August 3: Wrong to say it

The AUF has never condoned violence against civilians, or terror. To write that they have is a pure fabrication.

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
August 2, 2011 23:09
letters

letters. (photo credit: JP)

Wrong to say it

Sir, – I was shocked and appalled reading in your newspaper the statement that the Utøya youth camp was a “a pro-terrorist program” (“The Oslo Syndrome,” The Region, August 1).

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I do not understand why any self-respecting newspaper would run such a statement when even the most cursory fact-checking reveals this to be simply untrue.

The AUF (Labor Party Youth) has never condoned violence against civilians, or terror. To write that they have is a pure fabrication.

The Labor Party Youth oppose Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, but I should hardly need to tell you that this does not in any way constitute support for terror.

While Barry Rubin takes care to say that the dead youth didn’t “have it coming,” I have trouble seeing his distorting article as anything but an argument for just this.

MARTIN GRÜNER LARSEN
Oslo

Sir, – Equating support for Palestinian statehood with being proterrorist is a jump in logic that I would expect from a tabloid, not The Jerusalem Post. But your periodical sadly chose to print Barry Rubin’s “The Oslo Syndrome,” a twisted piece of logic.

The allegation that many Europeans applaud terrorism against anyone, Israeli or otherwise, is a sad reflection of a state of dialogue lacking in adult seriousness. I expect better.

MICHAEL SVENSSON
Ottawa

Sir, – Shame on your newspaper for blaming the young victims in Norway for having been supporters of terror with regard to the conflict between Palestine and Israel.

I cannot understand the way Israel treats countries like Norway and Denmark when we talk about rights also for the people of Palestine. You suffered a lot during the Second World War as Jews, but that gives you no right to behave like you do now.

MARGIT SAHL
Copenhagen

Sir, – Barry Rubin has coined Oslo Syndrome as political sympathy for terrorism resulting in a boomerang effect. There is also a religious basis at play. It is located at the intersection of Christian anti-Semitism and Islamic supremacism.

Islamic law is clear that non- Muslims who do not agree to convert to Islam and who also refuse to live under Islamic rule as dhimmis are to be killed – hence the glorification of those who murder Israeli civilians.

Norway is an overwhelmingly Lutheran country, a religious tradition inspired by the virulent judeophobe Martin Luther. That hatred, sublimated in modern times into politically correct channels, has resulted in sympathy for those who kill Jews.

DAVID KATCOFF
Jericho, Vermont


All the wrong reasons

Sir, – Benjamin Yazersky (“The housing protesters are looking for answers in all the wrong places,” Comment & Features, August 1) is himself seeking answers in all the wrong places.

It is only natural for olim from the US to believe that free-market forces will solve the housing problem – never mind that in the past decade the “free” US market failed abysmally. Nor is our problem socialism or communism – it is the bureaucratic vestiges that remain of these ideologies.

Much of what Yazersky said is valid, but he underestimates the power of the country’s developers, the banks that bend over backward to finance them, and the municipalities that go out of their way to attract them, offering many incentives primarily because of the taxes that will come. This situation naturally invites corruption.

True, the laws, regulations and procedures are outdated and moribund, but the various national, district and local building committees, with all their faults, are our only bastion against developers who, if allowed to run wild, will shortly cover every bit of remaining green space in our country with concrete.

JERRY AVIRAM
Tel Aviv

A few points

Sir, – Ann Wright and Hagit Borer (“What do ‘Flotilla Folk’ do and why?,” Comment & Features, August 1) have to get their facts straight.

1. They claim that over 1,000 Palestinian civilians were killed in Operation Cast Lead. However even Hamas’s claim is lower – that 600-700 gunmen and police officers were killed out of a total of 1,166.

2. They call Gaza an “open-air prison.” I would call into question their definition of a prison, for in how many prisons are there shopping malls, movie theaters, beaches and universities? They are also mistaken about the conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails – or should I say hotels. That is in stark contrast to our IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, who has not been seen or heard from in the past two years, a flagrant breach of human rights and international law.

3. They claim that Israel is occupying Yesha (also known as the West Bank). However, thanks to Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and his film, the whole world should know now that the land is not “occupied” but “disputed.”

4. They claim that Israel “has refused to enter meaningful negotiations with the Palestinians.”

Was it Israel that refused peace time after time? No. Do the Palestinians even want to negotiate? No – they hide from negotiations under the pretext of preconditions that are tantamount to total surrender for Israel.

Finally, a little food for thought: Why didn’t the Arabs accept the 1947 UN partition plan or the pre-1967 borders, including east Jerusalem? If that was what they really wanted, we would definitely be living side-by-side, harmoniously and in peace.

MOSHE BERGWERK
Nof Ayalon

Good riddance

Sir, – The Ethiopian Jewish community will shed few tears over the resignation of Haim Shani as director-general of the Finance Ministry (“Treasury chief Shani resigns over ‘difference of opinion’ with Steinitz,” Business & Finance, August 1).

Under Shani’s benighted leadership, the Treasury refused to grant the mortgages necessary for more veteran olim to leave absorption centers to make way for brand-new immigrants. Consequently, it is currently estimated that by December there will be no room at absorption centers for people currently awaiting aliya – under appalling conditions – in Ethiopia.

In a bizarre response to the suffering, an interministerial committee headed by Shani decided to increase the period of time these people will remain in Ethiopia to a maximum of four years from the current three, and to reduce the government-mandated rate of aliya from six per day (not a typo) to approximately three.

This is simply cruel. The agonizing wait of 6,000 people, many of them children, is being needlessly prolonged. Many have been awaiting the chance to rejoin their families in Israel for over 10 years.

Israel’s financial capacity today is far greater than it was in the 1950s, when there was a huge influx of Jews from Arab and North African countries. What has been reduced – greatly reduced – is the country’s commitment to Zionist ideals.

The government should reject the interministerial committee’s recommendations. All of the remaining Ethiopians wishing to go to Israel should be brought within one year, not three or four.

Aliya should remain the first priority of the State of Israel in deed, not only in rhetoric. With Shani’s departure, this goal could be more readily attained. But as he would not have held a stance so hostile to aliya without the consent, express or implicit, of his boss, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, this is not likely.

JOSEPH FEIT
New York
The writer is a human rights lawyer and a former president of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry.


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