Sir, - As a Korean war veteran, I'm once again shocked by Federal authorities putting the loyalty of American Jews to the test. In this case, David Tenenbaum is suspect merely because he has "ties" with Israel and speaks Hebrew.
How frightening. If this attitude continues to develop in America, all American Jews will eventually come under suspicion ("ADL comes to defense of US Army engineer targeted for ties to Israel," October 18).
Though the Jewish experience in America has been outstandingly good, perhaps it's time for many of us to realize that no matter how well-off American Jews are in the "goldene medine," it's still the Diaspora - and think about coming home to Israel.
HAIM M. LERNER
Son of which nation?
Sir, - Thank you, Prof. Gil Troy, for a wonderful rebuttal of J Street's "pro-Israel" advice to Israel and the hypocrisy of which it reeks ("An open letter to Jeremy Ben-Ami," October 18).
Is it just politics, a desperate attempt to justify the choice of US president? Or hubris, leading the young guard of Jewish Americans to force Israel to accede to its positions no matter if they lead to our undoing?
The name may be Ben-Ami, but I question to which "am" or nation he thinks he belongs.
Sir, - Thank you, Gil Troy. Your open letter is equally applicable to "Peace Now" and B'Tselem, and to the professors of so many of our children at universities throughout the Western world.
Sir, - Here is my own open letter to Jeremy Ben-Ami and J Street:
"You claim to love Israel, care about its future, and believe that the 'peaceful and immediate resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can secure Israel's future as the democratic home of the Jewish people.' How can one argue with that?
"But how are you about to achieve it? By undermining and weakening AIPAC and splitting the voice of the American Jewish community to the US administration at such a crucial and sensitive juncture of Israel's relationship with the US and the world?
"Yes, you are entitled to your opinion, but it is naive to believe that meetings and speeches are going to resolve a conflict dating back more than 100 years, a conflict that has erupted in several wars and a multitude of smaller but no less vicious riots and terrorist attacks.
"Of greater concern is your presumptuous belief that you have been anointed for your role by a 'large number' of Jewish Americans. Whatever that number may be, most American Jews are probably unaware of your existence and are not likely to support you. Are you feeling some need to support the Obama administration, or perhaps pursuing your own political agenda unrelated to the fate of Israel and the Jewish people?
"Ultimately, the fate of Israel will be decided by its citizens, who defend Israel by serving in the army, whose children and grandchildren serve and die in defense of the one and only Jewish state, who are at risk of being incinerated by Iranian atom bombs.
"I beseech you, therefore, before embarking on reckless and potentially harmful political adventures, to listen to us, the people of Israel, who speak in many voices, but ultimately with one voice only.
Sir, - It may be hard to believe, but I now feel a little sorry for Judge Goldstone. He was naive and duped by the powers that be, and now whatever he says to water down the findings of his mission or try to be evenhanded, he will be ridiculed and maligned by the Arabs and portrayed as a turncoat Jew-boy who could not be trusted to withstand pressure from the US-Israel lobby.
Chances are he will forever rue the day he took on this assignment ("Answer this, Judge Goldstone," Haviv Rettig Gur, October 18).
...or maybe not
Sir, - Haviv Rettig Gur assumes that Judge Goldstone is "an honest man with noble intentions" and suggests that Goldstone's initial failure to recognize the inherent bias of the UN's Human Rights Council may be the result of "shocking naivete."
But why is Goldstone entitled to this assumption? Why not apply to him the same standard that he applied to Israel in his damning report? Goldstone concluded that Israeli troops intentionally killed Gazan civilians even while he failed to find any confirming government policy. The basis for his conclusion was that "Israeli intelligence has very precise information" and Israeli weapons are extremely accurate.To Goldstone, there was no chance that Gazan deaths were accidental or incidental to permitted military activity.
The same line of reasoning should be applied to Goldstone himself. He is a world-renowned jurist with years of experience in investigations related to human rights and military operations. Ostensibly, he was chosen to head the commission precisely because of that expertise. It is therefore fair to conclude that he was fully aware of the purpose and likely outcome of the investigation.
Goldstone's "shock" at the unfairness of the UNHRC's resolution is not the result of naivete. It looks a lot more like a transparent attempt to limit his own responsibility for this ongoing farce. Unfortunately, his guilt cannot be erased so easily.
EFRAIM A. COHEN
Sir, - The UN Human Rights Commission was founded just 60 years ago in the presence of Eleanor Roosevelt and other dignitaries, in the hope it would improve and protect human rights worldwide. What has it done? Nearly nothing.
It has ignored the plight of millions of women in Africa and other third world countries who are literally slaves in their societies, and the plight of millions of refugees and oppressed citizens in 190 countries worldwide. It has ignored the fact that only recently, 160 Palestinians were killed by their own people, three times the number Israel killed in the Gaza incursion.
It has done something - it has passed countless resolutions against Israel, ignoring Hamas, Hizbullah and other terror organizations that hide behind civilians in order to attack Israel ("Jewish MKs from across Israel's political spectrum condemn UNHRC endorsement of Goldstone Report," October 18).
BA's rightward swing
Sir, - I was intrigued by your World Bnei Akiva supplement (October 16). I grew up in a small town in England and was not that religious. Nevertheless, after I married and came to Israel, I slowly became more observant and we sent our children to Bnei Akiva. Many of our present friends came from the movement in England, and I must admit to a degree of envy when they reminisce about that period.
I could not help but notice that some of the older pictures in the supplement showed girls wearing pants and even shorts. Our own daughters wore pants only at summer camp, and only under a skirt. And now that our oldest grandson has just started Bnei Akiva, he is totally segregated from the girls.
I find it sad that the movement has moved so far right toward the ultra-Orthodox. Will the trend continue; or will the pendulum swing back again? My instinct tells me the former, but my heart hopes for the latter.