Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Oh, you are all so brilliant. Yes, Israel should just take down the walls, open up the borders, allow the Muslims to blend in so that they can more easily riot, kill, maim, behead, blow up any civilian man woman or child Dhimmi (please research that word and how such people are and have been treated in Muslim communities throughout history). These actions are after all respectable, religious rituals in their religion, particularly relished in doing so to Jews. Mohammed did it, so it is the ultimate service of his followers. Please do your research, start with "Khaybar."

Let's see, if Israel stops "the color-coded IDs and travel permits, the bulldozed homes and forced displacement, the settler-only roads," then surely Israeli citizens and visitors can have confidence that these people will let go of their religious beliefs and threats and live peacefully with Israel forever. They won't strap on any more suicide belts or hide them under their kids, sneaking through the checkpoints in those friendly ambulances. The roads will be safe for all. No more gunning down families, throwing rocks at cars, and blowing up animals for fun. And let's not forget the recent bulldozing incidents.

What about the forced displacement of the Jews in Arab lands? Before the State of Israel, there were 850,000 Jews in Arab lands. By the mid '80s there were less than 30,000 (see the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries, research how they were killed/expelled). The Arabs made room for the Palestinians by killing and booting out the Jews from their lands. Common culture, common religion, they would adapt well. But no, no, that would be an insult, to let Dhimmis displace Muslims! "How dare they. Keep the Palestinians in their refugee camps, don't let them come to our oil rich countries for a better life. They must stay there as our excuse to fight the occupation." And yes, I've heard it before; it's Israel's fault for creating suicide bombers by causing the inhumane conditions of the Gazans. Give me a break! These people kill and steal from their own people.

You dabble in looking behind the corporate news stories. Why don't you look a little closer at how the PLO, Fatah and now Hamas get the big donor money and throw measly scraps to their people to make them feel oppressed and agitated, blaming their conditions on Israel, so they have a plentiful supply of hatred to fuel their human sacrifices? Why don't you appeal to these Muslim resistance groups to stop the oppression of their people, slaying them at times like dogs without any judicial review.

You're all for democracy. Palestinians overwhelmingly voted for Hamas to rule them, and now they suffer from Hamas's actions. They ironically appear to enjoy their martyrdom, despite the front they put on (see how the women perform for the cameras and how different they perform for their family videos).

Why don't you spend your charitable efforts and money from your books in helping the women and children from beatings, honor killings and female genital mutilation? Promote peaceful education of their children so that future generations can live in peace in this world. "If they would start loving their children more than they hate the Jews, there would be peace"

It's so much easier for good dhimmis like you to just tell the state of Israel to lay down their guns (and be sitting ducks/dhimmis for the fanatics of Mohammed to perform their ritual Jew-hating parties and beheadings), then to tell the Palestinians et al. to stop their death cult destructive religion.

Jana Burd

Miami, FL

Jan 9 2009 - 4:17am

Web Letter

Naomi Klein is quite simply a Jewish anti-Semite. Her religion is left wing liberalism and she is a secular extremist, just like bin Laden is a religious extremist. Leftists like Klein learned nothing from WWII and the Holocaust. Instead of learning that moral democracies must "fight evil," Naomi and her fellow twisted liberal leftists learned that "fighting is evil."

Had the Allies worried about all the poor dead babies in Dresden, Ms. Klein would be a lampshade today and Americans would be speaking German. Naomi's grandparents are surely turning over in their graves to see what their little ignorant grandchild is saying about one of the most moral nations in history--Israel--an army that calls civilians on cell phones, e-mails, text messages and drops flyers over areas to warn the enemy population to get away from the bombs.

Who ever heard of any other military force in history doing anything more moral?

Irwin Graulich

New York, NY

Jan 9 2009 - 2:43am

Web Letter

I generally consider myself a liberal. I voted for Obama, and most of my views lean to the left.

On this, though, I'm afraid I lean to the right.

