Politics in schools


Sir, – In “Opinionated teachers” (Editorial, February 4), you ask whether it is appropriate for an educator to present political views in the classroom, and then answer that it would be better to refrain.

My own experience as a teacher of civics has been that this is difficult to avoid when arguments over politics get heated and pupils want answers – not indoctrination, but answers from which they can learn. For example, that democracy means choosing not Palestinian rights over those of Jews, but equality of rights. That freedom of speech does not mean propaganda, like blasting the IDF without proof.

A civics teacher can generate a free and open atmosphere in class by applying the “R2P” paradigm – recognizing his or her “responsibility to protect” Israel’s political value system as a Jewish, democratic state while allowing for every point of view. It can be done if the teacher has the necessary scholarship to answer provocative questions.

I myself would begin class by telling my pupils I allow full freedom of speech. Ask me anything, I’d say, just don’t shoot! I miss them.

LILY POLLIACK

Jerusalem

Sir, – Does anyone notice the double standard in Israel? When the Left speaks out against a government policy it is considered free speech, which is accorded to anyone living in a democracy.

But when the Right speaks out against a government policy, it is considered incitement.

I refer specifically to Education Minister Shai Piron’s nonchalant response to a teacher expressing extreme left-wing sentiments, including that Israel is for the Palestinians and the IDF is immoral.

Contrast that to the government’s reaction to the rabbis and teachers who said it was immoral to uproot Jews from their homes in Gush Katif and give the Land of Israel to the Arabs.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

MIRIAM REINFELD
Jerusalem

Water power


Sir, – Your report “January driest month in ages for many regions” (February 4) clearly shows the woolly thinking of bureaucrats.

In January you reported that the Water Authority and Finance Ministry had decided that due to plenty of rainfall this season, the country’s four desalination plants would now run at lessthan full capacity (“Desalination facilities to run at 70% capacity for 2014,” January 3). Since when have these bodies been able to predict the weather, let alone their budgets? It has been predicted that in the future there will be international wars over water, which is Israel’s lifeblood. It is time the country got its act together!

SIDNEY LEVINE
Hendon, UK

Yellow journalism

Sir, – Caroline B. Glick’s views are well known. When seeing her byline, one knows what to expect.

Glick does not believe in the possibility of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. She opposes giving up any territory in order to create a Palestinian state. She thinks that those who take such positions are not simply misguided leftists, but enemies of Zionism and Judaism.

As a columnist she has the right to voice her views, and there is little point in arguing with her. Nevertheless, “Kerry’s Israeli supporters” (Our World, February 4) is so distorted that it should not be passed over in silence, especially since the Post saw fit to give it pride of place, covering much of the first page of the second section.

The problem is not that Glick opposes everything US Secretary of State John Kerry does and says.

Indeed, how could she do otherwise when he represents the exact opposite of her ideas? But that does not give her the right to accuse him of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish bigotry, which she does time and time again.

She speaks of Kerry’s “anti-Semitic undertones,” of his “obsessive aggressiveness toward Israel,” of his “anti-Jewish bigotry,” saying he “piles on... the anti-Semitism.” But she does not bring one iota proof and distorts beyond belief the words he has spoken.

One might disagree with Kerry’s positions. One might even believe that his ideas are mistaken.

But to drag out these canards of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewishness is simply to engage in the worst kind of yellow journalism.

REUVEN HAMMER
Jerusalem

Shivering spine

Sir, – With regard to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s comments made at the recent Munich Security Conference (“Day after Kerry says status quo ‘not sustainable,’ Israel’s defense minister replies: We’ll manage,” February 3), I have to say that the name Munich sends shivers down my spine.

How ironic and incredible that we have witnessed a rewriting of the script of 1938, and from the same locale! Once more, we see a Western democracy, this time the United States, bullying and threatening a smaller democracy in the name of “world peace.” In 1938 it was Czechoslovakia being bullied and threatened.

Now it is Israel.

US Secretary of State John Kerry does not understand that the difference this time is that Israel will not acquiesce to its own destruction. Perhaps the very similarity of the demands is just what is needed for a wakeup call to the true danger facing Israel.

YITZCHAK BEN-SHMUEL
Modi’in

Right minds


Sir, – If Moshe Amirav (“Peace: The errors of the past,” Comment & Features, February 3) is serious when he suggests that for peace with Syria the border should be at least 50 meters from the water line,” then either he is blinded by rose-colored glasses and unaware of what has been happening in Syria over the past three years, or he is using his expertise in “backdoor diplomacy” to deliberately try to mislead his readers.

Who in his right mind can today advocate an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights? BERYL RATZER Netanya Action a must Sir, – As the most serious peace initiative in a generation – one that will determine the very survival of the Zionist dream for Israel as a democratic, Jewish homeland – approaches a pivotal moment of decision, US Rep.

Doug Lamborn would have the US walk away (“Pressure our enemies, not our friends,” Comment & Features, February 2).

“Peace will be made from the ground up,” Lamborn insists.

The truth is, without active US mediation, which is welcomed and accepted by both parties, there will never be peace between Israel and Palestinians.

Would Rep. Lamborn tell Israel’s leaders to say, No thanks, we’ll wait for peace to come to us? In his recent State of the Union address President Barack Obama pledged to bring “lasting peace and security for the State of Israel,” and Rep. Lamborn joined his colleagues for the longest standing ovation of the evening. But applause is nothing if not followed by action.

AARON ZUCKER

Washington

The writer is a communications assistant at J Street


He’ll be missed

Sir, – I was greatly saddened to read of Barry Rubin’s untimely death (“Middle East scholar and ‘Post’ columnist Barry Rubin dies at 64,” February 4).

Over many years I admired and enjoyed his column very much, and always considered his incisive, logical and realistic analyses of Middle East affairs to be of the very highest level. Most of his predictions have, unfortunately, proved true.

His balanced, thoughtful commentaries will be missed.

SYLVIA ANBARY
Ramat Hasharon

Sir, – Barry Rubin’s astute, clear and courageous columns were a beacon of light in the dark world of political correctness, hypocrisy and anti-Israel sentiment in many media outlets.

Thank you, Jerusalem Post, for having him share his views with your readers for all these years.

His wisdom will be missed.

NANCY CHERNOFSKY

Jerusalem

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