December 30: Abortive appeasement

The attainment of nuclear weapons is a strategic goal of the regime as a whole. There are no so-called "moderates" in regard to this.

letters 88 NICE (photo credit: )
letters 88 NICE
(photo credit: )
Abortive appeasement Sir, - Daniel Levy ("Change Iran's behavior, not its regime," December 26) is correct in asserting that the Bush Administration's strategy of "using coercive diplomacy and military threats" has not deterred Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions, and that therefore some other policy should be tried. But he is mistaken in believing that a willingness of the US to enter into negotiations with Iran will stop Iran from its ambition to become a nuclear power. The attainment of nuclear weapons is a strategic goal of the regime as a whole. There are no so-called "moderates" in regard to this. Iran is an ideologically driven state led by a determined Messianic fanatic whose aim is to bring down the West and Israel, first and foremost. Appeasement won't work on this one. SHALOM FREEDMAN Jerusalem Sir, - Daniel Levy's Chamberlainesque article calling for "engagement" with Iran displays selective historical amnesia concerning the context for that country's decision to suspend nuclear enrichment in 2003. This decision occurred right after the US invasion of Iraq, when the Iranian leadership was reportedly terrified by the rapid initial victories of the coalition. Foolishly, the US missed an opportunity to strike a hard bargain and failed to produce the surge that seems, so far, to provide a turn in the tide. But despite all the failures in US policy, if the NIE assessment is correct, the political fallout in Iran in 2003 from the US invasion of Iraq did lead to a delay in progress towards enrichment in Iran. As many seem to have forgotten, the invasion also led to the decision by the Libyan government to come clean on its progress toward nuclear capacity and dismantle its successfully concealed program. We still face the risks of genocidal terror, bullying and intimidation from a nuclearized Iran. Engagement without sanctions and indictments of its president for incitement to genocide and a tough policy of containment is a euphemism for appeasement. ELIHU D RICHTER Jerusalem Fortuitous choices Sir, - I was impressed by Michael Freund's "Better 'steroids diplomacy' than 'shtetl diplomacy'" (December 26). Why are we pursuing a ghetto mentality? What has happened to the courage of Entebbe and the Six Day War - when we stood proud and made the right decisions to benefit our beloved land? I hope the administration will summon the fortitude to again make choices that benefit the state. MILTON M. ADLER Cherry Hill, NJ Open Orthodox doors Sir, - Rabbi Reuven Hammer is mistaken when he claims that Orthodox rabbis do not teach at the Limmud conference ("Orthodox obstacles," Letters, December 27). Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Gidon Sylvester, originally from London, Dr. Aviva Zornberg, myself and others have all participated in the remarkable Limmud conferences, despite a request by the London Beth Din not to do so. I teach there every second year. My response to the Beth Din of London stated my concern that when I eventually stand in front of the Heavenly Court, the Lord will ask me why I did not participate when there was an opportunity to influence thousands of people and provide them with a glimpse into an open-minded and authentic kind of Orthodox Judaism. What would I answer? Limmud is not a Reform or Conservative organization. It is independent and in fact was started by several Orthodox young people. RABBI DR. NATHAN LOPES CARDOZO Jerusalem Hardy halacha Sir, - Re "Medical specialist: Governments should subsidize healthy food," (December 26): Truth be told, it is within the province of halachic authorities to address proper eating as a Torah-mandated mitzva. But just as the halachic world hemmed and hawed for decades about smoking, looking for all sorts of loopholes not to openly ban the habit, nothing very heroic can be expected in this respect. Science has defined the dangers of smoking, yet young and old haredi adherents are smoking their heads off. And no one protests. If current medical knowledge teaches that epidemic proportions of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol disorders, heart disease and some cancers are directly related to the modern diet, how can mehadrin supervision be granted to all of the junk found in packaged and processed foods? Such a situation points to a severe deficiency in Torah-inspired communal values and well-being and in what the rabbinic establishment chooses to act upon. CHAIM ZVI WASSERMAN Jerusalem Old tricks Sir, - Almost every day we read of pensioners who have been brutally attacked, beaten and robbed ("Police: One suspect behind rash of attacks on elderly," December 24). Perhaps some well-trained black belt policemen or caring citizens can dress up as elderly people: a wig, stooped posture, a walking stick and a bag - that would do the trick. Maybe this way we may catch some of these villains who have neither a conscience nor a heart. ANNA SOTTO Kibbutz Yifat