Sir, – With the UN report establishing the legality of blockading Gaza (“Palmer: Gaza blockade lawful, but IDF used ‘excessive’ force,” September 2), Israel must now seize the initiative by bringing legal action demanding massive penalties for the Turkish government’s support of the flotilla, the owners and captain of the Mavi Marmara, and – especially – the thugs who attacked the Israeli soldiers. We know who they are, for we detained and interrogated them.
Legal action, together with Turkey’s massacre of Armenians, Kurds and Cypriots – of which we should often remind ourselves – will debunk Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s phony moralizing.
Who knows: Turkey may even be asked to rename Istanbul Constantinople.
In the meantime, we should unilaterally withdraw our diplomatic representation from Ankara; Israel does not accept ultimata. As for gaining regional hegemony, Erdogan should best address his righteous indignation at the blood bath in Syria.ALFRED INSELBERG
...one way or another
Sir, – Israel claims that the Palmer report vindicates its actions with respect to the Mavi Marmara.
The report states, among other findings, that the boarding of the
vessel at a “great distance from the blockade zone and with no final
warning immediately prior to the boarding was excessive and
Is it too much to expect Israel to say it’s sorry by saying: “We
apologize for boarding the Mavi Marmara without a final warning and
using excessive force that resulted in the unfortunate death of the
Turkish citizens, which we deeply regret?” JACK ZIV-EL
We know the ending
Sir, – Regarding “Libyan rebels meet with foreign powers in Paris”
(September 2), Libya, like the former Yugoslavia, is an entirely
artificial creation, essentially a conglomeration of what was left of
the Ottoman Empire in North Africa after the French took control of the
Maghreb and the British took over Egypt.
Its components have little in common. Tripolitania is essentially part
of the Maghreb whereas Cyrenaica, with its capital, Benghazi, is more
within the Egyptian cultural sphere. This division goes back to
antiquity when the former was part of the western (Latin) Roman Empire
and the latter was Byzantine (Greek).
The vast majority of the country is desert with nomadic Arabs and
Berbers whose primary loyalty is tribal and not national, while there is
a black population in the south with more affinity to sub-Saharan
Africa than to the Arabized Mediterranean littoral.
In this, Libya is very similar to what Yugoslavia was and we can expect
it to fall apart with similarly horrific ethnic conflicts.MARTIN D. STERN
They really like us!
Sir, – The photo accompanying “Iran ‘charm offensive’ fails to ease
nuclear fears” (September 2) is priceless. Where else would you see the
ayatollahs sitting on a beautiful blue and white carpet? They really do
like us and our colors, as the picture shows.M. SCHAEFFER
Who is he?
Sir, – Although I have full faith in Rabbi Menachem Froman’s sincerity
and integrity, I nevertheless have serious misgivings about his naivete
and presumptuous behavior (“Rabbi Froman meets Abbas, pledges support
for UN bid,” September 2).
The rabbi should be aware of the significant differences between his
meetings with clergymen of various faiths in order to try to establish a
common theological basis for peace, and his pledging support to Abbas
regarding the PA’s statehood bid at the UN. The first, while admirable,
is merely an exercise in futility, while the latter is fraught with
grave dangers to the State of Israel and the lives of its citizens.
Froman was neither elected nor chosen to grant support to a political act of this consequence.
One wonders whether, before he granted his blessing to Abbas, the rabbi
was able to extract a commitment from him to recognize the State of
Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
Did he demand that Abbas stop naming public squares after terrorists or
glorifying them in Palestinian textbooks? Did he in fact make any
demands at all? Does his naivete blind him to the fact that the two
don’t speak the same language, and that while Froman abhors terrorism
because of its immorality, Abbas merely discards it as no longer being
practical? This does not at all add honor to Froman in his own country.ZEV CHAMUDOT
Sir, – Uri Savir states that “it is due time for a courageous peace
initiative by our government” (“An American September,” Savir’s Corner,
This statement completely ignores reality. No government, courageous or
not, can make peace with a people whose leader refuses to recognize that
we have a valid and historical right to exist; who allows his media to
incite hatred against Jews; who names streets and squares after
terrorists; who says nice things in English to Western diplomats but
something completely different in Arabic to his own people.
Our government is being courageous in wishing to have a dialogue with such a leader at all.LYNETTE ORDMAN
Sir, – I read several Israeli newspapers every day and was chagrined, to
say the least, that not one, including The Jerusalem Post, had a recent
article or even a mention of September 1, 1939. This was the beginning
the Second World War and the killing of Jews in the territories taken
over by the Nazi armies.
I am friends with several survivors of the Holocaust who also were severely disappointed and hurt.JOSHUA J. ADLER
Come on out, Cohen
Sir, – On the many world problems he has chosen to write about, New York
Times columnist Roger Cohen has been a cool voice of reason and
objectivity expressed in deft and elegant phrasing. However, in a rare
self-revealing column (“Jews in a Whisper,” Comment & Features,
August 28), Cohen, in asking disarmingly “Where shall a Jew in Britain
who wants to speak up stand?,” gets himself hopelessly entangled in a
web of incoherence and self contradiction.
He is indeed right that the traditional genteel British anti-Semitism,
which mainly marked the establishment, has turned ugly and threatening
by the addition of a “ferocious anti-Zionism” of Left and Muslim hatred
and demonization. So in light of all this, what does Cohen see as the
task of Diaspora Jews? “They must be vociferous in their insistence that
continued colonization of Palestinians on the West Bank will increase
Israel’s isolation and ultimately its vulnerability.”
Put aside this notion and consider rather the truth of these charges. I
challenge Cohen to justify in open forum his judgment that in light of
all known facts Israel is today “systematically oppressing” another
people; to explicate the meaning of the mongrel phrase “colonization of
the Palestinian people” (how do you “colonize” people?); and to explain
why it is “legally” or “morally” wrong to “expand Jewish settlements in
the West Bank.”
Cohen concludes his piece by quoting favorably from Philip Roth (that
clear-headed Jew whose identity is rooted solidly in Jewish sources)
that he favors “Jews with force, Jews with appetite, Jews without
If those are the Jews Cohen is looking for, let him come home to Israel where such creatures abound.SHUBERT SPERO