Hamas could be using its resources to develop Gaza; instead it attacks Israel, and it began doing so immediately after Israel ended its occupation of Gaza.

To suggest that those living in Gaza are the victims of violence that is similar to what was going on in South Africa is to forget one simple, brutal fact: Hamas has been sending missiles into Gaza, sending suicide bombers into Gaza, and doing everything it can to fulfill one of its stated goals: the annihilation of Israel. There was nothing like this happening in South Africa.

Please be sure to print the list of companies to be boycotted; I want to know which companies I need to support.

Gary Scott

Greenville, SC

Jan 8 2009 - 11:09pm

Web Letter

So Israel stops trying to get rid of the people who have been shooting indiscriminately at Israeli citizens from behind the schools, mosques, and hospitals of terrified civilians in Gaza. Then what should Israel do?

Surrender its borders and its citizens to intimidation and attacks? Move somewhere else? Dissolve its sovereignty, and send all the Jews, Christians, Muslims and others who live there off to other lands?

For that matter, then what should the people of Gaza do? Or the Palestinian Authority? And what leverage do you think we might have over that?

Tell me what happens after the shelling stops, Ms. Klein. It's your boycott.

Prove to me that it won't be the same pattern of broken promises we've seen over and over again. While you're at it, make me believe that the people of Gaza will be better off, too.

If it sounds like a legitimate improvement over what we have now, you might get me to agree that it's worthwhile. I'm not closed-minded. But I am cautious.

Kelli Madison

Hayward, CA

Jan 8 2009 - 8:37pm

Web Letter

There is one significant objection to what Naomi Klein is proposing that she did not address: Israel is not the major obstacle to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians; Hamas is.

Let's say that boycotts and sanctions and divestment worked and Israel agreed to a two-state solution and to evacuation of settlements and sharing Jerusalem. My guess is that the next day, Hamas would still be in charge of Gaza and still firing rockets at Israeli population centers.

I suspect this would be the case because, in fact, Israel's last several governments have all supported a two-state solution and the sharing of Jerusalem and even the evacuation of every settler from Gaza. And what has been the Palestinian response? The election of Hamas and the unleashing of barrages of rocket fire.

The truth is that the last time that Israel was the major obstacle to Mideast peace was in 1992 under the Likud Party and Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Shamir and Likud rejected even the concept of land for peace. Then-President George H.W. Bush bravely applied financial sanctions, conditioning loan guarantees on a halt to settlement activity. Israeli voters promptly got the message and elected Labor's Yitzhak Rabin, who paid with his life for negotiating the Oslo Accords and for shaking Yasser Arafat's hand on the White House lawn.

But the Oslo process fell apart for two principal reasons: Palestinian bombings of Israel civilians and Arafat's fateful decision in 2000 to walk away from the negotiating table and open a shooting war with Israel rather than finally concede that the Palestinian "right of return" is a dream that, like "Greater Israel," can never be realized.

Ongoing Israeli settlement activity is and always has been an obstacle to peace. But it is not the principal obstacle. Israeli public opinion polls continue to show what Israel proved in 2005 in Gaza--that Israel is ready, willing and able to evacuate settlements. Sadly, the Palestinians have done everything since that time to support Israeli right-wing arguments that settlement evacuations and military withdrawals are bound to backfire and make Israel less safe.

Tragically, the Palestinians have largely themselves to blame for the current round of violence.

Given this context, how can we expect Naomi Klein's boycotts, sanctions, and divestment to advance the cause of peace when they are aimed at the side that has already proven its willingness to make the painful concessions required?

