Sir, – Regarding “Facing defeat, Israel hopes to minimize
impact of PA’s UN bid” (November 29), some 36 nations represented in the UN
General Assembly, not all of them Muslim, do not recognize Israel. I would guess
that all 36 voted in favor of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s
motion to redefine Palestine as a non-member observer state in the world
I trust these nations appreciate that the corollary of recognizing
Palestine as a state within the pre- 1967 borders is recognizing Israel outside
these borders. There is now no justification for any rejectionist government not
to immediately open diplomatic relations with us.
No getting around it
Sir, – I find it difficult to understand Shelly
Yacimovich when she says she doesn’t want a “leftist” party (“Yacimovich wants
‘balanced’ list, not one that’s leftwing,” November 29).
To my mind (and
that of everyone I know who is a Labor person), “Labor” and “Left” are
One cannot believe in the party’s principles without
realizing that they are almost entirely on the left of the political
Anything else would not be “Labor.” There’s no getting around
Sir, – It might have been
more academic if Shmuley Boteach had supplied references to his conjectured
column “David Petraeus and the lessons of Jacob and his two wives” (No Holds
Barred, November 29).
I have not found any reference that Jacob sought to
impress Rachel; after all, he did not know at the time that is was Rachel!
Boteach appears to know exactly Jacob’s manner in his behavior toward his wives,
such as having no passionate connection with Leah, the “functional” wife for
whom no romance or passion is to be found. To sully the images of the Patriarchs
and Matriarchs by a comparison with David Petraeus’s promiscuous behavior makes
me think that if ever Rabbi Boteach becomes known by an acronym, it might be
“RBSH.” Choose your own vowels.
I am still searching the Torah for any
reference to “half of the month [will] be devoted to passion and sexual fire.” I
really do not understand why Boteach’s next book is to be called Kosher Lust.
Was this a spelling mistake? Perhaps it should be Kosher List, where such books
cannot be found.
LEONARD E. BOOK
The writer is a rabbi
Sir, – In his plea to fellow Arabs (“Why I disagree with the Arabic
media’s demonization of Israel,” Comment & Features, November 29), doctoral
candidate Ahmed Abdel-Raheem writes: “As a general finding in cognitive science,
if a mental framework doesn’t fit the facts, the facts will bounce off and the
framework will stay.” To paraphrase, facts that don’t support a particular view
Honest, secure people seek explanations for
Too many variances require the development of a new
“mental framework,” a new paradigm, a process elegantly described by Thomas Kuhn
in his landmark work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. However, when no
amount of facts can change a framework, there is a severe problem.
of course, is the foundation of racism and prejudice.
Some people are so
invested in demonizing Israel that no claim, be it the deliberate targeting of
children, Israeli culpability for 9/11 or sharks serving with the Mossad, is too
outlandish. While I am no cognitive scientist like Abdel-Raheem, it seems to me
that such a mindset cannot but impair one’s ability to think rationally about
The determination to blame Israel for literally
everything, no matter how absurd, obviously makes any kind of peace process
impossible, but more importantly it probably reinforces flawed mental processes
that impair a society’s ability to progress.
Look it up
Sir, – Ehud Barak said he is leaving politics (“Barak announces his
retirement from political life,” November 27). He followed that by stating that
he might be available to serve as a “professional” defense minister.
wonder we cannot get our ideas right in this country if we can’t get the words
we use correct.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “political” as: “Of
or relating to the government or public affairs of a country.” What else is the
portfolio of defense in a government? What hypocrisy! More to the point, what an
Back our nature
Sir, – In his interview with The
Jerusalem Post, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) chairman
Efi Stenzler states that environmental concerns will be a decisive issue in the
upcoming elections and that the environment is the most important thing for the
next generation (“KKL head: Protecting environment takes care of the next
generation,” November 27).
While I think these are overstatements, the
issues are very important. I hope that Stenzler’s words will be put into
practice and that KKL-JNF will fully support our plan to turn the Mitzpe Neftoah
hill near Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood into a nature park and community
This area is one of the last remaining havens of untouched yet
accessible nature in Jerusalem, with an abundance of wildlife and
Nonetheless, planning authorities and contractors want to
build 1,600 residential units there.
KKL-JNF and other organizations for
whom the environment is important should give full backing to our
The writer is a member of the Association
of Ramot for the Environment
Sir, – Peretz Darr (“President
Obama, break the Israel-Palestinian impasse by taking a leaf from Harry Truman’s
book,” Comment & Features, November 27) looks to the US to provide Israel
with a double-barreled panacea for its middle-term and long-term strategic
anxieties: a security guarantee and a mutual defense treaty.
with a security guarantee is that it would give the US veto power over Israel’s
decisions as to what constitutes a sufficient threat to its
This is the fallacy inherent in security guarantees. Only the
potential victim should have the right to call for the fulfillment of the
guarantee, not the guarantor.
Witness the differing assessments by Israel
and the US regarding the Iranian nuclear threat.
As to a mutual defense
treaty, while it might be emotionally comforting, in Does America Need a Foreign
Policy Henry Kissinger says, regarding the deployment of American forces in
defense of Israel: “An Israel no longer able to defend itself will sooner or
later be submerged in the tide of its neighbors’ hostility.”
as Darr dreams of a mutual US-Israel defense treaty along with a two-state peace
agreement with the Palestinians, he would do well to consider a further insight
of Kissinger’s from The White House Years: “What is a binding agreement among
sovereign nations when one of the attributes of sovereignty is the right to
change one’s mind.”
Has a more cynical appraisal of the reality of
international relations ever been confessed – by a political science professor
and professional diplomat, no less! The lesson for Israelis is to welcome help,
military and diplomatic, from wherever it comes, as long as its principal
resource continues to be its own independent faith, courage, strength, wisdom