Lose the egos
Sir, – With regard to “Center- Left fails to unite, but Peretz
joins Livni” (December 7), I am not a politician, not a genius, not a professor
– just a common, everyday person who has a question to ask: Why do our
politicians think only about their egos? I was brought up to believe that the
duty of politicians was to serve their country and its people. After all, we,
the people, pay their salaries, pay for their cars, perks, etc. So why do we not
receive in return what we pay for? Why do we have to have so many political
parties? Why can’t we have one on the right, one on the left, and one in the
middle? We have to have heaven-knows how many, meaning there’s almost no hope of
voting for a responsible, strong and feasible party to lead us in the next few
To those who are forming the new parties I ask that you take into
account the damage you are doing to our system. Put your egos in your pockets
and start thinking about Israel and its people.
Believing is seeing
Sir, – Regarding “New ad on domestic violence targets males”
(December 6), Vered Swid and her Authority for the Advancement of the Status of
Women in Israel (AASWI) make me angry.
The new ad encouraging men to call
for help before becoming abusive only serves to feed the contention that males
are always the purveyors of domestic violence. Nothing can be farther from the
Women, believe it or not, are equally capable of violent behavior.
I know many men in this situation and I have learned that violent women are, on
the whole, much more aggressive than one might imagine.
Men who are
victimized (emotionally, financially, psychologically and even physically) often
have their pleas for help dismissed because they are, in the eyes of
social-service types, the brutes. Shakespeare, in Macbeth, Act I, Scene 5, sums
up violent female partners well: “Your hand, your tongue, look like th’ innocent
flower, but be the serpent under’t.”
Men who are victims of a violent
female partner are typically too ashamed and embarrassed to speak out, and if
they do muster the courage they are not believed. Social service agencies have
scores of information booklets and counseling sessions dedicated to domestic
violence aimed at women, but nothing for the victimized male.
Swid, I urge you to take on a new initiative, an initiative of education. Stop
speaking of “violence against women” and start speaking of “violence against
The single most important lesson is not that you have to see
it to believe it, but that you have to believe it to see it.
Sir, – Your commendation of the term
“evenhanded” in your December 6 editorial “Christian support” is to accredit one
of the most destructive tropes in the lexicon of Middle Eastern
This vacuous construction made of most inferior material is
readily used by anti-Israel forces proposing, in fact, policies that are
prejudicial to Israel’s very survival. The European Union’s anti-Israel
policies, for instance, are always presented as being evenhanded. US President
Barack Obama’s proposal that Israel return to the pre-1967 borders is also
justified as being evenhanded.
Examples are legion.
is in no way fair to Israel. It undermines Israel. Actually, we need something
much more than even-handedness.
We need pro-Zionist policies that do no
harm to Arabs or anyone else. Even-handedness is actually no-handedness.
suggest that you and others look hard at this concept and its debased reasoning,
and cast it out as the trash it is.
Blight at the
opera Sir, – I was fascinated by your review of the November 26 performance of
Wozzeck (Arts & Entertainment, December 2).
Could this possibly be
the same production I had the misfortune of witnessing on December 1? I am an
avid opera fan and enjoy nothing more than opera sung in the German
Imagine, then, my disappointment that despite a
more-thancompetent command of the libretto, the rest of the production fell so
There were a few strong voices, most notably Merav Barnea and
Noah Briger, but did any of the singers have a grasp of the characters they were
portraying? If they did, the depth of their understanding certainly didn’t
translate into their performances.
But can you blame them? They were
poorly serviced by a lack of emotional resonance from the orchestra, which
plodded its way through even the most emotional passages with a desperate lack
of musical comprehension or passion. And is it normal for the bassoon players to
chat with each other throughout the passages they are not playing? That said,
many in the audience had already disappeared by the end of Act 1, making their
way through the dark, presumably a risk worth taking after assessing that the
bizarre set, unimaginative lighting and tired costumes would not in any way
enhance what was yet to come. Fortunately, I knew the opera from more successful
productions, and my own disappointment was tempered.
I was considering a
return evening to premier Luisa Miller into my opera-going repertoire. However,
based on this appalling production, I believe it can wait.
Sir, – The vice chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
of the European Parliament, Fiorello Provera, is egregiously optimistic
(“Securing an impossible peace,” Observations, November 30). In calling on Hamas
to “renounce the elements of its founding charter, which are committed to the
destruction of Israel, and its call to raise ‘the banner of Allah over every
inch of Palestine,’” he dishonors the group and its belief in Islam.
Islamists’ struggle for Palestine is intimately and irrevocably tied to the
Koran and devotion to Allah. The Hamas covenant (1998) breathes
For these believers, renunciation of the armed fight for Palestine
is to cast off their faith.
If Provera believes Hamas will “take
responsibility as a governing authority, to rule in the best interests of
Palestinian civilians” and adopt “a mature and honest approach” – obviously,
including a full peace with Israel – he needs to reread the covenant and the
The covenant, throughout, relates to the liberation of Palestine,
an “Islamic Wakf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment
Day.... This Wakf remains as long as Earth and Heaven remain. Any procedure in
contradiction to Islamic Shari’a where Palestine is concerned is null and
This and so many other passages hardly sound revocable or
Provera is kidding himself or iterating the destructive idiocy
of those who promote the idle notion that Hamas would or could “embrace the
peace process, which will hopefully bear fruit after the end of the negotiations
CLARIFICATION The photograph in “Happy
Hanukka!,” which appears on Page 1 of the December 9 issue, shows Barbara Shaw
lighting a Hanukka menora of her own creation in her Jerusalem crafts shop. The
photo was taken last week and not, as stated in the caption, on the first night