July 28 – August 03 2006

Lidice: A repulsive parallel

Your comparison of the Nazis’ Lidice massacre with the Israeli Defence Force’s defensive actions in Lebanon is repulsive and naive about the grim situation facing Israel in the Middle East (”Orgy of destruction”, July 21).

The latest Israeli Defence Force actions are in response to Hizbullah’s unprovoked act of war: the killing of eight soldiers and kidnapping of two across an internationally recognised border.

In 2000 United Nations Resolution 1559 called for the disarming of Hizbullah. Since then, it has cynically positioned its command and control, weapons storage and logistics facilities among the civilian population.

Your editorial is one-sided and is not even shared by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, who have placed the blame for the war on Hizbullah. In fact Lebanon’s own Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, this week blamed the latest conflict on Hizbullah and called for the destruction of the Hizbullah war machine.

The war has nothing to do with the Palestinian situation. Iran, guided by the conservative mullahs and the Iranian president, a Holocaust denier and nuclear provocateur, has clearly stated its strategic aim: an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East without the Jewish State.

Hizbullah’s army, a conventional and sophisticated force up to 30 000-strong, comprises an Iranian Revolutionary Guard-liaison section that directs and provides intelligence support from Tehran and Damascus. Moreover, it is in the main financed, trained and armed by Iran.

Terrorist powers like Iran and Syria do not want to see Lebanon, Israel or the region, for that matter, flourish in peace and prosperity. Until the Hizbullah war machine is destroyed and Iran/Syria’s strategic aims are amended, their sword will hang menacingly over all of us. — Lance Levitas, Johannesburg

The current conflict has not only to do with the capture of two soldiers — the capture was the last straw. The constant missile attacks, and suicide bombings by Hamas and Hizbullah has led to this bloodbath. Is it about land? Or is it about the total hatred of Muslim for Jews spewed out on hundreds of Islamic sites? — Leon Klugman, Johannesburg

Unless you intend interning the entire population and creating concentration camps, you cannot defeat a guerrilla army in this way. You will only succeed in uniting different factions and faiths into a more determined effort to retaliate with suicide bombs and other means.

Where will Israel be when the guns fall silent? In a worse situation politically, diplomatically and even militarily — regardless of the short-term outcome. — Jack Lewis, Cape Town

The Nazis were already at war in 1942, and had slaughtered millions of innocent people in Czechoslovakia and elsewhere before Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated.

In contrast, the Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped by Hamas and Hizbullah were patrolling internationally recognised boundaries from which Israel had already withdrawn. And they are neither fascists nor mass murderers.

If there is any parallel to the Nazi era, it is the attitude of appeasement that is the mainstay of your paper’s approach to Mid-East terror. — Joel Pollak, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Thank you for your editorial. As an Israeli citizen, I agree that collective punishment should not be applied in any circumstance. The indiscriminate punishment meted out by the German occupation forces in Czechoslovakia is no different from what my country is doing now in Lebanon. — Susan Miller

Your comparison between Nazi crimes and Israel’s barbaric campaign in Lebanon is almost right, except that Israeli acts are more savage. — Bill Zayat, California

Israel destroys only those areas where Hizbullah is operating, hence large areas of Lebanon are untouched. Roads, bridges and other infrastructure are bombed to stop the movement of Hizbullah terrorists.

The fact that terrorists operate from behind the protection of civilians is one of the factors that makes them terrorists. The deaths of civilians are not premeditated, but in war bad things happen. — Henry Tobias, Maale Adumim, Israel

You ask why must Israel kill the innocent Lebonese bystanders? They are not just bystanders, they are Muslims too and therefore align themselves with Hizbullah against Israel.

Life in the Muslim world is cheap. Israelis celebrate life, while Muslims have no respect for life and kill anybody anywhere. — Robert Spiegel

United Nations envoys in Beirut report that block after block has been bombed and lies in ruins. This is simply not acceptable, even if George Bush and Tony Blair think it is. — Michael Brett, Hartbeeshoek

The other Arab countries have not responded to Israel because they appreciate what is being done for them. Hizbullah is a cancer that could topple the governments of surrounding countries. Therefore, they are standing by watching and hoping that Israel’s operation will be able to stop its growth. — Trish Bowen, Fort Worth, Texas US

Read the Bible and you will find an answer to your judgement of Israel, for G-d promises that he will come down and judge your country and other nations that have judged the Jewish people. — Rafael

In contrast with the Czech partisans who assassinated Heydrich, Hamas and Hizbullah are not the representatives of the people but extremist militants. Both groups have sworn to the destruction of the state of Israel.

