SAMARA WACKS Hebrew University High School Jerusalem Seeing red Sir, - Thank you for printing the photo of the anemones ("Kalaniot' in Lachish," March 3). What a glorious sight that sea of red flowers was among all the awful news of the day! SALLY SHAW Kfar Saba