Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

How disingenuous and self-righteous Israel is!

Israel wants us to believe that they are being attacked by a sovereign power ruled by an organized government bent on the destruction of of their country. However, their ability to keep the world's press out of Gaza belies the fact that Gaza is nothing but a ghetto constructed and controlled by Israel. If Gaza truly is a sovereign power with the ability to destroy Israel, then I'm sure that the press would have been able to make independent arrangements with them to cover the war on their land.

In the glaring light of their immoral actions, how does Israel explain to the world the fact that three times more Israelis were murdered by fellow Israelis than were killed by terrorists in 2008? Why is Israel "teaching Gaza a lesson," when terrorist deaths in Israel are at the lowest level in years?

Louis Arpino

Knoxville, TN

Jan 10 2009 - 12:24pm

Web Letter

Bravo to [letter writers] Brown, Koch, Hofer and Froelich. It is wonderful to know that there are people who truly understand what is happening in Gaza. They are not taken in by the upside-down opinion pieces of many of your writers or bloggers.

Mr. Scheer suffers a strange paranoia when it comes to the State of Israel. Is a sovereign country that is attacked not entitled to defend itself? Is Israel held to a different standard of behavior? If so, why?

It is my belief that those who take the Scheer position start with a different premise than those of us who believe that Israel, time and again, has taken the moral and correct position in its obligation to protect and defend its citizens from attack. I submit that Scheer and the others who spew their vitriol against Israel start with the premise that Israel should never have been created by the world community in 1948 as a Jewish State. Using that premise as their beginning point what follows is a diatribe about Israel's occupation. (Query, Is the USA an occupier in Texas?)

In any event, Israel has been under attack by one Arab force or another since 1948. Is Israel not entitled to peace and a peace treaty with those who have consistently attacked it before concessions are made (just as is the case with every other country in the world) ?

Yet, Israel, without a peace treaty or a settlement with the Palestinians (previously refugees, mostly from Trans-Jordan, before the 1970s) turned over Gaza, complete with an infrastructure that included greenhouses for flowers that supplied most of the World, irrigation systems and the like. Israel left the Palestinians a land where they could build upon an economy created by the Israelis who were forced from their homes by the Israeli government. Instead of moving forward, the Palestinians moved backward and launched attacks on Israel. Morality?

I suggest to Mr. Scheer and all those who believe that Israel is so morally bankrupt that they read the Hamas Covenant (basically their charter). Perhaps they might begin to understand the organization that Israel is dealing with. They might rethink their "moral" positioning when they read the portions that demand the complete destruction and killing of the Jews.

War is a shame and a disgrace. It is not what most of us who are peace-loving want to see. No one wants to see civilians killed, and that includes the killing or attempted killing of Jews and Israelis. Israel, as any objective observer sees, desires peace. They need a partner that truly wants peace. When that partner is found, peace will come swiftly. So if Mr. Scheer adjusts his moral compass and pressures those who attack Israel to come to the table, we will reach a peaceful solution. The problem lies in the fact that Hamas, Hezbollah and those countries that support them lost their moral compass. Mr. Scheer, help them to retrieve it, and you will begin the solution.

Leonard S. Miller

Fair Lawn, NJ

Jan 9 2009 - 1:03pm

Web Letter

Where are the outraged voices of American Jews who on every other issue identify themselves as progressives--but here align their views with the religious reactionaries of the right embracing end-times scenarios or Likud allied neocon war mongers?

Hello??? I can't hear you. Is the silence due to tribal allegiance above all things and fears of being ostricized and branded as a "self-hating Jew"? Silence is complicity. Is it denial and moral blindness due to life-long indoctrination into Jewish victimization and the symbolism of Israel as the promised land?

I have to tell you that the tide is turning. The carefully manufactured talking points echoed in the MSM and promoted by the Israeli-occupied territory of the US Congress is starting to cause unrest outside of the Beltway. There are murmurs of resentment that any criticism of ongoing brutality is shouted down with the anti-Semite charge. People are becoming aware that unlike in the rest of the world, our discussion of this subject is censored. The information is starting to leak out and people to more become aware in a time of growing want that Israel takes the lion's share of US foreign aid. Yesterday, someone online asked the question on the minds of many: Is it only Jewish voices championing Israel as always right? The perception that Jews deny the humanity of the Palestinians--like the Nazis denied the humanity of the Jews--is being questioned, along with the demonization of every Arab as a terrorist, justifying their slaughter. People notice the same taking points being repeated by Jews, as if they were distributed at every synagogue like marching orders.

