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Big white flag

In the aftermath of the disgraceful defeat suffered by the Israel Defense Forces in its clash with the hilltop thugs, the chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, should visit the Yitzhar settlement today, carrying a large white flag. While there, he should announce that he is withdrawing all IDF troops from the settlement – and perhaps from all of the settlements.

Amos Oz, Tel Aviv

Not harsh enough

The editorial last week ("As Kerry falters, where is Netanyahu leading Israel?", April 3, 2014) asked an excellent question but its conclusion is weak: You let Netanyahu and his government too lightly.

It is us that bear ultimate responsibility for this government's actions, not the prime minister. And it will be us that pay the inevitable heavy price of the prime minister's mastery of continual foot-dragging.

Roy Rubenstein, Omer

Peace requires human engagement

With a refreshing economy of words, Henry Siegman ("Why America is irrelevant to Middle East peacemaking", April 8, 2014) described why America or any outside force is understandably "irrelevant to Middle East peacemaking" and why change is not going to happen first among governments and political personalities.

Unfortunately Siegman recommends only a new "Palestinian struggle" while perpetuating the usual kind of conversation in the language of confrontation and governments - still blind to the required-yet-missing public peace process of face-to-face, citizen-to-citizen engagement to humanize and experience authentic trust among the people. Even inside Israel, only a tiny portion of Arabs and Jews have relationships of any depth.

Why can we not see that "wanting" peace means pursuing human engagement? Siegman misses the point that a distinctive "struggle" requires people-to-people relationship-building including within Israel.

"The people must first paint a picture of what we want life to look like." Former MK Maj. Gen. (ret.) Ami Ayalon clarified. "No people or nation is going to go down a road where it cannot see what life looks like around the corner."

Siegman would have been more helpful by framing a new courage - a modern "struggle" of engaged Palestinians and Jews becoming artisans of communication, genuine neighbors, thus empowering governments to succeed.

Lionel "Len" Traubman, San Mateo, California

Haaretz's moral compass

Haaretz’s upside-down moral compass was illustrated again by Michael Felson’s piece on my battle in Boston to put up pro-Israel ads that he calls hateful. Imagine calling the defense of Israel against the savage jihad that endeavors to destroy it “hateful,” while turning a blind eye to Islamic anti-Semitism.

My ad is disparaging and demeaning? Only to savages. Any war targeting innocent civilians is savagery. The war on the Jewish people is against innocent civilians. Targeting schools with missiles and the slaughter of the Fogel family is savagery. Felson called the ad “anti-Muslim.” But it doesn’t refer to all Muslims; if it did, that would mean that all Muslims support jihad and Jew-hatred. Sounds as if Felson is the true “Islamophobe.”

Felson invokes the SPLC and the ADL to support his libelous charges. But the SPLC is a subversive organization that partners with Islamic supremacist groups to destroy America from within. My human rights organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, is dedicated to freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and individual rights. That’s hate? This is the morally inverted state of the world.

The ADL is no better. Its director, Abe Foxman, took a once-vital organization and turned it hard left, going relentlessly after fierce proud Jews like me. Yet the ADL is actually no friend of the Jews: it has freely criticized Israel.

Felson refers to “the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing tragedy.” It wasn’t a tragedy. It was an atrocity. Felson is helping to ensure it will be replicated by defaming one of the few people who raises a voice against its root causes. When the next jihad attack takes place, and there is no “Islamophobe” left to call on law enforcement to take a more realistic approach to jihad terrorism, will Felson open a bottle of champagne?

Pamela Geller