March 16: Germany then...

With anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment running rampant, it has never been more important to understand what is going on, and where it came from.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Germany then... Sir, - Re "'German children are showing Holocaust fatigue'" (March 11): It comes as no surprise that students, intellectuals and others worldwide should have an attitude of "It happened, deal with it." However, with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment running rampant, it has never been more important to understand what is going on, and where it came from. The "We know everything about it" mentality is nonsense. There is an incredibly rich amount of information available. Even then, knowing is not the same as understanding. While a strong focus is placed on the six million Jews and 5+ million other "undesirables" massacred by the Nazis, the former Nazi Germany has no monopoly on genocide. Similar acts continue, in Cambodia, Uganda, Rwanda, Darfur, Myanmar and many other countries. Learning from the most documented case in history will allow our generation and future ones the opportunity to open their eyes to global atrocities. Everyone is familiar with the statement "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it." There is no better way of underlining it. SAMUEL GAUZAS Brisbane ...Germany now Sir, - Kudos to the Knesset committee that voted to allow Angela Merkel, Germany's prime minister, to address the Knesset in German, her preference. We must keep in mind that the Germany of Hitler, in all its ramifications, is not the Germany of today. I certainly don't suggest we forget that period - it's much too horrid - but look at today's situation as it is. Germany is one of the few friends we still have in Europe. Young Germans have been and are coming to Israel as volunteers in every imaginable situation, to help out in any way they can. And this has made a difference. We must never forget the past, but we can look at it through a prism that allows us to keep today's reality in mind. Perhaps the day will come when we Israelis will once again be allowed to hear the music of Wagner, who was, perhaps, a nasty old man, but whose music is glorious and begs to be heard! Anything is possible ("Knesset votes to allow Merkel to address it in German," March 12). LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya The only solution Sir, - In the aftermath of the tremendous tragedy at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav, we must all recognize the great miracle that the 600 bullets fired did not destroy so much more. Plenty of us are against giving away any part of the land that God has given us. However, there are those who believe that the establishment of another Arab state is the correct solution: a big fallacy. I have yet to meet anyone here who believes that if we already had peace, we would still be volunteering to give away part of our country. And to whom, the terrorists? On the contrary: Wiping out the terrorists is the only way to wipe out terrorism ("Anti-terror unit kills Islamic Jihad's Bethlehem leadership in clash," March 13). YECHIEL AARON, Chairman The Lashuv Party Hashmonaim Guilty, as charged Sir, - About the "disproportionate-force" purveyors: The case could be made that the EU, the UN, the US administration, the humanitarian NGOs, the Muslim world and most of the international media are to blame for the Gazan civilian casualties. Instead of castigating Hamas for targeting Israeli non-combatants and shielding itself with Palestinian civilians, Hamas has been encouraged by the criticism of Israel, which plays into its posturing as defenseless victim. Unanimous, unequivocal condemnation might have influenced it to reconsider its modus operandi. Israel, on the other hand, has no choice but to go after the rocket crews and their organizers ("Hudna? A prescription for disaster," Isi Leibler, March 12). ZEEV ABRAHAM Hertzliya Pituah Erica Jesselson Sir, - Having recently had emergency treatment at the Jesselson Heart Center at Shaare Zedek hospital, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family of Erica Jesselson (Obituary, March 13). The Jesselson Heart Center is a magnificent tribute to Erica and her late husband. The care and expertise of the staff has to be experienced to be believed, and the facilities for patients and their families would do credit to a five-star hotel. May her memory be for a blessing. NORMAN W. COHEN Jerusalem Donors & recipients Sir, - Jeremy Maissel contends that "Haredi leaders' reluctance (to endorse organ donor card programs) has more to do with a general... mistrust toward the state and its institutions than any halachic objections" ("The life you save," February 27). The same lack of such endorsement by haredi leaders here in the US, as well as in numerous countries worldwide, reveals the falsehood of that contention. The halachic issues inherent in many cases of organ donation, and in programs intended to foster it, are complex and well documented. More disturbing, though, is Mr. Maissel's suggestion that those opting out of an automatic organ donor program be barred from receiving organs. While that contention might resonate with the primal human urge for retribution, it flies in the face of the idea of religious freedom. Consider the situation of someone whose sincere beliefs or religious authorities lead him to decline to become a donor. If these do not preclude him from receiving benefit from an act he considers wrong, is it right to seek to compel him to participate in that wrong? RABBI AVI SHAFRAN New York