June 10: Selective Memory

"He conveniently forgets Yasser Arafat."

alef bet 311 (photo credit: Screenshot)
alef bet 311
(photo credit: Screenshot)
Selective memory
Sir, – I enjoy Ray Hanania’s columns in your paper. One can sense his unique viewpoint on the current situation in Israel, as well as his perceptions on a future peace accord between Israelis and Palestinians.
Precisely because of that I was disappointed by his latest column (“Wanted: Israeli strategic long-term thinking,” June 9). He mentions many scenarios in which he claims Israel missed opportunities for peace. Never does he mention the offers made by Israeli leaders over the past four decades. He loses credibility when he conveniently forgets Yasser Arafat and his proclivity to instigate intifadas instead of agreeing to far-reaching compromises offered by many Israeli leaders.
One of us?
Sir, – Calling Geert Wilders a Catholic needs some qualification (“Wilders hails Israel for ‘fighting the jihad’ and warns that ‘the West is next,’” June 9). In an interview posted on his party’s Web site, he is asked about his Catholic background. He answers: “I’m from the Catholic South. The rest is private.” Wikipedia mentions that Wilders comes from a Catholic family but that as an adult he deregistered and is now unaffiliated.
But a widely reported investigation a year ago by Dutch anthropologist Lizzy van Leeuwen revealed he had lied about his roots in his 2008 biography, and that his maternal grandmother was from an old Jewish-Indonesian family.
Jerusalem Even more disgusting
Sir, – D.J. Harrison of Melbourne, Australia, condemns a perfectly legitimate form of protest against the hypocritical and distorted reporting of the majority of the world’s media (“Disgusting clip,” Letters, June 8).
The clip used satire to illustrate the frustration most of us Israelis feel at the world’s knee-jerk condemnation of our actions and as a means to broadcast a more accurate version of the facts.
I am far more disgusted at the concerted, sustained and unfortunately successful campaigns to discredit and de-legitimize any response by Israel when faced with violence. Rockets, missiles and mortars poured down on defenseless citizens in the southern Negev; suicide bombers, drive-by shootings, car bombs and stabbings terrorized our population.
And yet, all efforts to protect Israeli citizens, regardless as to whether the response is of a violent or non-violent nature, are met by international busybodies with outpourings of self-righteous indignation.
In this latest debacle, I have yet to hear calls for an inquiry into Turkey’s role in enabling and sponsoring the flotilla, which had aboard known members of an organization designated by Turkey itself as terrorist.
Turkey a danger
Sir, – Re: “Palestinian Authority concerned by Turkey’s increased support of Hamas” (June 8) – that’s an understatement. It should worry not only the PA, but also the United States. How can there be peace when an ally of Syria, which is an ally of Iran, has been asked to mediate between Fatah and Hamas? Where is the US, the superpower, in all of this? Can’t the Obama administration see that a Turkeybrokered reconciliation will undoubtedly play into the hands of Syria and Iran? Might not Egypt be a more amicable mediator? YOEL NITZARIM Skokie, Illinois
Sir, – Should not Israel rethink its contract to upgrade Turkey’s army and air force? That country has allied itself with Muslim terrorism. Israel could find itself fighting a Hizbullah padded out with Turkish jets updated by Israel, together with elements of the Turkish army equipped with advanced Israeli arms.
Israel may be earning millions from this contract, but is might cost thousands of lives. Is it worth it? DAVID LEE Palma de Mallorca
Five critical minutes
Sir, – In referring to Israel’s handling of the fallout from the Gaza flotilla, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon (“Public relations battle is a marathon, not a sprint,” June 4) says “this is not about the first five minutes....” On the contrary, it is the first five minutes that inform and set the scene for the next five hours, five days, five weeks and so on.
Ayalon should know the old saying, “The early bird catches the worm.”
BGU is indeed involved
Sir, – Ronen Shoval, chairman of Im Tirtzu, is quoted as saying that Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is “usually the most apathetic and apolitical campus in the country” (“Pro-IDF demonstrations sweep the country, countering international condemnations,” June 2).
I beg to differ. BGU students may not be out at Im Tirtzu’s political demonstrations, but they are the most activist students in Israel. They have led the way in a number of economic and social action programs, from the creation of the Forum for Social Justice, which led to a national free school lunch program, to the creation of the Ayalim student movement to develop Israel’s peripheral communities.
They are actively involved in a myriad of development programs in some of Beersheba’s poorest neighborhoods, host the largest big brother/big sister program in Israel, and have taken the lead in the Green Campus initiative.
The impassioned involvement of our students in their community may not impress Shoval, but it is making the difference in the lives of thousands of residents of the Negev every day.
FAYE BITTKER Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Beersheba
Here and now
Sir, – Let’s not waste our time and hopes reminding people of the Shoa (“An irrational, obscene hatred,” June 8). They don’t like it and it makes them mad.
There are now generations for whom the Shoa is ancient history.
What the new, non-Jewish (and maybe Jewish, too) generations want to know is our justification for being here right now. They see and hear thousands of Arabs giving their own narrative. We have to give ours without constantly recalling our private tragedies.
The only way we can expect people to pay attention is to point to the abandonment of the territory under the Turks, quoting chapter and verse, and its revival under the Zionists. We have brought desolate places to life and absorbed hundreds of thousands of immigrants.HELEN LEVENSTON Jerusalem
Show her the Bible
Sir, – Unfortunately, Yoram Dori (“An open letter to Helen Thomas,” June 7) picked the wrong example to justify why we Jews are fully entitled to live in what Thomas terms “Palestine.” Our right is because we have returned to our biblical homeland, and in so doing have filled a basic vacuum of empty land. A much better example would have been to show her people who could prove continuous familial links to the land, like the not insignificant numbers who are 10th-generation (or similar) Jerusalemites.