Australians are increasingly vocal about Israel

Today’s letters in the Sydney Morning Herald show a combination of anger, defensiveness (on the part of Zionists who dishonestly claim that they actually think independently from the Israeli government) and passion:

Immanuel Suttner and David Tester (Letters, June 4) ask if and when Bishop George Browning and others would express outrage about attacks by Islamic militants, rather than singling out Israel.

I can assure them that most, if not all, of us deplore such mindless acts. We know that is how fanatical groups operate.

But Israel prides itself on being a humanitarian, civilised state, and declares itself a vibrant, liberal democracy – the only one in the Middle East. It is expected to conduct itself accordingly.

The Taliban and al-Qaeda make no such claims. We cannot expect them to behave by standards they abhor, scorn or know nothing about. Israel’s friends expect better.

John Apostolakis Lockleys (SA)

Israel is held to a higher standard than Islamic terrorists because it repeatedly claims that standard for itself. How often have we heard about Israel’s democracy and freedoms, its respect for human rights and its professional army? If it wants to claim that status, it should act accordingly and expect to be called to account when it fails to do so.

Unless, of course, it is happy to be lumped together with terrorists and other nutcases.

Anura Samara Calwell (ACT)

Your editorial calls on diaspora Jews ”to question Israel’s actions” (”Candour is not Israel’s enemy”, June 4). Within Israel, public opinion and media coverage, usually hypercritical of the government, have shown unusually strong support for its actions in regard to the flotilla.

Most Israelis do not accept the image of the flotilla organisers as non-violent peace activists. They have been given far more information than readers of the Herald about the group that organised the flotilla, its alleged links to al-Qaeda, Hamas and other jihadist groups, and about the motives of the Turkish government in supporting it. The views of Australian Jews tend to reflect Israeli public opinion on this issue.

Diaspora Jews question Israel’s actions constantly. But we seek balance and context in media coverage, and are careful to do that questioning in ways that will not further the cause of those who have a long history of seeking Israel’s destruction.

Vic Alhadeff Chief executive, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Darlinghurst

Yesterday’s editorial is repugnant and offensive to me, an Australian Jew. The Herald is entitled to its views but so am I. So don’t tell me what my views should be, on Israel or any other topic. You have slandered me and the Jewish community with your slurs and innuendos. I demand an immediate apology.

Gaby Berger Point Piper

Eric Borecki (Letters, June 4) defends Israel’s blockade of Gaza ”to ensure [ships] are not carrying rockets to Hamas”. One wonders why Israel has the right to import high-tech weaponry, yet denies its neighbours the same right. As the primary aggressor, occupier and nuclear power in the region, Israel’s only defence appears to be that might is right.

Michael McGrath Manly Vale

Eric Borecki has a selective view of history. In 1948 the British and US air forces broke the Soviet blockade of Berlin, supplying it for nearly a year from the air. It seems blockade-breaking is acceptable if you are powerful enough.

Laurie Eyes Wyong Creek

”They hunted like hyenas”, says Paul McGeough (”Prayers, tear gas and terror”, June 4). Give us a break. McGeough should stick to reporting and leave out the emotive, dehumanising similes. ”They” were the young Israeli conscripted men sent to stop a supposedly peaceful protest. ”Hunted” suggests they went out to kill, when it seems the protesters were the ones preparing for that. ”Hyenas” is an attempt to turn Israeli people into animals in the eyes of readers. McGeough should report the full story and leave out the creative writing.

David Whitcombe Randwick

Am I the only one who finds it ironic Kate Geraghty’s ”photos they didn’t want seen” show the same thing as the footage the Israel Defence Forces released? All I see is an angry mob waiting to attack the commandos.

Danny Rod Rose Bay