April 15: More on Grass
In response to Eli Yishai’s ban of German author Günter Grass, many have criticized Israel’s democracy.
More on Grass
Sir, – In response to Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s ban of German
author Günter Grass from our shores, criticism has been expressed by many
friends (Alan Dershowitz, Salman Rushdie and others) claiming that Israel’s
democracy should fight words with words. Now, with an impassioned list of sites
the unrepentant Nazi should visit, Gil Troy (“Let Günter Grass visit Israel –
and encounter democracy,” Center Field, April 11) implies that such exposure
would have an effect on him.
One is reminded of the visit Kurt Waldheim
made to Yad Vashem – with a kippa on his head – as secretary-general of the
United Nations, before his Nazi past was known. How many Shoah survivors had to
relive their agony in that Israeli faux pas? It is not an exaggeration to assume
that an anti-Semite will not change his spots under any circumstances. While
Troy’s naive sense of rehabilitation is to be praised, it is far from the
reality of today’s world, which is filled, once again, with irrational and
psychotic hatred of Jews and Israel.
Let Israel’s democracy be tested in
other areas, not with respect to Nazis.
– Years ago, when Günter Grass’s son Vincent was a volunteer at the Jewish Home
for the Blind in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Moshe neighborhood, I was told by blind
women friends at the home that his father was due to arrive on a visit and
especially wanted to meet Vincent’s kibbutz “adoptive parents” to thank
Sir, – With regard to “The
Titanic sinks again, on TV and movie screens” (Arts & Entertainment, April
11), not only do I have the first edition of The Palestine Post from 1932, I
have a copy of The Daily Mirror dated Tuesday, April 16, 1912 (one halfpenny)
with the headline, “DISASTER TO THE TITANIC: WORLD’S LARGEST SHIP COLLIDES WITH
AN ICEBERG IN THE ATLANTIC DURING HER MAIDEN VOYAGE.”
The newspaper has
16 pages, with several articles on the passenger list on Page 3.
Words of wisdom
Sir – You report that the foreign minister
of the Islamic Republic of Iran said “Setting conditions before the meeting
means drawing conclusions, which is completely meaningless and none of the
parties will accept conditions set before the talks” (“On eve of critical talks,
Iran signals it may budge – but not enough to satisfy Western demands,” April
Maybe Ali Akbar Salehi could convey this view to Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas?
With regard to MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer’s endorsement of Egyptian presidential
candidate Omar Suleiman (“Suleiman lashes out at claims that army backs him,”
April 10), doesn’t Ben-Eliezer realize that this will lose Suleiman many votes?
We have to learn when to keep our mouths shut.
– In “New entries stir up Egypt presidential race” (April 9), Salwat Hegazy, a
popular television preacher and Salafist candidate, is quoted as having said,
“Jerusalem belongs to us, and the whole world belongs to us.”
It can be
claimed that not all Muslims are Islamists, but this is at least partially
refuted by the facts of the Arab Spring, whereby Islamists, after ostensibly
democratic elections, have been swept into power in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt,
and are poised for the same in Jordan, Syria and Bahrain.
To ignore the
proclamations of Hegazy is to repeat the mistake of ignoring Mein
Sir, – With regard to “‘NY
mohel tests positive for herpes’” (April 10), I can say that as a mohel in
London for 33 years I was obliged with all other mohelim of the Initiation
Society to be vaccinated against herpes.
When I qualified in 1967 as an
authorized mohel, the Bet Din of London allowed me to use a glass pipette tube
for metzitzah ritual.
A bit hasty
Sir, – I fear
that “Balancing power” (Editorial, April 10) was a bit hasty in judging that the
leaders of the two leftist parties are too far removed from the action to really
understand the legislation proposed by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman.
the contrary, I feel they and some of Kadima’s members are more in touch with
the proposed legislation than some who feel it is okay. Limiting in any way the
powers of the Supreme Court by any legislation approved by less than 70 MKs is
to take away some of the Knesset’s powers and cannot be but harmful to our
Your contention that Neeman’s proposal would actually
strengthen the Supreme Court is really from another planet. Think again and come
up with a more reasonable proposal.
Sir, – In “The economics of Palestine” (Encountering Peace, April 10),
Gershon Baskin carefully details the reasons for the miserable state of the
Palestinian economy. From roadblocks and a lack of donor nations to a bloated
civil service, the Palestinian economy is headed for
Interestingly, Baskin disingenuously omits two major reasons
for the collapsing economy. One is terror and the other is local corruption. If
he and his Palestinian colleagues were to honestly address these issues, maybe
the obstacles facing their economy could be overcome.
Recycle the ice
Sir, – I wish to thank Gil Hoffman for “The day the
ice melted” (Reporter’s Notebook, April 10). I have one question, though: Has
anyone thought about what to do with the incredible ice sculptures once the
event closes and the plug is pulled? Has anyone thought of trucking these tons
of ice to the Kinneret or some other source of water so that in addition to our
enjoying the show we can benefit from the millions of liters of water used to
create this extravaganza?
Even our own
Sir, – I though
that Liat Collins’s “Theater of the absurd” (My Word, April 8) was very well
written and to the point. But it did miss a Jew who is high in the elite of the
theater and intellectual world: Jonathan Miller.
Miller was born a Jew
but does not admit it. All he says is that his parents were Jewish. His anti-
Jewish/Zionist stance goes back a long way.
In 1968 I was working at the
BBC and was supervising the construction of film review theaters.
came in to check a film he was making. I was able to converse with him and asked
if he would be able to speak to a group I belonged to.
He told me to
write to him, mentioning our conversation, what type of group it was and a few
We were a Zionist group. I mentioned this in my letter to
him. I can tell you that I am still awaiting a reply, let alone an
Sir, – So Emma Thompson has joined
forces with Vanessa Redgrave and a slew of other theatrical personalities
demanding a boycott of Israeli theater participation.
disappointing to read.
But I will not refuse to watch her movies because
of her opinions.
To quote a line from Hamlet, “This above all: To thine
own self be true.”