The story about columnist Gile Coren (“‘The Times’ columnist
calling Poles anti- Semites sparks anger,” February 7) is a sad example that we,
too, can descend to insulting prejudice.
While Coren doesn’t mind using a
broad and anachronistic brush when he refers to Poles of today, he selectively
critiques British anti-Semites, naming individuals such as MP David
Why don’t more of Coren’s fellow British citizens receive the same
collective treatment? After all, Great Britain as “gatekeeper” for Palestine
during World War II deserves a uniquely shameful place in history for shutting
down the most viable escape route for Jews during the Holocaust.
been entrusted with facilitating Jewish nationhood by the League of Nations,
Britain actually thwarted its mandate, its main contribution to that purpose
being its final abandonment of the Jews of Palestine to face yet another war
with genocidal intent.
The parlor and tea-room anti- Semitism of
“sophisticates” can be just as deadly as the coarse variety Coren puts in the
mouths of all Poles.
Yet the picture is more complex.
Britain did accept significantly more Jewish refugees than all other
And British non-Jewish, pietist, proto-Zionism did contribute
significantly to sympathies for initial efforts of Jewish settlement in
Palestine decades before 1948.
So it is also for the Polish nation. Your
correspondent correctly points out that the Poles have the highest number of
honorees at Yad Vashem for saving Jews – indeed, they outnumber all other
Anti-Semitism today should be exposed, its
history taught, its deniers excoriated. But Coren’s insulting portrayal of Poles
not only dishonors the Polish Righteous of the Nations, it ignores realities
today, especially significant and sincere efforts to rectify the tone and
quality of past relations on cultural, economic, religious and political
Jerusalem Seinfeld as Shakespeare
again, Michael Freund hits the nail on the head with “Hillary Clinton: The
‘Seinfeld’ secretary of state” (Fundamentally Freund, February 7).
conclusion: Clinton’s performance as secretary of state was much ado about
After a hiatus of months, Clinton testified at a congressional
hearing investigating responsibility for the death of the US ambassador to
Libya. Her adept display of histrionics had little effect in dispelling the
notion of mismanagement and cover-up.
Her political career can best be
characterized as having been lackluster and mediocre. Her stint as the first
female senator from New York was uninspiring and unproductive.
brought up in the US in an era where excellence and achievement were the sine
qua non for leadership. I shudder to think that when the current two-term
presidency of Barack Obama terminates, the next front-runner for the Democratic
Party will be Hillary Clinton.ROBERT DUBLIN
Jerusalem Obscene expense
I have no doubt that the vast majority of Israelis agree with the views
set out by Maurice Ostrof (“Trimming our obese cabinet,” Comment & Features,
Having 30 ministers is nothing short of obscene and an
unjustifiable expense. A maximum of 18 is more than enough for the efficient
running of this country.
I hope that the current coalition talks will not
result in another bloated cabinet.M.L. ROSTOWSKY
Tel Aviv Obama’s visit
The news “Obama to visit Israel for first time as president” (February 6)
– ostensibly to put the screws on us to attempt to achieve some success for his
revised foreign policy, at our expense – bodes ill for us.
is the fact that President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and
the majority of members of the previous Knesset requested that Obama grant
immediate clemency to Jonathan Pollard and release him. Obama rejected these
pleas by default.
With the recently released information that Pollard
never spied on the US for Israel, how can we, the public, sit idle and condone
the visit without Pollard being released? Have we really lost the “Jewish way?”
COLIN L. LECI Jerusalem Sir, – Is President Obama coming to see how we are
surviving the consequences of his support for the anti-Semitic and anti-American
Muslim Brotherhood in the countries surrounding us? MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC
Beersheba Sir, – Let there be no doubt: US President Barack Obama will not be
dropping in for a mere courtesy call. He will want to hear clear and specific
answers, not about haredi military service but about what we are seriously
offering the Palestinians, where we see the final borders, and what will be the
fate of the Jewish settlements.
The next government will not have a
100-day honeymoon, or even one of 10 days. It will immediately have to answer
serious questions that we have been avoiding for years.
There might be a
decision to take a hard line, to continue to build settlements, thumb our nose
at the world and head into a huge conflagration concerning our foreign
relations. If this is what Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants, he should
build a narrow, rightwing coalition and forgo partnerships with the centrist
parties, and certainly with those on the Left. The other possibility is to
choose a serious diplomatic process that includes significant territorial
compromise – but then Naftali Bennett and his friends could not be
Worst of all would be a government that is stuck in the middle,
with a bit of the Left and a bit of the Right, and unable to make decisions. If
this is what we present to the world, the world will simply make our decisions
for us. It’s not at all worth it.YOSEF GORLI
Bat Yam Feiglin and gays
Now there’s a strange headline: “Feiglin to meet with gay group” (News in
Brief, February 6). If I hadn’t seen it myself I wouldn’t believe it.
find it hard to think that Likud MK Moshe Feiglin would make such a stretch,
even for headlines. What could he possibly say to these people that wouldn’t
either insult them or justify his slanted viewpoint? I’d stay as far away as
possible from this person. He’s a bad one.LEONARD ZURAKOV
Alan Dershowitz’s piece on the Political Science Department
at Brooklyn College backing the student boycott of Israel (“Shame on Brooklyn
College!,” Observations, February 1) was painful for me to read.
attended Brooklyn College from 1947 to 1951. Most members of the student body
and some of the faculty were Jewish. There was a very strong pro-Israel feeling
at the time.
There were demonstrations, but they were in support of the
Karl Marx Society, which had been suspended for having invited novelist Howard
Fast to speak while he was under investigation by the House Committee on
The student newspaper was also suspended for
supporting freedom of speech for the Karl Marx Society. Even the organization of
which I was president, the Brooklyn College Folk and Square Dance Group (a
completely apolitical organization), was criticized by college president Harry
D. Gideonse as representing the “hillbilly element.”IDA SELAVAN SCHWARCZ