Readers discuss Israel, the Gaza war and religious liberty.
Israel Shouldn’t Shirk Its Responsibilities
You say that, “It remains very disconcerting that the Jewish state has a world of enemies beholden to the same tired tropes of blaming the Jews for the misery in the Middle East” (“The Human Rights Smoke Screen,” April 7). There is much truth to this assertion.
After all, the Arabs, especially Arab leaders, have done virtually nothing for 70 years to aid in the peace process, a fact which many of your readers have repeatedly pointed out. In fact, Arab leaders to this day continue on a path of destruction and misery in the Middle East. They have made their own people far more miserable than Israel and the United States could ever do.
But Israel feeds the fire of its enemies in at least two ways. First, the settlements. And second, by demanding peace on its terms and no one else’s. Wanting peace on your terms is tantamount to not wanting peace at all. It certainly will not contribute to the peace effort.
When will it end, you ask? It will not end until Israeli leaders truly want it to end. The ball is in their court. Why? Because the world rightfully expects far better behavior from Israel than we could ever expect from its Arab neighbors. We are supposed to be God’s chosen people. It is time for Israel and all Jews to live up to what we claim to be.
Frank L. Friedman | Professor Emeritus, Temple University
Disproportionate Force Is a Good Thing
Bernie Sanders and others accuse Israel of having used “disproportionate force” during the Gaza war of 2014 (“Bernie Sanders and Israel’s ‘Disproportionate’ Use of Force,” April 19). Whether the number of missiles fired by Israel during that war was disproportionate compared to the number of missiles fired by Hamas and its terrorist colleagues before and during that war is an open question, but it is undoubtedly true that the effectiveness of those missiles and the resulting relative numbers of people killed and injured were, in fact, disproportionate.
Tragically, most of the Palestinian victims in Gaza were civilians, but the ultimate responsibility for those deaths and injuries lies with Hamas, which repeatedly used Palestinian civilians as human shields.
Like it or not, the threat of future use of disproportionate force is the most effective way of achieving deterrence and, unfortunately, the only way for Israel to establish that threat as credible is to exercise disproportionate force when faced with actual enemy aggression.
Steve Mendelsohn | Penn Valley
Religious Liberty for All Kosher Butchers
I respectfully disagree with your editorial about religious liberty (“It Is Bigotry, Not Religious Freedom,” April 14).
If kosher butchers are free to refuse to sell non-kosher products, then Christians must be free to refuse to provide services to same-sex weddings if it goes against their beliefs.
If a law is passed requiring the owner of a private business to provide services for a same-sex wedding that he or she believes is a sin, then a law can be passed requiring a kosher butcher to sell non-kosher products.
Fair is fair. Private business owners have the right to follow their religious beliefs.
I am a U.S. Army veteran, and I am honestly ashamed of the direction my country has taken.
Rosalyn (Lyn) Linker | Springfield