Blair and the Presidency

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Tony Blair, in his evaluation of three U.S. Presidents [A Call to Greatness, Sept. 13], seems like a starstruck fan eulogizing his favorite singers. There's not a wart or blemish among them.
Sarwat Ali, KARACHI

In order to become a victorious war Prime Minister, Blair clung to the coattails of George W. Bush. Sadly, both will go down in history as men willing to invent a casus belli to justify an illegal invasion.
John Devere-Loots, KLOOF, SOUTH AFRICA

Blair writes that the real test of leadership "is whether, in the final analysis, you put the country first; that ultimately you are prepared to put what you perceive to be the common good of the nation before your own political self." Unfortunately, it was a test Blair failed to pass, and we are all living in more dangerous times because of it.

Waiting for Peace in Israel
TIME's story on life in Israel prompted more than 1,000 letters, mostly in protest.

Your story "The Good Life and Its Dangers" outrageously implies that Israelis care more about money than a future of peace and security [Sept. 13]. This deeply odious subtext of Israeli Jews' being obsessed with money plays into the age-old anti-Semitic canard that Jews prize money above any other interest. Ignored is the decades-long yearning of Israelis for peace and the tremendous efforts that successive Israeli governments have made in its pursuit. As Jews around the world embark on a new year with prayers for peace, the article is wrong, inappropriate and offensive.
Abraham H. Foxman,
 National Director, Anti-Defamation League, NEW YORK CITY

As an instructor of university students, I would have failed the author for making broad generalizations based on insufficient evidence and drawn from personal interviews and random anecdotes. Not a day has gone by in the 34 years I have lived in Israel that I have not had a close relative, friend or, in recent years, a child serving in the military. In addition to other motivations, like all the Israelis I know I have been to far too many soldiers' funerals to ever not care about peace. A woman quoted in the final lines of the article states that Israeli Jews are, in fact, involved and paying close attention to the peace talks. Doesn't this conclusion contradict the article's general tone?
Michal Michelson, RAANANA, ISRAEL

If I am vacationing in Lake Tahoe with my family, that does not make me less interested in seeing that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan come to an end. The whole country of Israel does not have to wear a hair shirt while politicians try to negotiate a solution to this unending conflict.
Daniel Tuerk, PALO ALTO, CALIF., U.S.

There is nothing I, as an Israeli, would want more than peace. I just choose to be realistic rather than optimistic. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinians and our partner in peace talks, represents only those in the West Bank, about half the Palestinians. The other half, located in the Gaza Strip, are represented by Hamas, a terrorist group that calls for the destruction of Israel. The elected leaders from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides — including Hamas — must partner. Is Hamas ready?
Kinneret Klein, KARMIEL, ISRAEL

Your facts are twisted, distorted, partially reported or taken out of context. Yes, Israel has thrived in the face of adversity, but polls show that the vast majority of Israelis are for a two-state solution. Israel should be praised for that wish and not presented as a nonchalant country whose main interests are money and the good life. There is much more to Israel than that, and it is nowhere to be found in your one-sided article.

Tel Aviv, and all of Israel for that matter, is not only sunbathing, sea and outdoor cafés. It is mainly a place of hard work, technology, culture, creativity, renovation and innovation. And, yes, we crave peace — very much so.

We Israelis may not be so optimistic to think that peace will come soon, having lived through many wars, terrorist attacks and disappointments. But it is not at all correct to say that we don't care about the subject when almost all of our young people are involved in the army and even small children are trained to look for suspicious packages.

Israel's extraordinary economic, scientific and cultural accomplishments do not in any way diminish its citizens' desire for peace. Despite witnessing years of rocket attacks, suicide bombings and Palestinian rejection of proposals for statehood, the vast majority of Israelis still support the two-state solution. Israelis have proved their eagerness to embrace genuine peace offers from Arab leaders, such as Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and King Abdullah of Jordan, and their readiness to make painful concessions. That Israelis are willing to share their homeland with a people that has so often sought their destruction is a further testament to their yearning for peace. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently declared at the White House, we want "a peace that will last for generations — our generation, our children's generation and the next."
Michael B. Oren, Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., WASHINGTON

Israelis are experiencing peace fatigue; they're tired of fighting and dying for an elusive end to the conflict. Blinded by the spotlight and double standards, Israelis today just want to don their sunglasses and enjoy the natural light of the sun, if only for a while.
Denise Pérez, BOGOTÁ

Obama's Falling Ratings
U.S. President Barack Obama refuses populism and favors a rather long-term approach to tackling problems, contrary to what most politicians are doing [Mr. Unpopular, Sept. 13]. Blessed be America for having such a President! I hope that the country will one day recognize him for proving that making tough and wise political choices has nothing to do with high approval ratings. Obviously, it is easier for some Americans to lend a complacent ear to the demagogues of the Tea Party movement than to listen to what a President with a rational vision for his country and the world is saying.
René Arnaud, LYON, FRANCE