March 1: Good analogy

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is perfectly right when he compares Judea and Samaria to Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland.

Good analogy
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is perfectly right when he compares Judea and Samaria to Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland (“PM evokes Sudetenland when deflecting European criticism,” February 27), which was ceded to Nazi Germany in 1938 under pressure from Britain and France.
The Czech Republic’s foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, rejects this analogy because Czechoslovakia was “totally isolated” at the time. Israel, he argues, has the US as its ally.
Moreover, he maintains that the Palestinians are the main inhabitants of the West Bank and therefore the territory “belongs to them.”
I beg to differ with Schwarzenberg. Israel today is extremely isolated and even the US cannot necessarily be counted upon. Moreover, if we examine the situation in the Sudetenland in 1938, we find that this territory, which comprised Czechoslovakia’s western border region, consisted of 90 percent ethnic Germans; on the face of it, Hitler’s demand that it be annexed to Germany appeared not unreasonable.
The Czechs objected partly because of the strategic value of the area, without which they would be unable to defend themselves, and also because historically the Sudetenland was part of their country. As we know, Hitler’s annexation was soon followed by his occupation of the rest of Czechoslovakia.
Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem are the heart of the Jewish homeland, religiously and historically. Moreover, they have vital strategic value for the Jewish state. Certainly, the majority of the people living there today are Palestinian, just as the majority of the population of Jordan is Palestinian. But the Palestinians lay claim to the whole of Israel – you just have to look at their maps – and they are not prepared to end the conflict with the Jewish state.
If Israel is forced to withdraw to what Abba Eban once called the “Auschwitz borders,” hemmed in on all sides by hostile states, its situation will indeed resemble that of Czechoslovakia after the Sudetenland was ceded to Nazi Germany.
Incidentally, it might be worth pointing out that after the war, Czechoslovakia expelled over two million Sudeten Germans, viewing them as Nazi collaborators. Many died during the forced exodus.
Have a great week
Sir, – While drinking my private, special blend of freshly ground coffee without sugar or milk, without any slogans and without any wording on the package (with the exception of “coffee” and the name of the store), I read Herb Keinon’s wonderful “The repackaging of Bamba” (Out There, February 27).
What a great way to start the week. Can we have more of this please? I always enjoy reading Herb’s articles but this one was really special.
More, more, please! LILA STEIN Jerusalem Sir, – I have always loved Herb Keinon’s Out There columns. But his latest, on repackaging Bamba, must be one of his best. What a wonderful way to start the week.
Sir, – Kudos to Herb Keinon for his very funny column. My husband remarked that he hadn’t heard me laugh so much for a long time! Thanks to Herb I shall face the week with a smile. Keep the wit flowing! JUDITH FELSENSTEIN Jerusalem Sir, – Herb Keinon caused a flash flood of memories for me in his description of discovering the “magic” of Celestial Seasonings’ creatively named and beautifully packaged teas.
In the 1970s, my college roommates and I at Rutgers University discovered these teas and were conquered: We actually began to collect the boxes, not to mention become selfappointed experts in exactly which variety of tea went with which time of day, meal, etc., with super-caffeinated “Morning Thunder” leading the way! Imagine, then, our shock and dismay when one day we discovered almost by accident that the formerly innocuous and actually pretty corny "sayings" had turned overnight into fundamentalist Christian quotes from the New Testament with one clear and dominant message: Jesus Saves! Despite various attempts to separate church from tea drinking, we painfully decided that for these four Jewish boys, Celestial Seasonings had crossed a very red line, and we simply stopped buying all those wonderful teas.
Of course, we would spotcheck now and then to see if things had changed, but at least until I graduated in 1977, Celestial Seasonings would remain only a fond memory. Problem was, I couldn’t just purchase the more simple yellow-boxed Lipton tea, since my mother refused to allow that brand into our house because of the alleged anti-Semitism of the original Mr. Lipton. Perhaps it was this double trauma that converted me into an avid coffee drinker! Thanks for the memories, Herb! GERSHON HARRIS Hatzor Haglilit
Wertheimer as icon
Sir, – How good to see the February 27 op-ed by the iconic Stef Wertheimer (“Cairo’s business-savvy protesters,” Comment & Features) with guidelines for the economic future of the Egyptian people.
Wertheimer’s personal success in industry and in providing employment, encouraging incubators and creating ideal, environmentally-friendly communities is nothing short of wonderful. He is still so clearthinking; every word he wrote should be circulated in the corridors of power. One can only dream of political leadership of such caliber.
His short spell in the Knesset and his efforts to support the campaign for electoral reform are indicative of how he viewed the pathetic performance of those elected. He is not alone – some very fine people tried their hand in political life and then reverted to business or academia, where they still make a great contribution to the state and society.
Wertheimer’s autobiography should be compulsory reading in schools as a guideline for future generations.
Obligations, too
Sir, – Meir Margalit, in “The 10 plagues of east Jerusalem” (Comment & Features, February 16) laments what he calls “the daily humiliation suffered by residents of east Jerusalem.”
Democracy consists not only of rights, but also of obligations.
Protection of a democratic state is essential. If a minority refuses to accept this obligation, does the state have to extend its services equally to those who show loyalty and those who do not? If citizens deliberately do not pay their share of municipal taxes, is the municipality obligated to provide them with the same services it provides to taxpaying citizens? The disdain and hatred for non-Muslim “heretics and infidels” stem from the Koran and are taught in Muslim schools and the media.
If the standard of education, the garbage collection, the limitations in building permits in non-tax-paying areas fall below that of tax paying areas, who is to blame? How do you deal with a population that intends to weaken you and enable your enemies to destroy you? If anyone criticizes Israel for being a “full democracy for some and less for others,” let him visit the Knesset and see how many Arab MKs there are.
Or let him visit a Jewish hospital or a university and see for himself that the door is open equally to Jews and Arabs.
If the inhabitants of east Jerusalem don’t like us, they are free to move to “we-willdestroy- you” Hamastan or to “no-Israeli-will-live-in-Palestine” Fatahland.