January 21: Neutral? Hardly

But Cobb-Smith's background reveals that he is far from a neutral observer.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Neutral? Hardly Sir, - "IDF smoking out the truth about alleged use of phosphorus shells" (January 20) cited Amnesty' International "fact-finding team" member Chris Cobb-Smith, who claims he found "indisputable evidence" of the "indiscriminate" use of white phosphorus in Gaza, "which he called a war crime." But Cobb-Smith's background reveals that he is far from a neutral observer. He runs a business, Chiron Resources, guiding NGOs and the media through conflict zones and performing "investigations." One such investigation dismissed the 94-page IDF inquiry into the 2003 death of a British citizen in Rafah, blaming Israel for a "calculated and cold-blooded murder," while another helped Amnesty promote the myth of a "massacre" in Jenin in 2002. A serious discussion of human rights issues in the Gaza conflict requires an unbiased analysis of reliable evidence. Amnesty and Cobb-Smith are incapable of providing this. SARAH MANDEL NGO Monitor Jerusalem Premature exit Sir, - Re "Phoney deal" (Letters, January 20): A savvy cousin of mine in Netanya compared "the classic example of Israel winning the battle but losing the war" to the coach in a football match who five minutes before the end of a match, when his team is winning 2-0, tells his goalkeeper to go home because he isn't needed any more. BARBARA PFEFFER Rehovot The willful urge... Sir, - British lawmaker Gerald Kaufman makes me sick ("UK MP: Israel exploits guilt over Shoah," January 16). Kaufman should fall on his knees and beg his grandmother's forgiveness for exploiting her memory to attack Israel and defend the Hamas terrorists who use little children as human shields while they fire rockets at our civilians. Kaufman and his ilk do not want to understand our war against terrorism. They also do not understand that no matter what they say against Israel or the Jews it will never earn them appreciation from the gentiles. Behind his back, they will call him "Jew." Maybe he could earn a little respect by not urging those gentiles to embargo us. Maybe. JUUP (JULIA) SOBELMAN Petah Tikva ...to misunderstand Sir, - I was wondering when Gerald Kaufman would crawl out of the woodwork, ingratiating himself with the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic baying mob, joining fellow-opportunists Ken Livingstone, George Galloway and Claire Short in attempting to burnish their diminished careers by exploiting the conflict in Gaza. Why don't we hear their loud condemnation of Robert Mugabe, whose cruel dictatorship has led to at least 40,000 cholera victims and 2,000 deaths in Zimbabwe; or of the rulers of Darfur or Myanmar; or of those responsible for the ongoing slaughter between Muslim factions, resulting in scores of thousands of civilian victims? A great deal of intelligence, author Saul Bellow wrote, can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS Pardesiya When private morality meets national interest Sir, - Israel turned over all of Gaza in 2005 so the Palestinians could begin the "two-state solution." Hamas's response was to rain thousands of mortars and rockets down upon the cities of innocent civilians. If we Americans will not stand with our ally against this terrorism, then we will not stand at all. Were terrorists with a philosophy of destruction, from some location near the US, to subject cities such as San Diego or Los Angeles to incessant rocket and mortar fire, we would respond with far less restraint than Israel has over the past four years. If we did not respond we would not be functioning in a manner worthy of a free nation. Both Israel and the US were founded upon principles that transcend politics but find their essence in the "eternal rules of order" that the father of our nation spoke of in his first inaugural speech: "The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained..." (George Washington, April 30, 1789). The foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality. We need to stand with Israel as a matter of private morality as well as national interest. We should pray for Israel and work for a real peace that does not allow the rule of chaos and hatred to fuel terrorism; one that is the fruit of people who hold in high regard the "eternal rules of order" and the "right which Heaven itself has ordained" ("The true test," Editorial, January 20) DAVID RULEMAN VP Salem Communications Washington Silent support Sir, - Israel, like any other country, has a duty to protect its citizens from terrorism. Israel, be safe, and know the silent majority supports you! DAVID RAFTIS Westmeath, Ireland Defang Iran Sir, - Re "Hamas will never change. Will Egypt?" (January 18): Hamas, like Hizbullah, is an instrument of war funded by Iran. Hamas "will never change" while its terror host and sponsor remains alive and well. The defanging of Iran, in whatever measure and to whatever degree necessary, would produce the collapse of Hamas and Hizbullah, as well as other subsidiary terror organizations. Syria, with all its bluster, would similarly fall silent. To establish any long-term hope for a peaceful Middle East and the world at large, it behooves Israel, or the world community, to act in concert vis-a-vis Iran ("Iran renews efforts to supply weaponry to bruised Hamas," January 20). A. SAFIR Warminster, Pennsylvania Just part of the hell Sir, - In "Tuskegee Airmen over Auschwitz" (January 19) Rafael Medoff again raised the issue of why the Allies didn't bomb the death chambers and railroads of Auschwitz. The question is understandable, yet there is a practical truth concerning its unfeasibility. It wasn't possible because in WWII there was no such thing as high-altitude precision bombing. There were no "smart bombs." The myth of the accuracy of the Norden bombsight was for wartime consumption only. Despite its being a technological advance, a bomb dropped from around 20,000 feet could be considered a near-miss if it landed within maybe a half mile of its intended target. That is why blanket bombing, massed squadrons unloading thousands of bombs simultaneously, was a tactical necessity. Dr. Medoff's remark about "a few bombs" is unfortunately misleading. As with all targets, the intended target of any raid could be missed while all around was devastated. With the prisoner barracks situated so close to the crematoria, the implications are obvious. As for the railways, the mass slavery available would have permitted almost any damage to be repaired in a few days, if that. These facts are only part of the hell of it. PESACH GOODLEY Telz Stone Song for Sderot Sir, - In the interest of evenhandedness, may I call your attention to a pro-Israeli, inverse alternative to Michael Heart's "Song For Gaza." "Sderot," by Shimon Bouskila and Gilad Yifrach, can be found on YouTube under the one-word title, in both Hebrew and English, with subtitles in both languages ("'Song for Gaza' captures hearts of YouTube viewers," January 19). MENACHEM G. JERENBERG Ramat Beit Shemesh