Sir, – Thanks for publishing Ashley Rindsberg’s insightful column
(“Secularism’s false dichotomy,” Comment & Features, July 10). Clarifying
this false dichotomy deserves front-page coverage! Antagonism and, sometimes,
discrimination by secularists toward the religiously observant is not new. Sixty
five years ago, a group of young American scientists, graduate students and
academics founded the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists (AOJS) both to
clarify this dichotomy in the popular and academic mind, and to provide mutual
support in an often unaccepting world.
As proof of the way central Jewish
figures combined religious Orthodoxy and worldly knowledge, Rindsberg mentions
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. Kaplan, besides having had a distinguished rabbinic career
in his short life, received an MA in mathematical physics at the University of
Maryland. It was the scholarly Kaplan who, from February 1972 until May 1973,
was an associate editor of Intercom, published by the AOJS.
Jerusalem Baskin on Sherman
Sir, – Once again, Gershon Baskin
parades semi-truths in order to mow down the Right (“Thank you, Mr. Sherman,”
Encountering Peace, July 10).
Baskin self-righteously ignores the many
attacks we have suffered at the hands of the Arabs, He pretends they truly want
peace with us, claiming that Yasser Arafat recognized Israel.
This is the
same Arafat who refused to talk real peace and would not budge an inch, even
with the great deal then-prime minister Ehud Barak had offered.
Palestinians truly want peace with us? What about their schools that claim we do
not exist? What about their young children who, at an age in which they should
be playing peaceful games, are trained to attack us? Has Baskin noticed the name
“Israel” on their maps? Don’t bother looking – it isn’t there.
it’s all Palestine.
And as far as the famous and holy pre-1967 borders go
– borders that were only ceasefire lines and never meant to be permanent borders
– why, if they are what our non-partners desire, did the Arabs attack us in the
first place? Does any thinking individual truly believe that if the Arabs had
won the war in 1967 (or any of the wars in which they joyously attacked us) they
would have given us an inch of the conquered territory? Perhaps one good thing
will come out of Baskin’s column: More people will read Martin Sherman’s well
written and researched pieces.RHEA ISRAEL
Sir, – Why does
Gershon Baskin, in his lengthy response to fellow columnist Martin Sherman, use
the term “Palestinian-Israeli village?” Just as he uses the terms Jewish-Israeli
and Israeli-Druse, either Arab-Israeli or Israeli-Arab would be
I find the term he uses both incorrect and somewhat telling
about his views.DONYA MEIJER
Sir, – Gershon Baskin is right in
calling Martin Sherman’s recent column, “The honorable thing to do” (Into the
Fray, July 6) a “scathing attack” and “vile slander” against him.
elephantine pretentiousness, Sherman accompanies his curses with quotes to hide
his diminutiveness from giants like Euripides and Einstein while calling for
“two staters to apologize and bow out of public life” and slurring Baskin as
In his columns Sherman freely uses the following terms or
phrases: seditious, suicidal, fool, deceit, imbecility, iniquity, inept, stupid,
subversive, seditious, obduracy, malice, idiocy, dummy, perfidy, dogmatic
intransigence, twostaters, Arab-appeasers and Muslim- mollifiers, and noxious
brew of delusion and hubris.
A year ago this month outgoing Post
editor-in-chief David Horovitz, in his final column, noted that in his first
column as editor-in-chief he had written: “[T]he greatest threat to our
stems from internal hatreds, from an absence of moderation
in our domestic climate of debate.”
Incoming editor-in-chief Steve Linde,
in a column just afterward, warned that the media “sometimes, perhaps
unwittingly, fan the flames of hatred.”
May I respectfully suggest that
the Post’s columnists on the Left and Right be held to high standards – above
all, Martin Sherman.JAMES ADLER
Cambridge, Massachusetts Not just the
Sir, – With regard to “Readers comment on fallout from Tal Law” (Letters,
July 10), the important issue is not whether the haredim will serve in the army
but whether as a community they will accept the values of democracy and whether
they will agree to allow the common core curriculum of the modern world to be
taught in their schools.
Unless the haredim accept democratic values and
raise their children to be citizens of a democratic society, they represent a
danger to the continued existence of Israel’s democracy. The political clout
they will have in the next generation could destroy us.
If they refuse so
vociferously to allow their young men to serve in army units specially designed
just for them, how can we expect them agree to anything along these lines that
is meaningful? BARRY LEONARD WERNER
Netanya Woody’s view
Sir, – Regarding “Is
$18m.enough to bring Woody Allen to Israel?” (July 10), why would any
Israeli want to contribute money to have him make a movie here? Allen is a very
talented and intellectual producer whose sole aim is to make movies in which he
acts as a Jewish nebbish.
He has no connection to Israel and has never
visited. But he is very good at portraying Jews as nerds. Just how we want to be
He would fit in nicely in Saudi Arabia.HARVEY MATTHEW
Jerusalem Not a good sign
Sir, – Kol hakavod to Jeff Barak (“Netanyahu refuses
to seize the day,” Reality Check, July 9).
It seems our prime minister
doesn’t really want an answer to the troubling problems facing the government
with regard to national service of some kind for haredim and
Apparently, there is a sickness that pervades the Likud, no matter
who its leader is. Probably the only difference between Bibi and the late
Yitzhak Shamir is the fact that Shamir never hid his indifference to the
problems that existed (and still exist) between the two above-mentioned
Perhaps the almost-weekly protests tell us something Bibi should
not ignore: More and more angry and disappointed Israelis are beginning to flex
their muscles, which is not a good sign for Netanyahu and his
Netanya Jewish rights
Sir, – Michael Freund
(“Anti- Semitism on the Temple Mount,” Fundamentally Freund, July 5) eloquently
and passionately expresses the right of all Jews to pray as they wish and the
injustice of Israel in denying them such rights.
Freund clearly states
the case: “Jews, like anyone else, have the right to commune with their Creator,
sing, dance and yes, even move their lips. The fact that the police enforce such
rules, and interfere with the right of Jews to pray freely, is
Freund goes on to convincingly argue that this is a cause
that all Jews, regardless of level of observance, should care about.
could not agree more. I hope Freund and all those who agree with him will be at
the forefront defending the rights of women to pray, dance and sing at the Wall
in any way they wish and with any tallit they wish.
No one has stated the
case for them better than Freund has.ALAN EDELSTEIN