Letters to The Times may not, in the end, have an effect on nuclear talks with Iran or the Israeli-Palestinian peace process — which may not be a bad thing, since most of them don't leave one confident that either of those negotiations will have a good outcome.
Weighing in on Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress about Iran on Tuesday, readers on both sides of the issue appeared not to change their positions after hearing the Israeli prime minister's remarks or the Obama administration's assurance that the nuclear negotiations could be productive. To the contrary, as they often do on issues involving the Mideast, our letter writers mostly dug in ideologically. They spoke in absolutes: Nuclear power Israel is the real villain, those radicals in Iran can never be trusted, and can you believe how our president was disrespected?
Doris Isolini Nelson of Los Angeles says we should be talking about the Palestinians.
Israel has the strongest military in the Middle East, with nuclear capability, but Netanyahu still feels vulnerable. The real danger to Israel is the lack of resolution between Israel and the Palestinians, who continue to suffer from the takeover of their land.
Focusing on Iran changes the subject.
Los Angeles resident Fred Rosen says Netanyahu was the one who was disrespected:
For the last six years, President Obama has consistently advocated to keep the communication lines open even if you do not agree with the opposition. This is the only way the possibility of progress and any resolutions can be achieved.
Is this the same Obama who decided not to attend the joint session of Congress to hear Netanyahu's speech?
Daniel B. Jeffs of Apple Valley says Obama is leaving a dangerous legacy:
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) was wise to have Netanyahu speak to Congress about Iran's evil designs to rule the Middle East, backed by the force of nuclear weapons. Clearly, Netanyahu displayed candid courage in the face of being snubbed by Obama and his Democratic minions.
Indeed, Obama is on a reckless course to disarm the United States in the face of Iran's determination to become a nuclear weapons state, regardless of Netanyahu's warnings.
Surely, Netanyahu is well known as a fearless defender of his homeland. And certainly, Israel will know if and when it's time to strike Iran to prevent its nuclear weapons capability. Alas, though unthinkable, there is nothing to prevent North Korea from providing Iran with nuclear weapons.
Bill McIntyre of San Clemente puts the shoe on the other foot:
I wonder how Netanyahu would react if the opposition in the Knesset invited Obama to speak about the impossibility of peace as long as his government keeps pushing Israeli settlements into Palestinian territory because some people believe that God told the Jews that this land was theirs.