March 29: Diplomatic, not suicidal

An arrogant, hubristic Obama is in effect daring Israel not to sign its own death warrant.

Diplomatic, not suicidal
Sir, – An arrogant, hubristic Obama is in effect daring Israel not to sign its own death warrant (“Inner cabinet continues to discuss US demands,” March 28). It is imperative that Israel not cooperate with an ultimatum that will inevitably lead to a very weakened and endangered Israel – not to mention an Israel that will be torn to shreds internally.
There is no choice here. We keep hearing about red lines that no Israeli government will cross. Well, they shouldn’t. It must be recognized that the anti-Israel animus implicit in the administration’s stance is not shared in Congress, nor by an American citizenry increasingly scared by the authoritarian leftist specter of the Obama administration.
We need to be cooperative and diplomatic, but not suicidal. There will be short-term pain and threats, but these need to be absorbed and endured, because the longer-term implications of caving in will be far worse. We are far stronger than we sometimes envision ourselves; our vaunted ally has much more bluster than we might perceive. With strength emanating from conviction, we will prevail.
    DOUGLAS ALTABEF     Rosh Pina
Jerusalem, our capital
Sir, – The US is squeezing Israel so hard that the blood of Israelis is seeping out (“Obama demands Netanyahu’s peace answers by Saturday,” March 26).
President Obama has risen to face the forces of evil by turning his back on Israel and leaving them in isolation and in peril from these same forces. How sad, and how outright dangerous for Israel and for the Jews of the world. What a rallying cry for anti-Semites worldwide.
Now that Pessah is here and we sit together and discuss the freedom of  Israel and the Jewish people, let the people at each and every Seder open the door for Eliyahu, leave their doors open and shout out to the world, “Next year in Jerusalem!” – but add, “Next year in Jerusalem, Israel!”
    HOWARD WOLLE    Toronto
Sir, – To Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: You are going through a difficult time in relations between the USA and Israel. We see proudly that the Jewish spirit of Jerusalem directs your thoughts and actions.
All of us try to describe to our friends (and ourselves) the special and unique connection of the Jewish people with Jerusalem.
One of my most dramatic experiences in connection with Jerusalem was when former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat arrived at the holiest places in the city and, even there, turned in his prayers to… Mecca. And I thought about all the millions of Jews who, over thousands of years, turned always and from all places in the world toward Jerusalem.
Only the Jewish people are Jerusalem-oriented – and you have the privilege to fight for our rights over our holy city, the capital of Israel.
    ARTHUR COHN     Basel, Switzerland
A tool for terror
Sir, – From my perspective, the current prime minister doesn’t appear to be doing Israel any big favors. The friendship between Israel and the US has never been lower. Most Israelis don’t understand why this is happening, as the US is at the forefront in the war on terror. If the Israelis and the Palestinians could come to an equitable peace, it would remove a powerful recruiting tool for terrorists, and the world would be a much safer place.
    PAUL RYAN    Dallas, Texas
‘Great’ Britain...
Sir, – I would like to commend Great Britain for effectively embarrassing its citizens who spend time overseas and making us feel that we should remove the word “Great” from its name. In short, I am appalled by Britain’s behavior toward Israel in recent months.
While I understand my country’s concerns about possible misuse of passports, I am sure the British government is not beyond reproach in having used whatever means possible to protect the UK from terrorists, and rightly so.
I firmly disagree with Oliver Worth’s suggestion of “a long-held British willingness to victimize Israel” (“Israel is the easiest target,” March 25). However, I do think Britain has acted extremely unfairly in this situation, and in particular has forgotten its own past. If Britain were willing to remember that only recently it ended a long-standing conflict with Irish terrorists and that it had to use many different means to protect its citizens from bombings and attacks within civilian areas, then it surely would attempt to offer its significant experience in this area and help Israel in dealing with Hamas. It would also be willing to recognize the political manipulations used by Islamist groups in and outside the UK to focus its attention away from Gaza and Hamas and the human rights abuses of some of the lands surrounding Israel.
I know that negotiating the minefield of international relations is difficult, but I strongly believe Britain needs to take a less reactive and more analytic view of the situation and be less influenced by the American agenda.
I wish to apologize for my country’s actions toward Israel and urge Britain to focus on building peace rather than damaging what have been good relations in the past.
    JOHN CHACKSFIELD    Tel Aviv/London
... seems but a memory
Sir, – I’ve intended to write to compliment Liat Collins many times after reading her columns, and having just read “Where has my Great Britain gone?” (March 28), I couldn’t delay any longer.
Like her, I am a veteran immigrant from England. What Liat wrote here, especially the last sentence regretting “the disappearance of the Britain I left behind,” echoed my sentiments more than ever. This article truly expressed my word.
    PAULINE SHOMER     Har Adar
Sir, – I am not English, but of French origin, and have no ties to Great Britain. Nonetheless, Liat Collins’s excellent article awakened a memory.
In 1971, I was finishing my studies in France and was contemplating aliya. It was suggested to me that I look into studying for a couple of years in England before taking this step. So I went to London for some interviews, one of which was at Imperial College.
Before speaking to the professor, I had to fill in a form with the usual data – name, address, etc. One of the entries was “foreign languages,” for which I wrote “French, Spanish, Hebrew.”
The professor looked through the form and suddenly remarked, “Oh, you speak Hebrew? Not that I always agree with your politics...”
I had been accepted at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. I never looked back. As for England, as we say in French: Plus ça change et plus c’est la meme chose.
    DANIEL BRAUNSCHVIG     Jerusalem
Many thanks for your support
Sir, – The letters written by Floyd Phillips of Bentonville, Arkansas,and Sharon Miles of Williams Lake, British Columbia, expressing theirwarm and heartfelt feelings for Israel (“‘God is with you,’” Letters,March 26), came to us at an ideal time, when we have been depressedover the worldwide hatred leveled at Israel and the unjustifiedinsulting of our prime minister by President Barack Obama, VicePresident Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
We have forwarded copies of their letters to our many Israeli andAmerican friends, who will likewise be appreciative of the feelingsshown by these two compassionate people.
    Zichron Ya’acov