December 29: Talking Turkey

I can’t help feeling that our foreign minister is one of the few people in the government who is keeping his eye on the ball.

Talking Turkey
Sir, – I can’t help feeling that our foreign minister (“Lieberman goes on offensive against Turkey,” December 27) is one of the few people in the government who is keeping his eye on the ball. He certainly takes Erdogan, Abbas and the entire al-Qaida-inspired crew at their word.
And why not? Didn’t everyone see the pictures of Turkish actors dressing as Israeli soldiers killing young children and their mothers in a long-running hit TV show intended for internal Turkish consumption? Do you really need to be an experienced diplomat to see that Turkey is morphing into an Iranian protégé? You have to wonder why intelligent people like Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog accuse Lieberman of “closing doors” that have clearly already been shut, locked and cemented. As for me, I find it refreshing to see that someone in this country actually believes – and responds to – the odious words and actions that depict exactly how our neighbors feel.
Sir, – Why should it be surprising that Foreign Minister Lieberman is expressing the view of many Israelis, that to ask for an apology from Turkey is beyond chutzpah? He could have added that in recent months some 20 Turkish farmers have been killed by Iranian soldiers when allegedly crossing the border after straying flocks, but does one hear a word from the Turkish government complaining about Iran or demanding an apology or compensation? PETER SIMPSON Jerusalem Sir, – I agree with Ufuk Ulutas’s view on Israel-Turkey relations (“An apology would be a good start,” Comment & Features, December 27).
Let’s start with an apology for the anti-Semitic and racist television series recently screened on Turkish TV. Then we could go on to an apology for the rude and disrespectful treatment of President Shimon Peres at the Davos conference by the Turkish prime minister, followed by an apology for supporting the Iranian terrorist regime, which is subject to Security Council sanctions.
For good measure, there should be an apology by the Turkish foreign minister who, with rare cynicism, called for an improvement in bilateral relations and in the same breath slandered Israel’s famous humanitarian efforts, of which his country was a prime beneficiary in 1999.
And last, perhaps there should be an apology to the Armenian people, and to the whole world for betraying Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s vision of progressive secular democracy.
When all that has been done, we can start on the Mavi Marmara affair.
The way to Pollard
Sir, – Now is the time to distinguish between questionable political gamesmanship, as expressed by Tzachi Hanegbi (“Obama’s unique opportunity with Pollard,” December 27), and the way of true statesmanship, as called for in Toby Willig’s letter the day before (“Where is Peres?”), that Israel’s president make a heartfelt plea on behalf of us all that Pollard be freed.
The unfortunate impasse between friends could be brought to closure by a positive response from President Obama acting in the time-honored tradition of American decency and magnanimity.
May it be God’s will.
And about Hanegbi
Sir, – Please explain why you are providing Tzachi Hanegbi with so much editorial space and treating him as a person whose ideas are worth reading.
Sir, – What is the rationale in letting ex-MK Hanegbi write in your newspaper? The justice system found that he is a corrupt politician.
It’s just a photo
Sir, – Batya Berlinger may consider Israel a “Jewish country,” but she seems to ignore that people of other religions live here, too (“Others’ trappings,” Letters, December 27).
The Christians who live here are religious. Also, there are many Christian places of importance that bring many pilgrims, who bring us income.
The picture of a Christmas tree is certainly not a “trapping.”
Kiryat Ono
More than one way
Sir, – Regarding the letter by reader Frederic Rein (“Crack that dictionary,” December 27), the writer fails to say from which dictionary he is quoting.
It may be of interest to know that in the Oxford English- Hebrew/Hebrew-English Dictionary, the following entry appears: accountability n. nesia neshiriut.
Go, team, go!
Sir, – I was delighted to see a video report on December 27 on The New York Times website about the rise of American football in Israel. What a great tradition to share across the thousands of miles that separate us! Here in the US, we are preparing for the end-of-season bowl games between our top college teams. I hope the people of Israel will find as much excitement and joy in (American) football as we do here in America.
Should you need a team to cheer for in the US, may I recommend the Spartans of Michigan State University. Go Green! PETER KOBS Battle Creek, Michigan More than beaches Sir, – While your December 24 editorial “Jewish continuity? Vist Israel” is admirable, seeing the beaches here is not what Judaism is about, and is not what will promote Jewish continuity.
In Genesis, we learn that the only reason we are here in Israel today is that God gave us the land, with the proviso that we keep His commandments.
In the book’s last weekly portion, Vayechi, Jacob gathers his 12 sons to this deathbed and gives each a blessing and an evaluation of his abilities. Each one has a job to fulfill in the future nation.
We, their descendants, likewise have different jobs to fulfill to keep us on course as a Jewish nation. We have to constantly keep in mind who we are and where we are going.
Doctors, lawyers, soldiers, professors, businessmen, etc., each have a role in society. At the same time, we have to have a cadre of people who are learning and passing on the Torah’s commandments, which are the basis of our Judaism – a system of absolute values and ethics that are clearly defined and immutable. This is what has kept our people alive through the centuries despite unbelievable and horrible persecution.
Let us try to value all Jews in their individual roles here, and value their contributions on different levels.
A friend in Kenya
Sir, – The international friends of Israel who have been following Washington’s policies with keen interest have noted serious weaknesses on the part of the Obama administration in dealing with nuclear Iran and similar nations. Either President Obama is sympathetic to these regimes or lacks the necessary diplomatic and military mandate to stop their mad leaders.
Israeli embassies and diplomatic missions abroad should with great measure embark on an offensive to thwart the threat posed by these nations, and also to make good the shortfall by America’s exit from the Israeli camp.
Palestinians seem to have gained favor in the Obama administration at the expense of Israel, when in fact it is the Palestinians who are the aggressors.
God bless the State of Israel.
Eldoret, Kenya