Sir, – Regarding “Scarfe apologizes for timing of ‘Sunday Times’
cartoon” (January 31), the 21st Century is a totally inappropriate
Sir, – Your January 30 editorial
(“Vulgar defamation”) is in line with old style, polite British anti- Semitism.
“Vulgar” does not imply disagreement with Gerald Scarfe’s opinion, only of its
style of expression.MIRIAM L. GAVARIN
Sir, – This latest
episode is nothing more than a continuation of resentment caused by ignorance
Let’s not forget, had the British ruling class of the time
not created the so-called Palestinian nation from thin air in the 1940s, the
present hatred and volatility might never have happened.
Had the Arabs
(particularly the Jordanians ) fessed up and proclaimed allegiance to their
“brothers” and helped them, the present dreadful contretemps could have been
Britain should carry some of the responsibility and reeducate
its Foreign Office personnel to reflect truth and honesty. I doubt this will
happen, as I fear that bias comes with their mothers’ milk.DAVID URI
Sir, – The editor-in-chief of The Sunday Times, Martin Ivens, told The
Jerusalem Post that it would be insulting the memory of the Shoah to invoke the
blood libel (“‘Sunday Times’ editor to meet Jewish leaders, looks to repair
damage from anti-Semitic cartoon,” January 29). The lengthy article then
mentions the Holocaust six times, proving they just don’t
Anti-Semitism has gone on 24/7, century after century. It is
not a phenomenon unique to the Holocaust. The blood libel has been used
throughout history by supposedly educated people in order to make the Jews
scapegoats for problems of their own making.NAOMI STAIMAN
Jewish narrative Sir, – I read with interest Moshe Dann’s analysis of the Jewish
connection to the Golan Heights (“To whom does the Golan belong? A brief
history,” Comment & Features, January 31).
It seems to me that if
Dann is right, the annexation of the Golan was natural and essential for our
connection to Jewish historical truth in the Land of Israel.
But I ask
myself why, after all that Dann writes about Jewish existential living on the
Golan, are our leftist Israelis enraged when the flag is raised about that
region, as well as the entire Land of Israel? Why do they continually support
the Arab narrative, not even trying to see the Jewish narrative, which may
contain intrinsic historical truth? Why do they also debunk the Levy Report
concerning Jewish historic and legal rights to the land west of the Jordan
River; especially since the report was compiled by three very respected judges?
They smile or laugh and deride the report as being a lie that the government
forced on us, making the questioner feel he has been fooled.
the Jewish narrative displayed so that all Israelis can decide for themselves
about the validity of the report? I suggest it be added to other academic work
and made into a television documentary. The Jewish historical and legal
narrative could then be discussed widely. Call the documentary “To whom does the
Land of Israel belong? A short history.”MICHAEL TAL
Sir, – In his timely “Draftdodgers or deserters?” (Comment & Features,
January 30), Natan Slifkin considers the arguments put forward on behalf of
those who sit in yeshivot and other religious study halls while disdaining any
form of army or non-military national service.
I am not a rabbi, nor have
I ever been a yeshiva student. I worked for a living. Despite this background I
have not neglected the study of Talmud and halachic literature.
past few years I have been collecting references in the Babylonian Talmud to the
professions of the rabbis whose opinions are quoted there. My list is growing;
it now contains 29 names and over 20 trades or professions. It is only much more
recently that I started collecting the occupations of post-Talmudic authorities,
so that list is shorter. But already the variety of trades and professions is
With the exception of those few about whom the text makes
some disparaging comment, every rabbi mentioned in the Talmud is treated by the
yeshiva world as a genius whose example is to be emulated. Every post-Talmudic
halachic authority is treated with similar respect.
Why are the examples
of rabbis who worked for a living ignored by the yeshiva world? Why do leading
rabbinical authorities hold in such disdain the students and graduates of hesder
yeshivot who serve in the IDF? It seems to me that they should be providing some
more justification, especially given the examples cited by Slifkin, who
evidently felt constrained not to mention the calls by leading haredi rabbis
just before the elections for yeshiva students to leave their study halls and go
out canvassing for Shas and UTJ.LESLIE PORTNOY
Sir, – According to Gershon Baskin (“Good governments make
peace,” Encountering Peace, January 29), “The most important thing any
government can provide for its people is peace.” In fact, the most important
thing a government can provide is security.
The two are by no means
A cold, unenforceable peace treaty that leaves hostile forces
near Israeli population centers is worthless.
Baskin also asserts that
the territorial dimension of security “has become essentially irrelevant,” and
downplays the Palestinian danger because it is not an existential
In asymmetrical conflicts such as the Israeli-Palestinian
dispute, territory is critical. When your opponent doesn’t have bombs and planes
he must rely on close proximity to inflict maximum damage.
recommends that renewed negotiations “should begin at the point where they ended
four years ago.” The Palestinians walked out of those negotiations.
Israel were to return to the previously rejected position as the new starting
point, the Palestinians would conclude that they can pocket any offer or
concession and then come back months later and ask for even more. The result
would be interminable negotiations as they make ever greater demands.
all hope for a reliable, enforceable and lasting peace with our neighbors.
Baskin’s facile pronouncements bring us no closer to that goal.EFRAIM A.
Sir, – In “Good governments make peace,” Gershon Baskin
invents negotiating positions of the Palestinian Authority that do not
He advances the illusion that “terms for peace with the
Palestinians that have been accepted by them include a non-militarized
Palestinian state with security mechanisms in place, including Israeli
involvement on its external borders that would prevent the turning of the West
Bank into a launching pad for terrorism against Israel.”
He goes on to
fantasize that “Palestinians accepted the annexation of the settlement blocks
into Israel in exchange for uninhabited land inside of Israel” and that the
“main argument is on the size of the annexation.”
Does Baskin not heed or
know the consistent message the PA conveys every day on official television and
radio, and in Palestinian Authority schools, that calls for the liberation of
Palestine, the armed struggle and the realization of the full right to return to
villages lost in 1948? DAVID BEDEIN