April 4: ‘Unwise’ construction

We Israelis have no intention to stop living over the old Armistice line and have no desire for a solution that splits Jerusalem again.

‘Unwise’ construction
Sir, – David Metzger writes, “Insisting on continuing new construction of settlements at a time when the US is trying to broker a peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and at a time when the US is trying to unify the world against the Iranian threat – both for your benefit – is very unwise” (“...but from whom?,” Letters, April 1).
The ideas, on the surface, makes sense. I think this is the reason the government froze building outside the declared Jerusalem borders.
However, this argument ignores the elephant in the room. We Israelis have no intention to stop living over the old Armistice line and have no desire for, or illusions about the vitality of, a solution that splits Jerusalem again and subjects its inhabitants to the whims of Palestinian hatred.
Hence, to end building in “east Jerusalem” – especially Jewish neighborhoods – is to imply that they may one day be dismantled. If the Palestinians insist on this, then talks are a waste of time.
Lastly, if the world won’t stop the Iranians out of their own self interest, then Jewish building in Jerusalem is just an excuse for acquiescing to the Iranian bomb.
    BARRY LYNN     Efrat
Sir, – David Metzger’s attitude is reflective of the new, disaffected American Jewish Public.
The arrogance of which he complains is not Netanyahu’s, but that of a 48-year-old American President whose political background consists of less than half a term in the Senate and no foreign policy experience, trying to dictate the status of our 3,000-year-old capital. The notion that enlarging existing Jerusalem neighborhoods is what is blocking peace, when peace offers have been rejected since before Ramat Shlomo’s first foundation stone was ever laid, suggests that Mr. Metzger’s knowledge and support of Israel is lacking.
I invite Mr. Metzger to come to Israel and learn a bit about his homeland. He will find that more than 90 percent of Israelis, and a growing number of Americans – even liberal Jews – are finding President Barack Obama’s practice of coddling the US’s enemies and mistreating its friends unacceptable.
    CHAIM A. ABRAMOWITZ     Jerusalem
‘Respect’ for everyone
Sir, – I was dumbfounded to read the letter from Cllr. Salma Yaqoob, leader of the Respect Party in the UK (“Reactions to Moscow,” Letters, April 1). The Respect Party counts among its members MP George Galloway, who is known for his vigorous campaigns in favor of the Palestinians in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and for his defense of Hizbullah in Lebanon.
Did Cllr. Yaqoob or Mr. Galloway ever send their “thoughts and prayers” when Israelis suffered similar tragedies, in the hope that “they come to terms with the awful trauma in which they are now engulfed”?
I very much doubt it.
    SYDNEY FABER    Jerusalem
The Iran-Israeli-Palestinian track
Sir, – Alon Ben-Meir generously offers a multiplicity of ways for the United States, the European Union and the Arab states to pressure Israel (“Time to change the status quo,” March 31). But he loses me when he says that “the US simply cannot and will not confront Iran, especially militarily, before it can secure a real calm on the Israeli-Palestinian track.”
Ben-Meir ignores the fact that Iran is knee-deep in Lebanon and working to the same end in the West Bank and Gaza. Iran has become part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not an extension of it, and unless the United States confronts Iran, there will be no settlement on other fronts. And the fact is that under no circumstances will the Obama administration confront Iran militarily; even its threats of “sanctions” are pitiful. Despite big words, we have seen the US backtrack time after time.
Ben-Meir says the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not just regional, but he offers no proof that it goes as far as Afghanistan or Iraq. Further, his statement that Israel has a “partner” in the US, the EU and the Arab league is ludicrous.
Sir, – Several contributors to your pages have mused about the true meaning of the Obama administration’s position on the settlement freeze in general, and Jerusalem’s Jewish neighborhoods in particular (“Meanwhile in Jerusalem...,” March 21). It is said that the new American administration feels discomfited, not just by the Netanyahu government, but by Israel itself. It is also said that the US is again seeking to expand its credit with the Arab world, using the coin of still more Israeli unilateral concessions. Some even argue that this is necessary to better confront the Iranian nuclear threat.
And yet the Obama administration’s brinkmanship may harbor a more ominous reasoning, one that no further unilateral Israeli concessions can alleviate. The American government may have decided that it cannot stop Iran from going nuclear and therefore needs, radically and urgently, to put Israel on the defensive in terms of its relations with America so that the Jewish state is less likely to move on its own against Iran.
Some may argue that Secretary of State Clinton has intoned against an Iranian bomb and called for “biting sanctions.” However, this, too, may be part of the same troubling game plan – first, to calm the American people and Israel, knowing full well that the only thing the international community is capable of doing effectively, with Russia and China involved, is covering for a future nuclear Iran, not stopping it; and then, when the measures fail, to blame Israel.
We are therefore required to ask, not quo vadis Israel, but whither America? Will Obama “save” America, but lose the world?
    AARON BASHANI     Jerusalem
Fear of complacency
Sir, – I no longer feel the usual sadness of the increasing world refusal to seek the truth when reporting Israeli affairs in the media. I am past the anger about the complete ignorance of Europe’s opinions. Today, it’s the Goldstone Report and ousting Israeli diplomats; just a few years ago, it was the illegality of building a wall that very clearly saved thousands more Israelis from dying.
Today, what I feel is fear. I believed in the mantra of “Never again,” and I even made special reference, at this year’s Seder table, to the idea that God’s hand and the resilience of the Jewish people will get us through this, as it always has. But we have faced hatred and pogroms for thousands of years, the worst in recent history being, of course, the Holocaust. When I read that America, our only “friends” in the world, would likely take an aggressive stance toward any military action against Iran if we were to go it alone (“US will support ‘everything except permission to strike Iran,’” April 1), my fear is that we are reaching the next wave, the next generation of Jewish complacency that will result in yet another massive loss of our people, God forbid.
Because in the end, we are yet again faced with the prospect of standing alone against a virulent, murderous enemy and a world of indifference to the danger we face.
    ERIC ROBICHAUD    Netanya
Jews and the Civil War
Sir, – Prof. Jonathan Sarna’s analogy between events of the AmericanCivil War and Pessah are thought-provoking (“In the land of the free,”Pessah Supplement, March 29). But I could not help wondering if theAmerican Jewish Legacy Haggada addresses the most glaring question andits shocking answer: Why were there Jews celebrating the festival offreedom while fighting for the South, and how anti-Jewish (andanti-African American) was the North, even as Abraham Lincoln freed theslaves?
With that kind of detail, American Jews, African Americans and others could stand to learn a lot this Pessah.