Letters to the editor: June 11


Hamas aggression v. Israel’s self-defense

Thank you for Ben Sales’ article (“All about the Iron Dome,” May 21) in which the writer claims first, that the system “has fundamentally changed how [Israel’s] wars are fought.”

Lest we conclude otherwise, Israel’s “wars,” indeed, have been defensive ones, with precise attacks on military facilities and carefully selected targets, often preceded by evacuation warnings to avoid civilian casualties. Regardless, Mr. Sales reminds us that critics of Israel still accuse her of targeting civilians in her strikes.

Also, he states that “Gaza residents have no such protection from Israeli airstrikes.” Isn’t it obvious that if the Palestinians stopped bombing Israel, there’d be no retaliatory airstrikes, and thus, no casualties or need for protective technology?

A subheading reads, “Gaza does not have an equivalent system for its population,” wherein it claims a “disparity in the fighting.” My response to that is the prosaic, oft-heard statement: If the Palestinians would lay down their weapons, there’d be no wars; there’d be no talk of an “unjust divide.”

There is no moral equivalency in this conflict. There is no equating Hamas’ aggression with Israel’s targeted self-defense. For the thousands of rockets that got into Israel this time, I say, thank G-d for the Iron Dome, which intercepts 90% of them.

If you’re looking for a cause for the extreme outbreak (like the canceled Palestinian Authority elections, or the Sheikh Jarrah controversy, or the P.A.’s Martyrs Fund) you may want to ask: Before 1967 or even 1948, did the Arabs ever need more than a pretext to attack their Jewish neighbors?

Sylvia Pardes



How your editorial should have gone

Your otherwise fine editorial (“Biden’s Middle East opportunity,” May 28) went off course at the end by putting the onus on Israel for improvement of peace prospects rather than on the obvious Palestinian Arab aggressors, especially Hamas. I believe the editorial should have concluded as follows:

“With the influence Biden gains with Palestinians by offering to help rebuild Gaza, he should make that aid, other promised assistance and the projected reopening of the U. S. Consulate in eastern Jerusalem contingent on targeted yet meaningful changes by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to address some of the issues causing great consternation to Jews and Arabs suffering from Palestinian terrorism, Hamas’ graft and its military assaults.

“Clearly, a negotiated final settlement of the conflict is not in the cards now. But to lower the temperature in the region, impress U.S. and world public opinion, and encourage American diplomatic efforts, Biden should tell Hamas and the Palestinian Authority they need to take the following steps: end endemic corruption, have their schools teach peace with Israel rather than jihad against it, form a unified Palestinian political body that will make and keep commitments and publicly accept peaceful negotiations as the right way to end this conflict.

“Joe Biden was built to calm things down. He has achieved this in America, and with the right policies, can do so in the Middle East.

“No one is asking the Palestinians to forego their historical narrative, if they insist on keeping it. Many Americans still believe in the “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy. Yet Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, etc., remain part of the United States.”

Jerry Levin



Where was this rhetoric before?

While the typical reader would have applauded the JT editorial staff for its recent piece, “Biden’s Middle East opportunity” (May 28), it seems a bit disingenuous. Not so long ago, the staff wouldn’t dream of saying such things against the liberal politicians elected to office, even our fellow Jew-hating Sen. Bernie Sanders. But that was while Trump was in office. During four years of being single focused on criticizing the president, his party and everything they stood for including very pro-Israel policy, such an article would never have run. Now that Biden is in office, the editorial staff seems to be a little more willing to appear centrist, criticizing Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Where was the JT on such anti-Israel rhetoric coming from the left six months ago? Or better said for the last four years? I guess it did not fit the narrative at the time.

Seth Cohen



Jewish representation in the military

I served from 1984 to 1990, military intelligence (“War stories: American Jews’ history of military service,” May 28). I was, literally, the only Jewish man in basic training; advanced training and my guard unit, the 158th Cavalry 29th Light Division here at home in Maryland. I entered the Army when I was 28 years old. Crazy, where were all the Jews when I was in it?

Mark J. Gross


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