Cycle of bloodshed

Dan Baron writes in his inflammatory Sept. 29 article that Syrian President Bashar Assad said that he wants peace with Israel but that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quick to snub Assad. The reasons, according to Baron, are strategic and Israelis’ sentimental attachment to Golan.

A contrasting and much more responsible view is by writer Gideon Levy in the Oct. 1 Ha’aretz:

“Common sense makes it difficult to understand that an Arab state that borders on Israel is offering a peace accord and we arrogantly rebuff it. ‘It’s not the right time,’ the statesmen in Jerusalem say. But when is the right time? Only after the next war?”

Syria’s conditions are clear and simple, and even just — peace for land, but Israel said no.

No president of Syria will ever be able to sign a peace agreement with Israel unless the Golan Heights are returned. At the same time, Israel urgently needs peace — and surely more than land or obsolete strategic geographic territories.

The refusal to talk to Syria now could only lead to another cycle of bloodshed: It is a crime, says Levy, and in my view, he is absolutely right.

Amos Nur | Stanford


Letter-writer Ronnie Farrelly is correct in recently asserting that Israel is not a secular state. Israel is a Jewish state, and the Law of Return is designed to benefit Jews.

The bishop of Paris converted to Roman Catholicism, and is therefore ineligible for automatic citizenship under the Law of Return. The bishop and other converts may of course apply for regular citizenship by establishing residency in Israel.

Regarding those who reject the Hebrew Bible, since atheism is not a religion, those who don’t believe have not actually adopted another religion.

Drew Gross | Union City

Only Jew in school

Regarding Joanne Hartman’s Sept. 29 column, I was born in a small town not too far from Hannover, in northern Germany, where I always was the only Jewish kid in town and in school.

I left the gymnasium in the fall of 1933, when we had to salute the Hitler picture on the wall. I traveled to the then-autonomous Saar region near French Lorraine and became a baker’s apprentice. Then Bremen, Oderberg, Shanghai and finally California.

I am the protagonist in “To Cross a Line,” by Karen Ray, my daughter-in-law.

Eugene Katz | Napa

Palpable prayer?

I am deeply concerned about an Associated Press dispatch posted on the Los Angeles Times Web page. It reports that James Dobson, Focus on the Family founder, stated on his radio broadcast that Justice Samuel Alito had written him a letter thanking him and his radio listeners for their support during his confirmation hearing.

According to the article, Dobson said the letter stated that “the prayers of so many people from around the country were a palpable and powerful force. As long as I serve on the Supreme Court, I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me.”

This comment, to me, is an outrageous statement. If prayers can now be palpable to a Supreme Court justice, does it not follow that he discerns the prayers of those who are Christians praying through their Jesus vis-a-vis those who are Jews who do not?

Hopefully, fellow Jews will likewise be outraged.

Roger White | Santa Rosa

Fruitless efforts?

Efforts to fight anti-Semitism in the nations will be fruitless while the epicenter of the Jewish existence, Israel, sets the example of being easily slapped around; giving in to the demands of their dominating best friend (the USA) and others, rewarding the Muslims with land for terrorism, etc. In all, emboldening and empowering Israel’s enemies.

Philip Blom | Jerusalem

‘Desperately naïve’

Orit Weksler got it partly right toward the end of her recent column when she wrote: “Some might say that I’m naïve. I’m not naïve — I’m desperate.” She is both desperate and naïve, and the solution she offers is desperately naïve.

Israel has real enemies. These enemies want to kill every Jew. Her suggestion that Israel should become a “responsible participant in the Middle East” because that is “Israel’s only chance of ever becoming a safe place for Jewish people” is a staggering example of her naïveté.

Apparently she does not believe that Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah and all the others who hate Israel and actively pursue its destruction don’t really mean what they say and do. With whom exactly in the Middle East would she suggest Israel drop its arms and talk?

Every caring person grieves at the loss of life in the Middle East conflict, but Weksler’s proposal would turn Israel into a mass graveyard for Jews. After that, Israel’s enemies will go for the Jews in Paris, London, and, finally, the East Bay. So, in the end, that Weksler left Israel will not save her.

Sol Kutner | San Carlos

Can’t be ignored

I am writing to answer Orit Weksler and a few of the letters her recent opinion drew.

Pulling together the Palestinian problem with Lebanon is completely mistaken. Weksler and her fans ignore or want to ignore the fact that Israel has pulled out of Lebanon six years ago. This fact has been recognized and approved even by the United Nations.

Despite this fact, Lebanon allowed a state within a state to exist — Hezbollah occupied South Lebanon.

This terrorist state wrote on its flag the mission of destroying Israel and killing all its Jewish population. Ignoring this is ignoring the facts.

I wonder how letter-writer Julian Clark can consider himself a Zionist and at the same time think that Israel was built on another people’s land. Where would he want it to be established? In California? On Native Americans’ land?

Reuven Segev | San Rafael

Mystery paper

In a recent j., with my compliments, there is a good article about a released archive from World War II containing information on millions of victims of Nazi persecutions. It might help to finally eliminate those claiming the Holocaust never occurred.

But in the same issue, there is a story and picture of Rafi Eitan, minister of Israeli pensioner affairs. For those not aware, Eitan is a former spymaster, also the handler of Jonathan Pollard, the American naval employee who turned over information concerning Iraqi WMD aimed at Israel.

For this crime of which he is guilty, he is now still incarcerated for 21 years of a continuing life sentence. This is about five times longer than anyone spying for other friendly countries of the United States.

Eitan recently said he was sorry he didn’t kill Pollard when he had him in his hands. Pollard recently said Eitan holds a sheet of information that, if he released, would free Pollard. Does anyone know which paper this is?

Marty Dash | Walnut Creek