2012-06-08 / Letters

Stop Provoking Commentary

Dear Editor,

Your article, “Israel’s Boomerang,” invites – no, let me rephrase that – provokes commentary. This is primarily because of the tone conveyed by your turn (more like a spin) of phrases. Most outstanding of your facile expressions was the reference about how “Israel romped in the Six Day War.” Romped, as we both know, is a word reflecting boisterous play or frolic – “romp” is a far cry from the reality of fighting for your existence, something Israel has to do on a daily basis from its Arab neighbors in particular and the United Nations in general. Fifty-five years ago, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser announced to the world that he would wipe Israel off the map and signed pacts with Egypt’s Arab neighbors to act in concordance. In recent time, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared the same threat, albeit with nuclear weapons. And just for “play or frolic,” let’s not forget the daily rockets being fired at Israel’s communities by the terrorist government from the Gaza Strip.

OK … so much for the infuriating part of your commentary. I get that your objections are aimed at Israel’s political infrastructure and its evolution toward what you call “fascism.” I understand that you draw your parallelism from Hannah Arendt’s thesis: The dangers of a free society succumbing to “Modern racism.” Your implication is that Israel’s free society is being threatened by the orthodox Haredi population’s influence on Israel’s multi political party consensus. One example you give is women and Reform Jews being chased away from the Western Wall. I’ve been to the Western Wall and neither I nor anyone I’ve met who visited there, has ever experienced what you’ve described. By the same token, I’m certainly not denying or excusing the fact that fanatic behavior does take place – but these acts are not the norm. Fanatical behavior is not tolerated by Israeli law. It is punished the same way that we in the United States punish hate-crimes and assaults on civil liberties. It is a fact that Israel’s Supreme Court is one of the busiest in the world. They take practically all cases that want to be trialed – especially the ones where local Arab land claims are concerned. In one recent case, land ownership was granted to an Arab man whose only proof of ownership was his word. In fact, my Israeli relatives’ views are much more liberal than mine – they feel that the Golan Heights should be given back to Syria. Israel is certainly not a state evolving toward fascism.

In your closing statement you mention about worrying that you will be tagged as a self-hating Jew. I hope not … I don’t tag you as such. My sentiments toward you are that you are a well-meaning intellectual who gets his views from the general media, and one with a lack of personal experiences in foreign lands, presently culminating in a naïve outlook toward the future of Israel. I suggest you travel … like a boomerang.

LES GARDONYI

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