June 6: Tuna trovatore

"What if Palestinians protest for peace?" What if pigs learned to fly?

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Tuna trovatore Sir, - "What if Palestinians protest for peace?" (Gershon Baskin, June 5). What if pigs learned to fly? What if fish sang in Italian? What if lobsters grew split hooves and chewed the cud? What if the moon were really made of green cheese? What if Baskin and his colleagues stopped ingesting those powerful medications and joined the rest of us in the real world where the Palestinians prove every day and in every way, through every one of their institutions, organizations and media, that their goal is the elimination of the State of Israel? JOSEF GILBOA Jaffa In a nutshell Sir, - Much has been written these last few days about the 1967 war, but I believe your editorial "The war that didn't end" (June 5), coinciding with its 40th anniversary, summed it up in a nutshell with this observation: "It is not the lack of a Palestinian state that perpetuates the war, but the war and the rejection of Israeli sovereignty at its heart that perpetuates the lack of a Palestinian state. Until this fundamental truth is absorbed and becomes the basis of international policy, the 1967 war, like all those before and after, will not be fully resolved." RACHEL BIRATI Melbourne/Lapid Try, try, try again Sir, - I never thought events would compel me to agree with Jonathan Tobin, but history has so far proven him right ("The heavy burden of victory," June 3). Israel does need to withdraw, but she has also tried. As far as anniversaries go, 2007 also is:
  • the 40th anniversary of Israel's summer 1967 offer to relinquish the occupation for peace;
  • the 40th anniversary of the Khartoum Conference's refusal of that offer with the "Three Noes" - no to recognition, negotiations, peace.
  • the 29th anniversary of Israel's 1978 offer to relinquish Gaza to Egypt, and Egypt's refusal to take it back;
  • the 15th anniversary of the 1992 beginning of the Oslo talks, one of Israel's many later attempts to relinquish the occupation;
  • the 7th anniversary of Yasser Arafat's refusal of Ehud Barak's generous peace offer, including relinquishing East Jerusalem.
  • the 2nd anniversary of Israel's relinquishing of Gaza, with rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza virtually ever since. Moreover, 2007 is equally the time to celebrate 40 years since Israel's deliverance from annihilation. JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts Sir, - Many one-sided comments on the 40th anniversary of the June 1967 war mention 0.5-0.7 million Arabs displaced in 1948 as a key element. This ignores two fundamental realities. First, a similar number of Jews were forced from the Arab states and Iran, and settled in Israel. It was thus another de-facto population exchange. Secondly, this same process happened between Turkey and Greece after World War I. Ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe, post-1945, met a similar fate. In 1947 equal numbers moved between India and Pakistan, maybe 15 million in all. None of these states, or the people thus displaced, demand that all these movements be reversed. So why this unique demand only for the return of Palestine Arabs? TOM CAREW Dublin How long is long? Sir, - I would like to take comfort from Barry Rubin's "A guide to the depressed" (June 5), in which he reassures us that the current extremism on campus, on the airwaves and in the media, with its vitriolic hate for Israel, America and the West, is ephemeral and will implode under the weight of its own insanity. Yet history does not support that optimism. France gave in to Hitler in three weeks. Franco won the Spanish Civil War. The Nazis almost conquered all of Europe, nearly the entire world. The Twin Towers were torn down by Saudi citizens, but it was blamed on George Bush and the Jews, who "stayed away from work that day." Prof. Ward Churchill still has tenure at the U. of Colorado after calling the 9/11 victims little Eichmans. The president of Iran commands attention and negotiation after promising, predicting and promoting the death of Israel, and of all Jews if they gather in Israel. An American presidential candidate calls the War on Terror a bumper sticker. Jane Fonda won the Vietnam War for the Viet Cong, and Hollywood is winning the Iraq war for Iran and al-Qaida. Yes, in the long run, Messiah will come. But how long is long? JACOB CHINITZ Jerusalem To errrrrrgh is fatal Sir, - In reply to Marion Stone's "British media lies..." (Letters, June 4), probably the biggest problem we have in England is the complete lack of efficient spokespeople in the Israeli embassy. Where is Israel's answer to Hanan Ashrawi, spokeswoman of the Arab league? Most embassy spokespeople are not colloquial English speakers. They use "errrrrrgh" more times than any other word. You even tried to send us an ambassador who could not speak English! BICOM and other pro-Israel organizations can twitter on, as they have done ineffectively for years, about the anti-Israel English press, but we need you to help us help ourselves. GERALD BARNETT London Documenting Wallenberg Sir, - The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF) invites Holocaust survivors and others who knew, met, worked with or were saved by Raoul Wallenberg to be part of Documenting Wallenberg, a new major archival project. Relatives of survivors familiar with Wallenberg's rescue story are also welcomed to participate. Documenting Wallenberg will gather written and oral testimonials of people who experienced and remember Wallenberg's courageous deeds. The project aims to help young people learn about and internalize the humanity and morality of saviors like Wallenberg. The project is also using audiotaped interviews, via telephone, and collecting written testimonies, photos and other documents of interest that can be published on our Web site (www.irwf.org) Contact the IRWF at 212-737-3275, or e-mail irwf@irwf.org DANIELA BAJAR International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation New York Let's hear it for hesder Sir, - My main point, when I was interviewed for "Religious Diaspora groups defend IDF's hesder program" (May 29), was that a lot of our leaders' children come here and serve in the hesder program, and many make aliya thereafter. Therefore they have a right to voice an opinion (and not only because they raise money). I also mentioned that the Diaspora communities do not interfere in Israel's internal affairs with regard to security and politics; as previous head of the South African Zionist Federation, this is well known to me. Re the unnamed "high-ranking officer" and his arrogant remarks, it should be pointed out to him that the OU is the largest religious organization in the US and one of the strongest supporters of Israel with many activities besides kashrut - in education, youth and social welfare. When we need the Americans' support we are very quick to run to them. These types of remarks by anonymous persons do not help anybody, and this anonymous officer should be told as much. The hesder program is a wonderful program which has produced some of the best fighters and officers in the IDF. SOLLY SACKS Director-General, World Mizrahi Jerusalem