June 10: Lunacy as policy

We never seem to learn that weapons we give to the Palestinians - no matter which faction - end up being aimed at us.

letters to the editor (photo credit: )
letters to the editor
(photo credit: )
Lunacy as policy Sir, - There may be a shortage of food, employment and medicines in the Gaza Strip; however, the one thing of which there never seems to be a shortage is guns and ammunition ("Israel may let Egypt transfer arms to Fatah," May 7). From Oslo on we have supplied, or allowed others to supply, weapons to the PA with the excuse that its security services "need strengthening" in order to avoid chaos there; but those weapons have above all been used to kill innocent Israelis. First we complain about the continued arms smuggling from Egypt and say the Egyptians do not do enough to stop it. Now we want to allow them to transfer even more arms. The "wise men of Chelm" could learn a thing or two from our government. EMANUEL FISCHER Jerusalem Why Britain Sir, - As always, Evelyn Gordon writes brilliantly, but she misses the obvious answer to why Britain has become progressively more anti-Israel and, by extension, anti-Semitic ("Why Britain?" June 7). Anyone listening to the BBC World Service or reading any leading British newspaper is fed a constant diet of innuendo that paints the Israelis as - this from a recent BBC broadcast about the Six Day War - "repressive and brutal." The BBC's policy seems to be not telling lies, but not telling the truth, either. It presents poor, dispossessed Arabs who have always been abused by IDF soldiers or police, while never mentioning the residents of Sderot, only "alleged attacks on a Negev community." If the BBC asks an Israeli to speak it picks either a Peace Nownik or an American-accented settler who does not represent the settler majority and whose strident tones automatically irritate speakers of the Queen's English. When interviewed, our official spokespeople are consistently hectored and cut short. Unfortunately, the BBC's reasonable and authoritative tone and the fact that its broadcasts always contain a kernel of truth would persuade anyone. Jews in Britain who get their news only from UK media and the parochial Jewish Chronicle thus make half-hearted advocates for Israel. Now IBA is threatening to axe its English-language broadcasts, leaving English speakers worldwide to get their information from Al-Jazeera and the BBC - a "retreat" that would be on a par with the hasty and badly-thought-out nighttime exit from Lebanon, or last summer's ill-conceived campaign ("Losing our voice," Editorial, June 6). YEHUDIT COLLINS Jerusalem Blackmail is... Sir, - In "Facing war, choosing peace" (June 7) Larry Derfner strongly suggests that Israel should give the Golan to Syria or suffer the consequences of war. He seems to overlook the fact that the only reason he wants us to talk to Syria is because it is threatening such a war, or, in a sense, simply blackmailing us. Contrast this position with that of Karl R. Moor and David B. Rivkin on the same page ("A fool's errand"), who warn that a "diplomatic outreach to Damascus would be viewed with disfavor" by our strongest American supporters. And keep in mind Yehuda Avner's recent "On the seventh day" (June 5), which noted that the beginning of the Israel-US strategic relationship was based on our potential value as an ally in the Middle East. Conclusion: Those who allow themselves to be blackmailed are weak. Nobody wants a loser as an ally, and I pity those who prefer a "peace" of paper over self-reliance in our dangerous neighborhood. BARRY LYNN Efrat ...a bleak prospect Sir, - Are our politicians about to make another mistake by returning the Golan? I have just come back from a visit there and seen what Israel has built - roads, beautiful communities with lovely gardens and lighting, lookouts with magnificent views facing the Sea of Galilee, moshavim and cities. Are we to witness, once again, the Arabs reducing it all to rubble, as they did in Gaza, and using the Heights to launch attacks on Israel, as in the past? J. FISCHER Michmoret Old way and right way Sir, - Yad Vashem need not assume a defensive posture in the face of criticism for not including Arabic explanations in its new museum ("No 'Salaam' at Yad Vashem," June 6). There is no shame in saying: We made a mistake and, to further our mission, we will immediately act to impart the legacy of the Holocaust in Arabic, and Farsi as well. I visited the museum twice this week, both before and after your article appeared. The explanation provided to the Post by a Yad Vashem spokeswoman - that there wasn't sufficient room to add Arabic text - was disingenuous at best, an outright untruth at worst. Referring to Hebrew and English as the only languages used, she offered the embarrassingly illogical "We've always done it that way." Adopting new ideas was an essential ingredient in the creation of the new museum. It is unlike anything previously undertaken by Yad Vashem in both architecture and content, and is magnificent - proof that doing things the old way is not necessarily the right way. GARRY ROSENBERG Founder/Publisher San Diego Jewish Times San Diego