Letters to the Editor: Nelson Mandela, Israel, settlements

Mandela Just a Man, Not Another Moses

I realize that Americans love heroes, and journalists love to serve them up, but Nelson Mandela as another Moses (“Mandela/Moses,” June 28)? 

Unlike Moses, Mandela could go to Israel any time he wanted, although Jews may not enter Muslim countries, including those that comprise most of Israel’s neighbors. Those countries, you may recall, threatened to drive Israel into the sea, and in 1967, attempted to do just that in yet another attempted genocide against our people, which no country on earth, including the United States, has ever tried to prevent. Has Mandela ever spoken against the ban of Jews in Muslim countries? Has he ever spoken in our support, other than to recognize that Jews were the backbone of the civil rights movement?

How sad that so many American Jews still lionize themselves as champions of civil rights, while creating idols out of people who attack Israel, the survival of which, as history should have taught by now, is essential to the prevention of our genocide.

Charles Wintner via e-mail

Smoke Screen of a Different Sort?

In the tinder box of the world, with its death and suffering of millions of people from successive wars, revolts and bombings of both Israeli and Arab towns and cities, Mr. Suissa wants people to be more offended — more emotional (“Jews Should Get Offended,” June 21). Is he serious? This was his response to a remark from Mr. Abbas in which Jews should have been mentioned but were not mentioned, and he extrapolates the error of omission into a blood libel. Must we really struggle with all our might to inflame ethnic strife on the matter of changing the status quo of a 60-year arrangement on holy sites? Could this be Mr. Suissa’s way of distracting us from the greater issues of settlements, occupation and the urgency of Palestinian human rights?  

Rick Chertoff, Sherman Oaks

David Suissa responds: Mr. Chertoff refuses to be offended by the fact that, as I wrote in my article, our Palestinian “peace partner” brazenly and publicly denies any Jewish connection to Jerusalem. I have nothing else to add.

Israel Should Not Abandon Old City

David Myers does not believe that Israel’s public diplomacy, or hasbara, is inadequate. But Myers could have provided no greater proof of that inadequacy than his op-ed (“The Re-’birth’ of Hope,” June 21). Myers has, somehow, come to believe that Israel’s occupation of Judea and Samaria is the cause of the obloquy and hatred that one finds in the media, on campus, and in BDS and related activism.

The “occupation” was the result of a war that was forced upon Israel by Jordan. Before Jordan’s attack and even after, Israel entreated Jordan to refrain from hostilities. Jordan ignored Israel’s entreaties, and Israel won a decisive victory that placed it in control of its ancient patrimony, Judea and Samaria. From that point until today, were Israel to have abandoned that land, as Myers evidently believes it should have, it would have ceded the land to its mortal enemies. What rational actor would have done that? Would Myers have been so foolish as to have done that? 

Of course, Myers never explains why justice requires Israel’s withdrawal from the Old City of Jerusalem, from which the Jews were expelled in 1948. Why would any decent person believe that justice requires the vindication of Jordan’s “ethnic cleansing” of Jerusalem? 

Chip Bronson and Stephanie London, Beverly Hills  

The Truth About Settlements

Arthur Cohn’s article is full of simplifications and distortions, which unfortunately take the place of serious, informed discussion among vast numbers of American Jews (“The Truth About Settlements,” June 28). One can be skeptical of the immediate prospects of negotiations without the need to resort to talking points such as his.

I’ll just cite two:

1. Areas such as Har Choma, the area of disputed new building, were never part of the Holy City of Jerusalem. In fact, Har Choma is south of Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, which is administratively part of the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council, not part of Jerusalem even by today’s definitions.

2. Beyond all the convoluted arguments about settlements and the justified pessimism of current policies lies one fact. The only reason for 600,000 Jews inhabiting the vast majority of area over the Green Line is clear: to make it less likely Israel will ever withdraw. I’ll leave it to others to define “obstacle.”

If people like Mr. Cohn were truly concerned about the security of Israelis at a time when they are facing increased taxes and cuts of educational and welfare services, he would be asking: Where is the money to preserve these services, reduce the heavy tax burden and provide for the long term economic security of Israelis?

Lawrence Weinman, Los Angeles