March 31: Turkey and apologies

Is it normal to apologize for a defensive action even if death results? Yitzhak Shamir would never have caved in.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Turkey and apologies
Sir, – Is it normal to apologize for a defensive action even if death results (“Official: If apology to Ankara doesn’t work, all will see it was not Israel’s fault,” March 28)? Yitzhak Shamir would never have caved in.
There is also reason to believe that Menachem Begin would not have accepted an ultimatum.
MK Haneen Zoabi, who aided and abetted the rebellious action against Israel, should have been indicted for treason – and would have been in any normal country. So much for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s interpretation of democracy.
But then it’s no surprise, given that he failed to seek public opinion prior to agreeing to apologize.
One more gain for Shari’a Law over international law.
ALEX ROSE Ashkelon
Sir, – Naftali Bennett’s assessment (“Erdogan making Israel regret its overture,” March 28) is right on the mark. But the problem goes deeper than just the Turkish prime minister’s stubbornness.
Our rabbis say that the Egyptians chasing the Jews during the Exodus were racing after them as “one man with one heart.” They were united and focused in their hatred for the Jews.
Erdogan and others, such as Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, are vigorously leading the battle to destroy the Jewish state because their hatred, like the hatred of their people, is complete and unfazed by anything we might do to allay their rush to annihilate us.
At Shavuot, when the Jews surrounded Mount Sinai, the exact same language – “one man with one heart” – is used in the Torah. We were at the time totally united in our belief that God would stand by us.
And of course God destroyed our enemies: the Egyptians, the Amalekites, et al.
We can fight the Erdogans and Morsis of the world in a cataclysmic battle, God forbid, or we can reconnect to each other, as we do on Passover, and know that our unity, and only our unity, will counteract and overcome the hatred of those who surround us.
YERACHMIEL PUR Lawrence, New York
Sir, – Ephraim Inbar, in “Israel’s apology to Turkey was a mistake” (Comment & Features, March 28), says that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an anti-Semite. Why can’t we shout it from the rooftops so that we all know to whom Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was apologizing?
US President Barack Obama’s love plan moving Erdogan and Netanyahu into the same hopeful political atmosphere has begun to lose momentum. Why do we have to do business with a hater of Jews?
Peace and hope ring eternal in the human breast, but Israel’s relationship with Erdogan has already proven to be another deceptive folly. Are we so in love with Obama that we become blind to our real enemies?
No apartheid
Sir, – With regard to “Billboards call to end US aid for Israel in New York, Connecticut” (March 28), Michael Letwin of the group Jews for Palestinian Right of Return should note that more than 75 percent of said funds are returned to the US to purchase military items of all kinds, from airplanes to army boots. These funds, therefore, are actually keeping plants open and American people working.
Letwin should also note that Israel is anything but an “apartheid” state, as he claims.
We have Arabs in our Knesset, as well as Arab judges, doctors, teachers and professors. We do not have separate buses or restaurants, as was the case in Apartheid-era South Africa.
MURRAY JOSEPH Kiryat Motzkin Kerry and letters
Sir, – We owe our deepest thanks to US Secretary of State John Kerry for having sent, as a senator, the following letter to Mikhail Gorbachev in March, 1987 (“Edelstein thanks Kerry for letter urging his release from Soviet prison,” March 24): “We members of Congress respectfully request that you intervene on behalf of Soviet prisoner Yuli Edelstein. Soviet law authorizes relief from a prison sentence because of illness.
Yuli’s medical condition is critical and satisfies the conditions for granting medical clemency. We request that you intervene on Yuli’s behalf so that he may seek the proper medical care he so desperately needs.”
We should hope that Kerry exercises the same trait of humanity and send the same letter to US President Barack Obama to gain the release of Jonathan Pollard, whose medical condition is critical and hopefully satisfies the American condition for granting clemency.
Earn that respect
Sir, – Gary Ackerman (“Israel and the dignity of the Palestinians,” Comment & Features, March 21) insults our intelligence.
We Israelis, Ackerman says, do not give the Palestinian Arabs sufficient respect. This causes a loss of dignity and discourages them from coming to the negotiating table. It’s our fault, you see, and he thinks we should give more respect to their “political culture.”
Last I looked respect was something that had to be earned.
The political culture of the Palestinian Authority is about as corrupt as it can get. Mahmoud Abbas is referred to as “president” of the PA, but his term ran out in 2009 and there has been no election. Respect this? Far more outrageous still is Ackerman’s claim that the Palestinian Arab mother allows her son to strap on “a vest full of explosives” because she is “steeped in desperation.... Her mother’s hope [is] gone. Her dignity [is] gone.”
Studies consistently show that terrorism is a function of ideology and not hopelessness. Surely, in his tenure as chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, he encountered the Arab saying, “Just as they [Jews] love life, we love death.”
Ackerman claims, outrageously, that “generations of statelessness and occupation have reduced too many Palestinians to that sense of total desolation....”
Condescendingly, he fails to hold them accountable for their own bad decisions regarding all the times they could have had a state.
Does the retired congressman not wonder why we Jews – subject over the course of our history to infinitely more disrespect and desolation than the Palestinian Arabs have ever known – never embraced the practice of killing innocents that is still celebrated within the PA? ARLENE KUSHNER Jerusalem
Makes his day
Sir, – Reading your “From Our Archives” section has always been a highlight of my day, and Alexander Zvielli deserves our endless thanks for his sterling efforts. Right now the column is especially valuable as it chronicles the political, diplomatic and physical struggles in the days immediately preceding the birth of our country 65 years ago.
In these snippets of historical record we can see how true is it that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
American politicians and the US president preach, from the safety of their Washington offices, how the battling Jewish people should adjust their lives to suit foreign interests. The ineffective (at best) and usually hostile UN tries to find a way to adjudicate the conflict without showing its natural inclination toward the Arabs.
The March 28 “From Our Archives” spoke of a heavy battle around Gush Etzion, reminding us that this part of the country, always Jewish, was lost in battle, to be rightfully reclaimed in 1967 after 19 years of Jordanian occupation.
Kol hakavod, Mr. Zvielli. May you go on with this wonderful work for many more years.