Street unfair to Israel
There is a material problem with Martin Levine’s position, taken by most of those in J Street (“Which Israel do you love,” October 15.). They appeal to our sense of fairness as American Jews and they use a lot of accurate facts and I even believe most of them want to help Israel. But they don’t want to allow the Jews living in Israel decide life and death positions. By misrepresenting key points and twisting history, they end up providing comfort to Israel’s enemies and represent a danger to the future of Israel.
There have been a number of times since 1947 when a two-state solution could have been concluded. Each time it was the Palestinians, not the Israelis, who refused to accept the proposals. Israel can accept a two-state solution, which remains the official position of the State of Israel. The problem is what kind of state the Palestinians will have. Unless Israel is firm in negotiations with Palestinians, there is a risk that the Palestinian state will eventually include most of Jerusalem, Haifa/Acco, and Jaffa, and present a credible terrorist military threat within a half hour drive from almost all of Israel’s population. Remember what happened in Gaza? Israelis do. The theory of a two-state solution is much easier than the reality, which is why many Israeli politicians believe it is not viable, at least until Palestinians stop teaching their children that Jews are their eternal enemy and no Palestinian should ever accept a permanent Jewish state.
You have a right to argue that settlements in Judaea and Samaria (the “West Bank” is a fictitious name made up when Jordan seized the area designated for a Palestinian state in 1948) are an impediment to a settlement with Palestinians. But when you make such an argument, you must consider the facts that Jews lived in Judaea and Samaria for many, many years before 1948, settlements have not replaced any Arab village (they are almost all on unoccupied arid land) while all Jews were evicted from the Judaea and Samaria after 1948, and that Palestinian leaders are on record that no Jew will be allowed to live in their state.
A solution to the conflict has to be negotiated freely by Israelis and Palestinians. There is nothing sacred about the old “green line” from a historical viewpoint any more than the post 1967 border. Boycott of Israel or of Jews living in Judaea and Samaria includes boycott of Palestinians who work for them and does not convince anyone to change their position. BDS only serve to embolden the true enemies who want to destroy the Jewish state and remove all Jews (or at least those who came after about 1936). Israel is a complex modern state. You cannot control products moving from one part of the country to another, which is why Ben & Jerrys demand on its Israeli will lead to completely closing the business.
J Street does a terrible disservice to American Jewry and Israel by twisting our love of equality and religious freedom to paint the Israeli government as the impediment to a peaceful settlement when that is not the case.
Masada was real
Abigail K. Leichman is making it seem as though the story of Masada is a legend (“Lessons no classroom could teach,” October 15). The story is no legend. The remains of the Roman camps and rampart are still there. One of the stones that made up the lot to decide who would kill whom has been found. The men were fighters, but were there with their families.
Let’s not turn this into a Legend. Legends are semi truths. This is a true story.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Historians disagree about Masada.]