October 21: What’s been learned

Let us prepare to welcome our coreligionists with open arms.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
What’s been learned
Sir, – At the end of your editorial “European exodus?” (October 18) you write about the situation of European Jewry: “Their exodus would mark Europe’s failure to learn the lessons of the Holocaust....” I beg to differ.
When asked in an interview if Europe had learned anything from the Holocaust, author Elie Wiesel answered: “Yes. That you can commit genocide and get away with it.”
Let us prepare to welcome our coreligionists with open arms.
Age, thou art shamed.
Papal familiarity
Sir, – “Italian Jews praise protests at Nazi funeral” (October 17), which mentions the deportation of Rome’s Jews in 1943, reverberates in a way not fully expected.
In World War II, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency had stringers all over the world picking up stories about what was happening to the Jews of Europe. However, other than mentioning in early October 1943 that the Nazis were rounding up Italian Jews, nothing specific was ever reported about the removal of the Jews of Rome and their deaths at Auschwitz a week later. It can honestly be said that the Anglo- Jewish papers in US missed this incident – no JTA release, no info.
The telling comment about an important Italian figure’s attitude, which came shortly after deportation, appears in a letter written by Germany’s ambassador to the Holy See to the Foreign Office back in Berlin: “Although pressed on all sides, the pope did not allow himself to be drawn into any demonstration of reproof at the deportation of the Jews of Rome. The only sign of disapproval was in a veiled allusion in Osservatore Romano on 25 October in which only a restricted number of people could recognize the reference to the Jewish question.”
These were Jews the pope knew up close.
Limits to appeasement
Sir, – Alliances make sense when they are mutually beneficial.
But as Caroline B. Glick explains in “Israel and the new Munich” (Column One, October 18), there are limits to appeasement in the name of friendship.
Concession after concession has not achieved the goodwill that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu so desperately desires from US President Barack Obama. And in return for our concessions, the European Union placed restrictions on products produced in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
Israel considers Iranian nuclear ambitions an existential threat, and Obama and the EU had previously agreed that all efforts, including sanctions and even military intervention, were on the table. But last week in Geneva they undermined Israel’s efforts by offering to remove effective sanctions.
The one-sided demands of our so-called allies are becoming too burdensome. Is it not time to reassess our alliances and act accordingly? ROBERT DUBLIN Jerusalem Sir, – I endorse every single thing Caroline B. Glick mentioned in her column. Such is the contemptible weakness and duplicity of the US and Europeans that nothing could be more clear and necessary for Israel to act against Iran with a “bunker-buster” response. This has been the only option left for a very long time.
Western fallout? With those nations as weak as they are, who cares? I. KEMP Nahariya On equal footing Sir, – As in the headline “Egypt: We’re too dependent on the US” (October 17), the same could be said of Israel.
Rather than find itself in a situation similar to Egypt, whose government now has to deal with a US administration that has little understanding of the Egyptian position and what the Egyptian public wants, surely it would be better for a strong Israel to tell its US ally that it no longer has need of American military aid and is quite prepared to stand on its own two feet – and cooperate with its ally on an equal footing.
Vital to learn
Sir, – Your article “Arab municipal elections dependent on family connections, not ideology” (October 17) is fascinating because it is the first I have seen that tackles a major issue headon.
The adherence to their own families and clans is vital to understanding the motivations and actions of Arabs – and not only in voting. Yet until now it has only been obliquely alluded to! Perhaps this is because such knowledge is assumed on the part of the readers? Some Arab families have greater prestige or are more important politically. Some are more criminal. Some have mostly professionals. Some emphasize businesses. And some shun each other. Without knowledge of the psychosocial importance of families and clans of the Arab population in and immediately around Israel, we cannot understand many political, economic, religious or other problems and developments.
Please consider doing a series of articles describing and explaining the various clans, their history and interactions in Israel.
Please help us understand the social importance of the various families, their concerns and characteristics, their sway upon their relatives and cooperation with or influence on other clans. This would be informative and vital to learn.
More of the same
Sir, – Your report on Proctor & Gamble (“P&G pays no Israeli tax on NIS 100m. profits,” Business & Finance, October 17) brings to the fore the old argument about the immorality of tax avoidance.
It is really a question of social philosophy: Is the maximization of profit the only raison d’etre of a commercial enterprise, or does that enterprise have responsibilities to its customers, employees, host country, suppliers etc. that go beyond those of “pounds, shilling and pence” (as we said in the old country)? It is interesting to note that in recent years – only a century and a half after Karl Marx begged it to do so! – the accountancy profession has begun to ask itself this question. In the meantime, the sad truth is that while the accountants and tax lawyers working in industry are one step ahead of those employed in drafting tax regulations, we have only got more of the same to look forward to.
Left unsaid
Sir, – US Secretary of State John Kerry told a summit held by members of what you call the “powerful” AIPAC (“Kerry to AIPAC: Support Netanyahu on peace process,” October 15) to make it known that “you have his back” if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decides to make “reasonable compromises for peace.”
Kerry’s solution for Israel remaining a “Jewish state and the homeland of the Jewish people” belittles the presence of a burgeoning Palestinian Arab minority harboring irredenta.
And by saying that “the state of Palestine [will be] the homeland of the Palestinian people,” he obfuscates the fact that Article 1 of the 1968 covenant of the PLO calls Palestine “an indivisible part of the Arab homeland” and the Palestinians “an integral part of the Arab nation.”
Sir, – Reader James Adler fails to tell us which mandate of the League of Nations actually carried out Article 22 in practice (“Humiliating story,” Letters, October 15).
He forgets that Jordan was part of the 1922 Palestine mandate, that the British imported an Arabian sheikh to lead it and that Beduin inhabited 78 percent of that mandate. He also forgets that no place called “Palestine” existed under the Ottomans and that the “Palestinians” had no land.
Tel Aviv