April 18: Hurtful accusation

The implied accusation is for me particularly hurtful. For many years I have been a close political friend and ally of Israel, and for over 10 years I have been vice president of the German- Israeli Association.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Hurtful accusation
Sir, – In view of “German event with Iran envoy ‘legitimizes evil’” (April 15), I am contacting you to voice my concern.
The speakers at the event obviously included – among other guests – Iran’s ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. It has not yet been decided whether there will be any financial support for the event from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). BMZ support would require ensuring that a range of views and perspectives are presented in a balanced way without insults or polemics.
The participation of the Iranian ambassador, who is formally accredited in the Federal Republic of Germany, is not at odds with that in principle – provided the ambassador’s views are not allowed to stand unopposed.
After your article appeared we received another question on the matter from your Berlin correspondent that appeared to be framed in such a way as to prejudge the situation, implying that I and the staff at my ministry wish to offer the Iranian regime a platform from which to stir up hatred against Israel.
I categorically reject such insinuations.
The implied accusation is for me particularly hurtful. For many years I have been a close political friend and ally of Israel, and for over 10 years I have been vice president of the German- Israeli Association. Our development cooperation with the Palestinian Authority contributes actively and directly to Israel’s security as well. You can rest assured that I will never do anything that might jeopardize Israel’s security.
The German government’s stance regarding the Iran dossier is clear and well known. I personally share it absolutely and with the deepest conviction.
I want to be sure that you are also aware of this.
The writer is federal minister for economic cooperation and development

Lapid lacking
Sir, – We have a finance minister who knows nothing at all about the complicated economics of running a modern economy (“Lapid reportedly weighing deficit target increase,” April 15).
On one hand we are told that Israel’s economy is very sound, buoyed by the gift of huge natural gas deposits that will make Israel energy independent. We also witness the fact that the shekel is presently one of the strongest currencies in the world – so strong, in fact, that exporters are really hurting. At the same time there is no check on prices, and as usual the Israeli public is being ripped off by increases that have little or no justification.
If the newly found wealth of gas has any meaning, then pass this advantage now to every citizen.
Reduce electricity prices and adjust the shekel now.
Future profits are assured and adjustments can be made. Let us remove from the discussion anything about gas exports and give future generations the knowledge that for the foreseeable future Israel will be energy independent. By the time the gas is been used up there will be other forms of energy, such as hydrogen based fuels.
The Israel economy is at a crossroads and it needs a very experienced finance minister to steer it in the right direction.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should immediately appoint a new finance minister with proven credentials or call another general election and allow the public to think again, this time more deeply, as to whom they would wish to represent them.
If nothing is done we are on an economic course of self-destruction.
I do not think the man in the street knows what is about to hit him.
Petah Tikva
Their own fault
Sir, – In “Debating 1948: Toward reconciliation” (Think About It, April 15), Susan Hattis Rolef asks how we (presumably Jews and Arabs) can proceed toward a process of reconciliation from a point where the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe or disaster, relating to the Arab defeat and large-scale exodus from Palestine in 1948) is generally rejected by most Israeli Jews. The Nakba, she states, is part of the Arab narrative and we should respect it in order to reach reconciliation.
The trouble is that the catastrophe that befell the local Arabs was what they themselves had intended to be done to the local Jews. Indeed, had they succeeded, it is likely that very few Jews would have survived to become refugees. The Nakba – and much of the Arab narrative, in fact – has become a cynical, deceitful inversion of what should have been the fate of the Jews, but with far more dreadful implications.
National narratives are based not on scrupulous attention to what really happened but to a certain extent of untruthfulness.
So it’s a non sequitur to hope, as Rolef suggests, that reconciliation can come from adhering to narratives, because the only way there can ever be reconciliation is by following all the principles of truthfulness.
It is also interesting to note Rolef’s description of repeated Arab aims to destroy Israel as “Arab plans to prevent the establishment of the Jewish state....” She is a marvelously erudite writer but would do well to realize that euphemisms and the selective omission of relevant facts detract from the quality of any writer’s work.

Time to be bold
Sir, – Another Holocaust Remembrance Day, another Remembrance Day for precious family members, dead and gone because of our enemies.
Do we indeed honor them by being trapped in the agenda of the international community? It is time for Israel to again be historically bold. We need to tell the Palestinian Authority, the Obama administration and the Europeans that it is time for the PA to prove it wants peace and an end to the conflict – because we know that it does not.
There is ample documentation that ever since the Oslo Accords the Palestinians have consistently preached hatred and war toward us, and the international community has consistently pressured us to continue seeking an end to the conflict. It is time to dry our tears and speak and act with bold determination in honor of our family members who have been taken from us.
Yes to life, no to this cynical lie.
Lots to forget
Sir, – One reason I love reading Sarah Honig’s Another Tack columns is that I learn new stuff. Her latest (“Amusing ourselves to death,” April 12) was no exception.
It turns out that a few years back, Shimon Peres said that he doesn’t like to think about the past: “Look to the future, forget about the past... I believe that to imagine is more important than to remember.” Well, imagination and hope for the future is all well and good, but to actively ignore the past – particularly for a Jew with nearly 6,000 years of history behind him – is absolutely mind-boggling and stands in stark contrast to one of the most famous (not to mention widely-accepted) philosophical maxims of our times: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Indeed, Peres’s statement may even surpass Ehud Olmert’s “We are tired of winning” on the list of Dumbest Things Ever Said by Israeli Politicians! I’ve always wondered why Peres has so assiduously pursued a mirage-like peace with the Palestinians. Now I know why. It’s not that he’s incapable of learning from his mistakes, he just doesn’t want to.
Beit Shemesh
In “Remembering a time when the whole country celebrated Independence Day” (Comment & Features, April 17), the section quoting the Iyar 4, 1951, Hamodia editorial should end with “for whose sake of the state was established.”