January 3: Galut...

Even as a young child I squirmed to hear how grateful the Jews were to be accorded some measure of respect.

letters to the editor 88 (photo credit: )
letters to the editor 88
(photo credit: )
Galut... Sir, - Avi Shafran's description of "My Hanukka at the White House" (January 2) reminded me of stories my grandparents used to tell about the occasional kindly prince who sometimes visited their shtetl in the ghetto. Even as a young child I squirmed to hear how grateful the Jews were to be accorded some measure of respect. That a Jewish community leader yet harbors such gratitude for acceptance by a political leader is sad proof that the galut mentality is alive and well. L. BLASS Jerusalem ...mentality? Sir, - I have been dealing - negotiating - with Arabs for over 25 years. The idea of Israel releasing hundreds of prisoners in exchange for a kidnapped soldier is the worst possible solution ("Israel ready to release 'very large' number of prisoners to Abbas," January 2). Our leaders are disgracing us. Since Oslo our leadership of the Left and the Right has competed in reacting to Arab violence as if we were living in a ghetto, without an army and without weapons. Even the money we are holding back from Palestinian taxes should be tapped to defray the billions we have been forced to spend on the wall/fence in order to stop suicide attacks. Why should we have to pay? The world is looking to us for leadership in facing the Arab challenge. Israel must set an example. Our reaction is what counts. It must be a strong one. CHAYIM SEIDEN Jerusalem It hurts to write this Sir, - I am a Christian American and a strong friend of Israel. My wife and I are faithful supporters of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein's International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. It then hurts me to write this critical letter, but I must. I am sickened by the continual persecution of Christians in Nazareth, Bethlehem and other Palestinian Muslim-controlled areas ("Christians in crisis," Editorial, December 24). I am not naive. My country takes partial blame for its passivity and participation in treacherous agreements like the Oslo and Wye River accords. I blame, too, the majority silence from the Christian church in America. I also realize that the historical relationship between Middle Eastern Christians and Israel is not good. However, these circumstances do not excuse the Israeli government's failure in moral leadership. Your government is the local steward and power-broker, on the ground and in charge. It is your moral responsibility to protect the Christian minority. Please stop the Palestinian Muslim persecution of Christians in 2007. Thank you and God bless. JAMES R. BRALSKI Killeen, Texas Gotta admire her Sir, - This letter is simply to tell you how much I admire Caroline Glick ("The longest-running big lie," January 2). I have followed her articles for some time now and find her intelligence and honesty shines through all of her writing. I may live far away, but I never miss an article. I care about the situation in the Middle East and pray each day for peace. Then I laugh a little, as sometimes it is hard to find peace within my family on hard days! Still, we must try. CAROLE GRAHAM Calgary, Alberta Better sans Saddam Sir, - I agree with "After Saddam" (Editorial, December 31) that "from a moral point of view it is hard to imagine a fair trial reaching any other verdict." The "Butcher of Bagdad" who ruled Iraq with violence should have been hanged for crimes against humanity a long time ago. He was one of the most brutal tyrants in recent history. Let this be a warning to all mass murderers that they will end up with a similar fate. The world is better off without Saddam. Hopefully his execution will cause Iraqis to support their democratically-elected government and bring about a new and better Iraq. JOSH BASSON Seattle Ronny, my Israeli friend Sir, - For me, a Syrian citizen, it is not strange to talk to an Israeli. A few years back I entered into a partnership with Ronny, an Israeli, in a restaurant venture here in Auckland and it made the 6 o'clock news. And through my friend Ronny I met and befriended many other Israelis (I even fell in love with one of them - a girl). He cooked great falafel and I did great humous. With me meeting all those guys, I learned that we, Israelis and Syrians, could have a great partnership and enjoy each other's company. Ronny and I always dreamed that our countries would find peace and I would be able to taste his mother's basboosa in Haifa and he my mother's mahashi in Daraa (Houran) in Syria. So writing this letter is almost a treachery to the memory of our friendship (Ronny is back in Israel). Please do not negotiate with Bashar al-Assad. The moment you do, you give him a legitimacy he has not earned. You know, as we know, that he has inherited a republic without sweat, tears or a ballot. You know, as we know, that the hand you will be shaking is covered with our blood. You know that while you negotiate there will be tens of thousands of political prisoners being held in horrific conditions, without proper reason or trial. Imagine if Churchill had negotiated with the Nazis because Hitler gave in to the majority of England's conditions! If you conditioned talks on negotiating only with a truly democratically-elected president and parliament; or on Assad freeing all the political prisoners in Syria; or on him respecting the Lebanese and Palestinians and all our neighbors‚ choices and wills, I wonder what would happen? (You would be watching him running for cover). No, actually, I am not betraying the memory of our friendship. I am preserving it for the real peace - when we will enjoy Ronny's mother's basboosa, and then afterwards in Daraa my mother's mahshi, without guilt and with the conviction that this is going to last and is going to be a way of life ("The way to approach talks with Syria" December 27). ASHRAF ALMOUKDAD Auckland, New Zealand None like it HOT Sir, - We agree with the letters in your January 2 issue about HOT's planned discontinuing of BBC Prime broadcasting in Israel. Our families love watching this channel and it will be a great loss of British entertainment programs. We do not know what "economic reason" stands behind the decision, but it will be a very sad move. HOT has removed at least five channels from the analog broadcast service since July 2006, but this time it's making us angry. Instead of improving analog broadcasting the company is trying to make more money by forcing people to move to the digital service. RUTH CARMI ADI RAMER Haifa Sir, - The huge advertisement in red letters that appeared in your Business and Finance section of January 2 in which HOT thanks its employees, shareholders, banks, lawyers and accountants came shortly after its further demonstration of total lack of consideration for a substantial number of its clients in announcing the cessation of the outstanding BBC Prime channel. This contempt for the people who really make such companies succeed should surely encourage HOT subscribers to switch to YES. Let us show that consumer satisfaction is what merits thanks. MONTY M. ZION Tel Mond Sir, - I have just faxed the HOT cable people telling them that if they do not wish to catch a severe COLD, they had better rethink their decision. SARA SCHACTER Jerusalem