Finding balance

Sir, – Most readers understand the difficulty of trying to ensure balanced news presentation.

David Brinn’s “Perplexing perceptions” (Observations, August 10) is a worthy exposition of efforts to do just that.

Why, then, is Gershon Baskin’s regular column in The Jerusalem Post allowed to propagate so airily the inflammatory accusative word “apartheid,” regarding others here, as he also voices it in his appearances abroad? In addition, many reports in the paper use the term “private Palestinian land,” despite large swaths here being sub judice, although much of it has proven Jewish ownership.

This seems to be a mantra phrase for the long-barren areas which we were prevented from reclaiming for disastrous millennia. It slanders Zionism – as the catastrophe our enemies falsely allege it to be. A plethora of factual letters and articles have proven not just a few Palestinian claims as baseless.

As our democratic Jewish state thrives and diversifies, with all its warts, no reporter nor any citizen should fail to exercise his vote “lest word gets out whom he voted for and [his] work is compromised.” As far as I know, our ballots are secret. Instead, he can unafraid join our ever-loud non-harmonious but vibrant chorus. Go editorial staff!

ESTER ZEITLIN
Jerusalem

Lost story

Sir, – Thank you for publishing Michael Freund’s “Serbia: Lost and found,” (Fundamentally Freund, Comment and Features, August 9).

The Serbs and the Jews share very common histories as historically persecuted peoples – particularly during one of the worst genocides ever committed in the Nazi-puppet “independent” state of Croatia.

The recent Yugoslav civil wars can be viewed as a continuation of World War II because the animosities and mistrust created as a result of this genocide were never properly dealt with and many of the perpetrators were left unpunished. And, to add insult to injury, the West has illegally recognized the “independence” of Kosovo, the spiritual Jerusalem for the Serbs as a center of the Orthodox Christian faith, violating international law and the concept of national sovereignty by stealing the historically Serbian province from Serbia.

The world never heard the Serbian side of this tragic story as it was largely censored by the mainstream media. I call upon Jews to learn more about the Serbs and rekindle the historical friendship that both peoples have shared over many centuries.

MICHAEL PRAVICA
Henderson,
Nevada

Deep denial

Sir, – Isi Leibler’s review of Robert Wistrich’s book on Jews and the Left should prove of great value to those interested in the phenomenon of intellectual misguidance (“Wistrich on ‘the Left, the Jews and Israel,’” Candidly Speaking, August 9). But why just pick on the secular Left? Foolishness is universal.

As Nazism arose in Europe, many religious Jews refused to consider emigration to Israel since Zionism required a Messiah.

These same people also averred that divine favor alone would accord protection from the Nazis. Even today, in Israel, the same lethally bad advice is being offered to excuse exemption from military duty.

As the Nazis rose to power in the 1930s, many people grossly underestimated the peril.

Indeed, anti-Semitism in Germany was hardly ubiquitous, and many Jews knew decent Germans. Despite the fact that current statistics show far higher levels of Jew-hatred in Islamic lands than existed in prewar Germany, there are those who rationalize and minimize this unpleasant reality.

At least authors like Wistrich help dispel the stereotype that all Jews are intelligent.

DAVID KATCOFF
Jericho, Vermont

Reliable investment

Sir, – In his column “Cleaning up an inherited portfolio” (Your Investments, Business and Finance, August 9), Aaron Katsman questions the advisability of a 20-something holding Israel bonds in his portfolio.

On the contrary: Israel bonds are excellent allocations for most portfolios, including young adults, and for one of the most fundamental reasons of all – preservation of capital. At a time when many portfolios are consistently shrinking, Israel bonds provide consistency of a different sort – a 61-year record of dependability.

In 61 years, every investor in Israel bonds has received all interest and principal on time and in full. Moreover, the bonds organization offers securities with short, medium and long-term maturities, providing an excellent option for laddered portfolios – an outstanding way to plan for the future.

Katsman concludes by saying, “There is a good chance that the relative that left money for you as an inheritance would like you to gain from it.”

At a time when today’s economic uncertainties are creating negative returns in many portfolios, there is no better way to gain than by knowing your investments are reliable and provide a dependable return – two of the most significant aspects of Israel bonds.

JAMES GALFUND
Washington, DC
The writer is the associate director of State of Israel Bonds.

Call for action

Sir, – Although I sometimes disagree with some of the activities and causes that Shmuley Boteach chooses to identify with, I believe that his article, “Why I’m traveling to Rwanda,” (Comment and Features, August 8) deserves the serious attention of all people of conscience.

Boteach does not only call on us to remember the horrible butchery that took place in Rwanda in 1994 when hundreds of thousands of the Tutsi tribe were literally machete hacked to death by the Hutus, he makes us aware that most nations of the world totally ignored the brutal massacres and did nothing at all to try to prevent their taking place. He specifically accuses the Clinton administration in the United States of perfidious behavior when it deliberately frustrated any attempts by the UN to interfere.

His attention to the genocide in Rwanda, however, is to alert us to the fact that there are similar atrocities taking place today, and once again the enlightened world permits itself to effectively do nothing. Boteach calls for real efforts on the political and military fronts to halt the daily slaughter by the well armed and trained Syrian army of hundreds of unarmed civilians.

We in Israel have the right to ask why the oft repeated call by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the annihilation of Israel is not in itself sufficient grounds for the expulsion of Iran from the community of nations.

Must we really wait for the bomb to drop?

ZEV CHAMUDOT
Petah Tikva

Remembering dedication

Sir, – Greer Fay Cashman’s Grapevine talked of “The Australian connection” to Israel (Comment and Features, August 8).

In 1948 I was among a dozen Machal volunteers sailing to Israel in an Italian fishing boat converted by the IDF with an Italian skipper.

Among us were five Australian Jewish boys who had fought in New Guinea. They told us that the Zionist establishment in Australia would not support their passage to Israel and so they decide to work their way over on freighter ships.

Fearing the Suez canal, their target was Europe through the Panama Canal. The ship they boarded in Australia mutinied and they were stranded in New Caledonia, France, where they worked in a quarry to make money for continuing their journey.

After five months they arrived in the agency refugee camps near Marseille which was the staging area and on to our ship.

This is dedication. All I can remember is one whose name was Clyde, we lost touch once we landed.

RAPHAEL BEN-YOSEF
Ramat Gan

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