February 8: Damage wrought

Is Tzipi Livni foreign minister of the State of Israel, or a representative of the Palestinian Authority?

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Damage wrought Sir, - I am utterly confused. Is Tzipi Livni foreign minister of the State of Israel, or a representative of the Palestinian Authority? In "Yishai asks Livni to end peace talks" (February 6) she was reported as saying that talks with Ahmed Qurei would not be canceled as a result of this week's murderous suicide bombing in Dimona since Qurei did not cancel talks after reports of Israeli building in Har Homa. In other words, she was drawing a parallel between Jews building housing units in our capital city and Arab terrorism against Jewish civilians. For years now, the various terror gangs have justified their attacks by citing Israel's "building on occupied lands." Now Israel's top spokesperson to the world has given that justification moral credence. Livni's statement was a slap in the face to Israel's hasbara professionals and volunteers, who have spent years trying to explain to the international community that building Jewish communities cannot be equated with cold-blooded murder. It's time for Livni to step aside before she does more damage to Israel's image abroad. JOSH HASTEN Jerusalem Battle goes on Sir, - In "Tears and fears on campus" (Letters, February 7) Michael Greenspan from Ontario highlighted a major problem: the lack of knowledge of Jewish people at large, parents in particular, that would enable them to refute anti-Israel propaganda. At a lecture in the UK last year, I was heartened to hear from one parent who took his responsibilities seriously enough to sit down with his daughter to prepare her for life on campus in an anti-Israel atmosphere. I met this week with the new intake of overseas students at Haifa University, representing eight different countries. Following my lecture on the need for grassroots public diplomacy, most of them responded with a plea for information to help them counter the many anti-Israel campaigns they face. I was able to give them a number of examples of successful counter-campaigns by pro-Israel groups at other universities. As your correspondent wrote, "We have failed to educate, we have failed to instill certainty in our cause." The Israeli Citizens Action Network, with members in over 20 countries around the world - many in Canada - builds connections between groups and provides a helpline for advice and information. One such current example is the assistance being given to the students at a UK university who are facing a proposal for a boycott of Israeli agricultural produce. With the assistance of the company concerned, we have provided information to counter the claims being made by the anti-Israel group and arranged a lecture on campus by a company representative. Thus far, the boycott proposal has not been passed, but the battle continues. STUART PALMER ICAN Haifa No vice for Rice Sir, - It is desirable to investigate the possibility of Condoleezza Rice having been contaminated by her close association with career employees of the US State Department when considering her suitability for the post of vice-president of the US. My preference would be Governor Huckabee, who would be less likely to betray Israel in a crisis situation ("A vice named Rice," Larry Derfner, February 7). BURTON RAVINS Jerusalem Sir, -What has Larry Derfner been smoking? (Or inhaling? Or drinking?) This is not the good leftist that I know. Condi Rice, indeed? And John McCain is his candidate - above all the good Democrats? The American people have spoken! They want US troops out by next year, if not sooner, and that's what they should have. As for McCain being "old, " take a look at our own president - in his 80s, and just as active as ever. McCain is only 72. But at any age, he's not the one; not this year. LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Mixed results Sir, - Charter schools are far from the unalloyed success that Sarah Kass maintains in "Revolutionize education" (February 3). California and Florida serve as cautionary tales. In August 2004, the California Charter Academy, the largest chain of publicly financed but privately operated charter schools in the state, collapsed, leaving 4,500 students in 60 schools stranded. Taxpayers were stuck with a $100m. loss, and students and teachers were forced to scramble to find places in regular schools. And in Florida, scores of the more than 300 charter schools in the state continue to receive education dollars despite a record of financial mismanagement and low student achievement. The writer taught for 28 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District and was a lecturer in the UCLA Graduate School of Education.,/i> WALT GARDNER Los Angeles Lost friends Sir, - I am writing to ask for help in locating my long-lost friends. I worked on the Voice of Peace as a DJ or presenter from January 1989 to December 1990. I lost contact with my friends around 1999 and, as you know, a lot has happened since. Please help me locate Ms. Oura Changar and Ms. Mikhal Rosenbuam of 17 Hillel St., Haifa - the last known address I have. If you can help, kindly call 011441162543151, or e-mail [email protected] McCLELLAN HACKNEY Leicester, UK