June 14: It’s too late

Arab leaders had their chance to declare a state based on Resolution 181. They have no legal pretense to call on a now-inoperative resolution.

It’s too late
Sir, – You report that the Palestinian Authority will turn to the UN to implement Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Mandatory Palestine (“PA considers return to 1947 UN Partition Plan if US vetoes state,” June 12).
The PA will have a problem with this. The resolution was implemented.
Following a war, the areas known as the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem ended up under Arab/Moslem control. They could have been declared an independent entity.
Instead, they were allowed to be absorbed by existing countries.
Arab leaders had their chance to declare a state based on Resolution 181. They have no legal pretense to call on a now-inoperative resolution.
Hatzor Haglilit
Scotch and boycotts
Sir, – The Scotch whisky affair seems to be getting out of hand (“Jewish men’s clubs declare boycott against Scottish whiskey distilleries,” June 12).
One of the smallest Scottish local authorities makes a decision in principle not to buy Israeli produce, which it then fails to implement.
This then leads to people, supposedly opposed to political boycotts, setting up a boycott.
No matter that the whisky companies themselves have taken the issue up with their local council in West Dunbartonshire, expressing opposition to the non-implemented boycott.
No matter that the local Jewish community has already been successful in enlisting the support of the regional member of the Scottish parliament in getting the council to reconsider its decision.
This is where handling of the issue should begin and end – with the input of locally organized and highly respected Scottish Jewish community bodies.
The affair does not make me more or less proud about being Scottish. It just tells me that Scots are as likely to be naive and gullible as people of much larger countries.
The writer is a past chairman of Scottish Council of Jewish Communities
Sir, – I am dismayed, shocked and angry over the attempt by Kenneth Collins to suppress public response to the boycott of Israel.
His prescription of leaving it to adults who understand these things has not been outstandingly successful in the past.
As a citizen of the boycotted country, as a Scotsman, and no less as as a free person on planet Earth, I reject his message and its attitude completely.
As they say where I come from: Away an bile yer heid.
Better democracy?
Sir, – Evelyn Gordon (“Israel’s ‘anti-democracy,’” Comment & Features, June 12) quotes a citizen as saying that the party he voted for “has terrible people in it, but I had no choice” because he wouldn’t vote for the other major parties. Exactly what system is Gordon proposing that would provide a better choice? In a system with an individual candidate per party per district, the situation would be no better: A voter for whom one major party was unthinkable would have “no choice” but to vote for whatever individual represented the other party. At the same time, though, voters who favor small parties would be disenfranchised because those alternatives would be destroyed by geographical fragmentation. The voter would have two, maybe three individuals to choose from instead of a dozen or more parties.
How does reducing choice improve democracy?
Not-so-sunny skies
Sir, – Kudos on a succinct and well-written editorial (“Harness the sun,” June 10) about Israel’s abject failure to embrace alternative energy, and solar energy in particular.
Unfortunately, you fail to mention that Israel is home to the man who has pioneered solar energy, Arnold Goldman, who developed the first solar power plant that continues to operate in the Mojave Desert. Goldman continues to be a pioneer in this field, but his company finds the business climate more suitable in California than in Israel.
It is unfortunate that Israel has not taken advantage of the immense knowledge of people like Arnold Goldman, who could help the country wean itself from very expensive fossil fuels.
What a shame.
Embedded info teams
Sir, – David Horovitz is to be congratulated and thanked for his June 10 suggestion (“Guess what: Our enemies lie,” Editor’s Notes) for a military “team, working not solely with a view to compiling information for later use, but charged with finding out as much as possible as quickly as possible for immediate dissemination” during fighting and other confrontations. It is high time! In my 50 years of living in Israel I have read or heard every variation of complaint about our poor propaganda. This is the first common-sense suggestion I have read. It should be implemented as soon as possible with teams-in-training to give reliable reports in real time.
David Ben-Gurion said many years ago: “I don’t care what the goyim say, I only care what Jews do.” This has become canonized, even fossilized. It was true when the media were only newsprint and radio, with a latent period of several hours or days before publication, but in today’s world of instant communication, it is no longer valid.
Horovitz has outlined an admirable plan. It should be brought without delay to the appropriate officials. For too long we have only reacted too late and with too little.
Jerusalem Sir, – Israel cares way too much what the world thinks of it. If the cross-border protests in the North resulted in no Arab deaths, Israel would be just as hated. And if Syria announced that 50,000 had been killed, BBC and CNN would report it as fact.
So what should Israel do? Refute every lie? Beg to be loved? No. Better that Israel simply act in its own best interests, whether this will meet with world approval or not.
Highland Park, New Jersey
Don’t outflank friends
Sir, – Yossi Alpher has put forth an admittedly radical proposal for Israel: that it enter talks with Hamas, in which case neither Egypt nor the PLO would feel outflanked (“In Gaza, time to try a new option,” Comment & Features, June 10). What Alpher does not consider is that talking to Hamas undoubtedly would outflank the US, which continues to regard Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), with all the legalities this implies.
Just having returned from two very productive multi-day visits on Capitol Hill, I can attest that Israel is currently enjoying incredible support on both sides of the political aisle. I found unexpected receptivity concerning related matters at the State Department as well. But engaging with Hamas and thereby effectively cutting off pro-Israel American leadership at the knees is likely to erode this support.
Israel can ill-afford to make a mockery of congressional efforts to isolate Hamas, or to undermine the May 6 letter to President Obama in which 27 senators called for a termination of aid to the new PA/Hamas entity.
That Hamas is a destructive and intractable enemy is not a debatable point. Congress gets it. Foggy Bottom Arabist policy wonks get it. Even Alpher must get it, having recently acknowledged on his website that “Hamas remains committed to violence against Israelis and to militant Islamist terrorism.”
We ignore the potential repercussions from acting otherwise at our peril.
The writer is director of the Israel office of the Zionist Organization of America