February 6: No immunity...

As Hamas takes orders from its leadership in Syria, the country should responsible for terrorist attacks.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
No immunity... Sir, - Given that Hamas in Gaza takes orders from its leadership based in Syria, it must be legitimate to hold the Syrian regime responsible for terrorist attacks against Israel, a sovereign member state of the UN, whether by suicide bombers or rockets. Syria must not be allowed to assume it is immune to any retaliation for offering comfort, shelter and active support to an organization internationally recognized as a terrorist outfit ("MKs from all camps call for boost in security along southern border," February 5). RAYMOND CANNON Netanya ...but with impunity Sir, - When will we learn that the Palestinians do not want peace with us, only to score political points - and gain even more financial support for their cause - by throwing out an occasional olive branch via the international media? Your February 5 photo of a Palestinian handing out sweets, and TV footage of Palestinians dancing in the streets after an innocent civilian's murder by the brave freedom fighters of Palestine tell the real story. MARTIN LEWIS Ramat Gan How depressing! Sir, - I could not agree more with your February 4 editorial about the political behavior of our current leaders; except for the title, "Devalued norms." I believe this kind of behavior is what we have to expect from politicians. And therein lies our problem because in these times we need leaders who are statesmen, not politicians. See Webster's New World Dictionary for one definition of "politician": "frequently used in a derogatory sense, with implication of seeking personal or partisan gain, scheming, opportunism, etc." A statesman, on the other hand, is "a person who shows wisdom, skill and vision in conducting state affairs and treating public issues." SYDNEY DAVIS Jerusalem Sir, - This editorial was both enlightening and depressing. Enlightening, because of its lucid analysis; depressing because it afforded us little light at the end of the tunnel. "However long the Olmert government manages to survive in office," you concluded, "one fears the devalued political culture it has embraced will be with us for a lot longer." RACHEL BIRATI Melbourne Barking up the wrong tree Sir, - It seems puzzling and contradictory for Sheldon Schreter, who left his native Canada in 1976 to make aliya to Israel and bemoans the loss in the "belief in God's promise of this Land to Abraham," to speak disparagingly of "messianist ideologies" and vigorously advocate the removal of all post-'67 settlements ("For the cause, the settlements must go," January 30). Even more bewildering is his haste to uncritically accept the defamation of settler behavior and repeat horrid accusations concerning abominations committed in the West Bank in the name of the Jewish people. As someone who came on aliya before Schreter, my belief in the rightness of our cause has grown in strength, accompanied by a feeling of inspiration almost entirely due to witnessing the settlers' idealism, courage and dedication to the original values of our Zionist founding fathers. I find myself dumbfounded by Schreter's naive and distorted ideas regarding the cures for our internal strife, and his panacea for bringing about peace with our enemies. He insists that our dismantling the settlements will gain us both security and respect in the international community. Surely the tragedy that resulted from the abandonment of Gush Katif should convince Schreter that he is barking up the wrong messianic tree. ZEV CHAMUDOT Petah Tikva Be of good courage Sir, - Israel needs to stop making concessions to appease the Palestinians. Have you not leaned that this is counterproductive? God gave the land of Israel to the Jews; it is not to be given away. We are behind Israel 100%. Stick to your guns. I am a Christian, and I love the Jews and the land of Israel. I pray for the peace of Israel, and God has greatly blessed me because of it. As God tells us in Genesis: "Those who bless you will be blessed, and those who curse you will be cursed." God will continue to defend you as He has in the past so many times. Hang in there, be of good courage. MAVIS MANTAI Hinton, Alberta Who gets the last laugh? Sir, - However heartening it is that Bryan Reuben is a sophisticated person who is not taken in by anti-Israel propaganda served up by the choice of guest speakers chosen by Limmud in the UK, he should recognize that all he is achieving is giving a free platform to those enemies of Israel ("In defense of Israel," February 3). How could the UK have become a world center for pro-Hamas propaganda and originator of the academic boycott against Israel if not for a good number of individuals lacking in-depth knowledge of the Israel-Arab conflict falling victim to such propaganda? If Prof. Reuben were living in the mid-'30s and Limmud had existed then, would he have supported inviting Goebbels, citing his right to free speech? In any event, he should know that Rabbi Shlomo Riskin was permitted a slot at Limmud only in response to pressure after it was known that Saeb Erekat had been invited. Of course Erekat got the last laugh, as while in all probability he never intended to come, the Anglo-Jewish community was left divided. Limmud's organisers should have known better. PETER SIMPSON Jerusalem Sir, - When will Israel finally start taking its international PR seriously? Spokesmen such as Aryeh Mekel and Avi Pazner simply do not make the grade - it is vital to ensure that all our English-language spokesmen can communicate as articulately as Mark Regev and Micky Rosenfeld, or the splendidly eloquent Bibi Netanyahu. PAUL SANDLER Tel Aviv Beyond sportsmanlike Sir, - What you labeled "The wonderful craziness of the crowd at Ramat Hasharon" (Sports, February 4) was anything but wonderful. Being high-spirited and supportive at athletic events is part of the fun, but what happened on Sunday at the Fed Cups matches was disruptive, crude and disrespectful to all the players. Cheering loudly is certainly appropriate - but disrupting the play by extended chanting, booing and whistling during a serve, and calling a ball out is beyond sportsmanlike behavior in tennis. Tennis is a game of individuals, demanding the utmost concentration and flow. The crowd on Sunday was trying to influence the outcome of the game rather than letting the women play. In doing so they didn't help, but came off as unsophisticated and rude spectators. This is hardly an image we should project to the world of tennis. LIBBY WERTHAN Jerusalem Sir, - Forget "Israeli nationalism" and "gleeful Israeli support" - call it what it was: plain bad manners. And there is no excuse because anyone who enjoys tennis has watched enough games on TV to know how tennis spectators behave. It may be the lack of exposure to sport facilities and culture in schools, or coaches (and parents) who fail to emphasize the importance of manners in sport, and elsewhere. Whatever the reason, the results are deplorable. I am embarrassed. The tone of this article implied that the Israeli crowd was "cute." In fact, it was a moment of lost opportunity for the Israeli sports fans. H. FRIEDMAN Yedidya