Sir, – Thank goodness Hirsh Goodman is back. My faith
in mankind is restored! “One man’s storm is another’s island” (Postscript,
November 25) exemplifies Goodman’s erudite, incisive and reader-friendly style.
I suggest his column be sent to our prime minister, who has announced that
moments of regional upheaval are not a time to rush diplomatic
Goodman has my vote for defense minister in a government of the
people by the people and for the people. Do not silence him.ZELDA HARRIS
Sir, – Hirsh Goodman writes: “Hamas has repeatedly offered Israel a
10-year hudna, or cease fire. We should take it. If during that period the
cease-fire is broken, there will be a war.”
Goodman should know better on
two counts: 1. Hamas has clearly said it will never recognize Israel, which
means the war will continue after 10 years (after much more sophisticated
ammunition is smuggled into Gaza.) This will allow Hamas time to prepare for a
2. Israel will not start a war if the cease-fire is broken.
Yitzhak Rabin said the Oslo Accords would be repealed if the Arabs returned to
terror. Were they? Of course not. Ariel Sharon said that if rockets came from
Gaza after the pullout, there would be war. Was there? Of course
Jerusalem ...and differing takes
Sir, – In your
issue of November 25, a whole Comment & Features page is devoted to two
articles from South Africa. In one (“Apartheid lies and the war of words,” Sinai
Today), that country’s chief rabbi, Warren Goldstein, makes a plea for the
Israeli government to harness its strategic, financial and human resources to
fight the battle for Israel’s reputation.
This admirable suggestion
contrasts strikingly with the sentiment presented in the second article, by the
vice-chairwoman of the South African Zionist Federation (“Could ‘ubuntu’ help
the Israeli-Palestine conflict?”).
In it, Reeva Forman implies that blame
for the failure to reach a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians
rests equally on the shoulders of right-wing extremists on both
Forman’s claim to observe an analogy between the situation that
ended apartheid in South Africa and the philosophy of kinship omits the fact
that there, both parties reached agreement after free discussion. Here,
Palestinian leaders have either declined to accept generous offers by several
Israeli prime ministers or, as now, are refusing to enter into negotiations
unless Israel accepts pre-conditions.
Forman’s failure to appreciate this
MONTY M. ZION
Sir, – Reeva Forman talks about
her proud ubuntu. She tries to apply what she learned to the situation in
I also grew up in South Africa, but with a proud Yiddish
Ret nit kein narishkeit (don’t talk nonsense) – one cannot and
should not compare the two situations.
On the same page, South African
Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein writes that Israel must “move away from the
philosophy of David Ben-Gurion” to promote the cause of truth. I humbly suggest
that he starts with his excellent contacts and contributions from the South
African Jewish community to make the South African government more even-handed
in its policies toward Israel and the Palestinians.BENNY GLUCH
Sir, – Reeva Forman is entitled to her opinions. But equating Israelis
who lay “claim to the biblical definition of Israel which includes Judea and
Samaria” with the Palestinian right-wing fringe, “which calls for the total
destruction of the Jewish State of Israel” (and praises and rewards those who
cold-bloodedly murder innocent civilians, including babies, to achieve this
aim), is offensive if not obscene.
One would expect both her and the
South African Zionist Federation to know that only recognized states have
embassies and governments. To obsequiously “give credit to both the Israel and
Palestinian embassies in South Africa and their respective governments in
Jerusalem and Ramallah who facilitated our visits to both regions” is no less
If this is the message of the SAZF, then I, as a former South
African, suggest it henceforth be known as the SAF, for it no longer represents
the country’s Zionist community.BERYL RATZER
Netanya Latter-day axis
Sir, – Regarding “Hamas, Fatah agree to work as partners” (November 25), in
their day Hitler and Mussolini also met and agreed to work as
There is no essential difference.
partnership is a latter-day axis and Israel has no option but to treat this
partnership in whole and in part as an enemy.
The Palestinian Authority
has outlived its usefulness. It is defunct. Withholding tax funds from the PA is
the least we can do now.YONATAN SILVERMAN
Tel Aviv Manipulation?
Lithuanian Jewish Holocaust survivors (and historians) have seen a lot of
manipulation of Lithuanian-Jewish issues by Lithuanian government operatives in
recent years, but “Israel has a friend in Lithuania” (Comment & Features,
November 24), by two self-styled representatives of Lithuanian Jewry, beats
I never thought I’d live to see this line coming from a
Western or Jewish pen (unless snuck in by far-right Baltic revisionist,
anti-Semitic historians who know how to court very useful Jews in the West):
“The first [issue] is the way [Lithuania] has celebrated its early freedom from
the Soviets – the first time – in 1941. That freedom came at the hands of Nazi
control – and consequently at the peril of the Jewish community.”
was not “at the peril” of the Jewish community. It was the onset of the actual
Lithuanian Holocaust launched by barbaric murderers associated with the
Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) and other fascist organizations who are now
honored by Lithuania’s government, even as expensive, extensive and lavish
efforts are made to cover it all up with sunflowers, sesame seeds and
The writer is editor of
DefendingHistory.com What he meant
Sir, – Regarding readers’ reactions (“Not
‘far-fetched,” Letters, November 23) to my own letter (“Serious charges,”
November 21), Jerusalem bombings are, of course, not farfetched.
accusing journalist-accompanied, King-quoting, peaceful demonstrators of wanting
it simply is.
My letter, as originally submitted, requested mutual
understanding only as “part of our own expectation that the other side try a lot
harder to understand our own case.” But if another writer’s understanding of her
neighbors’ indelible humanity and political case is reduced to “just” the
violence of a few – and I realize the inconceivable horror of those quotation
marks – then our loved ones, forever, will be getting “scraped off,” and theirs
forever will be, too.
As I said, let’s get serious. Both sides have
Many settlers could return home to Israel to allow a twostate
solution and prevent demographic suicide, and so give us permanent security and