Letters to the Editor

Unfair accusation against Putin

In response to “Absence of Russia’s Putin would tarnish Auschwitz commemoration” (Chemi Shalev, January 14).

The attempt to picture the decision by the president of Russia not to attend this year’s commemoration ceremony at the Auschwitz memorial, as well as the explanations given by his spokesman, as potentially having some ulterior motive is saddening and out of place.

As is noted in the article, the Soviet Army liberated thousands of inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp on January 27, 1945, among them many Jews. The memory of that war, including the memory of the Holocaust, is vivid and well-preserved in present-day Russia, as you may well see by a large number of public commemoration events in the coming month in Russia, including January 27.

Moreover, the Russian Federation’s principled line to emphatically reject the growing neo-Nazi sentiments and efforts to revise the history of World War II, including the Holocaust, is clearly seen by its steps in the international arena. On December 18, 2014 the plenary meeting of the 69th UN General Assembly adopted a Russian-initiated resolution on Combating Glorification of Nazism. The UN General Assembly has discussed this resolution at Russia’s initiative for 10 years.

As for the attendance at the ceremony at Auschwitz, all the questions should be addressed to the organizers, as well as the government of Poland. This is what should have been the focus of the journalistic research undertaken by the Haaretz journalist, not “an affront to the memory of the victims,” wrongfully attributed to Putin’s nonappearance at the ceremony.

Press Section, Russian Embassy in Israel
 

 

Bernard-Henri Levy denigrating the Other

In response to “After Charlie Hebdo attack, France’s Churchillian moment” (Bernard-Henri Levy, January 11).

Bernard-Henri Levy’s paean in the name of republican France’s social and political values does not bear scrutiny when he goes on to demand of “those among us whose faith is Islam” a rejection of theocratic passion, implying adverse consequences if not done.

Ideological absolutism, both political and religious, caused the bloodshed in Paris – as was the case, in a slightly different context, in the slaughter of 132 school children in Peshawar last month.

Freedom of speech, in absolute terms, led Europe step by step to the gates of Auschwitz not so long ago. Europe is having difficulty in adjusting to the realities of the fallout from its colonial past. Does Mr. Levy realize the only time Europe had a thriving, “pluralistic civilization” was under the Moors and the Ottomans?
We are not really being democratic if we go on denigrating the marginalized Other among us. Your readers know this better than most.

Mohammad Abdul Qavi
Arab Women Union Street
Beit Sahour

 

Don’t separate – integrate
In response to “Separating from their senses” (Kobi Niv, Opinion, January 7).

Kobi Niv makes a very good point about the impossibility of “separating from the Palestinians,” but why does he leave it hanging in the air? If it is impossible for us Israelis to separate from the Palestinians, we have to find a way of living together with them. The fact is that we are both the victims of the traditional British short-cut of partition, and that is the root of the problem. When withdrawing from their empire, the pragmatic British established partition in Ireland, India, Cyprus and Palestine, and it failed to a large extent in all four instances. The time has surely come to try something else.

Human beings of different religions and ethnic groups find it difficult to coexist, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. It is a slow process, requiring enormous patience, and it is about time we started embarking on it. If we recognize this reality, we must surely conclude that a single state is the best framework. If we have one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, we bypass the tortuous problems of borders, sovereignty and security, leaving us with the straight- forward question of civil rights and equality. Today it might seem impossible, but then Theodor Herzl’s dream seemed impossible when he envisioned it.

Daniel Gavron
Motza Ilit