Masterly and shocking
Sir, – The long interview with PA Foreign Minister Riyad
al-Malki (“‘Are we ready for statehood in September? Absolutely,’” February 21)
is informative because it shows exactly how he dodges reality.
doesn’t need background information to see how Malki sidesteps any concern for
Masterly and telling – and shocking for the
naive.MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN ZUIDEN
Jerusalem Taking it personally
“The prize of democracy” (February 21) is a laudable editorial explaining the
need to navigate between democracy and self-protection.
However, I think
it misses the point when it comes to those in this country who advocate – by
word and deed – the international boycott of Israel.
They are not making
a choice for themselves; they are directly impinging on my right to make a
living and feed my family. Just because they don’t like where I plant my trees
or bottle my water or feed my sheep, it doesn’t give them the right to advocate
and actively participate in destroying my livelihood.
Europe is just
beginning to awaken to the destructive and selfserving citizens in its midst, by
creating legislation to counteract their nefarious schemes. So should
Jerusalem On the wrong side
Sir, – Ami Kaufman, in
“America’s role in Middle East is finished” (Comment & Features, February
21), seeks to extinguish the last candle in the darkness of Israel’s
Instead of welcoming a sign of awakening in the White House in
contrast to the one-sided coddling of Arab and Muslim intransigence, Kaufman
sees in the veto of the anti-settlement resolution in the Security Council the
sign of a bankrupt Obama and American policy. It is truly amazing – and, I
believe, more than slightly hypocritical – for a Jewish writer to ignore the
worldwide effort to boycott and delegitimize not settlements, but Israel itself
as a Jewish State, and instead to focus on the lack of sympathy for the
Palestinians, the darlings of the world’s philanthropy and
Perhaps if Obama had started his administration not by visiting
Cairo but by visiting Jerusalem, the world would know that it is more than AIPAC
and so-called “Zionist control of the media” that forms American policy in the
Middle East. It would know that America is for real democracy rather than a
doubtful revolution against the rule of a dictator who kept the peace with
Israel and cooperated with America for three decades.
Kaufman would be
showing more courage and decency if he sided with the last hope for Jewish
existence in the world and in history.JACOB CHINITZ
Sir, – Ami
Kaufman ridicules the US ambassador to the United Nations for declaring that the
settlements are regarded by her administration as illegitimate rather than
illegal. However, he loses sight of the fact that this description was used by
Hillary Clinton shortly after her meeting with Hosni Mubarak two years
Rather than what he calls “hypocrisy,” this is a clear indication
that the illegality, particularly of east Jerusalem, has been disputed by many,
including such international legal authorities as Prof.
Julius Stone in
1982 and Stephen M. Schweibel in 1994.
Kaufman states that as an American
he is ashamed. I presume that he also holds Israeli citizenship, in which case
he should join me and most Israelis in being thankful that over a quarter
million Jewish householders in east Jerusalem will not find themselves in
illegal possession of their homes.MYRA ZION
Tel Mond Protesters don’t
Sir, – In “Demonstrators slam American stance on settlement resolution
outside embassy in TA” (February 20), activist Ronnie Barkan says that by
vetoing the UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements, the US was
continuing “the same policies which are going against the consensus of world
Unfortunately, there is an automatic majority when it comes to
Israel bashing, no matter which side of the so-called “Green Line” is being
referenced. Whether it’s dubbing Zionism “racism” or condemning Israel’s
defensive security measures, world opinion, especially at the UN, is by
definition overwhelmingly anti-Israel.
What Barkan fails to understand is
that just because something is popular doesn’t necessary mean it’s just. While
the US no doubt vetoed the resolution for all the wrong reasons, the veto is
still appreciated.JOSH HASTEN
` Elazar There are other reasons
Geoff Menzer informs us (“Tax clarity needed,” Letters, February 21) that
“settlers are there for two reasons: either subsidized housing and other
financial breaks, or because they, as religious people, truly believe that they
have a God-given right to live there, ignoring any claims by others who have
lived there for generations.”
“Subsidized housing?” I wish! I don’t know
where he got his information, but I for one do not live in Judea for financial
or religious reasons.
Neither do many, many others.NANCY MORIN
Efrat Pay attention
Sir, – During the current revolutions in the Arab world,
somehow I have missed some vital news items.
I refer to the mass
demonstrations in European capitals of outrage and condemnation against the
monster murderers of the Arab world; the emergency exhibition at the Nobel
Institute in Stockholm against suppression of human rights; Amnesty
International’s and Human Rights Watch’s massive mobilization against crimes
against humanity in Arab states; and, mysteriously, the Boycott-Divestment-
Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the fascist dictators of Libya, Bahrain and
Iran organized by Scottish and Irish trade unions and British
Rosh Pina Understanding Mikis
Sir, – The news
brief “Zorba composer: I’m anti-Semitic” (February 15) portrays Greek composer
Mikis Theodorakis in an unjust and distorted way.
Let me remind you that
Theodorakis is the one who composed (1966) the Ballad of Mauthausen, a circle of
songs dedicated to the millions of Jews who were massacred during the
As a young man in the 1940s and a member of the then- National
Liberation Front (EAM), he fought against the Nazi occupation in
Theodorakis’s critical position against Israeli policies in the
Middle East should not be perceived as anti-Semitic – even strong criticism of
Zionism does not itself consist of anti-Semitism.
The way you presented
his statement is misleading. Theodorakis has dedicated his life not only to
music, but to struggles in favor of freedom, democracy and human dignity. He
deserves more understanding.NICOLAS MOTTAS
Tel Aviv The writer is an
international MA student at Tel Aviv University
Stein an exemplar
Sir, – Those
of us who were witness to the struggle for the freedom of Soviet Jewry from the
late 1960s onward, together with all olim from the former Soviet Union, owe a
debt of gratitude to Cyril Stein.
In the early days of Soviet Jewry
activism in the UK, when others were hemming and hawing about whether to take to
the streets, Stein was 100 percent supportive.
In a word, he put his
money where his mouth was and encouraged others to do the same. He was not
afraid to join demonstrations, and through his example fired many with
enthusiasm and courage that eventually led to a magnificent exodus and aliya –
by both Soviet Jews and many of the UK activists.
ZELDA HARRIS Tel Aviv