Letters to the editor October 22

Letters to the editor October 22

Goldstone lauded for report
I have read several articles in The Jewish Chronicle seeking to discredit the U.N. Human Rights Council report (known as the Goldstone report), which found Israel guilty of devastating war crimes against the Palestinian population in Gaza. The Goldstone report is named after the U.N.’s chief investigator, Richard Goldstone.
In seeking to discredit the well-documented Goldstone report, one notes that The Chronicle articles neglected to mention that Mr. Goldstone is Jewish and serves on the Board of Governors of Hebrew University. Nor did the articles mention that Mr. Goldstone is one of the most experienced and respected international jurists having served as chief U.N. prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. And the articles also failed to mention that before taking the U.N. job on Israel, Mr. Goldstone insisted on expanding the U.N. mission so as to investigate the actions of Hamas and at his insistence this was done.
The time is long past due for the Jewish community to realize that the devastating facts condemning Israel reported by Mr. Goldstone are most likely true and that right-wing hawks such as Benjamin Netanyahu and his cohorts speak with forked tongues. Otherwise, we will continue to deceive ourselves by always trying to discredit critical and unpleasant truths about Israel, including not only those in the Goldstone report but also its settlement policies and vast illegal colonization of Palestine lands, making peace impossible.

Allan H. Cohen
Squirrel Hill

(Editor’s note: The Chronicle staff did not write the articles in question; they were JTA stories reprinted in The Chronicle. Nevertheless, Mr. Cohen makes a cogent point. We checked the stories and, sure enough, they fail to report that Richard Goldstone is Jewish. That should not have happened.)
Jews could co-exist in binational state
There is something disingenuous in using the phrase “destruction of the Jewish state” when speaking of the one-state solution (see Lee Chottiner’s article: “Divestment conference to be held at Pitt,” Oct. 15). The phrase morphs easily into “destruction of the Jews,” then into: “another holocaust.” This, or course, is exactly the confusion the wording is meant to induce.
New borders and names can replace an existing state, while the inhabitants remain essentially unharmed. This happened with the Soviet Union.
There is no reason to assume that Palestinians and Jews could not coexist in peace in a binational state, no matter the expulsion, dispossession, and oppression Israel visited upon the Palestinians.
It is a matter of a change of heart. Those Israeli Jews show the way, who work with Palestinians in numerous organizations like: Ta’ayush (members bring blankets to Palestinian villagers whose homes the IDF destroyed, or help harvest olives); Combatants for Peace (former IDF soldiers and Palestinian combatants educate Israelis and Palestinians about reconciliation and non-violence).
No one involved in this work has been hurt but by the IDF and Jewish settlers.
Whether in one or two states, the future lies with those Israelis and Palestinians.
Annette Herskovits
Berkeley, Calif.

(Editor’s note: The story in question makes no reference to “another holocaust,” nor was that the intent of the story. Observers on the demographics generally agree, though, that a binational state would lead to the end of Israel as we know it.)

It was Bush, not Obama
It seems that the Robert Kushner’s letter criticizing President Obama in the Oct. 15 edition of The Chronicle (“Obama no friend to Israel”) is in error.
He wrongly attributes the vote on the morning of Jan. 20 at the United Nations Security Council to the Obama administration. This vote should be credited to the Bush administration because he was the president at the time of the vote. Barack Obama did not take office until noon on that day, as prescribed by law and custom. Therefore the vote was at the behest of the former president, George W. Bush.

Gordon Phillips
Point Breeze           
Pseudo vote
The U.N. Security Council vote reported in Mr. Kushner’s letter did not take place, has not yet taken place and it may never. Mr. Kushner apparently took his information, perhaps second hand, from a piece by Bret Stephens, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Stephen’s essay was dated Jan. 20, 2010; it was set in the future. Didn’t anyone notice that Jan. 20, 2009, was Inauguration Day? The Obama administration did not begin until noon.
While the Obama Administration may not turn out to be a great friend of Israel it should not be indicted based on fiction.

R.H. Swedarsky,
Squirrel Hill

Israel Studies chair needed
I read with great admiration your short editorial calling for an endowment fund to finance an Israel Studies Chair (“Campus Judaism needs money,” Oct. 15). I cannot think of a higher priority at this critical time for Israel than finding the resources to establish such a position. Pittsburgh urgently needs an Israel advocacy individual who will spearhead the fight to face the continuing spreading of lies about Israel on the city campuses.
To encourage other members of the Jewish community to rally around this “Israel Studies Chair” project, I pledge to donate $1,000 to get such a fund started, urging others to donate. 
I will send my donation as soon as such a project is initiated.

Avraham Y. Anouchi
Squirrel Hill
Columnist on Nobel short list?
It speaks volumes that one can scarcely tell the difference between Joel Rubin’s pathetic defense of the decision to award President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize and the Saturday Night Live skit lampooning it.
Apparently the bar has been lowered from recognition of a lifetime’s worth of heroic, selfless and often dangerous work to recognition of “deliberative management style,” elimination of “hostile language” and a “welcome change in policy.”
This transparently political decision, and the intellectually dishonest defense by left wing ideologues, cheapens the award for all past and future winners. Mr. Rubin should be more careful about the award’s prestige as he could very well be on next year’s short list. Clearly he possesses the key attribute currently sought by the Nobel Committee; not being George W. Bush.
Dan Friedman
UNHRC assailed for adopting report
Last winter’s Israeli military operation in Gaza was tragic for many reasons, among them the years of rocket attacks on the people of Sderot and other Israeli communities that made such action necessary, the loss of life among Israeli and Palestinian civilians, and the toll any military action takes on the lives of soldiers and their families.
Unfortunately, the recent report written by a commission chaired by jurist Richard Goldstone accusing both the Israeli government and Hamas of committing war crimes during the military engagement primarily critiques Israel and ignores crucial facts. This flawed report does not reflect the reality of the situation, as it existed, including the fact that much of the fighting was conducted in urban neighborhoods and that the enemy purposefully launched attacks from densely populated civilian areas.
Israel must, of course, give real consideration to the way in which Cast Lead was conducted, including whether all steps were taken to avoid the loss of civilian life. But the United Nations Human Rights Council endorsement of the Goldstone report does not further the cause of peace, or give reason for Israel to believe the international community takes seriously the significant security issues with which it contends. We applaud those nations on the UNHRC that did not vote to endorse this report and call on the United Nations to conclude its consideration of it.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie
New York

(Editor’s note: The author is the president of the Union for Reform Judaism.)