Sir, – Having held the valiant men chosen to lead our sons in
the protection of the Land Israel in the highest regard, I must voice alarmed
disgust at the reported weight-throwing behavior of Ehud Barak (“Defense
minister criticized over expedited army chief nomination,” August 23). He made a
choice, not for reasons of competency or general approval, but for a malicious
personal show of one-upmanship, which unfortunately leaves a slur on his choice
for future commander.
Sir, – Our defense
minister has a super inflated ego (“Barak shows defense establishment who’s
boss,” August 23). Pity us that such a man has been entrusted with guarding us.
Don’t we deserve better? E. POR
Haifa BGU head irks readers
Sir, – Regarding
“McCarthy vs Voltaire in Beersheba” (August 20), your interview with
Rivka Karmi, president of Ben- Gurion University of the Negev,
raises several alarming points.
First, she says that Im Tirtzu’s letter
“does not deserve the dignity of a reply.” May I ask why? Surely the public and
university donors deserve to know whether the charges are true or false. Second,
how is it that a senior faculty member, Dr. Neve Gordon, who, as your
interviewer states, has “publicly called for a boycott of Israel” (and therefore
of his own university) was appointed head of the Politics and Government
Department? Prof. Karmi says: “My request from faculty members is that they
don’t link between their private work and their university work.”
course has the right to personal political opinions. The politics of an anatomy
professor make no difference to a medical student, but it takes a certain
naivety to say that the political opinion of a head of the Department of
Politics and Government would not color the direction of his teaching and
curriculum to the extent that it colors the marking of his students’
Equally disturbing is the fact that six out of 11 members of the
faculty are active in calling on Israelis not to serve in the army in the West
Bank, and that some have anti-Zionist beliefs. This in the university named
after the Zionist proclaimer of the State of Israel! CYRIL ATKINS
Sir, – After Prof. Karmi’s expansively liberal declaration of being prepared to
“defend to the death” the right to express divergent views, one is compelled to
ask why Im Tirtzu is excluded.
Surely, the president of BGU is able to
distinguish between Im Tirtzu’s program, which encourages donations to the
university, albeit on a selective basis, and Prof. Neve Gordon’s advocacy of a
total boycott of Israel, which denies Israel’s legitimacy and poses a dire
threat to its security, the well-being of its citizens and the continued
viability of its academic institutions.
Finally, the gratuitous mention
of the McCarthy era in the context of Prof. Karmi’s remarks raises serious
questions about her own lack of judgment.ZEV CHAMUDOT
With all due respect to Prof. Rivka Karmi’s erudition, Voltaire never said what
she quotes him as saying. And, contrary to her opinion, we cannot simply abhor,
but must not tolerate people who do or say things against Israel.
is not an abstraction. It is home to six and a half million Jews: men, women and
The poison spewed almost on a daily basis by a number of
political science professors at Israeli universities endangers us
Sir, – BGU President Rivka Karmi and
others like her have allowed anti-Israel academicians to flaunt their
association with the university while hurting Israel here and abroad through
calls for economic and other boycotts as part of an extreme leftist agenda. In
their campaign for specific political policies against Israel, these activist
BGU professors use their academic association as a claim to authority. This has
nothing to do with “critical thought” as a “cornerstone of academic
It is entirely political.
Now that Im Tirtzu is
borrowing a page from the leftist handbook by advocating a boycott of BGU
coffers, Karmi is outraged.
But she is speaking up not for democracy, but
for a special status for academia. Which cow she worships is clear.
does not need to lecture anyone about the ethics of using Zionism to silence
people while her anti-Israel minions preach boycott all over Europe. Leftist
domination of the news and entertainment media, academia and the arts has long
shunted public opinion to the side. Using their overwhelming access to the
public domain, leftists have suppressed contrary public opinion, to wit, the
protection offered by the news media to scandal-ridden Ariel Sharon during the
critical moments leading up to Gaza disengagement. Leftist academia, no less
than the mass media and politicians, has agendas it promotes with its own
Demanding special status for the areas they dominate, ostensibly in
defense of democracy, leftists nonetheless expose their hypocrisy when they
eschew democratic expression. (I recall the leftist opposition to a public
referendum, perhaps the most democratic of options, on the disengagement.) Just
as it is in the US with regard to the Tea Party, so it is here with the academic
attempts to stifle Im Tirtzu.
Karmi is a spokesperson for Leftist
elitism, not democracy.
As leftists want to hurt Israel in the
pocketbook, I say it’s time to turn the guns on the pocketbook of the leftists
who seem to be centered (no pun intended) at BGU. It’s time to disengage from
some of those ivory towers.GABE HARPAZ
Jerusalem The Euro parliament on
Sir, – On behalf of Ms. Hedi Hautala, chair of the European
Parliament’s sub-committee on human rights, I would like to draw your readers’
attention to a serious mistake in Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg’s August 19 column
(“NGO transparency will protect democracy”).
According to Prof.
Steinberg, “In a June 23rd hearing of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on
Human Rights, officials from two Israeli NGOs – the Public Committee Against
Torture in Israel (PCATI) and Mossawa – portrayed criticism of the secret
process by which they are funded by the EU as a McCarthyist conspiracy. And they
demonstrated their commitment to free speech by attempting to prevent NGO
Monitor from speaking at the hearing, falsely claiming that the latter was a
governmental organization (in fact NGO Monitor was the only organization invited
to speak that does not receive funding from any government).”
I am always
aware of different views among members of the parliament, but as the official
responsible for organizing the hearing, I can assure you that at no time did any
NGO try to prevent NGO Monitor from taking the floor.GEOFFREY HARRIS
Head of Human Rights Unit European ParliamentEach drop is precious
Sir, – The
Water Authority is now installing aerators in homes in order to save 25 billion
liters a year (“100,000 aerators distributed in two weeks,” August
One other source of saving tremendous amounts of water would be a
change in the placement of solar water heaters.
It would be far better to
install the solar panels on the roof and the holding tank either in the
apartment or on an outside wall close by. This would reduce the waste of cold
water before the hot water arrives.
One has to assume that such a
solution would be “too logical” to impress our Water Authority! EMANUEL FISCHER