March 26: UK's Situation

Britain’s ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, is incredibly naive or guilty of unpardonable chutzpah.

UK’s situation
Sir, – Britain’s ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, is incredibly naive or guilty of unpardonable chutzpah in claiming that “the UK is not an anti-Semitic country” and “Britain is simply not a country where it is dangerous to be Jewish” (“Standing up to the threats: Building up Britain’s partnership with Israel,” Observations, March 23).
Gould dwells on the present state of technological, medical and academic cooperation between his country and Israel while totally ignoring Britain’s long historical mistreatment of its Jews. The country is still a hotbed of anti-Semitism, with inflammatory speeches by imams inciting their followers. Britain’s education department has also trucked under to Muslim demands to have the history of the Holocaust withdrawn from school curricula in the relentless drive to delegitimize the State of Israel.
Gould should learn that actions speak louder than words.
Sir, – Jamie Slavin (“A British Jew in AIPAC’s court,” Comment & Features, March 20) should realize that the reason there is so much more anti-Israel activity in the UK than in the US is precisely because the UK Jewish community has failed to lobby effectively in support of Israel in political and media circles.
Far from lobbying being a dirty word in the UK, as Slavin suggests, I can tell him that it has long been actively practiced in all spheres. As an English lawyer for over 30 years it was part of my practice.
Had the writer bothered to go to Capitol Hill, not to lobby but to observe (as I have), he would have seen congressmen far more knowledgeable about Israel’s problems than any government minister or member of Parliament in the UK.
Sanctions the way
Sir, – In “Learning to love the bomb” (“Another Tack, March 23), Sarah Honig seems to have overlooked a major fact, which I believe casts doubt on her approach to the Iranian problem.
Today, Iran is in possession of at least 200,000 missiles and a very large supply of both chemical and biological materiel. If it were so obsessed with putting an end to Israel, why would it wait to develop a nuclear capacity? Could it be that Iran has more important plans than attacking Israel? Isn’t its restraint in not attacking Israel at this time a sign that it might not be as crazy as everyone makes it out to be? And would an attack by Israel without the help of the US indicate that our leaders are acting on emotion and hiding from the facts? Strong sanctions are the way to go. If, in the end, military action is needed, let the US take the lead since it would have the best chance of success. Israel must act in a prudent manner and not allow emotion and speculation to control it.
Sir, – Jonathan Rosen (“Disengagement, occupation and missile fire,” Inside Out, March 22) sings the praises of cruelly uprooting 8,000 peaceful and productive Jewish residents from their homes, and in return receiving an ongoing hailstorm of rockets in the South for the achievement of getting the Gaza “millstone” off our neck and other dubious benefits.
He tells us that “the situation is unlikely to change unless peace is reached.” What he does not mention is that real peace is always achieved by real war.
Also unmentioned is the promise by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon that the first rockets fired from post-disengagement Gaza would receive a very punishing response – something we have not done.
It’s not just the disengagement that troubles many of us. It’s the pusillanimous military tit-for-tat mindset that has captivated our leaders. Rat-a-tat-tat is better than tit-for-tat.
Sir, – Jonathan Rosen misses the mark. He contends that rocket fire in the period after Israel disengaged from Gaza has not been much worse than before the IDF pulled out in 2005. That is incorrect.
Statistics show that from 2000 to 2005 there were about 550 projectiles fired into Israel. Since then and through 2011 there were about 7,500 projectiles, more than 3,000 of which were fired in 2008 alone.
There’s been no letup in 2012.
More than 160 rockets fell in just three days during this month’s attacks.
Rosen asks whether proponents of the IDF retaking Gaza would consider occupying Lebanon, Syria or Iran. That question is irrelevant. None of those countries (they are all legitimate countries, unlike Gaza) are launching rockets at Israel; they have the potential to do so and may at any time, but that’s a lot different than the situation with Gaza.
Rosen seems to approve of the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and the subsequent opening of the border between Egypt and Gaza, which will allow even more weapons to flow there.
How is this advantageous to Israel? There aren’t many Israelis who promote reoccupying Gaza. But allowing the IDF freedom of movement there, similar to the situation in Judea and Samaria, would drastically improve Israel’s security. A good defense (Iron Dome, etc.) is nice, but interdicting terrorist attacks by having troops on the ground is the proactive kind of offense that is required in Gaza.
STEVE KRAMER Alfei Menashe
Reforming divorce
Sir, – While the Knesset has passed a new law forcing a man to give his wife a get, or religious divorce (“Knesset passes bill increasing pressure on men to give ‘get,’” March 21), it is still silent on passing laws that protect the equal rights of men to parent after a divorce.
The Knesset should have reformed the whole divorce process and make it fair for both parties. The way to do so is to remove the get process altogether, passing alimony reform legislation similar to that of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and reforming custody laws so that children can benefit from both of their parents if they are fit for parenting after the divorce.
If divorced parents have joint custody and a fair alimony system, there will never be a need for a man to use the get as a tool. Make everything fair and everyone will be better off.
PETER HILLWeston, Massachusetts
A word for Paul
Sir, – In the wake of many overheard conversations on the Republican primaries, I realized it might be a good idea to remind your readers of three important facts regarding US presidential contender Ron Paul: 1. When Congress roundly condemned Israel for destroying Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, Ron Paul stood almost alone in defending Israel’s right to self-defense.
While the present administration pressures Israel to sit on its hands and other presidential hopefuls assert their right to dictate and control Israel’s response to the Iranian threat, Paul stands alone once more, insisting the US respect Israeli sovereignty absolutely. Regardless of who actually stops Iran, it is specifically Israel that will suffer from retaliation, just like during the Gulf War.
2. True, Paul would stop all foreign aid, including to Israel. But please remember – surrounding, unfriendly Arab countries receive seven times the amount of money Israel does! So who stands to gain most? 3. Sometimes it is actually Israel that suffers the blow-back from America’s aggressive foreign policy.
Ron Paul would change that.
Perhaps that’s precisely the kind of ally Israel really needs.
This is not an endorsement designed to influence anyone’s decisions but an attempt to clear up confusion on the subject.