August 7: Cruise to remember

Rather than enforcing the blockade, we should let these ships breach it. The passengers should then be allowed to disembark in Gaza, and remain there for some time.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Cruise to remember Sir, - A "flotilla" of ships is preparing to sail to Gaza to break the blockade. Passengers include leading lights from the usual Jew-bashing fringe, including some of our own brethren, and an 81-year-old retired nun. Rather than enforcing the blockade, we should let these ships breach it. The passengers should then be allowed to disembark in Gaza, and remain there for some time. It would be a wonderful opportunity for them to experience, firsthand, the humanitarian crisis caused by the murderously fraternal divisions among Gazan society. They could view, up close, the once-flourishing settlements now used as rocket launching pads. And who knows, if they are really lucky they could get to experience a real, live kidnapping. All in all, it could be a memorable cruise and (literally) breathtaking experience ("Israel weighs possible responses to activists sailing to Gaza," August 6). YEHUDIT COLLINS Jerusalem Omar Khayyam has it right Sir, - How can Michael Freund write "...but we can largely undo the damage if we..." thus seeming to dismiss the unimaginable damage done to so many thousands of personalities? ("Return to Gaza," August 6). He must have cognizance of the families destroyed when they were stripped of their supports, when the fathers, the mothers, the children were wrenched from their security. The pain can't stop because the pain will be with us for generations. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on. Nor all thy piety nor wit, nor all thy tears can wash away a word of it" ('The Rubaiyat' of Omar Khayyam). PESACH GOODLEY Telz Stone Sir, - Michael Freund has it all wrong. No! We're not going back into Gaza - at least, not to settle there. Gush Katif is dead, and should remain so. It's unfortunate that so many of the former residents are not doing so well, but that's partly their own fault. They made only half-hearted efforts to live with the new order. The government is equally at fault, if not more so. LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya More war, less land Sir, - In "Trojan horse in the Jordan Valley" (August 6) Lara Friedman and Hagit Ofran complain that the proposed settlement will obstruct the possibility of a future peace with the Palestinians. But if this settlement is cancelled, what incentive will the Palestinians have for ever making peace? Their territorial demands, backed as they are by a wide spectrum of the international community, have only increased in the past several years. Now, fully backed by the US State Department and the UN, the Palestinians have an endless litany of complaints about Jewish settlement in areas once supposedly off-limits. As Israel backs down in many of these cases, it teaches the Arabs that all they have to do is yell "settlement!" and they can continue the war as usual. Peace will come only after the Arabs realize that the longer they prosecute their war, the more land they will lose. DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont Sir, - We were shocked to read that "Jewish settlement here has never really taken root." The Jordan Valley is our home, and 50 new families have made Shadmot their homes in the past seven years. We're no Trojan horse! ESTHER AND DAVID DIAMOND Shadmot Mehola Poisonous spin Sir, - It was truly enlightening to read a university-based story that didn't fall off the left edge of my paper, and it is crucial that all supporters of Israel understand the type of media spin Seth J. Frantzman described in "The real victims are..." (August 4). Here in Canada, an ugly story in one of our national papers, the Globe & Mail, spun this evil web of victimization against Israel and the poor souls who died at the hands of the brutal bulldozer killers in Jerusalem last month. The story said Israel was reaping the seeds of destroying the houses of killers using these same bulldozers, and the poor victims were the Palestinians. Not a tear was shed for the real victims - but sympathy poured out for the Palestinians. The acts of murder were, in effect, condoned, portrayed as only a reaction to the treatment the Palestinians had received at the hands of the Israelis. Over and above Frantzman's suggestion that "we must steel ourselves against the media's ever-present attempts" to blame the victim, we must react to such attempts immediately and vociferously to stop the spin from growing into an anti-Semitic spiral. HOWARD WOLLE Toronto 'Where did the country go?' Sir, - Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who claims credit for helping to draft UN Security Council Resolution 1701, thought she had done her job. Not once in the following two years did she take steps to see to it that the resolution was properly enforced. As was so well laid out in your excellent editorial "Lebanon tipping-point" (August 5) neither she nor anyone else in the government raised a fuss over the complete violation of 1701. In addition to the weapons it installed south of the Litani River, Hizbullah is set to receive a new generation of Russian SA-8 self-propelled anti-aircraft missiles that will prevent our pilots from flying over Lebanon. Of course Livni is busy. She wants to be the prime minister. But shouldn't she first make sure there will be a country to rule over? C. SEIDEN Jerusalem Importance of Ladino Sir, - I would like to correct some errors in "Reappraising Jewish-Hispanic relations" (July 30). First, Ashley Perry (Perez) stated the remarks of Dr. Dell Sanchez without clarifying that this man is a Jews For Jesus "pastor" who openly and heavily proselytizes and publishes accordingly, although his credo is not obvious from the exterior of his volumes. Secondly, Mr. Perry writes that "today only a few hundred Jews in the US speak Ladino." This is totally incorrect, as I have witnessed myself. In the past year alone, our office has dealt with at least 100 cases in which - for example, those who originated from just the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico - their families spoke a different kind of Spanish at home, which turned out to be Ladino. We have many instances of Anusim in Colorado, Texas and New Mexico now coming "out of the closet" and confirming that while Jewish practices were maintained in secret, Ladino played a large part in family life. That role continues until today. A recently published book, New Mexico's Crypto Jews by Cary Herz, supports this important evidence. This facet of family life needs to be taken into account when so many of these applicants stand before the rabbis to regain their heritage and be accepted as Jews. GLORIA MOUND Casa Shalom Institute for Marrano-Anusim Studies Gan Yavneh En-Jew and enjoy Sir, - As a religious Jew, I commend atheist Larry Derfner for his honesty ("The wonders of normative Judaism," July 31). But I wish he would try to enjoy our religion more. Why just a bar mitzva? In some Jerusalem synagogues the music, in both content and performance, is worth a $100 Metropolitan Opera ticket! YEHUDA KLEPPER Jerusalem