December 29: False Optimism

Peace is established when people decide not to be enemies, or when one enemy has be totally destroyed.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
False optimism
I do admire Gershon Baskin’s optimism in “Yes it is difficult to make peace” (Encountering Peace, December 24). But it seems to me that his reasoning is based on false premises.
He says “Life would be much easier if we had nicer enemies.”
And implies that one makes peace with one’s enemies.
History teaches us that this is not true. Peace is established when people decide not to be enemies (England and France for example) or when one enemy has be totally destroyed (the end of World War II).
Baskin starts by taking to task the Palestinian leadership for having refused every offer Israel has made, but he doesn’t remind us that Oslo was an (ill-fated) Israeli initiative. Was Israel irresponsible? He states that many Palestinian leaders are filled with hate but does not single out President Mahmoud Abbas’s long list of incitements, not to mention his doctorate linking Zionism with the Holocaust. Isn’t that irresponsible? But then he states that both sides have just claims, that both sides are responsible. By his words, Baskin is fueling the perpetuation of the conflict: responsibility will be heaped upon Israel, and Israel will be pushed, once again, to make “painful concessions.”
When he brings forth the example of the Christmas party where people from all sides mingled peacefully, they have to be kept in an anonymity. It is not difficult to understand why.
His optimism would be served best if he used his influence on the Palestinian people and leadership to arrive at the decision to stop being enemies (a first step could be to publicly disavow the spate of stabbings we witness every day).
Once that is achieved, the path to the negotiating table is short. The great majority of Israelis are ready.
Spoiled night
Bethlehem Christians are fully aware that their Christmas celebrations were spoiled by Palestinian incitement and terrorism and not by a “wall,” (“Abbas’s Christmas message bashes Israel’s ‘apartheid regime,’ December 24).
The hundreds who attended religious prayers traveled to and from Bethlehem unhindered by “settlers.” Those who came from abroad were not put off by “checkpoints.” They had to come through checkpoints at their domestic airports – checkpoint security required by the threat of terrorism.
The ones that stayed away did not do so because of “settlements” but out of fear of knife-wielding Palestinian killers.
Most Christians are fully aware of the facts on the ground here and are not deceived by a fraudulent Palestinian narrative.
Not even the one that says Jesus is a Palestinian messenger.
Back check
It is difficult to understand why it has taken several years for Israel to recognize and give voice to the harm the organization Breaking the Silence is doing and, shamefully, its growing popularity with (some) Jewish organizations as spokespeople to Diaspora Jewry, not only in the US, but in Britain too.
It’s that foothold that has engineered the donations that Israel now seeks to halt. The question is why weren’t their activities nipped in the bud from the beginning? Every battle is an act of self-preservation and no army in the midst of battle will act like angels, not the British army nor the American army, but I cannot imagine either the government of the United Kingdom nor the United States administration allowing their retired military personnel to travel round the world, addressing gatherings specifically to damn their own country and its defenders such as Israel has permitted and is permitting.
Act of kindness
The comparison of an injured terrorist to a “driver who caused the accident” is absurd, (“No Kindness,” Editorial, December 27). The key word at the end of the sentence is “accident.” A terrorist sets out to intentionally kill and wound his or her victims.
A terrorist is an enemy.
The injuries are no accident.
No, we should not give priority to injured terrorist ahead of a victim of terror. ZAKA performs a hessed, and an act of kindness begins at home.
Watch the watchers
I’ve been a fan of Caroline Glick’s writings for years. Now I’m trying to re-read her latest article, “Israel’s home-grown enemies” (Column One, December 25), and discover how she got from point A to point B.
In the first part, Glick reminds us of the shenanigans of Avishai Raviv. He was an agent provocateur employed by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) in the 1990s. He even made and filmed a false swearing-in ceremony of a bogus “terrorist group” that he himself ran, and invited reporters to witness the event. One does wonder, out of all the thousands of weddings these days, how did Channel 10 get to know about this one? Who invited them? Even the discussions on the radio these days are eerily similar to the 1990s: “Who are the rabbis of these kids?” Why should we believe the Shin Bet this time? Does Glick have information that the rest of us don’t have? These kids (who were thrown out of their yeshivot, and some even shunned by their own parents) remind me of the hapless juvenile delinquents in the brilliant song, “Officer Krupke” from West Side Story. Everyone is using them for their own purposes.
Glick pointed out that it’s hard to believe the Shin Bet now, remembering how they demonized the whole religious community in the 1990s. So why does she believe them this time? Why even equate them with our Arab enemies? How did she get to that? I would ask, who will police the police? Or as British spy novel writer John le Carré says in one of his recurrent themes, “who will watch the watchers? THELMA JACOBSON Petah Tikva Apt conclusion In December 25’s editorial, “100 days of terrorism,” the author states that perhaps by now “the Palestinians will reach the conclusion that they have made their point and the violence will subside.” Frankly, one would have hoped that they would by now have long concluded that their best guarantor of peace, freedom and tolerance in the anarchic Middle East, is a strong Israel.
Sadly, your conclusion here too, is apt: “Judging by experience, however, this possibility is unlikely.”
Basic point
In response to Benny A. Benjamin’s letter, (“No excuses,” December 25), which relates to the article of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s article on the Chief Rabbinate, the essence of the scholarly approach that Rabbi Riskin promotes, is, yes, believe it or not, not all those that are chief rabbis have the knowledge of the Conservative Movement in America.
And this attitude that Rabbi Riskin so admirably portrays is an attitude that allows the dialogue to live on, that ensures that while he clearly makes his point, Rabbi Riskin does not for a moment forget that the fundamental nature of keiruv halevavot (Jewish outreach), is in understanding from where the other is standing. Isn’t that the basic point from where the remark of the “serious error” came to birth?