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Letters week of August 17, 2006
Bush Doctrine: Terrible for Israel and the Jews
In a recent column, Jonathan Tobin wonders how it's possible that some American Jews do not regard President Bush's unflagging support of Israel as a good thing (A Matter of Opinion: "The American Dog Didn't Bark," Aug. 3).
He cites what most people agree was a failure by the Clinton administration to "solve" the Middle East problem as proof that the Bush doctrine, including the botched occupation and attempt at democratization of Iraq (while simultaneously demonizing countries like Iran and Syria), is working.
Here is how it's possible: Bush's unflagging support of Israel and unwillingness to engage all of the necessary parties is actually terrible for Israel and terrible for the Jews.
Even ignoring the fact that many Israeli and Lebanese civilians are being killed, displaced and maimed by the current conflict, just like Clinton's policies ultimately didn't change things, Bush's "support" has at least indirectly led to Israel being itself under attack on two fronts. The Middle East is more unstable than it has been in more than 20 years, while anti-American and anti-Semitic sentiments are growing at an alarming rate.
An error in Tobin's piece is his assumption that there is no alternative to Clinton's mollycoddling except for Bush's hands-off policies. Where does this argument go? Does he see this conflagration as a precursor to military strikes out of Israel against Iran and Syria? Does he really believe that would be good for Israel, for the Jews and for humanity?
Bush: Good for Israel, but Bad for America
Jonathan Tobin's column, "The American Dog Didn't Bark" (A Matter of Opinion, Aug. 3), rightly gives the president credit for not interfering in Israel's attempts to secure its borders. He takes many American Jews to task for not supporting President Bush, even going so far as to pull out that old "Bush-hater" line.
Most American Jews have split allegiances. Some are Jews first and Americans second. Most of us are Americans and Jews simultaneously.
We applaud the president for his stand with Israel. But we deplore the president for his stands against the great body of the American people.
American Jews have a strong sense of social conscience instilled in us by our mothers and fathers. Among other things, his tax cuts are geared to the most wealthy, least needy of our citizens. He has made governmental decisions for all of the people based on his own religious beliefs.
That's why he doesn't have my stamp of approval.
Bush's Courageous Stand Deserves Recognition
In contrast to the encouragement and actions of President George W. Bush, we may recall the first George Bush's secretary of state, James Baker, and his vulgar remark about Jews, followed by "they don't vote for us anyway." There was also President Clinton's pandering to the corrupt terrorist Yasser Arafat, which brought on a vicious intifada.
The courage of the current President Bush, which is rightly praised in Jonathan Tobin's column (A Matter of Opinion: "The American Dog Didn't Bark," Aug. 3), should not be forgotten. He would not meet with Arafat, and his support of Israel has always been strong.
Jewish groups should understand that we are seeing the rise of an Islamic version of Nazism.
Only this time, our brave Israel Defense Force is protecting the Jewish nation, while our brave American armed forces are fighting the same Islamo-fascists elsewhere in the Middle East.
Put the Blame Where It Belongs: On the Terrorists
What excellent control Leonard Fein has of semantics! (Opinions: "Thank Bush for Backing Israel? It's His Fault We're in This Fix!", Aug. 3).
But let's examine just how he maneuvers to try to blame Bush for everything except original sin.
What is Fein really trying to say? That if the United States had not gone to war with Iraq and had tried to be nicer to Iran and Syria, Hezbollah would not have crossed the Israeli border, and killed and kidnapped Israeli soldiers? If Bush had given even more support to Abbas, would Hamas have won the Palestinian Authority election? If Bush had tried to pressure Israel into making more concessions to Hamas and Hezbollah, then the outrages against Israeli sovereignty would not have occurred?
Fein's recommendation of appeasement cannot change the fact that Hamas has never varied from its cardinal principle of "We will not rest until Israel is destroyed and the last Jew on Earth is dead."
Our enemies mean what they say. The sooner Fein and his ilk face this reality, the better for us and for the world.
Lewis B. Dashe
Zionist Organization of America
Peaceniks Need Wake-Up Call on Reality of Terror
Members of "Bubbes & Zaydes for Peace in the Middle East" wrote to say that Israel ignores the Geneva Conventions in its occupation of Gaza and the West Bank (Letters: "Hope of Israel's Birth Tarnished by Occupation," July 20).
The convention's purpose was to prevent mass deportations of innocent civilians to slave-labor and concentration camps; Israel certainly does not do this. The "occupation," a term repeated over and over by those in "peace" groups, does not apply to the present crisis, which was initiated in lands not under occupation.
These peace organizations have very selective memories, and are ignorant of the history of Israel and the wars it has been dragged into since 1948. They overlook the actions of the terrorist groups whose ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel and, indeed, of all Jews.
I am also a bubbe, and my anger at the Jewish "peace" groups is boiling over. Where is their anger at those who seek to destroy Israel and Jews? Are they unable to realize that they, too, are the targets of these terrorists? And will it be too late before they wake up to the reality of the situation?
Dr. Selma K. Brandow
Camp Hill, Pa.