March 25: Where their anger

How would Americans react if Israeli human rights activists took part in rowdy, stone-throwing anti-security wall rallies at the Mexican-US border?

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Where their anger... Sir, - Re "Parents of wounded American call for criminal probe" (March 24): May I suggest to the obviously distressed parents of Tristan Anderson that they direct their umbrage at their son's plight toward the unscrupulous International Solidarity Movement and the irresponsible Israeli "Anarchists Against the Wall." These groups encourage naive people like Anderson to take the long trip from their countries for the purpose of taking part in disorderly, often life-and-limb-threatening rallies against a fence which has reduced suicide-bombing deaths of Israeli citizens to almost nil. Anderson could have turned his hyperactive activism to urgent causes at home - for example, the security wall being extended along the US-Mexico border. It is aimed at keeping out not only more millions of disgruntled, poverty-stricken and sometimes criminally-inclined Mexican immigrants, but also and especially the murderous Mexican drug cartels that bring death and destruction in their wake. How would Americans react if Israeli human rights activists took part in rowdy, stone-throwing anti-security wall rallies at the Mexican-US border? How would they feel if US soldiers, confronting a barrage of dangerous rocks, harmed a foreign rioter - only to then find themselves facing probes, trials and even prison for simply doing their duty? Tristan Anderson's parents had best wait for their son's improvement, then take him home, sue the ISM and send out a warning message to other enthusiastic US activists: Ignore the ISM's enticements and incitements. TRUDY GEFEN Kiryat Ono ...should be turned Sir, - What was Tristan Anderson doing in a riot in Israel? What would happen to an Israeli in Oakland, California, Anderson's home, who participated in a violent demonstration in which the police had to use tear gas? These people are international political hooligans and should not be tolerated any more than international football hooligans are. Arrest them and deport them. J. GILBOA Jaffa Europeans' 'moral need' Sir, - I enjoyed Jonathan Yudelman's "Waltz with Sisyphus: Israel's impossible propaganda war" (March 22). His "The bitter truth is that hasbara is not propaganda at all, so much as a moral need particular to the Israeli psyche" was insightful, but frankly only half of the problem. It seems that Europeans find sympathy with the Palestinians because this satisfactorily fills their own "moral need." Having colonized and exploited Arabs (among many peoples) for so long, Europeans can now "atone" by supporting the Palestinians. And to do this at the expense of a people they do not care much for anyhow (the Jews) - well, it can't get any better. Keep in mind that when others harm Palestinians, Europeans say little or nothing. For example, when Kuwait expelled 350,000 Palestinians at the end of the First Gulf War after they showed their support for the Iraqi invaders, no one protested. The fact that the Palestinians blame their plight on the Jews is the best thing that has happened to them. If only the people of Darfur and Sri Lanka were so lucky. STUART KATSOFF Tel Aviv Argentina's attitude Sir, - Re Sean Gannon's "So Argentina kicked out Bishop Williamson - big deal" (March 12): It is true Argentina had a censurable attitude during Nazism and in the years after the end of WW2, and that it was a refuge for Nazi war criminals. The research into Nazi activities in the country began with the creation, in May 1997, of CEANA, the Commission for the Clarification of Nazi Activities in Argentina, in which world-renowned academics participated - people such as Fernando Devoto, Carlota Jackisch, Mateo Sanfilippo, Robert Potash, Ronald Newton, Daniel Sabsay, Saul Sosnowski and Leonardo Senkman. CEANA's academic council has been supervised by an Argentine Advisory Committee comprising intellectuals like Torcuato Di Tella and Dr. Marcos Aguinis; and an international panel composed of outstanding figures such as Lord Ralph Dahrendorf and Sir Sigmund Stern. As a result of CEANA's activity, Argentina was the only Spanish-speaking country invited to participate in the International Task Force for Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF). During the last 20 years, Argentina has shown great interest in researching its past relationship with Nazism, and also in integrating that part of its history in the curricula of its schools and colleges. As a member of CEANA and of the Task Force, I suggest the writer spend some time in reading the conclusions of the commission before voicing an opinion about it. SAMUEL KAPLAN Honorary Past President B'nai B'rith Argentina Buenos Aires Durban 2 Sir, - Durban 2 opens in Geneva on April 20, Hitler's birthday. How very appropriate ("The Obama administration, Durban and America's Jews," Isi Leibler, March 24). OSCAR DAVIES Jerusalem Sir, - ...another good reason for democratic nations to stay away from that hate-fest. JOE FRANKL Savyon Two gestures Sir, - "Moving Day" was your front-page caption (March 24) to the photo of a crane dismantling a guard tower at a checkpoint near Nablus, as "a goodwill gesture from Israel to the Palestinians." What was that car bomb in Haifa on Saturday night - celebratory fireworks? BARRY LYNN Efrat Greener pastures Sir, - Re "It's life in jail that really hurts" (Letters, March 24): Does it really? Most definitely not, according to the letter by psychologist Dr. Batya Ludman (March 23), which described conditions for terrorists presently residing in our prisons as almost luxurious. And who funds it all? Tax-paying Israeli citizens. Has anyone thought that we may be doing both ourselves and these murderous terrorists a favour by executing them, as they believe a better life awaits them in the world beyond, with 72 virgins included? LINDA STERN Safed Dressing down Sir, - "A foreign minister cannot wander around with his shirt collar undone and his tie halfway down his chest" Jeff Barak declared in "Tied in knots" (March 23), accusing Avigdor Lieberman of perhaps trying to project an image of a "street thug... ready for a fight." This slovenliness not only causes Lieberman to fail Barak's sartorial standards; it evidently also disqualifies him from serving as Israel's FM. Whatever happened to the democratic choice of a substantial number of Israel's voters? Barak insults the intelligence and values of the West, values he himself seems not to understand. ZEV CHAMUDOT Petah Tikva Sir, - Other countries do, indeed, demand an oath of loyalty. I grew up in New York City as a Jewish citizen of the US, and on every school day I was expected to recite: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America," etc. Why not ask the same of Israeli citizens? PEARL BOROW Jerusalem