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'Moral Myopia' Blurs Middle East Vision

April 13, 2002

Re Lynn Cohen's revolting April 7 Opinion piece, "Memory and Destiny": I am tired of reading false, unsubstantiated accusations penned by Jews who are obsessed with comparing Israel's policies to the barbaric actions taken against the Jewish people 60 years ago. Such nonsense cannot go unanswered.

I am delighted that Cohen has learned Hebrew. I would encourage her to learn Arabic as well so that she can understand Yasser Arafat's calls to jihad and suicide bombing in his native tongue. Her concern for those targeted "based on ethnicity" was especially touching, given that the only civilians deliberately targeted, indeed massacred, are Israelis by Palestinian suicide bombers.

I would welcome another visit by Cohen to Israel, this time to show solidarity with the victims of terror. Her first visit should be to a hospital, where she can share her insights with women and children who have been maimed and scarred for the crimes of being Jewish and sitting at a cafe. She should then spend a night at a bomb shelter in northern Israel listening to the screams of mortar shells lobbed across the border by Hezbollah.

It is clear that only moral myopia could blind someone to the suffering that Israelis are going through. This year the angel of death did not pass over the Park Hotel in Netanya, where hundreds of Jews were gathering for the traditional Seder meal. The arguments put forth by Cohen offer no inducement to Palestinian leaders to cease their advocacy of death and destruction. In fact, she offers further justification for the killing of Jews.

Yuval Rotem

Consul General of Israel

Los Angeles


Cohen's romanticized memories of her year in Israel may be filled with flirty smiles and hungry kisses with her Arab neighbors. However, her memories do not include the constant threat of being murdered solely because she is a Jew in Israel. In light of her so-called love of Israel, Cohen may feel justified using polemic terms like "Gestapo-style rampage" to describe Israel's defensive military operation in response to daily terrorism. It is indeed easy for someone living in the relative comfort of Los Angeles to use such factually incorrect and offensive phraseology to describe Israel's military operation.

While all Israelis (and Jews throughout the world) yearn for peace, peace will never come to Israel if it simply abandons its need for a secure and defensible state in favor of those romanticized memories held by the likes of Cohen.

Robert M. Kessler


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