Attack or not? Sir, – I believe I understand why Britain’s parliament refused to approve an attack on Syria. It all dates back to 1947, when the British backed the wrong horse, betting on the Arabs at the expense of the Jews.Now there is an extremely large and violent population of Muslims in Great Britain, and I believe British parliamentarians are afraid of the backlash that might result from a decision openly critical of an Arab country. ANNABELLE HOROWITZ Petah Tikva Sir, – The zenith of American global influence was perhaps the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, when president John F. Kennedy called the bluff of the Soviet Union, and its leader, Nikita Khrushchev, backed down. Perhaps the Syrian crisis is the nadir.The US has lost credibility in the eyes of the world.JACK SHEBSON Jerusalem Sir, – As we face yet another military flare up of unknown international proportions, how sad it is to reflect helplessly that the so-called leaders of nations have learned nothing from the bloody pages of history. Isn’t it about time we produced leaders who understood that the world needs to be transformed from one that is constantly faced with conflict and power struggles into one that is concerned only with the welfare, well-being and progress of humanity? This is the meaning of true leadership – to lead all the nations to a world in which humanity is the main beneficiary and is not perpetually subjected to oppression, fear, insecurity, persecution, massacres and the threat of annihilation.DAVID HERMAN Jerusalem Politics and stigma Sir, – Your article “‘Schizophrenia’ on two-state solution comes out in Likud party debate” (August 29) reports on MK Tzipi Hotovely’s statement that the lack of clarity on Likud policy about a two-state solution is “schizophrenia in our movement.”Schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder (a split mind).It is a treatable mental disorder that refers to a disruption in thinking and emotions, and difficulty in filtering sensory stimuli. It is often accompanied by hallucinations and paranoid thoughts.Ms. Hotovely, please don’t further stigmatize one percent of the population any than they already are. SUSAN KEINON Ma’aleh Adumim The writer is a social worker and psychotherapist Speaking softly Sir, – Isi Leibler (“The implications of Obama’s failure,” Candidly Speaking, August 29) expresses what I have been feeling since US President Barack Obama took office.From his first apology toward the Arab nations, including bowing down to the Saudi king, he has brought the status of the US down to an all-time low. He forgets, apparently, that it was quite a few Saudi nationals who brought down the World Trade Center and killed some 3,000 people in one fell swoop.This president has failed to stabilize his own economy and bring about his own health care reforms, but has managed to start the Arab world on a collision course with disaster through apologies and indecisive behaviors not usually associated with the world’s most powerful nation. The Arabs learned quickly that he talks softly and carries a little stick.I am so happy that my husband and I made aliya. Although I love the US, I feel safer here than anywhere else.DEBRA FORMAN Modi’in Not so free Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he wanted to “bless the 290,000 children [in Israel] who enjoy free education” (“Politicians go back to school,” August 28).What free education? Ask parents what “free education” costs.A lot of money.I had free education in England, and that was really free.JUDY GOLDIN Kiryat Ono Name shame Sir, – In “Liberman: PM won’t endorse Barkat” (News in Brief, August 28), we read that the Jerusalem mayor “honored the prime minister by naming a highway exit after his recently deceased father.” A famous Zionist historian is honored with a highway exit? This reminds me that Raoul Wallenberg is always spoken of in honorable terms, but how is he honored in Jerusalem? By naming a small neglected street after him, one with no buildings or houses.This is how Jerusalem and Israel honor famous individuals.Decrepit little streets and highway exits. For shame, indeed.DAVID ROTENBERG Jerusalem Simple comparisons Sir, – Gil Troy’s incisive comments on the American civil rights movement and the dream of its idealistic martyred leader, Martin Luther King (“King’s dream reminds us that we can dream too,” Center Field, August 28), ends with an erroneous conclusion: “Those of us who despair of seeing any progress in the Middle East should also use this fiftieth anniversary celebration to remember that attitudes can change; the once-improbable can become the new normal.”The fundamental goal of the civil rights movement in its early years was to integrate blacks into American society and fully realize the concept expounded in the founding document of the United States that “all men are created equal.” The goal of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas – and, according to recent reliable surveys, a majority of our Arab citizens – is the end of Israel as the Jewish state.As former Israeli ambassador to the United States Moshe Arens was wont to say, the Middle East is not the Middle West. So simple comparisons should not be made. We can and should suffice with Theodore Herzl’s dream, as reflected in the words of our national anthem.JAY SHAPIRO Jerusalem Essential condition Sir, – In “Tennis observes Yom Kippur” (Reality Check, August 26), Jeff Barak misses entirely the function of what he calls Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s “stubborn insistence on the Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.”Barak mistakenly suggests that the purpose is to help Israelis overcome their own insecurity and make them feel “more Jewish.”To the contrary, this condition is essential to achieving a lasting peace agreement.By recognizing Israel’s unique character, the Palestinians will perforce admit their dishonesty in denying Jewish historical ties to the land. By extension, they must accept for the very first time that the Jewish people have a right to their own state in this part of the world.Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s adamant refusal to express these fundamental truths suggests the PA’s darker intentions regarding Israel’s long-term survival.Without such recognition, the dispute will only be placed on hold. It will be only a matter of time before the Palestinians attempt to supplant the single Jewish state with a third Palestinian state (after Jordan and Palestine).Imagine if Israel were to say: “While we accept the existence of a new state along our borders, we do not recognize its Palestinian character. We do not believe the Palestinians have any historic ties to the land, nor do we acknowledge that the Palestinian people have any right to their own state.”The Palestinians and the Arab world would be outraged. Certainly, there would be no chance for a lasting peace.EFRAIM A. COHEN Zichron Ya’acov APOLOGY The Jerusalem Post wishes to apologize to its readers for the incorrect Shabbat times that appeared on the front page of its August 30 issue due to a technical error. We will make every effort to ensure that this does not happen again.