Week of December 27: Defining a relationship

In his insightful interview with Danish Ambassador Jesper Vahr, Michael Freund allows at least one important bias to slip by.

Letters 521 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 521
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Defining a relationship Sir, – In his insightful interview with Danish Ambassador Jesper Vahr (“The EU is not biased against Israel in any way, shape or form,” December 13), Michael Freund allows at least one important bias to slip by.
The ambassador asserts that Denmark won’t move its embassy to Jerusalem because it is a “contested city.” Fair enough, as it certainly is being contested in current “peace” negotiations.
But earlier in the interview, in discussing boycotts by the EU of Israeli products and services from the territories, the ambassador asserts that they are “occupied territories.”
Are they not “contested” territories? They are components of the same negotiations.
Surely, if the final disposition of territory is being negotiated, an unbiased person must conclude that both parties’ claims in the negotiations should be treated respectfully. In what possible way can the contested territories be called “occupied” by one side only? Is it that EU logic is simply biased in that whatever the Palestinian Authority claims is contestable, and what Israel claims is non-contestable or, in more general use, illegal and illegitimate? There are many who assert that Israel has no rights in the territories, but there is a view that this is not the case.
These territories must therefore be viewed as contestable.
Mr. Ambassador, if that is not bias, then what is?
Danish Ambassador Jesper Vahr says: “I don’t think it’s correct to characterize the EU as being biased against Israel in any shape or form.” He seems to want to indicate that there is a friendly relationship.
Poll after poll in Europe shows a different picture, one of increasing antipathy toward Israel and Jews in general.
The elite of Europe fuels this by repeatedly reinforcing the view that Israel is the primary source of the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs.
The leadership of the EU, claiming to be driven by secular Western values, has consistently chosen expediency and political correctness to avoid taking any moral responsibility for some of its idiotic policies that have helped create the mess in the region. While it is true that the EU and Israel have a good bilateral relationship, that is all that it is.
We are not friends, and any allusion by the ambassador to the contrary is both laughable and lamentable.
Not forgotten Sir, – Daniel Estrin’s “Chance Encounter” (Feature, December 13) mentions two brothers killed in Jerusalem in the War of Independence.
First, they were not brothers but cousins. Avraham Cohen, 19, and Avraham Lugech, 18, were from Toronto. Second, they were not killed in Jerusalem, but at Malkiya, on the Lebanese border, on June 6, 1948. They had arrived in Haifa on May 1 aboard the refugee ship Transylvania, which was carrying groups of volunteers from a number of countries.
They fell together in their position, fighting bravely until the end, when it was overrun by attacking Lebanese soldiers. Their names being unknown, they were listed for many decades as “missing in action.” Their burial place, Kibbutz Maoz Haim, was established by IDF researchers only in 2009. They had been reburied next to a number of Palmah Yiftah fighters from the kibbutz who had been killed in the same battle.
Mr. Yizraeli can rest assured that these two names have not been forgotten. Cohen and Lugech are remembered and honored at the Mahal and AACI memorials near Sha’ar Hagai. Their personal stories are also recorded on the website of World Machal.
The way back Sir, – Dan Illouz (“The United States, Europe and Israel,” A Fresh Perspective, December 6) had me thinking about why things are so clear to him – and what a difference he and like-minded people could make if they were in the Knesset. But we have to deal with what we have, which, unfortunately, is pretty pathetic.
To regain deterrence now will be a mammoth undertaking, which can only be brought about with leadership that has the faith and courage to change course away from a dependence on America and the constant desire to please an unappeasable world. We have to start behaving like a sovereign people in our own sovereign state.
Deterrence will follow as a matter of course, as will our lost pride.