No surprise in 1948

The Jan. 23 article about historian Benny Morris (“Israeli historian offers the ‘truth’ about 1948,”) quotes him as saying, with respect to the jihadi aspect of the 1948 Arab invasion of Israel, that it came as a surprise to him.

My only reaction was “Where have you been?” Then I noticed that he only was born in 1948.

Those of us who were alive then knew exactly what the Arab countries considered it to be — a holy war.

Leonard W. Williams   |   Sunnyvale

Don’t publish all sides

The editors seem to believe that it is important to publish all sides and all opinions about Israel, its policies and its actions.

But that shouldn’t be so. The editorial columns and the letters to the editors of our newspapers and magazines are full of anti-Israel invective, especially now in the wake of the Gaza war. So it is quite unnecessary for j., and other Jewish media, to publish the opinions of renegades and haters of Israel.

If they want to spew their anti-Israel venom let them write to the San Francisco Chronicle. Their Jewish executive vice president will be only too pleased to publish it.

Gerardo Joffe   |  San Francisco

President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East

Biased against Israel

During an interview on the Charlie Rose program, former President Jimmy Carter defended Hamas’s firing rockets into southern Israel over the past several years. He said Israel is to blame because they refuse to fully open the borders, and Hamas is merely trying to draw attention to their plight, and the proof of this is only one Israel citizen has been killed.

This statement is inaccurate and, worse yet, it clearly defends terrorism against innocent Jewish lives.

Mr. Carter also said that during the six-month “cease-fire,” “Hamas reduced its rocket fire 99 percent, to roughly one or two per month.”

This statement is also an egregious lie, since Hamas fired over 1,200 rockets (an average of 200 per month) during the six-month “cease-fire.”

When a man of his position makes such utterly false statements he reveals unmistakable anti-Israel bias and it is incumbent upon the interviewer to challenge them. By not doing so the reputation of Mr. Rose as a fair-minded journalist deserves to be called into question.

Dan Calic   |   San Ramon

Trust Hamas?

I agree with President Carter that Hamas can be and should be trusted. Its principles as outlined in the Hamas Charter are:

• Opposition to any two-state solution (“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up”);

• Demand to instate the Sharia law in all of Palestine (“This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia [law] and the same goes for any land the Muslims have conquered by force”);

• Determined opposition to any peaceful solution (“Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad”);

• The demise of the State of Israel (“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it”).

Reuven Segev   |   San Rafael

Israel ‘not a partner for peace’

Sheree Roth plays fast and loose with the facts (Letters, Jan. 30). If Abbas is not moderate, I don’t know who is. Certainly more moderate than Avigdor Lieberman, who suggested dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza, whose party calls for further ethnic cleansing, including Israeli Arab citizens, and whose party looks to win 15 seats in the Knesset. Moledet, another racist party, already sits in the Cabinet.

She puts quotes around the word “occupation,” as if this is not what it is. No country in the world, including the U.S., regards the settlements, including Greater Jerusalem, as legal under international law. Thus, removal of the settlements would not constitute ethnic cleansing. I would note that Israeli textbooks do not show the Green Line on maps.

Finally, 500 trucks per day entered Gaza in 2005, despite Ms. Roth’s concerns about suicide bombers. After Hamas won the elections, this dropped dramatically to the point that only 339 trucks got in the whole month before the invasion.

Israel’s purpose is to destroy Hamas, leaving only the Quisling government of

Abbas, to further its goal of annexing as much of the West Bank as possible. Israel itself is not a partner for peace.

Alfred Lerner   |   San Carlos

Jewish state, Jewish vote

In “Likud leading in polls, despite far-right presence” (Dec. 19), the writer makes a number of inaccurate statements about Moshe Feiglin’s beliefs and what he stands for. In Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the state is officially defined by David Ben-Gurion (not by Feiglin) as a Jewish state.

To ensure that the state remain Jewish, one cannot allow those who are not Jewish to vote in national elections. Non-Jews voting in local elections are not a threat to the Jewish character of the state.

Feiglin believes in a Jewish democratic state and he fully accepts the authority of the Israeli courts. Just as in the U.S., judges in Israel have a political viewpoint. It is not unusual for citizens either in the U.S. or Israel to hold opinions that differ from sitting judges. We all still respect the courts.

Rich Stiebel   |   Palo Alto

Learn from history

History is often a good guide to seeing how various strategies turn out in actual practice.

Patrick Hunt of Stanford is a globetrotting archaeologist whose recent lecture I attended. He spoke of the ancient Assyrians and their campaign of conquest against the ancient Israelites. They were the ones who conquered the north, creating the Ten Lost Tribes.

The people of Lachish were an accomplished group, but they waited until the Assyrians were at their gates before thinking up a plan. They tried to build up the walls, but the Assyrians built their towers faster and overran and destroyed their once-great city.

Jerusalem, under King Hezekiah, was more proactive. The city built an underground tunnel to safeguard their precious water supplies. They beefed up their walls, and built extra guard towers. The Assyrians’ efforts were frustrated, and after a lucky plague struck the Assyrians they withdrew, thus saving the Southern Kingdom.

We in California should take a note from Hezekiah’s playbook. Global warming is advancing like the Assyrians of old. If we prepare early, perhaps we will be as lucky as the Israelites. If not, disaster beckons.

Ed Taub   |   Mountain View