And your point is...?
Sir, - After a careful reading of "Israel's selective fight against anti-Semitism" (October 6), focusing on Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's accusations of anti-Semitism against Norway for celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nazi sympathizer Knut Hamsun, I still find difficulty in understanding Jeff Barak's point.
He makes a pathetically valiant effort to draw a distinction between the author's novels, which he alleges are free of anti-Semitism, and the hateful man who wrote an obituary praising Adolf Hitler as "a prophet of the gospel of justice for all nations." I, for one, totally reject this distinction.
Were Barak able to demonstrate that despite the Hamsun celebration, Norway is nevertheless a true friend of Israel, he might garner some sympathy for his position. However, the fact that Oslo is seeking a dialogue with Hamas and pulling its government pension investment funds out of Israel clearly belies that viewpoint.
Aim small, think big
Sir, - "Lieberman seeks to fashion 'whole new Israeli foreign policy'" (October 7), one based on less dependence on the US, is going in the right direction. As the current situation with President Obama demonstrates, the US can be an unreliable ally while seeking to placate and appease enemy nations.
One avenue to consider is to try to forge an alliance of small countries, those with, say, less than 10 million people. This would include some current allies of Israel such as Costa Rica, Fiji and New Zealand as well as a host of smaller nations.
What distinguishes these countries is that they each have a single vote at the UN - just like the US - and are fed up with being marginalized and pushed around by the great powers; for example, Georgia by Russia.
1967 in focus
Sir, - Thanks for the succint and clear review of the events of 1967, as delineated by Zalman Shoval ("Barak Obama's 1967," October 5).
So many of us English speakers were not yet here in 1967, but knowledge of what occurred that year and the background to those events is essential in order to appraise current events, particularly the comments of so many politicians now expressing their views and predictions, their criticisms of Israel and their often misleading, perhaps even misguided, advice.
Sauce for the goose
Sir, - In "The Islamic Movement has driven secularism out of Arab villages, security source says" (October 7) on the incitement by Raed Salah, head of the movement's northern wing:
Former police inspector-general Assaf Hefetz said that despite the Islamic Movement's dangerous influence, calls to ban it are not in tune with Israel's democratic nature. "In a democratic state, we cannot simply ban a movement. That is very extreme," Hefetz said.
Really! Well, in 1988, Member of Knesset Rabbi Meir Kahane, head of the Kach movement, was banned from running for reelection and Kach was deemed a racist organization despite the fact that all the Arab parties were allowed to run for the Knesset.
The police arrested Salah on Tuesday, concluding that he had crossed the line from (legitimate) free speech to (illegal) incitement to violence.
At the very least, the Islamic Movement must be banned.
Sir, - Contemptible, treasonable and self-serving is how I would describe these youthful emissaries of left-wing post-Zionism ("Conscientious objectors' visit may spur anti-Semitism, Cape Town Jews fear," October 7). They can be sure they will be embraced and exploited by anti-Semites and enemies of Israel wherever they are invited to spread their message.
South Africa is a country where poverty and AIDS reign supreme despite the end of apartheid - indeed, racism still exists as the white minority is still economically powerful. It therefore suits the political leadership, as a diversionary tactic, to encourage the victimization of Israel.
I wonder how the so-called pacifism of these youngsters would have held up against the anti-Semitic bullying and stone-throwing that I, aged six, endured beginning my first term at a school in Bulawayo, South Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), having escaped the fate meted out to the rest of my family in Nazi Germany.
I quickly learned to aggressively defend myself and, in turn, was rewarded with respect and friendship in the classroom - a lifetime lesson I have continued to apply effectively.
It is a lesson these brainwashed Israeli "conscientious objectors" would do well to internalize.
GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS
...on Jewish self-hatred
Sir, - I seethed with anger as I read about this horrible distortion of the traditional Israeli post-IDF "back-packer" experience: three self-styled, 20-something "conscientious objectors" jailed by the cruel IDF "occupation forces" because of their "altruism" receiving an all-expenses-paid trip abroad to talk about their "suffering" at the hands of the army and about their refusal to contribute to Israel's inhuman and immoral occupation and suppression of the Palestinians.
What unmitigated gall: proclaiming their moral superiority as they enjoy celebrity status, free flights, comfortable hotels, cocktails and refreshments at local homes and institutions - and, most likely, not a little local sightseeing and R&R - all while bashing their homeland in front of audiences that are, at best, totally uninformed and, at worst, vicious Israel-haters.
Let's face it: This is clear, unadulterated Jewish self-hatred. Israel would be wise to respond speedily with creative and effective counter-measures before even more damage is done to Israel's image among Jews and non-Jews all over the world.
Sir, - When I read about these three Israeli 12th-graders who have gone all the way to Cape Town to defend Palestinian rights, I look back to the time when I myself was a "shminist" there and made the decision to go all the way in the other direction - to Israel.
For I believed then, as I do now, that only within the Jewish state could I achieve full and equal civil and human rights for myself.
That was over 50 years ago. I have never regretted my decision because nation-statehood is still the only real framework for a people's independence.
The Palestinian people can also achieve this goal; however, the way to go about it is not by immersing the Jewish state within a greater Falastin, butby partition.
If only the "shministim" would understand.
LILY SINGER (POLLIACK)
Where's the crisis?
Sir, - "Israel 27th out of 182 countries in UN Development Index" (October 7) also shows - from an unsuspected source - that the situation in the "Palestinian occupied territories" is no worse than that in the surrounding Arab countries.
In other words: There is no humanitarian crisis, not on the West Bank and not in Gaza. It's on record.
Hoping for a next time
Sir, - One point re David Horovitz's inspired column on the Leonard Cohen concert (October 2): I didn't hear Cohen say "I don't know if we'll pass this way again," but the more optimistic "I don't know when we'll pass this way again."
G. GERSHON GUBBIO