Don't think we don't notice your lies, your deflections, your denials, your excuses and rationalizations, your justifications for war crimes, your cries of victimization and charges of anti-Semitism? Don't you think people will start to resent the news blackout--the lack of context in never mentioning the occupation--the collective punishment of a people that had nothing to do with the Holocaust? People wonder if "never again" is for Jews only. People notice parallels between the Nazis and racism of Zionism. The Nazis denied the existence of the camps, the Isralis deny any humanitarian catastrophe.

There is a dark cloud gathering on the horizon. When the day of reckoning comes--and sooner or later it will come--will you like the "good Germans" say, "We didn't know"?

Raphaelle del Vecchio

Trenton, NJ

Jan 8 2009 - 11:44am

Web Letter

Scheer asks what I believe is the question: "How do we respond to our dead?"

Take a quick look at New York. Dems there are in need of a representative in Congress, a senator. Caroline Kennedy's name is mentioned. What, we ask, does Kennedy know of war?

For us to know the first thing about Kennedy's knowledge and competence, it's necessary either that Kennedy's offspring have been raised to be serving in the US military or else that she herself can produce evidence of a history of her speaking out against the war, preferably since the inception of it.

When it comes to war--and 5,000 dead US soldiers should inform a moron that it has come to that--the question isn't how nice a person can be (and, rather, is how nasty).

cameron jones

Indiana, PA

Jan 8 2009 - 8:12am

Web Letter

Thank you for the enlightening article. The mainstream media has been doing a horrible job at presenting a balanced view of this conflict. I've had to rely on foreign media to get the other side's viewpoint. Seeing this here in America is encouraging. Thanks again!

Mike Weldon

Sherwood, AR

Jan 8 2009 - 12:41am

Web Letter

The problem, Mr. Scheer, is that we're just a tad too busy to worry about a few Palestinians. We've just finished slaughtering perhaps a million Iraqis, we're getting ready to get serious about killing lots more Afghanis, and we're contemplating lethal sorties against the Iranians. With war criminals in the executive and legislative branches of the US government, with a national press playing three monkeys (hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil), with a general public wondering where the next job is coming from, with the national treasury ripped off and given to the wealthy few with political connections as the economy goes tits up, with the global warming phenomenon passing the tipping point, with the nuclear nations India and Pakistan on high alert, with the US Constitution in tatters and civil rights eroded, with Big Brother spying on law abiding citizens, and Alice lost in Wonderland, we just don't have the time for compassion and morality. Sorry.

Dennis St. John

Big Timber, MT

Jan 7 2009 - 7:44pm

Web Letter

There are three faulty assumptions in Scheer's article, which undermine its purpose and effect.

First, Scheer assumes the current conflict in Gaza is strictly between Hamas and Israel. It's not. Hamas is a creature of Iran (and Syria) and in fact is serving as Iran's proxy in a larger geopolitical struggle, pitting Islamofascism against Western-style democracy. Although it's true that Hamas by itself doesn't threaten the Israeli state, Hamas is acting on behalf of Iran, which, as a potential nuclear power, poses a huge threat to Israel that can be deemed "existential."

Second, Scheer assumes that winning elections somehow legitimizes Hamas. It doesn't. Hamas has used its electoral mandate in a patently damaging way, choosing to support war-making rather than nation-building. Elections are a means to an end for Hamas, that end being the imposition of a medieval theocracy. Indeed, Hamas recently implemented Sharia law in Gaza, instituting such barbaric punishments as stoning and crucifixion. Hitler, too, won a national election in 1933; nobody defends his later actions as "legitimate."

Third, Scheer assumes that terrorists in Gaza today are tomorrow's statesmen. They're not. This might be true if Hamas were capable of acknowledging its opponents' legitimate interests, recognizing its opponents' humanity, and engaging in the inevitable give-and-take essential to diplomacy. However, Hamas's founding charter explicitly states its commitment to Israel's destruction. It has consistently refused to compromise on any issue. It won't even refer to Israel by its name in its public statements, but only as "the Zionist entity." Think about Kennedy's deal with Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis: we'll take our missiles out of Turkey if you take yours out of Cuba. Hamas cannot conceive of such a bargain.

