June 13: Proxies and the dirty work

Larry Derfner fails to recognize why Arab countries don't attack Israel.

Proxies and the dirty workSir, – Larry Derfner asserts that the only reason that Palestinians attack Israel is that Israel is occupying their lands and ruling them by the gun (“The chink in our armor,” June 10). He argues that all other Arab countries hate Israel just as much, but have not attacked recently because they are afraid to do so.
Derfner fails to recognize another major reason that these countries have not attacked – it’s unnecessary. They can support Hamas as their proxy and gain all the benefits of war against Israel without incurring any of the costs. Israel is forced to spend an inordinate portion of its national budget on defense while much of the world – including the international media and the UN – isolates and demonizes Israel for its legitimate acts of self-defense. The other Arab countries can continue to subjugate their own people by directing their attention outwardly toward the evils of the “Zionist entity.” There is simply no reason for these countries to attack Israel at this time.
Hamas has proven its intention to do grievous harm to Israel through its constant violent actions after Israel vacated Gaza entirely. That is the single reason for Israel’s continued military control. What Derfner decries as the cause of Palestinian animosity has actually succeeded in preventing hundreds if not thousands of additional Israeli casualties.
The Gazans have in their power the ability to lift this military control – recognizing Israel’s right to exist would totally negate Hamas’s raison d’être – the annihilation of the Jewish state.
    EFRAIM A. COHEN    Netanya
What’s to explain?Sir, – Tzipi Livni and others before her are quite right in saying that it’s not Israel’s public relations, but the government’s policies, or lack of them, that are the problem (“Livni: World sees us as Goliath, not David,” June 9). At this moment, there is no way to explain Israel’s policies and actions unless the prime minister faces first the Israeli public, and then the world, and spells them out for good or bad.
The fatuous Diaspora Affairs Ministry project encouraging ordinary citizens to become ad hoc diplomats and explain Israel’s situation while abroad will boomerang on genuine, yet naive, people who put themselves in the “line of fire.” In the meantime, Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein would do better with the millions he intends to spend (some of this money is already down the drain – remember the puerile adverts?) if he were to subsidize tours tours to Israel that are tailor-made for opinion makers from overseas. They would be far more convincing in spreading the word after an eye-opening visit to meet the “ordinary” people and feel the magic of the country and zest for life, despite the threats.
    ZELDA HARRIS    Tel Aviv
Sir, – I am frankly very surprised that there has not been a public outcry to call to account Defense Minister Ehud Barak. When we clearly could have anticipated an ambush, the decision to send in our finest commando soldiers with just paintball guns was humiliating and embarrassing to every Israeli, and extremely demoralizing to our fighting forces.
It seems clear to me that the military echelons would never have made such a decision. Therefore, the buck stops at Ehud Barak’s desk. He must be called to task for this huge error, which was only exacerbated by his approval of the use of security forces armed with tear gas and clubs to attack Jewish teenagers in Beit El.
The common sense and priorities of the man given authority over our defense are completely warped. For the sake of this country, our morale and our proper defense, he must be removed from his post immediately.
    DEBORAH BUCKMAN    Beit Shemesh
Goes down easySir, – I appreciated the positive energy of Judy Montagu (“A case of radical otherness”) and Seth J. Frantzman (“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict saves lives), as well as the thoughtful comments of Daniel Pipes (“Islamist Turkey overreaches”) and Gil Troy (“The Left’s flotilla fiasco”) in your June 9 paper.
They presented “food for thought” without causing indigestion!
Sir, – Judy Montagu hits the nail on the head with a vengeance. The problem with a great many of our brethren, both in Israel and in the Diaspora, is that they know very little about our Jewish history. But the more we find out, the more we can counteract and contradict efforts at delegitimization, basing ourselves on historical facts that can be proven.
    LINDA STERN    Safed
Sir, – Gil Troy superbly describes how so many liberals have turned against the West and now endanger all mankind. His op-ed should be required reading for all who honestly seek rational solutions to manipulated conflicts, including those in our own hotspot.
    ESTER ZEITLIN    Jerusalem
Mantras and Jews Sir, – I am amazed by the naivety and lack of historic perspective evidenced by Daniel Kurzer, a (Jewish!) former US ambassador (“The world is angry. Why doesn’t Israel care?,” June 8).
Eight decades ago in Germany, the dominating mantras were Die Juden sind an allem Schuld (The Jews are the source of all our problems) and Die Juden sind unser Unglueck (The Jews are our misfortune). These inane but diabolical slogans were continuously repeated in every conceivable form. Endless provocations, slanders and lies were used to prove them correct.
Goebbels missed no opportunity to relentlessly drum in the “truth” of his narrative until the German people, and most of the rest of the world, were convinced. Yet there were always Jews who lamented the fact that if only the Jews restrained themselves more and were more sensitive to the feelings of their gentile friends, then all would be well.
Fast forward 70 years. Change the mantras to “Israel is the source of all our problems” and “Israel is our greatest misfortune,” and provoke, lie, and malign to get the right responses to “prove” your mantras correct, and the groundwork will have been done to remove this universal “misfortune.” You will have the tacit approval of most countries, and the active collaboration of many others, yet there will still be Jews who lament that we should show more restraint in our response to the non-ending provocations, and be more sensitive to world opinion.
William Shawcross, in his outstanding article on the same page (“An irrational, obscene hatred”), got it right when he said that today’s mantras are so successful that the world already “accepts that Israel is always the evildoer.”
    GEORGE MOSCHYTZ    Jerusalem
Learn from experienceSir, – From Yaakov Katz’s article, it appears that where there was no resistance aboard the “humanitarian” ships, all went well, but in the face of resistance, there was confusion (“Navy to do it differently next time it commandeers a ship,” June 7). The chief of general staff admitted on TV that insufficient equipment of the right kind had been available.
Officers who send men into such a situation have no place in any army. Those responsible, no matter how high their rank, should be relieved of their duties pending an inquiry. That the minister involved should assume responsibility and resign – especially the defense minister and especially the incumbent – is to live with illusions.
Harsh memories of the Yom Kippur War and Second Lebanon War return, showing that bitter lessons have not been learned.
Choose one
Sir, – Although not a citizen of Israel, Melvin Benarde (“The system’sto blame,” Letters, June 9) has a right to express his opinions aboutthe Israeli electoral system. Yet he does not have the right to murderthe English language by mixing metaphors!
Either Netanyahu has his head on the block or he is being pilloried. You can’t have both at the same time!
    Petah Tikva