August 23: A writer’s rebuttal

Israel must be be prepared to take risks to protect itself.

A writer’s rebuttal
Sir, – I would like to make a few comments on two letters (“Look to the book,” August 19) written in response to my op-ed of August 17, “The tragic mistake was settling Gaza in the first place.”
First, to Moshe Aumann: As to the Halachic authorities, during the shmita years, the Badatz of the Eda Haredit ruled that vegetables and other crops grown in Gush Katif could be consumed by Jews living in Israel since Gush Katif was not considered part of the Land of Israel. The farmers of Gush Katif naturally took advantage of this ruling and turned a high profit from the sale of their crops to stores in haredi neighborhoods during the shmita year.
Aumann may not accept the authority of the Badatz, but will have to argue his learned case with them, not with me.
I agree with Emanuel Green that there are indeed times when Israel as a nation has had to take military and security risks to protect itself against enemies, and must be prepared to do so in the future without hesitation if the need arises. The question that must be asked about Gush Katif is whether there was any national, Zionist, economic or security justification in placing 27 isolated settlements and risking the lives of some 10,000 people surrounded by over one million hostile Palestinians. Even former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who put those settlements there in the first place, became convinced that they had become a greater security burden than asset and were of no national, economic or Zionist value, since the annexation of Gaza was not a feasible settlement goal. It would have needlessly threatened the survival of Israel as a democratic Jewish state.
Does Green really believe that if those isolated civilian settlements had remained in Gaza they could have prevented the firing of thousands of rockets on Israel?
Define ‘McCarthyism’
Sir, – Ben-Gurion University president Rivka Karmi would be well advised to pay heed to Im Tirtzu’s campaign, if only for the sake of academic freedom and open discourse (“Ben-Gurion University: Efforts by Im Tirtzu ‘reek of McCarthyism,’” August 18) Indeed, the very idea of using “freedom of opinion” as a rationale for thwarting Im Tirtzu is ludicrous. The issue here is that that there is no freedom of thought at BGU. Its political science department, among others, has been systematically hijacked by Israel-haters imported from abroad. A Zionist perspective is simply not allowed in their classes, and students are either terrorized into silence or brainwashed into submission to the hideous views of these professors.
Moreover, at BGU no lecturer has a chance of gaining a teaching post or surviving the tenure process if his or her views are anything less than extreme leftwing and anti-Israel. Hence, if there is McCarthyism it is on the part of the professors and, by extension, the university.
Students paying good money for an education deserve to be exposed to diverse opinions, not to a single, jaundiced point of view that espouses Israel’s demise and the university’s isolation by international boycott, as advocated by these mendacious faculty members.
Hopefully, Im Tirtzu’s efforts will not fall on deaf ears, and the result will finally be a university with an open marketplace of ideas, and not an intellectually Stalinist gulag in which Big Brother’s opinion is the only one heard or allowed.
J.J. GROSS Jerusalem
Sir, – Im Tirtzu, in its attempt to expose the situation at Ben- Gurion University, where nine out of 11 faculty members of the Politics and Government Department are involved in extreme-left activities, is branded by MK Avishai Braverman, a former BGU president, as being guilty of McCarthyism.
Braverman should be reminded that McCarthyism involved political accusations of disloyalty, subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. This is patently not the case here, when people of the caliber of Neve Gordon openly call for an international academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel.
Im Tirtzu, in my opinion, should be given the utmost support in order to cleanse our education system of anyone even remotely guilty of dishonorable actions toward the State.
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion
It goes beyond Kant
Sir, – Yoram Hazony’s view, as described in Daniel Pipes’s “Immanuel Kant vs. Israel” (Lion’s den, August 18), explains much of the intellectual underpinning of the efforts to delegitimize Israel by certain European and American “intellectuals” as being based on denigrating the value of the “nation-state” concept of world politics. However, it does not explain why the adherents of this theory propose as a solution yet another “nation-state,” this one for the Palestinians.
While the lexicon of delegitimization may be drawn from Kant and his political descendants, its substance has more to do with a reaction to Holocaust guilt and simple, old fashioned anti-Semitism – to purloin a different Prussian’s phrase – “in another form.”
Victims, not cargo
Sir, – A recent column by Seth Frantzman (“The long road of death and massacre in Sinai,” Terra incognita, August 18) concludes that “only a massive and coordinated crackdown on the Beduin smugglers will stop the flow of illegal immigrants, help Egypt’s image and end the hell that Sinai has become.”
The writer claims that these “illegal immigrants,” while once refugees, are now in fact only “recruited and then transported to Israel... as a way to get rid of the human cargo.” He ignores the fact that these immigrants are still refugees, and not merely individuals who are “transported” here against their will.
Israel has a moral and legal obligation to provide these people with refugee status. They are not passive victims. They know the risks of using Beduin smugglers – women are instructed to take birth control before making the journey, knowing that rape is likely. They take the risk because their fate in Egypt or Eritrea would be even worse: death, imprisonment for life, harm to their families and continued rape.
The writer completely ignores the fact that, for many of these women, it is not the first time they have been raped, but they hope that if they get to the other side of the border and into Israel, Sinai will be the last time.
Beduin are not the cause of individuals fleeing to Israel – they are yet another abuser of those who are already victims of ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity.
MOLLIE GERVER Jerusalem The writer is the founder and director of Advocates for Asylum
This isn’t their place
Sir, – Regarding “Eli Yishai vs. the world” (Analysis, August 16), as a native-born Filipina and Israeli Jewess, I stand shoulder to shoulder with Interior Minister Yishai in urging the deportation of 400 children of foreign workers.
Don’t get me wrong. I am sympathetic to the sacrifices and hardships Filipinos must endure to help support their families thousands of miles from here. I, as most Israelis, appreciate the outstanding job many of them perform in assisting our aged.
They fill a void as no other national can. But that does not mean that we are under any obligation to absorb them into our small country.
It is not wise for us. Nor is it in the best interests of the foreign workers’ children to grow up as a small minority in a dominant Jewish culture. I was born in the Philippines but my entire being is Jewish. This is not their culture or religion. They have their own country, and they are not persecuted there because of their religion or politics.
When I left the Philippines in 1964, the population was 40 million. Today, it is closer to 100 million. Let us not create still one more problem by absorbing foreign nationals. It is not an issue of compassion. It is common sense.