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Letters Week of Aug. 10, 2011
Letter Writer's Argument Is Anything But 'Easy'
In his Aug. 4 letter, "Supporting Israel: It's in America's Best Interest," Robert M. Rubin remarks that he has made "an easy argument." His assurance deflects attention from a narrow assumption about what support for Israel means.
It is accurate that President Barack Obama has "undercut Israel on multiple occasions" -- but only if we regard Israel and the right-wing coalition government of Prime Minister Netanyahu as one and the same.
For American Zionists, it is intellectually "easy" to mistake "support" for Israel with trusting the policies of the current government. Our commitment to Israel requires a rigorous engagement with the challenges and multiple political paths available to Israel.
I fear for the longevity of the Jewish state, especially as long as there is insufficient grappling and intra-communal dialogue about ideologies and policies that many Israelis find morally repellent. Together, we should discuss the complicated realities of Israel.
Zionists should recognize Israel's political diversity and embark upon a journey of learning, questioning and bearing responsibility for the challenges of Israel's history and its present complexity.
If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
Sari Nusseibeh is a moderate, possibly one of a dozen in the Palestinian Authority, (City & Suburb: "Palestinian Calls for a 'Federation' Solution to Middle East Stalemate," Aug. 11). The latest poll shows that Palestinians prefer one state, and an Islamic one at that, and that it's good to kill Jews.
But let's contrast Nusseibeh's dream with the reality graphically explained by none other than Yasser Arafat in a mosque in South Africa after he signed the Oslo agreements, which everybody thought was the beginning of total peace.
To calm congregants, Arafat explained why he signed the agreements "with the Jews": "It is like Mohammed's agreements with the Jews of Arabia."
The congregants understood immediately and calmed down: After finishing his conquest of Arabia, Mohammed returned and slaughtered all the Jews. This is the road map explained by Arafat that Jews should fear every time they make any agreements with the P.A.
If it sounds too good to be true, it is. The French have a saying that goes like this: A scolded cat fears cold water. Israel has been scolded too many times by the PLO; and anyway, Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish nation and no one has the right to give it away, particularly not after so much Israeli blood was shed to reunite it.
Yes, the President Should Put U.S. Interests First
A recent letter writer, obviously no fan of President Barack Obama, took me to task for supporting the president's obligation to the United States (Letters: "Supporting Israel: It's in America's Best Interest," Aug. 4).
I reread what I wrote and can find no evidence indicating I was anti-Israel or that the United States should not support Israel. In fact, I wrote: "My sympathies lie with Israel."
What seems to bother the letter writer -- and some others I've spoken with -- is that I had the audacity to refer to Israel as a foreign country. If someone will give me a better definition, I am open to suggestions.
The United States should put its interests first. It has been my experience that friends can disagree, even violently, and still remain friends. Although I believe Israel is capable of taking care of itself, it does rely, to some extent, on our assistance, which amounts to approximately $3 billion a year. It is money well spent because we rely on Israel to promote our interests in the Mideast.
I will or will not vote for President Obama based on the state of the economy, foreign policy issues and other political considerations. And to answer the letter writer's final question: Yes, I think it is in the best interest of this country to support a president who puts the United States first and, when necessary, ignore special interest groups. Voters who disagree have an obligation every four years to rectify the situation.
Ralph D. Bloch