August 25: Case of short-sight...

Stopping Israeli arms exports to Georgia was frightfully cowardly and shortsighted!

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Case of short-sight... Sir, - Why, oh why did Israel stop arms exports to Georgia, abandoning it in its hour of need? Hasn't this happened to Israel? With Russia confidently supplying nuclear know-how and possibly sophisticated anti-missile systems to Iran, Georgia could have been the perfect leverage. How frightfully cowardly and shortsighted! ("Sacrificing an ally to wishful thinking," Evelyn Gordon, August 21.) ANNE FEIGENBAUM London ...or long Sir, - This is a perfect case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't." The "don't" situation is described in Ms. Gordon's op-ed. The "do" - supplying the weapons to Georgia - would be wrong, first because Georgia had no chance in this war and boosting its fighting ability, or the illusion of it, would mean only more Georgians killed. Secondly, organizing the weapons supply was impossible in the few short days of this war. Ridiculing the attitude of the US toward the war is pointless, comparing it to the Cuban missile crisis, in which Kennedy's assertiveness both demonstrated courage and gave results before the fighting stage was entered. Here the war was already on, and the only consequence of the American action was risking WWIII! The risk might have been justified had the state in question not foolishly given the aggressor a pretext to attack it. Any little state could bare its teeth to the Russian bear, knowing that America would fight for it if those teeth were knocked out. YAN SEVER Kibbutz Moran Uncharming naivete Sir, - I am surprised by the naivete of Iran expert Meir Javedanfar when he states that sooner or later Iran's energy crisis at home will force it to "markedly improve its relations with the West" ("Power hungry," August 24). Once Iran has the bomb - or even if the world believes it has the bomb - it can threaten the West and get it to provide everything Iran wants, including energy, a la North Korea. Then all the alternative energy the West develops to allow it to be free of Middle East regimes will count for very little. CAROL CLAPSADDLE Jerusalem Yad Vashem and the Bergson issue Sir, - Re "Holocaust scholars in new plea for exhibit on WWII rescue group" (August 22): It is unfortunate that the article on the Wyman group's petition to Yad Vashem left out half of Yad Vashem's comment. As stated to your reporter, Yad Vashem focuses on the Jewish individual's experience during the Holocaust in Europe, and even as such cannot encompass everything, but rather presents an overall story of the Holocaust. Context is essential to the presentation of history. Yad Vashem is well aware of the important activities of the Bergson Group. However, inserting a mention about it in the Holocaust History Museum without the overall context would be misleading. Since Yad Vashem addresses the activities of the group in its research and educational activities, in their meeting with Yad Vashem Chief Historian Prof. Dan Michman last month, Prof. Michman offered the Wyman representatives the opportunity to suggest other ways of approaching this issue in the many avenues available at Yad Vashem aside from the Holocaust History Museum. This idea has been ignored by the Wyman group. ESTEE YAARI Foreign Media Liaison Yad Vashem Jerusalem Painful truth Sir, - Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev is to be highly praised for spelling out the painful truth which has been long known: that almost all the Jewish population of Lithuania were killed by local Lithuanian citizens and not "by the Nazis with the assistance of their local allies" ("Yad Vashem blasts Lithuania for Holocaust revisionism, anti-Semitism," August 12). As a first step, this fact should be boldly stated in all the Lithuanian memorial texts at Yad Vashem so that all visitors, Jews and non-Jews, can learn without doubt who really liquidated the Jews of Lithuania. The "order police" - some 23,000 armed Lithuanians and other locals - carried out their task with a keenness that surprised the Nazis. At the end of the war the members of the order police, knowing what fate awaited them at the hands of the advancing Russians, fled to Germany and were recognized as "displaced persons," aided by the Allies as victims of the Nazis. Many succeeded in emigrating to the West, so it is not surprising that few were brought to trial for their crimes. DAVID GOSHEN Kiryat Ono Too easily satisfied Sir, - I would like to commend Steve Linde on his "Passing the baton at Beijing" (August 22). It was well-written and very fair. He took no particular stand for or against any of it. However, I would have liked his reaction to "OCI satisfied with Israeli performance" (same date). I certainly am not satisfied, and it seems to me that at the very least, Israel's Olympic Committee should have said something like "We will work very hard during the next four years to ensure that we do better in 2012." LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Israelis & Taiwanese in the 2012 Olympics Sir, - Reading Jeremy Last's "Great success? A bronze medal just isn't enough" (August 22), led me to reflect: Our Chinese Taipei Team won only four bronze medals in Beijing, compared with the 2004 Athens Games's two gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal - and that also just isn't enough. How could we, too, win more medals in the next Olympics? First, by treating our athletes well, as Mr. Last mentioned, "increasing the amount of money given to athletes" to let them live better. Secondly, by focusing on the sports most suitable for our athletes such as sailing, judo, taekwondo, weightlifting, archery, shooting, artistic gymnastics, diving and those which need skill and not only body-muscle work. I believe Israelis and Taiwanese are smart people and that our athletes could be trained to win medals. Do you know why African athletes have won most Olympic marathon gold medals, and not many for swimming? In ancient times, so they say, Africans close to the river feared the alligator's bite and learned to run fast to escape the lion's jaws. So their descendants were right to concentrate on this skill. Thirdly, more money needs to be given to the winners. In Taiwan, we award US$375,000 for a gold medal, $218,750 for a silver medal, and $156,250 for a bronze medal. These are real incentives, inspiring all athletes to do their very best. Practice makes perfect, and I sincerely wish our two nations' Olympic teams more medals in the 2012 London Olympics. SIMON C. HSIEH Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv Tel Aviv Banking with a smile Sir, - I agree with the complaint about the extraordinary fees banks are charging ("Greed you can bank on," Editorial, August 21), but I have only good things to say about the workers at my branch of Bank Leumi, in Rishon Lezion, where I have been doing business for more than 30 years. With a few exceptions, they have been extremely nice and helpful. Re Aharon Mayne's letter ("High and mighty," August 24), could his complaint of rudeness and disdain perhaps reflect Jerusalemite behavior in general? MIRIAM NATHANS Rishon Lezion