March 23: Swiss principles

As in WWII, the Swiss prove again how 'neutral' they really are by aiding those out to destroy the Jews.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Swiss principles Sir, - "'Swiss are selling their principles for $28b. worth of Iranian gas'" (March 20) must be a Purim joke. If the Swiss sold any moral principles, where and when, it must be asked, did they acquire them? We Jews remember how the "neutral Swiss" rejected German Jewish refugees during WWII, effectively sending them to their deaths; while around war's end they stealthily admitted fleeing Nazi leaders, enabling them to fan out to all corners of the globe and escape prosecution. And let's remember how, a decade ago, Swiss banks tried to confiscate billions through the destruction of Holocaust-era bank records, and that it was a monumentally courageous and upright whistleblower called Christoph Meili who singlehandedly prevented that. (Fired from his job, and following death threats, he fled Switzerland, penniless, and is working for minimum wage in the US, where he found political asylum.) It has been a constant in Jewish history that our enemies - to our recurring astonishment - know no shame, and this current Swiss financing of a state out to kill all Jews is no exception. The story of Purim is alive and well; may we live to see the tables turned on our foes once again. J. VAN THIJN Jerusalem Sir, - The Swiss cannot sell their principles or their conscience, since they never had either. Not before WWll, not after it, and not today. It used to be money that was more important, now it's gas. The headscarf donned by Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey in Teheran this week symbolizes her government's submissive, demeaning stance. JUUP (JULIA) SOBELMAN Petah Tikva Sir, - I don't see why anyone should be surprised by the action of the Swiss government signing the oil agreement with Iran. After all, isn't this the same country that assisted Sweden in supplying steel to Nazi Germany during WWII and would not let in Jewish refugees trying to save their lives? Iran's threat to destroy Israel today is at the bottom of Switzerland's list of priorities. HARVEY MATTHEW Har Homa It drives you mad Sir, - Amnon Rubinstein's description of the lunacy in British universities ("Munich comes to Oxford," March 12) reminds one of the curse in the Torah: "You will be driven mad by the sight you will see" (Deuteronomy 28:34). It is perverse that the Jewish homeland has become the main focus of hatred for a sizable number of Brits. During WWII, the Japanese committed horrific atrocities against many British POWs in the Far East. Arab and Islamic jihadists slaughtered airplane passengers over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988; British tourists in Egypt in 1997 and 2005; and commuters on the London transit system in 2005. Yet all this is forgotten. More of the madness: In reaction to the Israeli army's incursion into Gaza to halt the rockets being fired into Israel, the Independent printed two letters (by Jews!) equating the Israelis with the Nazis. In response to the massacre at the Jerusalem yeshiva, most of the letters published in the same paper belittled the horror. On every Arab-Israeli issue, the overwhelming number of letters in the Guardian and Independent, chosen by the editors, denounce Israel. So much for the British sense of fair play. JACOB MENDLOVIC Toronto Sir, - The Oxford Union is an independent debating society. Although most of its members are current or former Oxford students, it is not part of Oxford University. It has its own funding sources (including members' fees) and its own premises. The university does not have jurisdiction over its events. The Oxford Union is also entirely separate from OUSU (the Oxford University Student Union), which is Oxford's official student union. BARBARA HOTT, Press Officer University of Oxford Oxford, UK Pardon? Sir, - I have every sympathy for Omri Sharon's situation vis-a-vis the tenuous condition of his father, and can understand the compassion shown by the MKs who have petitioned for his pardon. However, rather than pardon his confessed crimes - which I doubt would be done for any "non-celebrity" felon - can't it be arranged that when the inevitable happens, he will not be returned to jail to complete his sentence? Otherwise a precedent will be set to pardon other criminals in a similar situation ("Omri Sharon: I won't ask for a pardon," March 19). SHLOMO JUSTER Karmiel Israelis: You're doing well... Sir, - Amid all the conflict and stress, Israelis have missed the amazing fact that their economy is doing better than any EU state, the shekel is being internationally traded, and the state is taking off beyond the dreams of the founding fathers and early pioneers. I spend equal time in the UK and Israel, and I can assure you that even socially you are ahead of Europe. Troubles here are in the ascendancy, and the pressure is building. Israelis should take heart and not allow the "grass is greener " syndrome to blind them to what they have achieved in 60 years. JEFFREY MARLOWE Leeds, England ...but it could be better Sir, - Further to "MKs to begin pushing for more Western aliya" (March 12): As an olah from the US, I suggest that the members of the Knesset Caucus for Western Aliya begin by convincing the Postal Service to rescind the outrageous NIS 35 minimum charge for all packages received from abroad ("Postal piracy," Editorial, March 10). The caucus needs to encourage all agencies to be sensitive to the impact of their policies on aliya. BETTY NEUSTADTER Jerusalem