Matthew Weinstein

Baltimore, MD

Jan 8 2009 - 8:08pm

Web Letter

I am pretty outraged at what's happening in Gaza. There have been other humanitarian crisis around the world recently, such as those in Darfur and Mumbia, but this hits particularly close to home for me for several reasons:

1. My father is Palestinian. So even though I grew up living with my mom, who is Hispanic, I still consider these people being killed in Gaza my people. If most of my family (two of my father's uncles were killed) hadn't been lucky enough to have escaped (leaving their homes and businesses behind) to Kuwait in 1947, they could have been stuck in one of the refugee camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan etc.--many of which have seen conflicts with massive Palestinian civilian casualties. Even in Kuwait, things weren't great for my family. It is a very rich country, but my family was never given citizenship there and was consistently discriminated against. Then when Iraq invaded, they had to flee again; this time to Sweden. Now several of my aunts, uncles and cousins are spread out in Europe, the Mideast and even Asia...

2. The US gives a massive amount of military and financial support to Israel. "Israel receives about $3 billion in direct foreign assistance [from the US] each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America's entire foreign aid budget." (Source: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt). Those planes, bombs, and tanks Israel is using in Gaza are made in the USA. In many minds around the world, the US and Israel are synonymous. Many Muslims and Arabs see this as a continuation of the atrocities carried out in the Crusades. That religious war is spreading. It fuels the tension between Muslims extremists and the West more than most people here in the States realize. If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict didn't exist, I can just about guarantee you 9/11 would not have happened.

3. The Israeli government is run by some real nuts... the only time it wasn't and there was a real prospect for peace, a Zionist extremist assassinated his own prime minister (look up Yitzhak Rabin). Hamas is the first religious Palestinian organization to gain prominence. Fatah, the PLO... they were all secular. If history has taught us anything, religious wars are bad--really bad. And there is a growing danger as the world is becoming more and more religiously polarized. This war can spread. Israel, with its vastly superior military, should be the first to show restraint. Instead it's massacring people in Gaza. When other opposing religious faction gain more military power, such as Iran, will they show restraint or just follow Israel's example. Then if Iran does attack Israel, will the US get involved--who else? This conflict can easily turn into WWIIII. The US should break ties with Israel. There is no benefit to being allied with them.

4. The whole idea of a religious state like Israel is a really, really bad one. Israel should not exist--that doesn't mean Israelis should be exterminated. Instead a secular, diverse country with equal rights for all minorities should exist in the region. Yeah, I know, it's a seemly unachievable utopia, but I really don't see peace coming any other way. Unfortunately, each death in the conflict only deepens the culture of vendetta and it becomes increasingly difficult for either group to ever forgive the other. South Africa is a good example of how peace can be achieved after decades of atrocities. The US should be boycotting and sanctioning an entity like Israel instead of supplying it with weapons.

I don't usually write about this topic, because many American do blindly support Israel and are quick to label me as anti-Semitic for not doing the same. But I have to argue that some of the voices I most agree with come from Israel itself. Obviously, these people aren't anti-Semitic because they are Jewish themselves and they understand the events happening in the region better than any of us here in the States because they are living them.

For example, I've been reading a blog titled The Magnes Zionist, which is penned by an orthodox Jewish studies professor who divides his time between Israel and the US under the nom de plume Jeremiah Haber. His views are fairly well aligned with my own.

I am also eagerly anticipating the wide release of an Israeli movie titled A Waltz with Bashir. It is about an Israeli soldier's lost memories of the senseless violence he experienced during the 1982 Lebanon. During the war an estimated 3,000 Palestinians were massacred in refugee camps, after most of the Palestinian combat fighters had been evacuated to Tunisia per a treaty signed between Israel and Lebanon.

Matthew Falkenberg

Atlanta, GA

Jan 8 2009 - 8:03pm

Web Letter

Ms. Klein certainly has a skewed view of Israel. Perhaps she does not know that the State of Israel was created as a Jewish state. The reasons for it were and are quite clear. I know that it is easy now to dismiss the Holocaust and the slaughter of 6 million. I know that it is easy to forget the constant pogroms against Jews in many countries throughout the world. Perhaps many also forget that the Arab nations were complicit with Hitler. I know that it is now easy to dismiss and forget the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and foregt about the alliance with Germany against the USA, Great Britain, etc. Many of us, however, do not forget.

