Mum’s the word
Sir, – In his speech to the UN General Assembly last week
(“Obama: United States will ‘do what it must’ to prevent nuclear Iran,”
September 27), US President Barack Obama said, inter alia:
• We were inspired by
the Tunisian protests.
• We insisted on change in Egypt.
supported a transition of leadership in Yemen.
• We intervened in Libya
alongside a broad coalition.
• We again declare that the regime of Bashar
al-Assad must come to an end.
• We have taken these positions because we
believe that freedom and self-determination are not unique to one
These are not simply American values or Western values – they
are universal values.
And what did Obama say about the people of Iran
being shot down in the streets while protesting the theft of elections by
Khamenei and Ahmadinejad and their cohorts? Nothing!
Sir, – I cannot disagree with a single thing in Charles
Krauthammer’s “Collapse of the Cairo Doctrine” (Comment & Features,
September 27). What I do not find in his piece, however, is any acknowledgement
that “it was worth a try.” Perhaps with his 20-20 hindsight he does not believe
But casting back to those heady first days of the Obama
administration, I can well imagine how the thinking went. Here is the first
black president of the US, a man with connections in the Muslim world and a
“black power” background. Surely he can bring a unique perspective to tackling
some of the world’s most intractable problems, achieving things that no other US
president could attempt.
“It’s worth a try” must have been the feeling
within the administration at the time.
Of course, as Krauthammer only too
convincingly demonstrates, the effort now seems to have been doomed from the
start, and the outcome has been truly devastating. However, I still believe
that, despite attempting to establish a “new deal” with the Muslim world, Obama
never turned his back on Israel.
Throughout 2010 the administration
persisted with the Israeli- PA peace process, and indeed achieved a worthy
success in September when it brought the parties to the same table. That too,
though, quickly fell apart – and the administration, through its repeated
insistence on a construction freeze throughout the West Bank and east Jerusalem,
forced Mahmoud Abbas into a corner and thus bears a share of the
Subsequently, though, by word and deed, Obama has shown
that he remains Israel’s friend. Where he failed from the start was in
recognizing the nature and the aims of the Iranian administration and the extent
to which extremist Islamist views, such as those of the Muslim Brotherhood, had
captured public opinion across the Middle East.
A final verdict on
Obama’s “engagement” with the Muslim world? Brave, but foolhardy.
Beit Shemesh ..but now is now
Sir, – Daniel Tauber (“No friend of ours,”
Comment & Features, September 27) clearly and succinctly categorizes US
President Barack Obama’s position regarding Israel.
foreign policy ensures Israel’s security, but it does not create an atmosphere
of confidence when it comes to facing a virtual existential threat from Iran.
The latest incident of the president’s refusal to make time to meet with our
prime minister indicates his true colors and certainly brings into question his
However, Mitt Romney’s precise positions on certain key
issues in the Middle East are still in the realm of political rhetoric and won’t
be tested until he’s elected, if that is to happen.
Nevertheless, as a
concerned American-Israeli I fear what Obama’s political behavior toward Israel
will be if he’s elected to a second term and is no longer beholden to a
This is clearly a case of preferring the devil
you don’t know to the devil you know.
HAIM M. LERNER
Sir, – I would like to add a postscript to my op-ed of
September 25 (“Bankruptcy – monetary and moral,” Comment &
Before Rosh Hashana I wrote to Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov
Litzman, asking again for an opportunity to speak with him or meet with him. I
appealed to him, as a rabbi, to award me this one small request.
other day I received in the mail his answer, which I will quote verbatim: “I
acknowledge the receipt of your additional letter, and as I have answered in the
past, the Ministry of Health, together with the necessary authorities, conducts
hearings to allow the inclusion of private dentists via different options,
within strict insurance of all the rules of safety and within the
Aren’t two-and-a half years of hearings enough? Does Litzman not
care at all that people are being ruined? Is he too important to meet with a
simple citizen? Is this the proper attitude for a supposedly God-fearing Jew
during the 10 days of repentance?
Doug was right
Gian P. Gentile is wrong (“In war, sometimes there ‘is’ a substitute for
victory,” Comment & Features, September 24).
If in Afghanistan and
Iraq the situation is bad, it is because of what the politicians did after
They tried to impose democracy on populations whose religion and
traditional ways of life are against democracy.
We can see this in the
so- (wrongly)-called Arab Spring, where the population wants the Islamic way of
life, not the democratic way of life.
US Gen. Douglas MacArthur was
right: There is no substitute for victory.
Omer A Turk
Sir, – My first duty as a Turkish citizen is to preserve and defend
forever the Turkey-Israel friendship.
This is my greatest
I know Turkey is a very important country for Israel’s policy
in the outside world because my country’s geopolitical status is very important
in the Middle East and Caucasia. Today, we need new political, military and
economic strategies for a new world system. We have to save our friendship for
the sake of our future. We shall never despair and we shall struggle.
friendship is a guarantee for our region’s security and future. I ask for your
help in developing that friendship.
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