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Letters To The Editor

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Rice And Benghazi

I have mixed feelings about your negative editorial on UN Ambassador Susan Rice (“Unanswered Questions About Susan Rice,” March 15). I have read that she has been praised by many pro-Israel organizational leaders for her defense of Israel at the UN, though I think you were right to call attention to her negative “body language” when she vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its settlement policy.

More important, though, is her role in promoting the story that the Benghazi attack was a spontaneous reaction by Muslims against a video casting Muhammad in a bad light – which she continued to do even after there was substantial evidence it was a planned terrorist attack that had nothing to do with the video.

Neil Sugarman
(Via E-Mail)

Erdogan’s Motives

It’s not that hard to see why Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan regularly attacks Israel and Zionism and challenges what he calls Islamophobia (“Erdogan’s Latest Outrage,” editorial, March 8).

Erdogan dreams of Turkey’s glory days of the Muslim Ottoman Empire and seeks to assume a leadership role in the current Muslim world. Israel is a convenient whipping boy.

He more than anyone was responsible for the deaths of the Turkish “activists” who tried in 2010 to run Israel’s Gaza blockade. He and they knew exactly what they were doing and what the risks were. He wanted to be the hero who broke Gaza open and humiliated Israel. So his demand that Israel apologize for defending itself is just so much posturing. But it also means he won’t back off and return to the alliance with Israel that was maintained by his recent predecessors.

Yerachmiel Katz
Ramat Gan, Israel

Mystifying Policy

When the uprising in Syria began two years ago, it was obvious the rebels were ordinary citizens rising up against a horrendous despot, Bashar Assad, whose cruel, heavy-handed rule had suppressed all freedom for years.

President Obama was asked to help this uprising of real people seeking to overthrow a cruel dictator but he chose not to get involved. After the Syrian military caused many thousands of deaths, the requests became more urgent, but nothing was forthcoming from the Obama administration.

Now, two years into the fighting, it has become quite apparent that jihadists have entered the ranks of the rebels. Their numbers include volunteers from Hizbullah, Fatah, Al Qaeda and Hamas. Numerous members of these groups have publicly stated their desire to turn next to Israel after overthrowing Assad.

And what do you know – suddenly the White House seems quite disposed to helping these fighters with millions of dollars of assistance, including military weaponry and equipment.

Can this be a rational foreign policy? Some might actually make a case for not allowing Assad to fall, given the current scenario, but it would be far wiser to simply keep hands off at this point. Obama’s sudden epiphany is both puzzling and disturbing if the rebel ranks include a substantial number of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Myron Hecker
New City, NY

Real Apartheid

The word “apartheid” has been used against Israel for far too long and in a most ridiculous fashion. Israel is an integrated state. Members of the Arab community are elected to the Knesset. There are Arab mayors of towns in Israel. There have been Arab deputy Knesset speakers and Arabs form student organizations on every university campus in Israel.

The real apartheid states are the Arab ones. These countries should be hiding their face in shame because they are supreme violators of human rights. Those who push for a Palestinian state – not just the Palestinians themselves but their enablers and supporters worldwide – think they can fool everyone all the time. The Palestine they are hoping to bring about would not allow Jews to live there, to vote there, or to attend universities there.

Rather than saddle Israel with the bogus claim that it is an apartheid state, those who take up the Palestinian cause should recognize that the Arab nations, including the Palestinians, stand as the epitome of apartheid.

Toby Willig
Jerusalem

Jabotinsky On Trumpeldor

Rafael Medoff’s “Equating Zionist Pioneers With Arab Terrorists” (op-ed article, March 15) makes the excellent point that pioneers in pre-state Israel were hard-working people who were not at all intent on reckless killing. Joseph Trumpeldor did not crash a plane into a building with thousands of innocent people, or take hostages. Trumpeldor’s words before he died – “never mind” – were not over the joy of killing innocent people.

Zev Jabotinsky wrote about Joseph Trumpeldor in The Story of the Jewish Legion, which was translated into English by Shmuel Katz. Jabotinsky met Trumpeldor during World War I at a refugee camp in Egypt set up by the British for Jewish refugees from pre-state Israel, then under Turkish rule.

Jabotinsky described Trumpeldor as a vegetarian, a pacifist, and a socialist. He said that Trumpeldor was better served by one arm than most of the rest of us humans are served by two arms. “In Hebrew his favorite expression was ‘ein davar’ (never mind)…. there is a whole philosophy contained in this ‘ein davar’: do not exaggerate; do not see danger where none exists; do not regard a man who does his duty as a hero – for history is long, the Jewish people everlasting, and truth is sacred, but everything else, trouble, care…‘ein davar.’ ”

Jabotinsky complained to Trumpeldor about the ungrammatical Hebrew spoken by young people in Palestine. Trumpeldor said, “ein davar.” He complained to Trumpeldor about the way people were marching, in preparation for joining the Jewish Legion. Trumpeldor answered “ein davar.”

I urge readers to try to get a copy of Jabotinsky’s The Story of the Jewish Legion. I also suggest reading Lone Wolf: A Biography of Vladimir (Zev) Jabotinsky by Shmuel Katz.

Reuven Solomon
(Via E-Mail)

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