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Jewish Journal

War and Peace, Letter On Gaza

January 15, 2009 | 4:35 am

War and Peace

David Suissa offered some compelling thoughts in “Can War Bring Peace” (Jan. 9), including how supporters of Israel may all want peace, yet differ on the path to take toward that goal.

We, who represent organizations that are directly linked to the Israel peace camp or are supportive of its overarching principles, fully agree. We claim no monopoly among our fellow supporters of Israel on the desire for peace, nor would we be pleased to have one.

Unfortunately, Suissa relegates pursuing peace to the backseat, if not stuffed in the trunk, so long as there is a threat to Israel in the form of a missile that could hit a high-level strategic target or densely populated area. When has there not been such a time?

Even the countries that have peace agreements with Israel (Egypt and Jordan) have the technical capacity to do this level of damage, yet with negotiated agreements and Israel maintaining a sufficient level of deterrence, these threats are rendered impotent. Israel has the right to protect her citizens, but by asserting that a missile threat must be defended against as if it were a matter of Israel’s survival, Suissa dooms the prospect of long-term security for Israel, even without the firing of a single rocket.

Israel must be mindful at all times both of her enemies and their capacity for doing harm, as well as the delicate balance of calibrating the use of military force and political acumen to move toward a lasting resolution of the conflict, rather than push it further away.

This is where belonging to the Israel peace camp is qualitatively different from simply holding a heartfelt desire that Israel be at peace. We know that Israel has enemies, but we also know that Israel has made peace agreements with her neighbors, and can and must for her survival. War is not always a necessity and, in fact, threatens the kind of peace and security for Israel that we all desire.

Arthur Stern, Regional Chair
Americans for Peace Now
David Pine, Regional Director
Americans for Peace Now
Eric Gordon, Director
Arbeter Ring (Workmen’s Circle) Southern California District
Allison Lattman, Los Angeles Chapter Co-Chair
Brit Tzedek v’Shalom
Yael Samuel, Los Angeles Chapter Co-Chair
Brit Tzedek v’Shalom
Ellen Aaronson-Prince, Los Angeles Regional Director
New Israel Fund
Jaime Rapaport, Regional Director
Progressive Jewish Alliance


Gaza Coverage

What a fascinating issue (Jan. 9). In the first three pages, intelligent and thoughtful ways to think about what is happening in Gaza. And what a pleasure to finally learn the origin of “Eyeless in Gaza.”

But I also think something is missing. The context in which this is happening: the impending inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. I recall during the campaign worrying about the possibility that Israel, with some reason not to be sure of the president-elect’s real attitude toward the Middle East conflict, might be tempted to attack Iran’s nuclear sites while the stalwart President Bush was still in office. It occurs to me now that we should think of the possibility that in attacking Hamas in Gaza, Israel is fighting a proxy war with Iran.

That does seem to me to bring some clarity to the issue. Isn’t it far better that Israel fight Hamas to defeat (and not to a cease-fire) rather than attack Iran directly?

Carolyn Kunin
Pasadena


Letter on Gaza

Rabbi Beerman and his illustrious cadre of intellectuals came up with a brilliant thought-provoking set of ideas to solve the Gaza crisis (“Situation in Gaza,” Letters, Jan. 9).

Perhaps the words of the Jewish prophets sum it up best: “Woe unto those that call evil good and good evil…. ”

Richard Friedman
Venice

I write to express my astonishment at a lengthy letter by Rabbi Leonard Beerman and others concerning the fighting in Gaza (“Situation in Gaza,” Letter, Jan. 9).

Beerman and company insist on (1) an end to attacks by Israel; (2) an end to attacks by Hamas; (3) leaders on both sides pursuing peace; (4) all sides abiding by international law; (5) that the incoming Obama Administration push the warring parties “beyond the cycle of violence and bloodletting.” Worthy goals.

But as to objectives 2, 3 and 4, what if our friends in Hamas don’t comply?

Imagine if it were 1941, when German and British aircraft attacked each other’s cities, and well-meaning people like the writers of the Beerman letter made similar demands. I ask those writers to ponder: What if the peace-loving, reasonable people of Hamas and its ilk (including its suppliers in Iran, Syria, et al.) reject your demands?

Chaim Sisman
Los Angeles

Perhaps if Rabbi Seidler-Feller, professor David Meyers, et al., would come to some of the rallies in support of Israel, feel the hatred emanating from the Hamas supporters and hear their chants of long live Hitler, Jews to the ovens and no more Israel, they might wake up to reality.

Reading the Hamas charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel and a Judenrein Middle East, might also open their eyes, as would a few days running for shelter in Sderot.

Sophia Felsenfeld
Sherman Oaks

I rather doubt there are many Hamas members that are regular subscribers to The Jewish Journal. So who is the letter by Leonard Beerman, et al., directed at? Of course the letter is not directed at Hamas and Israel; it is directed at just Israel and the political leaders in the United States.

It is unbelievable that at this time of crisis, when brave Israeli soldiers are risking their lives after of years of rocket attacks by one of the cruelest groups on the planet, that there are naive Jews who would give strength and comfort to sworn enemies of the Jewish people and weaken Israel’s brave effort.

William Azerrad
Los Angeles

I am old enough to have lived through WWII and have had five European relatives murdered by the Nazis. Hitler called for the elimination of Jews. Hamas’ charter calls for the elimination of Israel (Jews).

Thank God the “Greatest Generation” understood the true intent of the Nazis. There are 6 million reasons why your “moral equivalence” letter content won’t work.

Daniel Langbaum
Los Angeles

Eighteen people signed a letter to the editor regarding the current war between Hamas and Israel that was highly critical of Israel and attempted to morally equate both sides. I would like to see a copy of their letter with similar demands made any time in the last three years calling on Hamas to cease firing rockets at Israeli civilian targets. I would like to know if this letter was submitted to a Jewish newspaper anywhere in the world or to any newspaper in the Arab world.

Ken Bendik
Los Angeles

I disagree with my friends who signed on to the “Situation in Gaza” letter.

Israel’s actions will produce results. Consider this. While thousands of rockets have been launched from Gaza in the last couple of years, virtually none have been fired from Lebanon.

William Elperin
President, The 1939 Club

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