November 10: You’re on your own

As long as President Obama is in office there is no possibility whatsoever of the US using its military to destroy Iran’s nuclear program.

November 9, 2010 21:57

letters 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

You’re on your own

Sir, – As long as President Obama is in office there is no possibility whatsoever of the US using its military to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, no matter how much it insists that “all options are on the table” and how many threats it makes (“PM to Biden: Only credible military threat will stop Iran’s race for nuclear arms,” November 8).

There are only two countries that could conceivably launch a successful attack: the US and Israel. Unless Israel acts on its own, Iran will possess nuclear weapons in the next year or so, and will use them against Israel in an effort to wipe it off the map. That’s reality.

There is no other way to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power and attacking as soon as it is able. None whatsoever. It’s kill or be killed, sad to say.

Comox, British Columbia

A truism on fur

Sir, – Regarding your front page story on Pamela Anderson, which mentions her anti-fur trade campaign (“Praising ‘gorgeous’ Israel, Pamela Anderson flies in to show us how to tango,” November 8), only animals wear fur.


Facing up

Sir, – I just finished reading the latest column by Marilyn Henry (“I choose life,” Metro Views, November 7), and it is amazing how appropriately it describes my own emotions.

My father, having beat cancer twice, thought he could beat the odds a third time. He was told by several doctors to seek only palliative care, but rolled the dice and gambled on a surgical procedure that took over 11 hours, and then required four more procedures to clean up the mess.

Instead of being with family and friends during his final months of life, he was imprisoned in a hospital and endured surgery after surgery to no avail.

I am sorry that Henry is ill, but from where I stand, she is making the best choice, not just for herself, but also for her loved ones. I only wish my dad had made the same one.


Sir, – Marilyn Henry’s column offers an important perspective on facing life-threatening illness and courageously espouses an often silenced voice. Patients facing terminal illness endure painful existential isolation as they become aware that their time is drawing short, and those around them knowingly or unwittingly deny this reality.

While well-intentioned family members and caregivers labor to maintain a hopeful stance, patients are prevented from living an authentic life that includes the ability to make autonomous and meaningful choices about how they wish to live their remaining days.

Life’s Door–Tishkofet, a nonprofit organization with programs throughout Israel and abroad, has placed an emphasis on opening a frank dialogue about serious illness and end of life. Our programs provide guidance and support through counseling, groups and retreats, all aimed toward enhancing the lives of patients and their family members. In addition, LDT trains professionals to be able to be fully present, caring and honest at these challenging moments when the harsh realities of mortality are being confronted.

Henry’s insightful essay attests to the power of supported honesty and inspires us all to foster opportunities for others to travel the journey toward life’s end with such dignity.

The writers are founders of Life's Door-Tishkofet

Universal abuse

Sir, – The British foreign secretary, on his recent visit to Israel, was questioned about the continued threat of arrest for “war crimes” hanging over the head of any Israeli government or military personage visiting the UK, and when his government would take steps to cancel or defuse this ridiculous law. The minister replied with noticeable irritation that “...we will continue to do it to our own timetable. We do not need any intervention by other foreign ministers in that process, including the Israeli one” (“We’ll amend universal jurisdiction within a year, Hague promises,” November 5).

Granted, there might be complex legal problems in changing the law or in government interference in its application. However, I cannot believe that the home secretary is meanwhile unable “in the public interest” to order the police to refrain from any arrests. I am sure this has been done before in various situations when it suited the government.

In connection with this it has been suggested here that joint security, economic or scientific projects with the UK be suspended until this situation is put right.

Alternatively, I would suggest that the British government be informed that all of these projects will at some stage require unrestricted visits by senior and lesser Israeli functionaries who must all receive cast-iron guarantees of immunity from arrest before any of these projects are allowed to go forward.


Sir, – I believe I might be the only person in Israel who has been (albeit inadvertently) involved in the procedure for an application in the UK for the arrest of a foreigner.

Long ago, when I was a practicing solicitor in London, a client known to me slightly from previous dealings consulted with me on business matters. When I had completed offering my advice, he started to talk about the Universal Declaration of Independence that had just been announced by Ian Smith as prime minister of Rhodesia. He asked me what I thought about UDI. I told him I had no special knowledge of the subject and we merely chatted. There was no reference to a court or to any legal procedure, and I was not providing advice. The conversation petered out and he left.

To my horror, the next day, when getting the Evening Standard, I saw headlines that a warrant had been issued at Bow Street Magistrates Court in central London for the arrest of Ian Smith following an application by the individual who had pumped me for comments the previous day. What I had said to him he repeated extensively to the court (although not attributed to me, thankfully), and his application succeeded.

The fact is that he knew nothing about Rhodesia and had no real interest in the subject, but was playing with the court system and gaining wide personal publicity. I did not meet the man again.

I was present at the lecture on “lawfare” given last year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem by Baroness Patricia Scotland, the then-British attorney-general, when she expressed her opposition to abuse of the Universal Jurisdiction procedure.

She proposed that no such application be made without the prior fiat of the attorney-general, a simple solution. Shortly afterwards, she lost office in a general election.

As matters stand now, it is unlikely that parliamentary legislation in England, even if begun immediately, would be enacted and become enforceable before the end of 2011. However, in the meantime, directives could be given to magistrates by the legal hierarchy – if it so desired.

Although I would not advocate it as an official Israeli measure (as we should not be dragged down to that level), I am sure the British government would promptly amend the law if “titfor- tat lawfare” were engaged in and all those who have been members of terrorist organizations become the victims of applications for arrest warrants when seeking to visit Britain.


The writer is a retired British and Israeli lawyer


The Holocaust Educational Trust is an independent UK-based charity that has received funding for its “Lessons from Auschwitz” project from successive British governments (“Because hearing is not seeing,” November 9). It is not a government organization.

Related Content

New housing units for couples in Jerusalem.
October 14, 2019
The day after - examining Israel's real estate woes


Cookie Settings