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Letters Week of May 16, 2011
Fatah-Hamas Unity Means the Worst for Israel
While the Jewish Exponent published a JTA story contending that "skeptics and optimists in Israel are squaring off" over how to respond to rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah (Israel & Mideast: "Palestinian Unity: Go for Broke or Shun It?" May 5), the debate is more accurately characterized as between realists and the delusional.
So-called moderates in Fatah, including Mahmoud Abbas, refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, insist that no Jews remain in any future Palestine, and demand that under a peace agreement Arabs claiming to be descended from those who left Israel be allowed to move -- not to Palestine, but to Israel.
Iranian proxy Hamas turned Gaza into a violent base for waging war after a brutal takeover that included pushing hands-bound Fatah supporters to their deaths from rooftops. Both consider all of Israel "occupied territory" and demand Israel withdraw to the indefensible 1948 armistice lines.
Israel's realists know that the goal of the Fatah-Hamas agreement is not to foster peace, but to facilitate Israel's destruction. Only the willfully delusional could believe that, after more than six decades of spurned serious peace offers from Israeli governments across the political spectrum, the Egyptian-brokered Fatah-Hamas agreement means a viable solution is closer not further away.
John R. Cohn
Killing of Bin Laden Had Little to Do With Justice
Tzedek, tzedek tirdof ("Justice, Justice pursue") has nothing to do with the killing of Osama bin Laden (Cover story: "Justice, Justice Have They Pursued?" May 5). A tenet of Jewish religion states simply: Haba lehorgecha hashkem lehorgo ("One who comes to kill you, kill him first").
Osama bin Laden was still a leader of an Islamic terror group and so, according to Jewish law, justice is not for him. He should have been killed before he killed anyone else.
I know well-meaning U.S. Jews who voted for Barack Obama will feel ill reading this because it doesn't fit their invented Jewish religion. Killing bin Laden has nothing to do with justice, but with the prevention of more innocent blood being shed if this monster had been permitted to live. Obama was just plain lucky that this murderer was found during his watch. Any other president would have ordered the same.
If anyone deserves a "thank you," it is the Navy Seals who risked their lives in doing such a great service to humanity.
Two Articles Thoughtfully Considered Bin Laden
I enjoyed reading both of Bryan Schwartzman's articles in the May 5 Jewish Exponent.
Osama bin Laden's killing was the subject of a recent d'var Torah at Germantown Jewish Centre (Cover story: "Justice, Justice Have They Pursued?").
The member who spoke concluded that this was not an assassination, which was what some said, but rather part of an ongoing war, and so completely appropriate and just. I certainly agree with that, which was also the conclusion of Schwartzman's article.
I was also impressed with the piece about his late cousin, Larry (City & Suburb: "One Very Public Death Summons Up Another"). It is wonderful that Schwartzman was able to memorialize him in this public setting and help keep his memory for a blessing.
Can't We All Get Together and Save the Stiffel?
In a period where social services are being frequently questioned for their utility, isn't it a pity that a program like the Stiffel Center, which we all agree is both highly useful and cost-effective, is on the chopping block (Cover story: "Changes in the City Landscape," April 28)?
A program that brings people together from diverse backgrounds and helps them live independent lives -- isn't this what Jewish and public policy should actually be supporting?
Surely in this city, we can convene leaders and community members, from both the strong Jewish and public sectors, to see how the program and its members can be saved.
Neil B. Kauffman