Letters to the Editor: Temple Mount, Amira Hass and Gideon Levy, and anti-Semitism

Palestinians react as a stun grenade explodes at the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount as Palestinians reentered the compound, July 27, 2017
Palestinians react as a stun grenade explodes at the Temple Mount as Palestinians re-entered the compound in Jerusalem's Old City July 27, 2 REUTERS/Muammar Awad

Imagine all the people

In response to “Fight now over who solved the crisis” (Zvi Barel, July 28).

It could have been different. The three people entered the university campus (or hospital campus, or the imposing municipality building), and shot from close range two professors (or physicians, or accountants). Mayhem resulted, and in the ensuing struggle the terrorists (people who terrorize innocent people) were “neutralized.”

Immediately, the police took command, a sterile zone was created around the campus (university, hospital, municipality), the lovely lawns buried under battlefield encampment, for an indefinite time, to make the compound safe and protected from students (patients, city dwellers), by definition potential terrorists. The state, which is the sovereign, bestowed on the police the exclusive right to decide how to safeguard the campus, without consulting the administrative body or the governing body of the institution in question.

Can you imagine such a scenario? You cannot. Yet you don’t have to imagine, it happened in one of the holiest places of the Muslim world. The sovereign, the State of Israel, single-handedly decided how to protect the holy places without consulting the administrative body of the Temple Mount, the Waqf, or Jordan, the Muslim world’s trustee of the Al-Aqsa compound, nor Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the representative of the Palestinians, the ones affected by the new measures.

Now strain your imagination and envision a utopian scenario in which our prime minister, spurred by the traumatic events, had tried to mobilize all the concerned parties, considering that all the parties share the same concern – to preserve the Temple Mount as a holy, peaceful place of prayer – and had tried to convene the Waqf, the Palestinian Authority president and even the king of Jordan to brainstorm together on how to deal with this highly incendiary situation. In this case, there were no divergent interests, no antagonism. Instead of brandishing swords and mutual accusations, trust and respect would have been mobilized to insure peaceful coexistence at one of the holiest places in the world. Then, for once, direct talks based on mutual respect would have been shown to be possible and to be successful. Imagine, all the people that share a common interest could surpass mistrust and collaborate. Imagine.

Dr. Ruth Sharon

Rehovot

Belittling Israel’s guardians

In response to “Israel’s cloned security guards” (Amira Hass, July 26 ) and ”Hero of Israel” (Gideon Levy, July 27).

Week in, week out, Hass and Levy publish the same predictable columns describing the guardians of Israel as heartless brutes. In the wake of the killing of an Arab who stabbed an Israeli security guard three times with a screwdriver in Amman, Hass claimed that Israeli military and security officials have a shoot-to-kill policy against Arabs and Levy ridiculed the screwdriver as a “doomsday weapon.”

Surprise, surprise! In Canada, perhaps the most multicultural, liberal country in the world, a screwdriver is considered a deadly weapon. In June, police in Montreal shot and killed Pierre Coriolan, a black man, who was merely threatening them with a screwdriver in each hand. In 2015, police in Toronto shot and killed Andrew Loku, a black man, who was merely threatening them with a hammer. Sure the Black Lives Matter group protested, but no charges were laid against the police.

Unlike Palestinian terrorists who target Israeli civilians, no Taliban have attacked civilians in Canada, yet Canadian soldiers fought them in Afghanistan. Along the route to the funeral of a fallen soldier, which goes from the army base to the Toronto coroner’s office and was renamed Highway of Heroes, Canadians always lined up to salute the hearse. And no Canadian journalist would dare belittle Canada’s warriors.

Jacob Mendlovic

Ontario, Canada

Yes, occupation indirectly fuels anti-Semitism

Sara Hirschhorn (“Israel doesn’t cause anti-Semitism” Haaretz.com, August 2), Dave Rich (“A dishonest fallacy,” Haaretz.com, August 1) and some others project onto me views I do not hold (“If Israel’s occupation doesn’t end,” Haaretz.com, July 30). I categorically reject the idea that Jews cause anti-Semitism, or that the Israeli occupation justifies or excuses anti-Semitism, or that anti-Semitism will magically disappear with the end of the occupation.

I take no comfort in having foretold 40 years ago that an indefinite Israeli occupation, if seemingly supported by organized Jewish opinion in other countries, would fan anti-Jewish sentiment. We deny at our peril that it will get much worse over the next 40 years if the occupation continues.

What makes the rise in anti-Jewish sentiment particularly dangerous is that it has the potential to tip into something far more sinister: the centuries-old, unique dogma of full-blooded anti-Semitism, purporting to explain all Jewish behavior.

Like other closed ideologies, anti-Semitism is immune to evidence. The actual behavior of Jews is inconsequential. Imported into the Muslim and Arab worlds where once it was alien, the anti-Semitic “explanation, with its demonic conception of the Jew, is now increasingly, if thoughtlessly, embraced by disaffected populations with a mindset primed to be receptive to a simple, “it’s all the Jews fault” answer to many problems.

This is repugnant and some leading Palestinian figures have rightly denounced it. Like other forms of racism, anti-Semitism is never justifiable. But there’s no point in pretending that it is not being indirectly fueled, as depicted, by a corrosive, hopeless, suicidal occupation.

Tony Klug

Oxford, U.K.

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