Holy-site double standards
Sir, – Once again, the Arab-Israeli double standard is hard at work! Recently, a mosque was damaged by fire (“PA blames settlers for torching W. Bank mosque,” May 5). Before the last ember was snuffed out, calls were already coming from the Arabs decrying and condemning this as an act of arson by Jews. Declarations from the IDF of launching joint investigations with PA police and calls for worldwide condemnation were seen in all the media within a short time.
However, in 2005, when Israel pulled out of Gaza and left behind many synagogues with signs announcing that they were holy sites, every single one was burned to the ground. Not only were they all destroyed, it was done with glee and in full view of the cameras. No call for investigations, no condemnation, no follow-up – nothing.
While I would never condone torching any place of prayer, it is sad to see that when a single mosque “mysteriously” burns, everyone goes wild with claims and demands for bringing alleged perpetrators to justice. Sadly, this same respect was not afforded to Jewish houses of worship in Gaza.RABBI ZE’EV M SHANDALOV
Ma’aleh Adumim Fighting the previous war
Sir, – With the benefit of hindsight, historians have been able to demonstrate that our political and military leaders are usually fighting the previous war. This has occurred throughout history because political and military leaders generally work with what has been successful in the past.
The lines of static forces in World War I led to the Maginot Line in World War II, which was quickly overrun by mobile forces and air assets. The conventional forces of World War II proved inefficient in fighting insurgencies and unconventional forces in Vietnam. After World War II, we successfully remade the German and Japanese societies by dismantling the existing political and military structures. However, this tactic failed in Iraq because of the deep-seated animosities among different ethnic groups.
Now some are professing that the tactic of containment in the Cold War, which averted nuclear war and eventually led to the downfall of the Soviet Union, will work against Iran. Unfortunately, it appears that this, too, will prove to be a case of fighting the last war.
Our leaders have some historic and frightening decisions to make in the near future regarding Iran, North Korea and Syria concerning the arming of terrorists and the proliferation of nuclear weapons (“Calls for nuke-free Middle East gather momentum at UN NPT summit,” May 5). If Iran is permitted to develop a nuclear umbrella over itself and its allies, they will be in a position to cause irreparable damage to American interests in the Middle East and around the world without ever using nuclear weapons. Just the threat of nuclear retaliation against anyone attempting to curtail Iran’s terrorist allies will make it more difficult to defeat the terrorist threat.MICHAEL GEWIRTZ
New York The history of 1948...
Sir, – Avi Beker’s article on the New Historians is interesting, and it is good to know that Benny Morris has revised his views and is once again leading the new trend (“The revisionist escape,” May 3).
The true history of 1948 has still to be written.
None of the neighboring countries invaded Palestine in 1948 to help the Arabs living in Palestine. Each country attacked for its own ambitions. There was no holy war, no jihad. It is a myth that they had a right
to help other Arabs. There was no justification in any international law to attack Jews even before the State of Israel was declared.
Syria led the struggle against France and Britain since 1922, as it never accepted the boundaries allocated to it by the League of Nations. It wanted the area that had been the Syrian province in the days of the Ottoman Empire. This included Palestine and Lebanon.
Iraq wanted control of the pipeline from its oil fields to Haifa. Jordan’s Abdullah wanted Jerusalem as compensation for Mecca and Medina, which he had lost. Farouk of Egypt had a personal feud with Abdullah, and he was determined to thwart him.
Nobody in the world expected 600,000 unarmed Jews to survive.CHARLES OREN
Givatayim ...and of Gilo
Sir, – Ray Hanania parrots the Palestinian propaganda line, labeling Gilo an expanding settlement: “once a security settlement and... a prestigious and ‘old’ neighborhood these days” (“Who supports Palestinian development?,” May 5).
I thank Mr. Hanania for upgrading my neighborhood to the rank of prestigious; however, judging from the many folk who reside and frequent the shopping centers here in Gilo (including Arab residents), I believe most of my neighbors would call it a working-class neighborhood.
In case Mr. Hanania is in the dark about the history of Gilo, suffice it to say that in the 1930s, Dov Yosef (Bernard Joseph) and a consortium of Jewish businessmen purchased the bulk of the land that today comprises the neighborhood. During the War of Independence, the Egyptian Army situated artillery pieces in Gilo for shelling Jewish quarters of Jerusalem. At the war’s end, the Jordanian Army had overrun Gilo, and thus only after Jordan’s defeat in the Six Day War, some 19 years later, was the land reclaimed and incorporated within the municipal boundaries of our capital, Jerusalem.JOEL KUTNER
Jerusalem AIAC is not anti-Obama
Sir, – I write to clarify possible misperceptions about the American Israeli Action Coalition (AIAC) that may have resulted from the article “‘Non-Partisan’ American-Israeli group slammed by local democrats for attacks on Obama” (April 29).
The notion that AIAC is anti-Obama is simply not true. AIAC is interested in what is best for Israel and its citizens, as well as Jewry worldwide. AIAC sent a congratulatory letter to then-president-elect Barack Obama on his election and has commented favorably on President Obama’s actions in other instances.
AIAC is truly non-partisan and non-political. Had President Obama and his administration concentrated on being more friendly to Israel – which is actually the position of most Americans – AIAC would have been happy to so note. Unfortunately, he chose to act contrary to the feelings of most American citizens and “tilted” strongly against Israel, thereby endangering Israel and its citizens while actually acting against the best interests of the United States. AIAC believed – and continues to believe – that it had a duty to speak out as it did. The overwhelming majority of American Israelis agree with it.
Contrary to the derisive charge of Joanne Yaron, chairperson of Democrats Abroad Israel, that AIAC is a “paper organization” that “doesn’t really exist” and is all “make believe,” AIAC is a registered amuta
with more than 1,000 members. They are concerned about Israel (and Jewry worldwide) and believe that it is crucial that the united voice of the American Israelis be heard on issues of significance.
Perhaps the recent perceived “softening” in the Obama administration’s approach to Israel may be due – at least in some small part – to its recognition of the articulate publicizing of the views of the American Israelis and their recognized impact on the American electorate.HARVEY SCHWARTZ
Chairman, American Israeli Action Coalition (AIAC)
JerusalemJerusalem, through thick and thin
Sir, – I want to compliment Judy Montagu on the beautiful article “This
year in Jerusalem” (May 5). She expressed my sentiments exactly. I
always tell people from abroad that in spite of all the problems we
have in Israel, we wouldn’t want to live anywhere other than Jerusalem.