June 24: Muhammad al-Dura and honoring Neda's memory

I urge everyone - bloggers, twitterers, et al. - to spread the truth and not the fiction. Comparing Neda to al-Dura does a disservice to Neda's memory.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Muhammad al-Dura... Sir, - "Murdered teen becomes 'voice of the Iranian revolution'" (June 22) included a Twitter re-posting which "compared Neda to Muhammad al-Dura, a Palestinian boy shot and killed during the first days of the Second Intifada, who became the face of the Palestinian uprising." For years, all over the world and especially in Israel, people fought and finally succeeded in making it clear that the Muhammad al-Dura story was a complete hoax. I went to court against France 2, the French public TV station which broadcast the story, to force the station to admit its fraud, and won in a French court of justice. It would be very nice to stop seeing that "Muhammad al-Dura was shot and killed." It was a hoax, it didn't happen, it was staged, and I believe it is time now for the truth, especially in Israel. PHILIPPE KARSENTY Paris ...and honoring Neda's memory Sir, - Your article about the tragic murder of 16-year-old Neda by an Iranian militiaman quoted a twitterer who compared her to Muhammad al-Dura and called them both the "faces" of their nations who will be enshrined in people's memories. After long investigation and legal verification, the "Al-Dura affair" was proved a sham, staged in order to smear Israel's reputation. I urge everyone - bloggers, twitterers, et al. - to spread the truth and not the fiction. Comparing Neda to al-Dura does a disservice to Neda's memory. DEENA SPIGELMAN Jerusalem The humus, huh? Sir, - If Oxfam spokesman Mike Bailey was truly concerned about the humus factory in Gaza, he would, presumably, urge the factory owners to repackage their product in bio-degradeable cartons or reusable glass jars ("Rights group decries restrictions on Gaza trade," June 18). This would not only be good for the environment, it would allow the factory to export its humus wherever it wanted. However, Bailey and Oxfam have another agenda: to attack Israel whenever they can and ignore any facts which are inconvenient to them. Why has Bailey not come out against the 8,000 rockets launched against Israel from Gaza? Why has he been silent on the plight of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit and his inhuman incarceration in Gaza? Those of us who helped and admired Oxfam in its early years can only look on with shame and disgust at its actions today, and at the self-serving hypocrisy of its officials. H.B. MITCHELL Mazkaret Batya Still our boys Sir, - It was gratifying to learn that "Netanyahu takes personal responsibility for Schalit" (June 23), but who in this or any previous government has or will make our other MIAs a top priority? A generation has been born, grown up, married and had children who do not even know the names Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Tzvi Feldman, the three soldiers missing since the First Lebanon War in 1982. Mention Ron Arad or Guy Hever to teenagers today, and they won't know who you're talking about. Gilad Schalit's fate is of concern to us all, but his blood is no redder, nor his parents' anguish deeper than the surviving relatives of these other MIAs. The government needs to appoint a senior, experienced person to investigate the fate of these men, now middle-aged, who are still "our boys." No budget? I am sure that among concerned retirees, suitable volunteers with sufficient experience could be found to act in a unpaid capacity; provided they were given governmental backing. YEHUDIT COLLINS Jerusalem The Obama effect Sir, - In "The Obama effect" (June 23), Caroline Glick points out that in the US, the media are becoming reluctant to take issue with the president's statements and actions, rejecting even a paid rebuttal by the Republican Party. We in Israel know the damage that can be done by curtailing other opinions. As Thomas Jefferson wrote: The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. SIMCHA FRIEDMAN Betar Illit Sir, - While few analysts write with the clarity, understanding and intellect of Caroline Glick, her charge that President Obama is genuflecting to Iranian tyrants is off the mark. Like Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his Sunday appearance on Meet the Press, the president has carefully measured his administration's public reaction to the fury erupting in Iran over the blatant fraud of an already fixed election. There is little evidence that previous policies toward Iran were effective in weakening the country's support for terrorism, or its resolve in obtaining nuclear weapons. Israeli and American leaders are wise to thoughtfully consider their public reaction to the events unfolding daily. Harsh statements from Washington or public American cheer-leading for Mr. Mousavi's campaign are unlikely to contribute to the long-term goals for the region shared by America and Israel. SETH EISENBERG Weston, Florida Return of 'evenhanded'? Sir, - Congratulations to Eliezer Whartman ("Eisenhowever," Letters, June 19), who had the guts to stand up to that "flock of sheep" - the foreign correspondents who did not challenge president Eisenhower's "revolutionary" new policy of adopting an "evenhanded" approach to US relations with Middle Eastern countries (obviously to offset Truman's perceived policy of favoritism toward Israel). President Obama wants to hold a dialogue with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Are we witnessing a return of "evenhandedness"? The late Shaike Ophir said: A monologue is when one person talks to himself. A dialogue is when two people talk to themselves. LEONARD GOODMAN Jerusalem Hot and cold Sir, - An apt footnote to Charles Krauthammer's "Hope and change - but not for Iran" (June 22) would be one of President John F. Kennedy's favorite quotations: "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, preserved their neutrality." Under President Obama and the current Democratic administration, the US is able to take its place as the leader of the (play it safe, regardless of the sacrifice of values) "free" world. JOANNE JACKSON YELENIK Beit Shemesh He's out of line, and he knows it Sir, - L. Zurakov has got the wrong end of the stick ("Speak out, Mr. President!" Letters, June 21). In Israel, the president is supposed to be an apolitical appointee, as opposed to the US, where he is voted in by the people. When he makes political statements, he is well aware that he is out of line. Especially when Netanyahu announced that he would make a policy speech, and Peres got in two or three days before to try to influence him. J. MILNER Netanya They ain't Beduin Sir, - In "Beduin village program offers a total Arabic-immersion experience" (June 21), Darajat is inaccurately described as a Beduin village. Its residents are fellahin, Palestinian Arab farmers with their own unique cave-dwelling culture that came south from the Hebron Hills to the Arad area. That this community is Arab and not Beduin is unique, a rarity in the Negev, where I live. More detailed information about Darajat and its inhabitants can be found at (www.drejat.co.il/p6-eng.html). JONATHAN RULNICK Kibbutz Kramimac