November 15: Consider the source

Zeev Bielski's suggestion for saving American Jewry through aliya completely ignores the source of the problem.

Consider the source Sir, - Zeev Bielski's suggestion for saving American Jewry through aliya completely ignores the source of the problem ("Bielski's comments that US Jews have no future draw ire at GA," November 14). For a Jew to consider aliya, his Jewish identity must be sufficiently important to make him willingly suffer the additional security risks and probable reduction in standard of living which would accompany living in Israel. And if his Jewish identity were that important to him he certainly wouldn't be a candidate for intermarriage or assimilation. The North American Jews who do make aliya are generally fiercely Jewish or fearful of anti-Semitic trends which make living in America scarier than living in Israel. The solution is therefore to promote programs that strengthen Jewish and religious identity. Before Jewish identity is even an issue for our Jewish brethren we can hardly expect them to contemplate aliya. SHARON LINDENBAUM Rehovot Too naive? Sir, - Further to "Embrace Christian evangelical support" (November 13): This new support for Israel by fundamentalist Christians and their professed love of Jews everywhere is certainly welcome, but somewhat suspect. After many centuries of cruel persecution one cannot but help wonder if their underlying motivation is not to convert the Jews to Christianity. After all, why the sudden revelation that Jews are not the cursed Christ-killers they've always been accused of being? It seems to me that Rabbis Boteach and Eckstein may be a bit naive. HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva All Israel's fault? Sir, - A group of Muslim apologists like John Esposito and Karen Armstrong and "moderate" former Iranian president Muhammad Khatami decide that the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is key to easing Muslim-West tensions, and Kofi Annan repeats it. They could just as well have cited solar protuberances ("Annan: Arab-Israeli peace is key to easing Muslim-West tensions," November 14). What exactly has Muslim violence in Bali, Beslan, the Philippines, Thailand, India, Nigeria, the Sudan, London, Madrid, Kosovo, Indonesia, Turkey and Paris got to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict? Doctors do not run after those a paranoid patient points to; they treat the patient. Yet in the real world the paranoid patient seems to have convinced most of the UN, and the secretary-general, that Israel is the root cause of everything. Would it not be a wonderful surprise if our prime minister, now in the US, countered these absurd claims in front of the world's journalists? MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC Beersheba Different scripts Sir, - Last week Ehud Olmert suddenly converted to the cause of radical constitutional reform in exchange for the political support of Avigdor Lieberman. This week Mr. Olmert declared that his Convergence Plan, mercifully shelved in August, is now back on the table. This is a man who repeatedly reverses his positions on the most fateful issues facing the state in order to buy a few more months in power. We need elections now to stop this dangerous recklessness ("Bush, Olmert reading from different scripts," November 13). JULIAN SINCLAIR Jerusalem Sir, - I predict that the prime minister's US trip won't do anything for Israel, and will probably mean we will be forced to make more concessions to the Palestinians, even while there is no let-up in the firing of Kassams and other terror activities against our innocent civilians, including children and women. My plea is that he should get one concession at least from President Bush, and come back with Jonathan Pollard. JOSHUA J. ADLER Jerusalem Threat for threat Sir, - Caroline Glick reasons that the alternative to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear bombs "will be suffering, destruction and death on an unimaginable scale" ("The second-worst option," November 14). Similar reasoning might have been used before the Soviet Union acquired nuclear bombs. Yet, aside from the cold war, the fear of mutually assured destruction has provided almost half-a-century of peace between the US and Russia. The difference today is the open threats by Iran against Israel, and the possibility of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons. This calls for a Plan B. The US and Israel make a treaty: Any military attack on Israel will beget an immediate military response by the US. Any nuclear attack by terrorists will have Iran as the return address. DAVID M. LEVIN Jerusalem Sir, - With respect to Iran's nuclear program, every possible diplomatic avenue must be thoroughly utilized in an effort to defuse this most dangerous threat, not only to Israel but to the region. Then and only then, after diplomacy fails, should any thought be given to Israel launching a preemptive strike. However, do the job right, and in such a manner that the Iranian nuclear program is put out of commission once and for all! DAVID DEXTRADEUR Fairborn, Ohio Pure nonsense Sir, - Re your article on Theresa McDermont, the Scottish volunteer with Rabbis for Human Rights, and its accusation against the International Solidarity Movement ("Rabbis for Human Rights volunteer held," November 12): The idea that there is "concrete evidence" that the ISM has "provided terrorist groups with financial aid" is transparent nonsense. Israel has indeed deported and barred the entrance of many human rights workers who come to work with the Palestinians, including ISM volunteers. However, this is always done through the use of "secret evidence" or by denying visas. The ISM has never been an illegal organization. In point of fact the Israeli courts have ruled several times that involvement in the ISM is not reason enough to deport or deny entry. If there was any truth in your report's accusations the ISM would have been banned by Israel and the US long ago. The article did not seek our statement on these serious accusations. Lack of factual accuracy was also demonstrated in the statement that the Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance Conference held in Bethlehem last December was an ISM-organized event. In fact it was primarily organized by the Holy Land Trust, a Palestinian NGO. ASA BRYCE ISM Media Coordinator Ramallah Blacks sang 'Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn' Sir, - "'Tenks Gott!' Now we know the whole story" (November 12), properly enthusiastic about rediscovered details regarding "Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn," seems to have given the impression that no one previously knew who the song's composer was. On the contrary, the composer was always known to be Sholom Secunda. In his autobiography I Should Care, lyricist Sammy Cahn recounts that he heard the song in Harlem and thought to himself that if the song was so good that black people were singing it in Yiddish, it had huge potential with English lyrics. He located Secunda, bought the rights from him, fitted English lyrics of his own to it, and made millions. Secunda wound up with, let us say, rather less. MARK L. LEVINSON Herzliya CORRECTIONS Gilad Adin is news director of Channel 10, and not as reported on Page 8 on Tuesday ("Media mavens: Pics in the press hurt Israel's image during Lebanon War"). In "Israeli human embryonic stem cell research is 2nd in world" (October 6), the country that was shamed by fabricated results from one lab was South Korea, not Singapore.