February 1: Herb gets it right...

The “blame Israel” game is finally exposed for what it is – a myth.

Herb gets it right...
Herb Keinon’s analysis of the situation in Egypt (“How the Egyptian revolution debunks the Israel-is-the-cause-of-Mideast-instability myth,” Comment, January 30) is the best answer I have read on how all the countries, and those in Israel, that blame Israel for Mideast violence have deliberately ignored what is actually going on.
The “blame Israel” game is finally exposed for what it is – a myth.
...and wrong
Sir, – Herb Keinon, one of the Post’s sanest columnists, attributes this mode of thinking – that Israel is the root cause of all Middle East instability – to my government, to “everyone from US President Barack Obama, to US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen....”
Entirely wrong. What we are saying is that the issue has been the cause of Arab anti-Westernism, especially anti-Americanism, because of an excessively onesided partisanship that has damaged US security, attracted terrorism and harmed America as an honest and reliable broker that can help Israel achieve the peace and ironclad security she so richly deserves.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Any way you slice it
Sir, – With regard to “Regime change in Cairo could force IDF to boost forces in the South” (January 30), what is certain is that whoever ends up in control in Egypt will be a problem for Israel.
Gaza will likely get whatever it wants via Egypt. If the country is not run by the Muslim Brotherhood, it will be a small plus, but for sure the Islamists will be calling many of the shots.
Sir, – Make no mistake: If Mubarak’s government falls it will be replaced by an Islamic theocracy, with the Muslim Brotherhood either at its helm or behind the scenes. Whatever freedoms Egyptians currently enjoy, and whatever hopes they have for achieving democracy and improving their lot, would quickly disappear. If they think they have it bad under Mubarak, wait until the theocrats take control.
A takeover would also have severe consequences for the US, Israel and the Western world in general.
An Islamic government in Cairo would view Washington as the Great Satan in the same way that Teheran now does, and would challenge America every way it could. It’s no secret that it could cripple America by shutting down the Suez Canal, among other things. Would it go that far? You bet it would.
Would an Islamic government in Cairo fight the US? Yes, particularly since it would see America as weak and feckless under President Obama, and wouldn’t believe for a minute it had anything to fear.
A takeover in Cairo would make Israel’s existence even more precarious than it already is. An Islamic government there would see removing Israel from the face of the earth as practically its first order of business, and would do everything in its power to do precisely that as soon as possible.
War would be inevitable – a war in which Israel’s victory (and survival) would by no means be certain.
Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas and all the others would fight on Egypt’s side, and it is entirely possible that the US would choose not to intervene.
Even if Israel were to win the ensuing war, a takeover would still be disastrous. An Islamic government in Cairo would blackmail European countries into doing its bidding, and would dramatically hasten Islamization there and elsewhere, which is in no one’s interest.
Hold on Hosni, hold on! Don’t let the rioters drive you out.
Make the necessary changes and reforms, to be sure, but hang in there! JERRY PHILIPSON
Comox, British Columbia
We should watch out
Sir, – When the Camp David Accords were signed, well-intentioned people danced around the golden calf of “peace with Egypt,” for which Israel gave up the strategically vital and oil-rich Sinai, which had been won with precious Jewish blood.
Yet even at the time, it was apparent that Israel was not making peace with a country, but with a person – Anwar Sadat, an autocrat who did not represent the Egyptian consensus or even a meaningful minority.
Whenever Israel is pressured to make peace with its neighbors, it must ask itself whether it will be a peace with the people, or merely peace with a person.
We will pay a heavy price for our treaty with Egypt. Let us not repeat the mistake.
Israel, take the lead
Sir, – The Middle East is in flames again. This time, however, it isn’t a war between the Jews and the Arabs, but a conflagration that the Arabs have brought upon themselves.
Should the new-found ardor and determination of the frustrated, hungry and intimidated multitudes coagulate, converge and overcome the ruling powers, Israel and the West would face a wave of rage and “revenge” that might prove to be far more lifethreatening than an Iranian Bomb.
A better future should be offered to the peoples of the Middle East. A movement like this can be launched only by mending the differences between Israel and the Palestinians. They and the rest of the Arabs must be shown that the purpose and ideals of a Jewish state are peaceful, can promote stability and prosperity, and can allow a common future of tolerance and tranquility, even at the price of concessions and patience.
Israel can and should take the lead in lessening the anger and improving the mood in the region. A strong showing of a new direction can make a difference.
The writer is a retired diplomat
Real, live person
Sir, – I am surprised that Mark Feldman, in “Do they think we’re all morons?” (The Travel Adviser, January 30), didn’t list one more good reason most of us still need the services of a good travel agent, even in this age of Internet booking, payment and checkin: When things go wrong or a flight has to be rescheduled, there is nothing like the professional services that only a real, live person can provide.
The real test came recently, when my son’s return flight to Israel was cancelled due to one of the snow storms in the New York area. Even before I knew what was happening, my travel agent had rebooked my son on a different flight and from different airport, although for the same day, which was the most important factor.
But it went far beyond that.
When I called him to confirm the new reservation and thank him, I mentioned in passing how important it was for my son to get back as close to the original day and hour as possible. Without a second’s hesitation and on his own initiative, my travel agent offered to look into an even earlier flight, and within three minutes all was arranged. End result: My son got home just six hours later than originally scheduled.
There is no question that without my travel agent’s help, we would have been in a much worse and more confusing situation.
Feldman need not worry about being biased. There is still no substitute for a good travel agent.
Hatzor Haglilit
Omission of sins
Sir, –Your January 27 editorial (“Lies, damned lies, and police statistics”) omitted other categories that deserve mention.
What about the number of women killed by their husbands or partners, which has to be on the rise, as does the number of youths killed or badly injured by knives each Friday night outside or inside nightclubs? And let’s not forget rapes, which also appear to be on the rise.
Petah Tikva