June 27: Schalit and privileges

The imprisonment of Gilad Schalit and the suffering of his family have gone on far too long. It is high time for action.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Schalit and privileges
Sir, – The imprisonment of Gilad Schalit and the suffering of his family have gone on far too long. It is high time for action (“Trying to step up pressure for Schalit’s release, PM vows to end jailed terrorists’ privileges,” June 24).
Remove every privilege enjoyed by our Hamas guests.
No more visitation rights, no more telephone calls until Schalit gets a visit from the Red Cross and we get a report on his condition.
Enough already!
Sir, – It is nothing short of madness that a country at war from its inception should allow terrorists that have brutalized and slaughtered so many of its people, taking a special delight in targeting its children, gives anything but the very basics to its security prisoners.
Terrorists have to pay the price for their actions, and this does not include privileges of any kind, or release for any reason.
Only then will they realize that their actions come with a heavy price.
Sir, – Who’s kidding whom? After continued vows not to release jailed terrorists in order to facilitate Gilad Schalit’s release, this “vow” sounds somewhat sickly.
If Prime Minister Netanyahu were really interested in freeing Schalit, there would not be all this shilly-shallying about whom and how many to release. The terms have been made very plain: Release a certain number of jailed terrorists and Schalit returns to his family. It’s that simple.
Enough of this foolishness!
Sir, – The Israeli government should print in an Arabic newspaper the names of all the Palestinian prisoners it’s holding, or drop the list as leaflets on Gaza, telling the prisoners’ mothers that their children will be back the minute Hamas agrees to release Gilad Schalit.
This way, the pressure will be shifted onto Hamas, which, with time, will have to listen to the plight of the mothers.
Sir, – Ban Ki-moon, as secretary general of the United Nations, should state that he is going to Gaza to see Gilad Schalit. If Ban cannot see him, the world will have to presume the worst because the secretary-general’s moral stature is such that even Hamas must deal with him.
Ban, your time is now! Tell us that Gilad Schalit is alive and well, because you will have seen him.
Sir, – After five years of fruitless and agonizing attempts to free Gilad Schalit, our government has finally decided to unleash its weapon of last resort.
No doubt Hamas will be brought to its knees and will sue Israel to accept Schalit’s unconditional return rather then suffer the terrible consequences.
The Schalit family can now rest easily.
Suckers and Yale
Sir, – Caroline B. Glick (“Liberal American Jewish suckers,” Column One, June 24) is wrong. They are not suckers.
They know exactly what they are doing when they continue to support President Obama despite his obvious antipathy toward Israel.
Like the column’s headline, they are first liberal, then American and then Jewish, and not in equal proportions. Israel might be somewhere down their list of priorities, perhaps behind greenhouse gases.
It is time for Israel and its friends to stop whining every time liberal Jews disappoint us.
Rest assured that they will all hold candlelight vigils if and when Israel is destroyed.
ABE KRIEGER Highland Park, New Jersey
Sir, – Caroline B. Glick informs us brilliantly, especially when it comes to exposing Yale University’s reluctance to study Islamic anti-Semitism. But on the subject of American foreign policy, some crucial distinctions must be made.
Broadly speaking, America projects its interests in two ways. One is to partner with Muslim governments to either defeat mutual adversaries, such as al-Qaida, or to effect reforms via nation-building. The other is to directly oppose Islamic interests by supporting non-Muslim states such as Israel, India or southern Sudan.
The first strategy is under increasing strain. A decisive majority of Americans want out of Afghanistan, our Libyan involvement is hanging by a thread in Congress, and a Republican congressman was recently thrown out of Iraq for requesting recompense for the liberation.
The recent discovery of Osama bin Laden hiding in the bosom of the Pakistani military provoked widespread outrage over a country that has received $20 billion in US aid over the past decade.
This skepticism is healthy and not isolationist. It reflects a recognition that Islamic countries do not share our values and are not amenable to reform. It will benefit Israel as we will be less inclined to appease its enemies for what are increasingly seen as unattainable goals.
Most Americans understand the necessity of having a robust foreign policy. They just don't want to be taken for suckers.
DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont
Sir, – There were several factual inaccuracies about Yale University’s decision to terminate YIISA (Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism) in Caroline B. Glick’s column, but one in particular stood out.
Glick asserted that Charles Small, executive director of the program, was a lecturer in the Department of Political Science who carried a “heavy teaching load.” As co-chair of YIISA’s governing board and a member of the university’s Political Science Department, I can tell you this is false.
Small had no such affiliation with the department. During his several years here at Yale he taught one class on “Antisemitism and Globalization” under the auspices of the school’s Ethics, Politics and Economics program. This course, sadly, had a total enrollment of two. I would not call this a heavy load.
Had YIISA devoted more time to the university’s top priority of carrying out teaching and research, it might still be in business today.
STEVEN B. SMITH New Haven The writer is Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science at Yale
Refugees, compassion
Sir, – Issa Edward Boursheh wrote a heart-rending piece on asylum seekers in Israel (“For a better future,” Comment & Features, June 20). But his presentation is entirely one-sided.
Knowing that there are suffering people whose lives would be improved if they come to Israel is not the whole story. The missing parts include such issues as how many asylum seekers does pity require Israel to support?
Sir, – This year, World Refugee Day was celebrated in countless countries. Not here, though.
The only country in the world built brick by brick through the hard work of refugees from Europe and the Middle East is the one that remains silent on the one day of the year intended to celebrate the resilience and strength of refugees.
This is about more than repressing the Sudanese, Eritrean and other asylum seekers currently in Israel. It is cultural amnesia of epic proportions. How soon we forget.
Contrary to what was written in “Be careful what you pack...and in how many bags” (The Travel Adviser, June 26), the airline Swiss has not altered its baggage guidelines. Passengers flying Swiss from Tel Aviv to North America are allowed to check-in with two pieces of baggage weighing no more than 23 kg. each. We apologize for the error.