January 30, 2009

Letters

Published January 21, 2009, issue of January 30, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Emulating Iran?

It is a sad commentary that Israel would imitate the Islamic Republic of Iran in disqualifying political parties from coming elections (“Citing Disloyalty, Knesset Bans Main Arab Parties From Elections,” January 30).

It was once a point of pride that Israel included Arab parties in the Knesset. It is in the present day an embarrassment that it would so limit the participation of its Arab citizens.

Ben Burrows
Elkins Park, Pa.


Wrong Yardstick for Measuring Gaza Toll

Your January 16 editorial “Grasping Gaza” sickeningly implied that the civilian death toll in Gaza was not so bad because whatever it was (estimates vary), the civilian death tolls in America’s Iraq War and in Russia’s Chechnya wars (67% and 80% of total deaths respectively) were much worse.

Then, in an editorial the following week, you again suggested that the proper “yardstick” for civilian deaths is to compare Gaza to Chechnya, Iraq and “other recent wars,” where, citing a United Nations report, you wrote that “civilian tolls can reach 90%.” (“Numbering The Dead,” January 23).

The civilian deaths in those “other wars” — the product, in substantial part, of war crimes — is not a proper yardstick.  The proper measure is international humanitarian law and simple morality.

Kathleen Peratis
New York, N.Y.

Kathleen Peratis is a member of the Forward Association.


So you say that “every civilian death is horrific,” but you ask: “Given that any war causes some civilian deaths, how many are ‘justifiable’?” I assume that you are replying to those throughout the world — including many Jews — who are condemning what they see as Israel’s disproportionate answer, even if in self-defense, to the real or perceived threat of Hamas. These voices note the magnitude of the destruction, the targets (government buildings, hospitals, schools) and the high number of deaths in Gaza (a ratio of 100-to-1 throughout this war) — including hundreds of women and children — caused by Israel’s bombardments and military incursions.

Consider the following: What if 1,300 Jews were killed in fewer than three weeks by warring Arab states or by an Iranian attack, in response to a real or perceived threat? What if the attackers claimed that universities, schools, government buildings and hospitals were legitimate targets, given that they provide logistical support to or even hide the enemy? How would you to determine the “justifiable” number of Israeli civilian casualties? And what if the dead were all soldiers or reservists? Would these 1,300 Israeli deaths be “justifiable” for you?

As I read your January 23 editorial, I wonder whether Israel will ever recover her senses, if not some amount of basic human decency. As a Jewish American, I am doubly disgusted, grief-stricken and ashamed that my taxes have financed Israel’s attack on Gaza. As of now, never again will it be Hamas or anybody else that endangers Israel’s right to exist. It will be Israel’s own behavior, and that of those Jews throughout the world who have remained silent vis-à-vis the massacre of a defenseless population.

Claudia Chaufan
Santa Cruz, Calif.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.