There is guilt on both sides, and your editorial does not make this point. — Martin Frauenstein

I do not wish my brands and companies to be associated with your biased content. I am, therefore, withdrawing all advertising involvement that my companies have with your paper. — Marc Hoffmann

Before attacking Hizbullah targets, Israeli planes dropped leaflets urging civilians to leave the area. This is unlike the indiscriminate rocket barrages on Israeli civilian targets such as apartments, schools and hospitals. — Ruth Mendes, Pound Ridge, New York

The answer to your question is that Hizbullah is a democratically elected part of the Lebanese government. There is no collective punishment here; the Lebanese government is responsible for what they failed to do. Since it is democratically elected, all Lebanese are deserving of their fate. — Stuart Greenbaum, Solana Beach, California

Your editorialist is so far over to the left that he probably supports the Islamo-fascist terrorists trying to control the world. Show me a war and I will show you Muslim extremists trying to assert their 7th-century ideas on people living in the 21st century. — Ronnie Bloch, Houston, Texas

You are anti-Semitic pigs. — Ivan Stux

Where were all these concerns when Hamas was lobbing rockets from Gaza into Israel for months on end? Or is it that nobody cares as long as the Jews don’t fight back! — Jack de Lowe, Raanana, Israel

The carnage in Lebanon is so sadly reminiscent of the apartheid madness we endured here. An out-of-control Israeli government is justifying, in the name of state security, the abrogation of human rights and military protocols civilised nations adhere to in time of strife, like the Geneva Convention.

Israel’s supporters have never acknowledged any impropriety during decades of conflict, suggesting they just don’t want to see the truth. — Brian Venter

Adebajo’s strange logic

Most contemporary historians and South Africans — black and white — agree with Adekeye Adebajo (July 21) that Rhodes was a most unpleasant character.

But Adebajo’s logic is strange. He says he obtained a superior education at Oxford through a Nigerian Rhodes scholarship. He remembers how his ”stomach churned” at Rhodes House dinners because of the misdeeds of the arch-imperialist Rhodes against blacks, but also bemoans the fact that so few black scholars are given Rhodes scholarships. Surely his advice to black scholars should be not to apply for or accept a scholarship from such tainted hands?

Adebajo’s piece would have been better if he had also referred to Rhodes’s attitude to, and actions against, the Afrikaners. Perhaps he doesn’t know about them, which would be a pity and an academic oversight. But Afrikaners don’t bitterly dredge this up in the media. It is history.

Adebajo refers, approvingly it seems, to the tearing down of Rhodes’s statues in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Is that what he propagates for South Africa, and what will it achieve for the downtrodden of our country? — Pieter Wolvaardt, Grahamstown North

Adebajo refers to Cecil John Rhodes, on whose scholarship he studied at Oxford, as ”an infamous robber baron”, ”a grotesque and cruel imperialist” and a figure that should be ”condemned to the pit latrines of history”.

Strong words from the director of Conflict Resolution at the University of Cape Town.

Adebajo’s retrospective view of history drips with resentment, and one wonders how impartial he is in resolving conflicts when the values of responsibility, forgiveness, self-control and acceptance of difference are required. — David Hilton-Barber, Tzaneen

Adebajo fails to take into account the elementary fact that when judging a historical character judgement must be made in accordance with the norms and values prevalent in the society and era in which that person lived.

He uses selective quotes, not even full sentences, and without giving the context, time or place of the statement in question.

These can be manipulated by any writer to further his own prejudices. They debase Adebajo’s article, as do historical inaccuracies. (The vote was taken away from black people in the Cape Province by the Hertzog government in 1936, 34 years after Rhodes’s death!)

I find it disappointing than an Oxford graduate (did he graduate?) and a director of a Centre for Conflict Resolution can produce such shallow, tub-thumping guff. — Clive Whitford

Zuma: Media violated fair play

The injustice to which Jacob Zuma has been subjected by the prosecuting authorities and the media is now such that it violates my sense of fair play.

His only proven transgression is that he showered after unprotected sex. Is this a crime?

Judge Hilary Squires alleged a corrupt relationship between Schabir Shaik and Zuma. Zuma was not on trial and had yet to be proved guilty of any wrongdoing. Subsequently it emerged that President Thabo Mbeki had ”sanctioned” a letter from Zuma which Judge Squires used in finding there was a corrupt relationship.

When, on the basis of Judge Squires’s comments, Zuma was fired as deputy president, the media went into an orgy of celebration. Did anybody stop to think that he had not been convicted of anything?

Mbeki has constantly hidden behind the ”innocent until proved guilty” plea with other cronies. Yet he fired a man not proved guilty of anything.

Then Zuma is accused of rape and the media goes into a feeding frenzy. But the most publicly analysed trial in our history finds Zuma innocent.

What to do now? Keep up the pressure on the corruption trial, of course. But we now hear that the National Prosecuting Authority is not ready to go to court! Four years since the investigation opened!

I am not a Zuma man, but fair play dictates that ”justice delayed is justice denied”. And if you cannot put up, please shut up! — Carl Werth, Pretoria

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