November 20: Little sympathy

Anat Kamm was old enough to be in the IDF and certainly old enough to know right from wrong!

Little sympathy
Sir, – If anything, her four-and-a- half-year sentence isn’t nearly enough – she should have received the 15 years the prosecution wanted (“Anat Kamm to appeal in hopes of a lighter sentence,” November 17).
Don’t give her “young age” as an excuse. She was old enough to be in the IDF and certainly old enough to know right from wrong!
Strategy for the West
Sir, – Aymann Jawad (“What does moderate Islamist mean?,” Comment & Features, November 17) does a great job of explaining how Islamism is much more popular and pernicious than most people realize. While his suggestions to counter its influence may be useful for those living in Islamic states, the West needs a strategy of its own.
Islamism should be viewed and contained as a totalitarian political ideology, like Communism.
We need to shore up our defenses around the periphery of the Islamic states, stationing troops and concentrating aid to countries like India, Israel, South Sudan and Kenya. The ad hoc alliances being formed to counter Turkey should be formalized and expanded. Weapons of mass destruction in Islamic states must be taboo.
The Islamization of Europe through immigration must be halted. And our need for a secure oil supply should be made clear and backed by force if necessary.
The rapid deterioration in America’s strategic posture calls for a different approach: one based on realism instead of fantasy, and respect instead of pandering.
DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont
Bravo, Amsalem
Sir, – It is wonderfully refreshing to read a column by a haredi Torah scholar putting Jewish law regarding women in its proper perspective (“The traditional Jewish approach to women,” Comment & Features, November 17).
The notion of transgressing a commandment in order to avoid embarrassing a fellow human being (which is an even greater transgression) is paramount in Jewish values and all too frequently completely ignored by some religious extremists. What this country sorely needs is many more Haim Amsalems!
Ganei Tikva
Learning moment
Sir, – Regarding “No religious conflict in Hebron” by Musa Abu Hashhash (Comment & Features, November 17), in preparation for my assignment to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv in 2005, I attended a lecture on the Israeli- Palestinian dispute at the State Department’s National Foreign Affairs Training Center. I was familiar with the topic, having previously served in Israel, but wanted to see how the issues were introduced to inexperienced Foreign Service officers.
The lecture was given by two former senior US diplomats.
When one student raised the problem of Palestinian terror, a retired ambassador to Israel said only that he was sure the other speaker would deal with that topic. Of course, the second panelist – who had served at the Consulate General in Jerusalem before becoming a paid spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority – never did. Instead, he opened by observing that Israel always preferred violence rather than negotiation.
During Q&A, I asked the PA spokesperson whether Jews would be allowed to remain in the disputed territories if they were willing to submit to Palestinian authority and become citizens of a new Palestinian state.
He did not hesitate: “I doubt that would be allowed – certainly not the trouble-making settlers living near Hebron.” Nobody pointed out the abhorrent racism of making Palestine judenrein.
Young diplomats were thus introduced to one of the critical topics of this region. One can only hope that a more balanced discussion took place when the students returned to their individual classrooms.
Zichron Ya’acov
The writer served as cultural attaché at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv from 2005 to 2008
That’s democracy
Sir, – Why does Jonathan Rosen (“The democratic glass house,” Comment & Features, November 16) consider several new bills introduced in the Knesset antidemocratic? Is it because he does not agree with them? Don’t these bills have to be passed by legislators who were democratically elected? It seems to me that Rosen is very upset that the current government conflicts with his beliefs. May I suggest that he gets ready for the next election and helps elect those that are more to his liking.
Sir, – Jonathan Rosen speaks of “the tyranny of the majority.” He objects to certain NGOs having parts of their funding stopped.
The funding in question is provided by left-wing European governments with anti-Israel positions that are assisting Israelbased organizations promote issues that are counter to the will of the Israeli majority.
Rosen has no problem in promoting the tyranny of the minority, which has a receding electorate yet persists in chipping away at the foundations of the Jewish state, including the defense and security of its people.
He expects it to continue its sedition in the name of democracy.
Sorry Mr. Rosen. You can challenge the Zionist narrative if you wish, but do it with your own money and not that of powerful Europeans and others who wish to erode the Jewish state.
Sir, – Jonathan Rosen did a superb job of defining his prejudices, agendas and spitefulness against the State of Israel.
A democracy, as he defines it, allows for Hamas to be elected and then for democracy to be eliminated. A free judicial court, as he defines it, allows only new judges who conform to the activism and political thrust of sitting Judges. A legislature, as he defines it, would disallow any law meant to protect the existing government.
Freedom of speech is vital.
However, transparency about who makes the speeches and who supports them is also vital.
Hardly subtle
Sir, – Gil Troy’s central point, that we can debate a president’s Middle East policy without immediately questioning his basic support of a Jewish state (“Needed: A little subtlety,” Center Field, November 16), has been lost in current discourse and is to be commended. History is replete with examples of tension between US and Israeli leaders without fear for the “unbreakable bond” now regularly invoked.
However, it is regrettable that Troy’s call for subtlety is completely undermined by his statement that the Democratic Party has become the “home of the vicious, genuinely anti-Israel minority on Capitol Hill and across the United States” and is no longer the party of pro-Israel stalwarts. We are given not one word of explanation or support for this.
At a time when the Republican Party is being held hostage by a Tea Party minority, and whose leading candidates for president endorse a “zero-base” for all US foreign aid, including to the State of Israel, Troy is completely lacking in subtlety.
New York
The writer is president of the US-based Israel Policy Forum
Tripartite wonder
Sir, – I followed the suggestion from the Israeli government campaign to vote for the Dead Sea (“Dead Sea not chosen to be among New7Wonders,” November 13). What a simple way to increase tourism! However, going into the website, I was quite surprised to read the location of the Dead Sea listed as “Israel, Jordan, Palestine.”
Did no one in the Tourism Ministry consider this a problem?