June 3: Solving the problem

Jews know the feeling of fleeing and not being accepted by anyone.

Solving the problem
Sir, – I am writing to offer a solution to the problem of African infiltration into Israel (“Hundreds call for immediate mass deportations of African migrants at TA rally,” May 31).
In biblical times six cities were set up as places of refuge to protect people who unintentionally had killed others. Perhaps such places could help solve our problem with migrants who must run away from their homes and countries because they are being mistreated, even to the degree of being murdered.
Jews know the feeling of fleeing and not being accepted by anyone.
We can set up refugee camps to feed and clothe these migrants. It is a step better than letting them die of starvation, but where is the dignity? Maimonides, the great medieval philosopher, taught us that the highest form of charity and loving kindness was to make the recipient independent and self-sufficient, providing him with the means to become a dignified member of society.
Entire cities of refuge could be governed by the migrants themselves.
The only thing that would be demanded of them is that they provide every member of their society with basic human rights, the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
This is an opportunity to set up a utopian community. It would serve our interests in spreading our values. If democracy means only the right to vote, we have failed. Unless there are institutions that incorporate our system of values, we will have failed. It would be a way of bringing peace and democracy to the world rather then fighting costly wars.
What is needed is money, lots of money, to bring this plan to fruition. This new society would need guidance in how to govern, and money to educate its citizens to be skilled workers, to create a thriving economy, to help them until they are able to stand on their own feet.
Either the United Nations or a group of democratic nations can assume the financial burden. We have the know-how; all we need is the will.
Sir, – MK Isaac Herzog (“The next national target: Eritrea,” Observations, May 25) appears to overlook the fact that there are 216,000 unemployed Israeli citizens. Therefore, why should we establish a treaty that would permit these illegal infiltrators to work here and take away jobs from our own citizens? Furthermore, we should question how these people made their way here from their countries of origin. Was it by foot or were they transported via Egypt to very close to our border? Did they come with any means of support or savings? If they didn’t, which organizations are funding them? If none are, how do they survive economically? How is it they are able to set up businesses here? Once we have answers to these questions we can discuss what should be done.
But not before.
COLIN L. LECI Jerusalem
Sir, – Say that 80,000 Gazans unhappy with Hamas illegally cross into Israel, and that 50,000 settle in south Tel Aviv.
Would the government sit on its hands? Would the people who are “ashamed” of Israel still bleat? Would the Left still compare us to the Third Reich? Would some of us say that we as Jews have suffered, so we must be empathetic? Just asking!
Sir, – The echoes from the Holocaust have seemingly fallen on deaf ears. How dare we turn our backs on these migrants? If a major earthquake happened in Africa, Israel would be quickest to respond. No one would dare ask about the “status” of the people being treated.
Apparently, when the problem comes to our soil no one wants to deal with it.
Yes, there is a problem with crime. That is why we have jails.
We should do something about the criminals, not the people as a whole. We should be ashamed of ourselves for lumping them together.
We should never turn our backs on other human beings. It did not take any more or less effort for God to create them than it did for Him to create us.
Doesn’t square
Sir, – With regard to “PM, Obama ‘trust each other,’ says Shapiro” (May 31), how can this be squared with the fact that last month the US president overrode Congress and quietly lifted the ban on aid to Palestinians under the guise of “assisting in infrastructure, education, humanitarian aid and health projects....?” In justifying the reinstatement of aid, Obama’s National Security Council spokesman said: “The PA has recognized Israel’s right to exist, renounced violence and accepted previous agreements, including the Roadmap to a peace plan.”
Not a word of this is true.
Itamar Marcus, head of Palestine Media Watch, reported to staffers on Capitol Hill: “The Palestinian Authority is in total violation of these principles detailed by the White House and actually uses US aid to teach its youth to hate Israel and become violent terrorists intent on eliminating the Jewish State.”
It is not surprising that some Israelis have embraced the idea that Obama has become the unofficial spokesman for the Palestinian point of view and has moved the American government into an adversarial relationship with Israel.
Camp gaffe
Sir, – US President Barack Obama’s remark about “Polish death camps” (“Poland: US apology for ‘death camp’ remarks insufficient,” May 31) is not surprising – he is often careless with references to history.
However, it should be clear to the news media to know the proper terms and to correct him when necessary.
We should really be talking of “German death camps in occupied Poland.” The camps were administered by the SS, not by Poles, and the crimes committed there were Nazi crimes.
Over 6,000 Poles were honored by Yad Vashem for saving Jews.
Regrettably, Poland, too, at intervals participated in anti- Semitism. But I feel a duty of thanks to this land, which was a haven of refuge for about 1,000 years for Jewish people under persecution in other countries.
Being a Holocaust survivor from Poland, I wish to see the record set straight, even in honor of my family members who did not survive.
Sir, – To paraphrase Shakespeare, the Polish prime minister doth protest too much, methinks! Donald Tusk’s words are part of a Polish spin effort to bury the true history of Poland during WWII, which included the massacre by Poles of 1,600 Jews, of whom 250-300 were burned alive, at Jedwabne in July 1941.
Polish Cardinal Jozef Glemp has stated on Warsaw’s Catholic radio station that “death by immolation of (some of) the Jewish population, pushed into a barn by Poles, is incontestable.”
Deeply cynical
Sir, – I am saddened and a bit stupefied when Seth J. Frantzman writes: “Human rights organizations and the peace industry are beholden to the occupation, addicted to it” (“Occupation: The ‘oxygen’ of the peace lobby,” Terra Incognita, May 31).
It’s as if the international movement against South Africa’s system of apartheid went into mourning the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison because its members, rather than caring for black South Africans, were keen to keep their jobs. It’s as if the anti-Communist West did not, as The New York Times headlined it, “exult” at the fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of tyranny across Eastern Europe. It’s as if health workers would mourn if AIDS or cancer were cured.
Frantzman’s cynicism here is breathtakingly bottomless.
JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts