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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Naomi Klein reveals a complete misunderstanding of what can be done to solve the Palestine problem. What is needed ia a full engagement with Israel and the Palestinians by the international community to impose a two-state solution along the lines of the road map with boundaries along the 1967 lines with minor modifications. A boycott is a copout.

Israel is very different from South Africa. Israeli hard-liners want a Greater Israel, with all the Arabs "transferred" to the Arab world. One example where this policy has worked is the former German city of Konigsberg, now the Russian Kaliningrad, with all its German citizens "transferred" to Germany.

During the much-publicized boycott of South Africa, with lip service by the Soviet Union, the Soviets were partners in the largest diamond cartel in the world and carried on business as usual. If the West boycotts and breaks off contacts with Israel, Putin will be happy to take over and make Israel a Cuba of the Middle East. Putin will have no objection to a Konigsberg solution of the Palestine problem if it improves Russian position in a coming new cold war with the United States.

We must all work together to help save Israel from itself. Hopefuly, Barack Obama will find a way to lead us there.

Harry J. Lipkin

Rehovot, Israel

Jan 10 2009 - 7:30am

Web Letter

I have real difficulty understanding people who think Israel should not defend their nation and populace. Israel is under attack and is constantly in a state of war or in a shaky truce with people who have pledged to destroy them. If the Palestinian people really want to live in peace, why won't they stop the attacks?

To say Palestinians are persecuted is beyond dumb. They persecute themselves by electing and supporting idiots that won't truly respect any peace agreements. The PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Fatah are all wings of terrorist organizations and cannot or will not represent or protect the Palestinian people. These organizations make war on the legitimate authorities, The Palestinian Authority, and steal its money and power. I submit that in the last fifty years there have been many times that Israel would have and actually did at times, agree to lay down its arms. They have been attacked and lied to but in the last few years they have, in spite of the lies and attacks, tried to give the Palestinians land for peace. Instead of peace, however, they have been fired on at every opportunity.

You rail on about the financial support and trade Israel enjoys but fail to remember that the Palestinian Authority has received billions of dollars and euros and promises of trade to lay down its arms. It did not lay down its arms. Instead, Yassar Arafat instituted the first and second intifadas. The leaders pocketed the money or spent it on arms rather than on their people, trade or infrastructure. They have placed military and terrorist weapons in civilian homes and buildings to use the people in them as human shields and propaganda opportunities. They do not really care about the people, only their agenda. Instead of this boycott, you should encourage your Palestinian friends to stop the rocket attacks and terrorist acts and engage in real and sustainable agreements. The violence will stop and they can then build their Palestinian state and prosper in it. There will be no peace until they stop the aggression toward Israel and contain their rogue elements.

Carl Smith

Hutchinson, KS

Jan 10 2009 - 7:17am

Web Letter

Ms. Klein, occupying the moral high ground is no substitute for occupying Gaza!

Angus McFarlane

Bucharest, Romania

Jan 10 2009 - 6:01am

Web Letter

If Naomi Klein has written anything that makes sense, I've yet to read it. As usual, a completely one-sided, skewed version of the situation, and an almost childish moral reaction that anyone with an objective set of values will find abhorrent, like most of her views.

To those who also find Klein's views repulsive and would like to counter her boycott plea by supporting Israel through the buying of Israeli goods, you can do so here.

Jason Sharke

New York, NY

Jan 10 2009 - 1:28am

Web Letter

The fact that some Israeli artists think that Israel should not defend itself against terror does not mean they speak for the nation. On the contrary, I have read that most Israelis support the invasion of Gaza. The fact that some artists have the freedom to express these views is a testament to the viability of Israel as a free country, and it shows just how much they have to lose if Israel becomes the victim of an American boycott.

Klein imagines that by boycotting Israel she is doing the Jewish State a "favor" of some kind. Perhaps she fancies it's a kind of "tough love." Boy, would I hate to have her doing favors for anyone I cared about. Israel is an ally. You stand with your allies when they are under attack. You don't kick them in the stomach. A boycott is not just a tactic; it is a form of aggression. When you boycott a nation you are trying to destroy it.

Hamas is the roadblock to peace. They can't win this war. They have held onto power at the expense of their own people long enough. It is time for them to recognize Israel. They are re-enacting Hitler's last days in the bunker.

Justin K. Hertog

Montclair, NJ

Jan 9 2009 - 10:13pm

Web Letter

Naomi Klein disappoints me. I can see her anger at Israel if Israel had rejected the French-Egyptian cease-fire proposal this week and Hamas had accepted it. But in fact, the Israelis accepted the proposal and Hamas rejected it.

The UN resolution from yesterday (January 8) only demands Israel withdraw but does not require Hamas to stop hitting Israel with rockets. It was still rejected by Hamas, and more correctly rejected by Israel.

One of Hamas's leaders, on the English version of Al Jazeera, said yesterday or today that Hamas will not accept a cease-fire unless Israel unilaterally withdraws, and even so, Hamas will not stop its rocket attacks. The leader also said he was not concerned with civilian casualties, as it was all for the glorious anti-Israel cause.

