April 28: Credit the volunteers

Harel deserves credit for what he did, but let us always remember that it was these American volunteers who made the trips possible.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Credit the volunteers Sir, - Your tribute to Yossi Harel as commander of the Exodus was commendable (Ike Aharonowitz was the captain). It is perhaps also important to recall that the Exodus was one of 10 ships that sailed from the US with volunteer sailors from North America. All told, some 250 mostly former veterans of World War II volunteered to man these vessels, which carried some 50 percent of all the illegal immigrants that broke the British blockade. Harel deserves credit for what he did, but let us always remember that it was these American volunteers who made the trips possible. The first of them to be killed was on the Exodus - Bill Bernstein, 24, a graduate of King Point Maritime Academy. Independence Day this year will mark the day when, 61 years ago, the British attacked the ship Hatikvah with nearly 1,500 survivors aboard, manned by a North American volunteer crew ("'Exodus commander Yossi Harel dies at 90," April 27) . MURRAY S. GREENFIELD Jerusalem The writer is author of 'The Jews' Secret Fleet.' Aussie gumption Sir, - Your headline announcing the visit of the Australian "head of state" did not, regrettably, reflect reality ("Australian governor general to arrive for first visit by head of state today," April 27). Australia's head of state is still the queen of England, and the governor general is her representative. I long for the day when my fellow Australians will finally declare their coming of age and cast off the last burden of our colonial past. Regarding the long and firm friendship between Israel and Australia, it is important to emphasize how momentous the decision of the Australian government was in 1947. In the UN vote for partition, Australia stood up against fierce pressure from the British government on all the empire colonies to at the very least abstain - or preferably oppose - Israel's formation. Australia was first on the list of the colonies to cast its vote, and it bravely led the way for the others (Canada, South Africa and New Zealand) to defy their supposed masters in Whitehall and choose justice over expediency. HENRY KAYE Mazkeret Batya Something stinks Sir, - Your editorial expressing concern that the arrest of Ben-Ami Kadish for spying on Israel not be misused to bolster the enemies of Jonathan Pollard and prevent his release was right on target ("'Library spy,' April 24). The timing of Kadish's arrest - for an event that allegedly took place some 23 years ago - is very troublesome. It seems to be intended to impact on the forthcoming trial of two former officials of AIPAC, accused of giving "classified" information to Israel and others (including journalists). Not to excuse Kadish if he is guilty, but the timing of his arrest smells pretty rotten. SEYMOUR D. REICH Former chairman Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations New York Sir, - This new Israeli-American spy case will have no impact whatsoever on the release of Jonathan Pollard. This is because, barring a miracle from heaven or the direct intervention of Ehud Olmert's government demanding his release (which would itself be a miracle), Pollard will serve every single minute, hour and day of his unjust and entirely immoral prison sentence. KENNETH BESIG Kiryat Arba Gillerman on Carter... Sir, - So Yossi Beilin thinks that Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman should be recalled to Israel? ("Beilin: Recall Gillerman for saying Carter is a 'bigot,'" April 27.) Well, he should - firstly to be congratulated for telling the truth about Jimmy Carter, and secondly to receive a medal for his honesty. ROY SUSMAN Moshav Sde Nitzan ...that man of peace Sir, - I am outraged that the Israeli ambassador to the UN has dared to trash the name of a former president of the United States. And not just any former president, but Jimmy Carter, a Nobel Peace prizewinner and visionary who has done so much for the poor and persecuted in this world. Mr. Gillerman may say what he wants as a private citizen, but for a representative of the Israeli government to make such statements in public is unacceptable. Israel insists on shoving its agenda down our throats and insulting one of our most beloved presidents - who is trying to help Israelis out of this quagmire they have gotten themselves into with the Palestinians by opening up some negotiations. Judging by Mr. Gillerman's statements alone, one would think president Carter had joined the KKK. Far from it, he is reaching out as a man of peace. LAVINIA OANCEA Chicago Sir, - I don't know whether Jimmy Carter could be called a bigot in the classical sense; however, he is the product of a very disfunctional family, one he has written about and which has greatly influenced him in both action and reaction. His religious beliefs have infused him with the feeling that he is absolutely right and thus never has to listen to other opinions or be "confused by the facts." Totally unsuited for diplomacy, he was a disaster as president in dealing with Iran. No wonder Ronald Reagan was able to chide him, saying, "There you go again, misstating facts." TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem Magic Jew Sir, - Reading news about Israel is indeed depressing. Isolation, vulnerability, discord, political shenanigans, and now its number one ally, the US, is once again looking at Israel with suspicion ("The Kadish Affair," April 25). The Diaspora shrinks and walks slowly, its head hanging in shame - but wait! What is that refreshing wind that is blowing, what is that strength that descends upon us, what is that spear that suddenly appears in our hands and causes us to straighten up, to look about, ready to take on the demons that cowered us but minutes ago? It's the super Caroline Glick, the magic Jew. She sweeps up all the guilt, all the inner reflection, all the self-doubt and throws it back at those who would harm the Jews, who would harm Israel. She is amazing. Read Caroline in the morning and walk proud all day. Thank you, Caroline, for the backbone you provide to me and thousands of other self-doubting Jews ("Hardball with Washington," April 25). HOWARD WOLLE Toronto Grace and spirit Sir, - Last week you printed a story about all the Christians who came to be baptized in the Jordan River but were not allowed to because of safety concerns. However, Israeli officials went to the trouble and expense of pumping water from the Jordan into nearby containers so that the people could be baptized in actual Jordan water. On behalf of myself and all Christians, I thank you for your graciousness and generosity of spirit to accommodate these believers. God bless you all ("IDF to enable pilgrims' visit to site of Jesus' baptism," April 22). DAWN LAMBERT Asheboro, North Carolina CLARIFICATION Anyone interested in volunteering or helping the newly founded Association for the Immediate Help of Holocaust Survivors, featured in Friday's "Citizens take on challenge of helping Holocaust survivors," please call (04)983-0145 or (077)424-5246. The charity provides essential foods and equipment to survivors without paperwork or bureaucracy.