In 1948, the world finally understood that Jews required a safe haven. As Jews had been persecuted and accused of all kinds of heinous acts (including the blood libels and the Protocols of Zion--still read and published in Arab countries), Jews required a place of their own. So, no, Israel is not South Africa--it was created by the world community. Please stop with the apartheid nonsense. It does no good and it helps no one.

Perhaps you might ask Hamas wheteher a Jew--or a Christian, for that matter--could live in peace in Gaza or in the portions of the West Bank controlled by the Palestinian authority. May a Jew live as an equal citizen in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya? Or live at all in any of those places? Where is your question of apartheid with respect to those countries and territories?

Have you ever read the Hamas Convenant? I suggest that you do and maybe you will note that you call for the boycott of the wrong party to the conflict. Please, do yourself a real objective favor and read it. You may find it illuminating or you may continue your strange belief that Israel should simply stand by and take rocket barrages that destroy schools and other portions of civilian areas that you choose to ignore.

I feel sorry for someone who fails to understand that a sovereign nation owes its citizenry protection from attack. If rockets were raining down on you and your town, do you think that you should just sit there and hope that the rocket attacks stop? Hope that an organization that seeks your complete elimination will come to an understanding, by itself, as it sends rockets in that maybe we should talk peace and compromise with Jews? I think that is a standard that no nation should be held to.

When you find a partner for peace with Israel, please let us know. Israel will be only too happy to live in peace and security. As you know, Israelis would much prefer to spend their time benefitting the world--not in war. So, get your Hamas and Hezbollahs to come to the peace table--then you will have made a real contribution to the humanitarian and peace process. Until you can convince them to cease their desire to destroy Israel, there will be no peace. See what happens if you put the pressure for peace where it really belongs, on Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, and if you can convince them to allow Israel to live in peace and security, see how fast the humanitarian situation will be solved. I am surprised that supposedly intelligent people cannot see that.

Leonard S. Miller

Fair Lawn, NJ

Jan 8 2009 - 6:28pm

Web Letter

Bingo! Why has it taken so long for someone to articulate exactly what is needed? I have been recommending international sanctions against Israel for some time, but my comments are constantly censored because Israel and its supporters (i.e., the American media) do indeed value world opinion.

As an ex-South African, I would say BDS worked there brilliantly. This genocide was rehearsed and trained for during the past eighteen months, and is being used for political purposes to generate votes for the Israeli elections. The United States and Israel are the only countries in the world I know of to wage wars so as to influence political elections. Israel wants the world to consider it as the victim, just as the Holocaust industry was used to be exploited for monetary and political gain.The Jewish Solution for the Nazis has morphed into the Palestinian Solution for the Israelis.

Israel values its PR image throughout the world. That's why the animated propaganda film Waltz With Bashir was made outrageously to coincide with the current Palestinian genocide, to whitewash the conviction of Sharon in the World Court and gain sympathy for Israel. What are we, fools?

The apartheid segregation in the West Bank and Gaza is far worse and far more brutal than that practiced by the Afrikaner government. Israel needs to be isolated and treated as the pariah it is. No travel, no trade, even ignoring Israeli citizens. It worked in South Africa without a drop of blood being shed, and it can work with Israel.

The US won't like it, but it doesn't value human life, just as Israel does not. You saw that in Iraq. Ditto for the Armenian holocaust. The US has become persona non grata anyway, and its irrelevance in the world will only be enhanced by its continued support for these purveyors of genocide and holocaust.

stanley hersh

New York, NY

Jan 8 2009 - 6:19pm

Web Letter

Certainly these activities can have some effect, but historically, Israel has relied on the use of force to obtain its foreign policy goals, and as a country, it has to realize that force alone is not enough. It is possible that Hamas and Hezbollah may teach them that lesson. The IDF may have the firepower to win a tactical "victory," but it does not have the numbers to hold the ground. The rockets will fly again, and the only way to stop them is through diplomacy.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Jan 8 2009 - 5:10pm