October 24: The Jewish connection

When Palestinians acknowledge that Jews have a state here, we will know that they have no more designs on our country, and peace will result.

Sir, – The demand that Israel be recognized by the Palestinians as a Jewish state is not another “spoke in the wheels” of the peace process, as Hirsh Goodman blithely claims (“Leave religion out of it,” Post- Script, October 21). It is premised on historical records calling for a Jewish homeland (Balfour Declaration) and Jewish nation (British Class A Mandate), on international treaties and League of Nations and UN declarations.
The UN called for two states, one Arab and one Jewish. This is not some right-wing plot to derail the peace process.
When the Palestinians can acknowledge that Jews have a state here and that it will always be a Jewish state, we will know that they have no more designs on our country, and peace will result.
Sir, – Should we care what others call us or our state? Should we draw them into the debate of “Who is a Jew?” These are topics worthy of respectful debate, yet Hirsh Goodman causes confusion, at least for me.
Goodman writes: “Jewish is a religion, not a country or national entity. By recognizing Israel as Israel, the Palestinians... would be recognizing Israel as the de facto homeland of the Jewish people.”
Well and good. However, “Jewish” is not a religion; Judaism is. “Jewish” is the modern designation for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Sir, – Religious beliefs are very much a part of the conflict between Israel and those Arabs who begrudge us our historical patrimony.
Why else go to all the effort to erase any and all remnants attesting to our continued habitation of the Land of Israel? How else to understand Mahmoud Abbas’s presentation to the UN General Assembly last month wherein he glaringly omitted any mention of a Jewish presence in the historic Land of Israel? Foreign Minister Abba Eban summed it up best in his address to the UN Security Council in June 1967: “It would seem to me that after 3,000 years, the time has arrived to accept Israel’s nationhood as a fact. Here is the only state in the international community which has the same territory, speaks the same language and upholds the same faith as it did 3,000 years ago.”
I would suggest that Hirsh Goodman leave his anti-religious thoughts out of it.
Sir, – Hirsh Goodman says that “Jewish is a religion, not a country or a national entity.”
This is blatantly false.
Being a Jew has always meant being part of a people with a religion and a national homeland.
Just look at the prayers we have been reciting for 2,000 years.
When our leaders say the Palestinians should recognize Israel as a Jewish state, what they really mean is that the Palestinians should acknowledge that the Jewish people – all the Jewish people, including Reform and Conservative Jews – have a deep and ancient connection to the land of Israel. This fact cannot be denied.
LARRY BIGIO Zichron Ya’acov
Rickety chairs
Sir, – Before debating what’s at the entrance to the Western Wall (“Reform Movement: Remove gender barrier at Kotel entrance,” October 18), we should provide safe and respectable conditions for women at the Wall itself.
Most of the public is unaware that for a woman to view official proceedings she has to endanger herself by climbing on a rickety plastic chair. Women of advancing age are unable to perform this acrobatic feat.
There is absolute disgust expressed by women who travel half way around the world to attend the bar mitzva of a grandchild at the Wall only to be bitterly disappointed when they can see nothing.
Targets of opportunity
Sir, – It appears from Caroline. B. Glick’s analysis (“Iran’s war to win,” Our World, October 18) that, absent any action by Israel, Iran will shortly be the proud owner of a nuclear bomb. As the prime target of Iran’s ambition, it seems to me that our choice is to stop Iran on our own or commit suicide. I am not in favor of the latter option.
My understanding is that we do not have the power to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability on our own because most of the critical parts of its program are housed in hardened facilities deep underground. However, we do have an option if we exercise it quickly.
Iran’s economy is dependant on oil; without oil exports, it would be unable to survive and certainly unable to pay for the equipment and expertise needed to develop and deploy a nuclear weapon.
It would not be difficult for the IDF to destroy the Iranian oil terminals and the pipelines that feed them. A quiet threat might wake up the Obama administration to the dangers of its do-nothing policy.
A partial strike, say knocking out Iran’s oil exports for a few months, would cause a huge spike in oil prices – which would have a salutary effect that concentrates the world’s mind on the danger. The only question is whether the present government has the guts. I doubt it.
STEPHEN S. COHEN Ma’aleh Adumim
No Thoreau he
Sir, – Osama Shabaik (“Unprecedented silencing of dissent at UC Irvine,” October 16) in essence claims that the only effective protest is that which challenges the rule of law.
But he protests the law’s retribution.
Henry David Thoreau at least had the intellectual honesty to anticipate that his civil disobedience would have consequences.
Shabaik is welcome to his manner of civil disobedience, but he would do well to refrain from whining when his thuggery is punished.
Sir, – One could be tempted to sympathize with anyone “moved to this simple act of protest after the devastation” Osama Shabaik witnessed in the Gaza Strip following Operation Cast Lead – unless, of course, one is prepared to removed the veil from one’s eyes and wonder:
1. Why did Israel find it necessary to launch this operation? Could it have been the years of being bombarded with rockets that the cities and villages along the border with the Gaza Strip endured? How long would the good citizens of California have endured such a bombardment from Nevada?
2. Was Shabaik’s passionate sympathy aroused when he heard of the slaughter of innocent Israeli children, no less precious to their families than the innocent children killed in Gaza? Was he moved to demonstrate on their behalf? It’s hard to believe that someone as erudite as Shabaik is not aware of these facts. Does he assume that the readers of The Jerusalem Post are less well informed?
Sir, – The op-ed piece by Osama Shabaik shows why he was convicted. He refused to honor the institution of free speech. It is fine for radical imams and heads of BDS movements to exaggerate and lie to recruit naive support for their demonization of Israel, but anyone who dares give the facts is shouted down and silenced.
Shabaik admits that he disapproved of Michael Oren even taking questions. Questions and answers, he says, “are not an effective form of protest.” True.
It may, however, be an effective way of hearing the truth. This, of course, is precisely what people like Shabaik do not want the audience to hear.
The people involved with the Irvine prosecution were right to take a stand for free speech.
Their actions should be replicated on other campuses and in debating halls.