This is not the time to write an article attacking Israel. It is the time for an article attacking Hamas for not wanting a bilateral cease-fire, which is really redundant. Has anyone ever used the word cease-fire in a conflict between two sides that did not mean bilateral?

I am not a Chris Hitchens or Ron Silver here. I still oppose Israel's settlement policies, its blockade of Gaza, and generally oppressive policies towards Palestinians. But Hamas wants this war, they are getting this war, and they are welcoming the casualties. Why there are no cries for Hamas to agree to a bilateral cease-fire?

Mitchell J. Freedman

Poway, CA

Jan 9 2009 - 3:35pm

Web Letter

Ms. Klein's line of thinking is based on a false premise, that Israel occupies these territories because in the past it was the aggressor. Israel only "occupies" these territories because in 1967 the then-less-than-7,000-square-mile nation was attacked synchronously by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and with troops from at least five other Arab countries. When the outmanned Israelis won the war in six days, they had also conquered land that had previously belonged to these aggressor nations. That is the land that is under contention today. If that issue were resolved by an Israeli appeasement, then history tells us that Israeli's enemies would continue to seek more land. In support of this, Hamas, the terrorist group elected by the Arabs living in Gaza and the West Bank to represent their interests, calls for Israel's destruction.

International pressure needs to be applied for peace, but this needs to first be applied on the parties that have chosen exclusive military options, or that have walked away from the negotiating tables or from their agreements. Hezbollah and Hamas attacking together, in 2006 and now again--Gilad Shalit remains kidnapped by Hamas. (An aside--where is the call for Shalit's release? ) Arafat walking away from the Camp David agreements in 2000 that appeared so promising, in which Israel was ready to shake hands. The utter lack of oil-rich Arab nations to provide economic or educational assistance for Gaza and the West Bank that would improve their livelihoods in a manner that would make peace a realistic option.

How is Hamas innocent, in Ms. Klein's view, when as soon as the cease-fire ended they began sending rockets into Israel? What did they expect? Is this the action of a responsible government, or one that promotes terrorism and should be stopped, even if an extreme response is required to do so to ensure that a peace process has some chance of future success? Israel suffers in the public light because it acts through the international system (the UN etc.), despite being attacked with barbaric methods. As Hamas evades any responsibility and paints its own citizens as victims, it gains sympathy for them. I feel sympathy for them as well, but I have no delusion that the pressure that needs to be borne has been perverted in Ms. Klein's interpretation of the situation.

There are no angels in a bloodbath. But Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza do not deserve pity or sympathy for electing terrorists to do their bidding. Those terrorists have engaged in kidnapping and rocket attacks, and the argument that the scale of this war is not fair is rather hollow.

As liberals, we have picked the wrong cause in this (long-term) fight, and perhaps that is contributing to its escalation continuation.

Mark Mandel

Madison, WI

Jan 9 2009 - 12:23pm

Web Letter

It is time that someone has articulated the only plausible reconciliation to this situation with the clarity, consistency, and economy of Klein. To address those dissenters who still refuse to believe that Israel is an occupation, let us remember that despite the need for reparations to be made to the Jewish community by the world community after the Holocaust, it was unacceptable to take away part of someone else's homeland. We must never forget the magnitude and scope of the tragedy that is the Holocaust, but it is not a justification for occupation.

Britt Bell

Queens, NY

Jan 9 2009 - 11:53am

Web Letter

Good idea--but how to inform consumers? I, for one don't know what products I buy and consume are from Israel. We need to know which companies do the most business with Israel to effectively boycott.

Christopher Kruger

Evanston, IL

Jan 9 2009 - 11:12am

Web Letter

Typical far left garbage. Where was Naomi Klein when Hezbollah sent 10,0000 katusya rockets targeted at Israeli cities? Why was she silent when Hamas sent in waves of suicide bombers to Israeli supermarkets, restaurants, schools and buses and murdered hundreds of innocent men, women, and children?

I am Jewish and I support a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli dispute and I am supportive of Kadima, the centrist party in Israel, not Likud. I am not a devotee of greater Israel and believe that Israel must give up the West Bank and East Jerusalem in any settlement but 100 percent of all refugees from 1948 must be resettled in a Palestinian, not in an Israeli State.

What leftists like Ms. Klein do not understand is that every time Israel's adversaries showed they wanted a true peace with Israel, they received all their land back in return for a peace agreement and security guarantees for Israel. Hamas, from the day they came into power, announced they would not accept any agreements signed by Yasser Arafat or Mohammed Abbas. They also announced they were committed to the destruction of the state of Israel, no ifs, ands or buts.

Israel removed all their settlers and all their soldiers out of Gaza. In return, all the settlements that were used to produce food and medicine were destroyed by the Palestinians and used to launch more than 6,000 missles targeted indiscriminately against Israeli schools,cities, and towns.

No, the occupation has not been benign. However, when you have an enemy that is sworn to your destruction and delights in the murder of your children, you have no choice but to protect your citizens. Ms. Klein, there is evil in this world. It is Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the rulers of North Korea and the Sudan and Iran. It is not the liberal, democratic state of Israel.

Mark Jeffery Koch

Cherry Hill, NJ

Jan 9 2009 - 9:20am