As I've pointed out elsewhere, America's opinion leaders side with Israel because, quite simply, Israel shares America's interests and values and serves as America's Middle East bulwark in the global struggle against Islamofascism, a movement that seeks nothing less than world domination.

Tim W. Brown

Dobbs Ferry, NY

Jan 7 2009 - 1:22pm

Web Letter

When Islamic terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans on 9/11, would it have been wrong if we went after them to kill 25,000 of them? It is the responsibility of every government to do whatever it has to do to protect its citizens. The threat to the population must be eliminated.

Here are the facts: Israel withdrew every settler and every soldier from Gaza in 2005. Hamas is not only sworn to the destruction of the State of Israel but has announced that it would not honor any agreements Israel had signed with Arafat and Mohammed Abbas. That, my friends, is a state of war. Hamas has launched 6,200 rockets against Israeli homes, schools, hospitals, restaurants and marketplaces the past three years.

When Britain and America attacked Germany in World War II, their target was the German army but we destroyed entire cities and bombed entire cities. The entire country of Germany was reduced to rubble. Despite the fact that Gaza is the most densely populated land in the world, Israel sent its aircraft in hundreds of sorties and killed 600 people, of which 80 percent were terrorists. Of course any civilian death is a tragedy, but what other country in the world would take the same care Israel did in doing everything humanly possible to avoid civilian casualties?

I read the postings the past few days and it seems as though some misinformed people think the rockets that Hamas is lobbing at Israel are just a nuisance and that they cannot kill and maim. If you feel that way, then I hope you would not mind if 6,200 rockets are launched at New York City from Jersey City, New Jersey, at your homes, your kids' schools, and where you work. Let's see how much of a "nuisance" you think that is.

No country in the world can sit idly by when terrorists threaten their citizens with rocket attacks. The terrorists in Hamas, Hezbollah and AL Qaeda are one and the same. They hide behind innocent civilians because they know that the West is worried about going after them and harming innocent people. Israel, like any other country in the world, had no choice. They had to stop rockets and the murder and maiming of its people. There is no such thing as proportionality in war. Evil must be defeated, and it is never a situation where a one-to-one ratio can ever be achieved between the terrorists and the innocents they are murdering.

The left wing around the world still does not get it. You cannot negotiate anything except your surrender with the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah, or Al Qaeda. You could not with Hitler either. When you have groups that delight in the murder of your children, you must do everything in your power to totally eliminate the threat they pose. You cannot negotiate with people who are sworn to your destruction and who dance in the streets and pass out candy when they blow up busses and restaurants and shopping malls like Hamas does. Like it or not, Israel had no other choice and it did what it could to protect its citizens. Some Americans may complain, but if terrorists took over Mexico or Canada and 6,200 rockets rained down on our schools, homes and hospitals, I dare say that the American people would not be criticizing our government the way they are going after Israel, a country the size of the state of New Jersey, for protecting its citizens.

Mark Jeffery Koch

Cherry Hill, NJ

Jan 7 2009 - 1:02pm

Web Letter

Robert Scheer in "Moral Blindness" is factually blind. I am not about to list all of his inexplicable controversions of the truth, but to say that the so-called "Palestinians" (of which there were none in 1948) did not join in the war against Israel's establishment by the UN is a big fat one.

To the point, Israel is not being morally blind but morally correct in its efforts, now underway, to find Hamas militants and destroy or capture them. That they embed themselves in their own population and are sheltered and protected by them is not Israel's fault. Neither can it be a barrier to Israel's pursuit of these criminals. Those who shelter and support criminals expose themselves to punishment and deserve it. It is Israel's moral obligation to give them that punishment.

Alvin D. Hofer

Saint Petersburg, DL

Jan 7 2009 - 1:01pm

Web Letter

Asking about Hamas's current strength is like the many who dismissed Hitler in 1930 or even 1934. It is now obvious that Israel's problem is that Hamas does not want peace!

This leads to a certin fatigue in dealing with the problem. How do you negotiate with a faction whose single real demand is that they want to kill you?

I find this article's viewpoint naïve and childish! We are used to a more coherent level of writing in The Nation. This is disappointing.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Jan 7 2009 - 12:46pm