September 8: Silence is golden

If Abbas feels they've got it pretty good in the West Bank, then let us enjoy the quiet for a while.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Silence is golden Sir, - "What (Israel) does need is a prime minister who is prepared to stand before the public and explain exactly where he intends to lead them," Jeff Barak writes ("Netanyahu's loud silence," September 7). I beg to differ. For years we have had prime ministers loudly proclaim their desire to make concessions for peace and the response from our peace-partners has been - if not a bullet, then at least a yawn. If, as he has said, PA President Abbas feels they've got it pretty good in the West Bank, then let us enjoy the quiet for a while. BARRY LYNN Efrat Sir, - Jeff Barak's attempt at sage counsel totally dissolved in his up-front premise that "like any new US president, (Obama's) initial concern was to distance himself from his predecessor and make it clear to all that a new tenant had moved into the White House." From what school comes the principle that every administration of a government must begin by initially repudiating the contributions of the predecessor? If policies have been wise and beneficial, is the first obligation to disrupt them, nevertheless? Such a statement challenges fundamental reason. Barack Obama's antagonistic attitude toward Israel was established during his first days in office. Fortunately, we have been somewhat protected thus far because he is an inexperienced and incapable administrator who cannot personally move the programs he has declared. I suggest Mr. Barak indulge in some careful reflection. Nothing I have said implies approval of PM Netanyahu's considerations - but Barak's foundation for his attack is non-existent. PESACH HIRSCH Telz Stone Sir, - Notwithstanding his position as a former editor-in-chief of your paper, I would suggest to Jeff Barak a monthly insert that would go something like this: "I personally hate Netanyahu. So much so that - regardless of what he is doing, how much support he has among the Israeli rank and file, and how much good it is doing for the country - I wish you would all wake up to his tricks and hate him along with me. After all, I am so much smarter!" CHAIM A. ABRAMOWITZ Jerusalem Well-named 'Elders' Sir, - It is ironically appropriate that Jimmy Carter was selected as one of the "Elders" who visited the Middle East last month in a supposed effort to restart peace negotiations - seeing that his comments are about as accurate a description of what is actually happening in this part of the world as that other well-known imaginary description of the organization and goals of the Jewish people, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion ("The Elders' view of the Middle East," September 7). EFRAIM A. COHEN Netanya Sir, - It seems that Jimmy Carter wrote his op-ed while looking through (former defense minister) Amir Peretz's blocked binoculars since he was only able to see "1.1 million... refugees from Israel''; "Israel's assault (on Gaza)''; "settlement expansion... encroaching into Palestinian villages... in Palestinian East Jerusalem." There was no mention of the fact that neither the Palestinians nor UNRWA have done anything to improve the plight of these "refugees'' in 60 years; nor why their situation is as it is. URI HIRSCH Netanya Sir, - As the guide for the Elders on their recent visit to Yad Vashem, I was very dismayed, but not particularly surprised that former president Carter referred to Gaza as a "walled-in ghetto." It should be obvious to anyone with a modicum of historical knowledge that the situation in Gaza is at its core dissimilar from WWII-era ghettos. Moreover, drawing parallels between the Nazis and Israel does not serve the cause of peace. The Nazis established walled-in ghettos to isolate the Jews of Eastern and Central Europe, although the Jews were not party to any conflict with them. Owing to Nazi policies in the ghettos, deadly epidemics and mass starvation generally ensued before Jews were subjected to the systematic mass murder known as the Final Solution. With its advent, the Nazis used the ghettos as funnels through which innocent men, women and children were sent primarily to extermination camps. In sharp contrast, the situation in Gaza is genocidal in neither practice nor intent. The closing off of Gaza is a security measure taken by Israel to deal with a volatile, violent reality in a very tangible conflict. One may argue about the effectiveness of the measure, but equating it with Nazi measures serves only to inflame an already highly combustible situation. ROBERT ROZETT Director of the Libraries Yad Vashem Jerusalem Sir, - Jimmy Carter writes: "(Javier) Solana proposes that the UN recognize the pre-1967 border between Israel and Palestine." This contains two inaccurate facts. First, the "border" was a cease-fire line. Second, the cease-fire was between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. If Carter really believes what he writes, then there was a "Palestine" before 1967. And if so, why was there a war, and why was the Palestine Liberation Organization formed in 1964? A.I. GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit Abigail: In memoriam Sir, - I'll never forget the first phone call I received from Abigail Radoszkowicz. At the time, in 2008, I was peppering The Jerusalem Post with op-ed submissions, and only a few of them had been published. Out of the blue Abigail phoned me and said: "Nice piece. I'll see if I can fit it in this week," and began to inundate me with questions. My piece appeared in a much better form than the original. Abigail was assiduous and prompt in responding, she was always available to help and make suggestions. More than that, she was an attentive and caring editor of my work. During the year I had the honor to work with her on my submissions she guided more than a dozen onto the pages of the Post. She advised, cajoled and criticized: "You have good points here, but the piece is a bit sloppy." Abigail was an amazing woman, a talented, insightful and thoughtful personality. She had a great love for Israel and its people and a deep understanding of Jewish affairs. I will never forget her mannerisms, her smile and the warmth that emanated from her office (Letters, September 7). SETH J. FRANTZMAN Jerusalem Sir, - I got to know Abigail about four years ago when my niece from the US, who has a musical band, visited Israel. At that time, Abigail was in charge of compiling events. She kindly, and with expert vision, gave the group a chance and published the forthcoming event. She even added a beautiful photo. To my great surprise - and without ever telling me - she not only attended the performance, but wrote a rave review about it in the paper. MAX WEIL Jerusalem Sir, - The tears kept flowing as I read your tribute to a woman I never met (Obituary, September 6). Please know that many readers now feel that we got a glimpse of a unique and wonderful person. Why do the good die young? And yet, I feel a glimmer of hope that such gems have passed through this world and are now looking down on us, hopefully hastening the final redemption when those who have suffered the loss of loved ones can finally be reunited again. PHYLLIS HECHT HARIMON Hashmonaim