The JC

Letters to the editor, 19th April 2024

Hamas, Nazis and interfaith relations


Thousands demonstrate against Netanyahu and to call for a hostage deal, Tel Aviv, April 6, 2024 (Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

April 26, 2024 14:46

Ami Ayalon, wedded to the fantasy that only a “Palestinian state alongside Israel“, would guarantee peace, bases it on an interview Sheikh Yassin, founder of Hamas, gave in 1997, who said his “greatest fear was a reality in which Palestinians believed that a diplomatic process would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel”, in which case the need for Hamas would vanish (Hamas will not be defeated by force of arms by only by a political settlement, 12 April).

Ayalon ignores Hamas’s unyielding agenda that only Israel’s replacement by an Islamic Palestinian State is acceptable, and that all negotiations with the “Zionist enemy” are forbidden as “un Islamic”.

The 80 per cent of Palestinians on the West Bank who support Hamas would guarantee that the future Palestinian state would be a terror entity whose primary goal would be Israel’s destruction, just as events in Gaza have proved. The “moderate” Palestinian authority’s charter is indistinguishable from Hamas’s, as is its propaganda in its media, educational establishments and promotion of terrorism.

The Nazi ideology was defeated by the physical defeat of the fascist countries by the Allies in 1945, not by any political settlement which would only have been used to further their aims.

Hassan Mosab Youssef, “Son of Hamas”, whose father is a Hamas founder, is uncompromising that Hamas must be completely destroyed. He should know.

As to what the establishment of a hostile judenrein Palestinian state, carved out of Israel’s heartland, would mean for Israel, he should read Shimon Peres’s prescient book, Tomorrow is Now, written in 1978, which spells out in meticulous detail, how such a state would be a launching pad for Israel’s destruction, and would make recent events in Gaza pale into insignificance by comparison.

D Rosenthal

London NW4

Jake Wallis Simons, poses the (rhetorical for him) question, What do we talk about, when we talk about Netanyahu? (12 April).

I don’t recognise his analogy of Netanyahu as the abusive boyfriend in Raymond Carver’s short story, which ignores the Israeli prime minister’s huge achievements, despite character flaws exaggerated out of all proportion by his political opponents.

It was Bibi who transformed Israel’s economy from socialist stagnation into a flourishing economic miracle as finance minister, Bibi who ushered in the Abraham Accords, together with Trump, achieving a previously unimagined entente with former enemies, and Bibi whose diplomatic skills created bonds and friendships with many African and Asian countries, India foremost amongst them.

No other Israeli politician has Bibi’s presence on the world stage and, even when disliked, such as by Obama, nevertheless commands respect.

Simons ignores Bibi’s distinguished military record in Israel’s armed forces, which the lightweight previous prime minister, Yair Lapid, so conspicuously lacks. In this war, his leadership of a war cabinet spread across the political spectrum, has been first class.

For me, Netanyahu’s primary fault as leader has been his unwillingness to address the issue of Judea and Samaria, thinking that it will resolve itself by itself.

Whatever Bibi’s faults, the idea that he doesn’t love Israel or care for the Jewish people is wide of the mark, and grossly unfair to the legacy he will leave behind.

Warren S Grossman

London E11

Kudos to Jonathan Freedland for voicing what most of us are thinking (This Peach, the big battles will be in our own inner voices, 12 April).

I, and several family members and friends, really don't find yomtovim as enjoyable as we are supposed to feel. We do them out of habit and tradition mainly for the youngsters, and this year will most certainly be marred by the situation in Israel.

So although we will have the usual squabbles, complaints about the price of Passover goods, preparation of dinner and kids fighting for the afikomen, the best part is always a L'Chayyim and Chag Sameah to Israel and Jews worldwide.

Caroline Dascal

London E8

Karen Glaser highlights the importance of establishing good relations between the Jewish community, and the Hindu, Sikh and Chinese communities (Why are the Jews overlooking their natural allies? 12 April). She will be pleased to hear about the British Indian Jewish Association (BIJA), which was set up in 1996 to develop and strengthen relations between the Indian and Jewish communities in the UK.

We have an Advisory Board of eminent Peers and people from both communities. During the Covid period, we focused on impactful projects such as our Bagels and Samosas lunchtime webinars attended by hundreds of people, and also raised over £120,000 for Covid relief efforts in India. On our 25th anniversary, we received a congratulatory letter from Rishi Sunak. In the past couple of years, we have organised very popular events on media, heritage and history, including a brilliant one at the RAF Museum.

The reason BIJA is needed is that the Jewish and Indian communities have the most natural of friendships. Whilst there are around 300,000 Jews in the UK, there are 1.5 million British Indians. The demographic imbalance belies the common value system. We both place strong emphasis on education, aspiration, family and community.

This has been mirrored by a burgeoning of relations between India and Israel over the past 30 years. The famous Rabbi and poet, Judah Halevi, said: “My heart is in the East and I am at the edge of the West.” In forging interfaith relations in the UK, the Indian and Jewish communities can look to each other to find our most natural of friends and allies.

Dr Peter Chadha and Zaki Cooper

Co-Chairs, British Indian Jewish Association

April 26, 2024 14:46

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