October 4: No more groveling

The Palestinians have never given us the confidence that they want to make peace with us. In fact, the opposite is true.

No more groveling
Sir, – Regarding “PA decides to halt talks unless building freeze reinstated” (October 3) – now is the time to right the wrongs that were created by the Oslo Accords and the disengagement from Gaza. The Palestinians have never given us the confidence that they want to make peace with us. In fact, the opposite is true.
We seem to want a Palestinian state more than they do. We refuse to take apart their arguments – some of which border on the absurd, if they are not out-and-out lies – for fear of upsetting them.
They continue on their merry way because they have never had to pay a cost for their intransigence.
Building in the major settlement blocks should be a given with no afterthought of what the Palestinians will do regarding the peace process. If they want to leave it, so be it. If they refuse to negotiate, we should build beyond those areas and create facts on the ground.
The Palestinians have to realize once and for all that past promises must be kept; otherwise, there will be a cost involved.
No more groveling and begging from our leaders. If we stay strong, as we did in 1967, the Arabs will understand that they have no choice but to negotiate, and we will negotiate with strength.
Where else in history has the defeated side, in a war that it started, dictated the terms of the agreement?
BILL WEBER Jerusalem

Nuptial hearing loss
Sir, – Regarding “Noisy music can endanger teens’ hearing” (in Judy Siegel-Itzkovich’s “Health scan,” October 3): Anyone who has been to an Israeli wedding knows only too well that the volume of the music is way over the safe decibel level. One can barely hear oneself think, let alone have any conversation.
No one would choose to be near an aircraft preparing for takeoff (crew members wear ear muffs), yet music at a similar decibel level is listened to, and the long-term detrimental effect is ignored.
Blaming the GOP
Sir, – Douglas M. Bloomfield worries (in “Can the GOP block a Palestinian state?,” October 3) that if the Israelis and Palestinians really want to make peace, then the Republicans would be spoilers, because they would want to make Obama look bad.
That’s about as ridiculous as saying that should Jerusalem experience a blizzard, the Republicans would withhold emergency snow removal equipment just to spite Obama.
Rather than take the Obama administration to task for leaning on Israel in order to bring about an improbable peace accord, Bloomfield criticizes the Republicans over a hypothetical response to a hypothetical nonevent.
His political prejudice is obvious.
DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont
Tutu no-no
Sir, – In “Jo’burg University rejects calls to sever ties with BGU” (October 1), Jenny Gross writes that the proposal to sever ties “had been endorsed by antiapartheid icon Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu.” What Gross does not mention is that Tutu is also an anti-Israel icon.
Tutu had “greatness” thrust upon him, and he ventures into areas about which he has no knowledge. And in these painfully politically correct times, no one has the guts to tell him he is way out beyond his depth, and his biased slip is showing from under his cassock.
It is outrageous that Tutu is still a patron of the Cape Town Holocaust Centre, and he has just been appointed a patron of the new Johannesburg Holocaust Foundation. Political correctness and appeasement know no bounds.
As an ex-South African (now Israeli ) I call for Tutu’s resignation or removal from the patronage of Holocaust centers in South Africa.
Obstacles to peace?
Sir, – Gil Troy, in “Amateur hour in Obama-land” (September 29) writes: “[President Obama’s] tendency to see settlements as the main obstacle to peace broadens his blind spot.”
It is high time to recall former senator Jesse Helms’s sober declaration (Congressional Record S 6171): “There were no settlements in 1948 to constitute an ‘obstacle to peace’ yet the trans- Jordanians invaded... There were no settlements in 1967 to constitute an ‘obstacle to peace’ yet the Jordanians invaded again!”
Aid boats to the British coast
Sir, – Regarding “Miliband’s mother among supporters of Jewish aid boat to Gaza” (September 27): That’s great for Israel. Now we have a Jewish leader of the Labor Party with a mother supporting a ship aimed to land at Gaza.
I am sure that with Mrs. Kozak’s newfound protekzia Israeli ships full of activists will be able to reciprocate and bring Christmas gifts to underprivileged British children and come ashore at Bournemouth, Brighton or anywhere along the British coastline where there are no Customs/Immigration controls.
What a wonderful idea. I am sure son Ed would approve of it.
Dignified at the UN
Sir, – If the UN General Assembly met on a Christian or Muslim holiday, and certain delegations were absent due to religious considerations, would Jeremy Ruden (“UN-dignified,” September 27) and others be as critical of them as they are of the Israeli representatives for not attending Obama’s speech on Succot? Judaism is not a second-rate religion whose representatives conduct themselves with an inferiority complex. I and many others were proud to see those empty seats.
FRED EHRMAN New York and Jerusalem
Sir, – Unless our Israeli delegation never notified either the UN officials or the White House of the dates of our major festival of Succot, I find Jeremy Ruden’s article an affront.
Those representing our Jewish State appropriately absented themselves from the proceedings.
The speech never should have been given on Succot if the focus of discussion was Israel!
Not a Christian organization
Sir, – In the article headlined “Christian pro-Israel group opens headquarters in east Jerusalem” (October 1), the headline is wrong: Our organization is not a Christian organization at all. The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus is made up of 17 members of Knesset, none of them Christian. The International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation – the umbrella organization that coordinates the activities between the sister caucuses – is also a Jewish organization.
The whole goal of the KCAC and IIACF is to reach out to Christian leaders in order to build direct lines of communication and cooperation for the State of Israel. We are both Jewish organizations.
The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus is Chaired by MK David Rotem, not Benny Elon. Its headquarters is in the Knesset, though it has offices in the Shalom Yerushalayim building as well. The caucus was formed in 2004 by eight members of Knesset.
Our caucus in the US Congress is called the “Congressional Israel Allies Caucus.” It was founded by Congressman David Weldon and Congressman Elliot Engel. It is chaired today by Congressman Mike Pence and Congressman Elliot Engel. The congressman mentioned in the article as our founder and chair is one of the congressmen who sit on the board of directors of the foundation.
Knesset Christian Allies Caucus Jerusalem