Friday, 5 September 2014

Misdirected Anger at Israel

And another good letter, related to the one in the preceding post:

Re “A hero of Israel condemns its actions” (News, Aug. 16): I was saddened to read of Henk Zanoli’s decision to return the coveted Righteous Among the Nations medal that he received from Israel for his family’s brave efforts to save a Dutch Jewish child’s life during the Holocaust. Mr. Zanoli is clearly saddened by the recent death in Gaza of his relatives by marriage. But his anger at Israel is based on factual error. The Gaza war was not launched by Israel, but by the Hamas militants who control Gaza, are sworn to destroy Israel, and to that purpose fired thousands of rockets at Israel and its people — most from rocket-launching bases in civilian Gazan neighborhoods. Israel simply responded — making unusual but sadly not always possible efforts to avoid Gazan civilians.

Moreover, while Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, nearly 25 percent of its citizens are non-Jews — including more than 20 percent who are Israeli Muslim and Christian Arab. Unlike most people in the Arab world, Israel’s Arabs enjoy the full democratic rights that are the basis of the Jewish state. Perhaps when the Palestinians and Israelis finally make peace, the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank will have their own state and their own democracy.

Richard Z. Chesnoff, New York

The writer is a former executive editor of Newsweek International and former chief correspondent for U.S. News & World Report.