Staged propaganda

Sir, – The play My Name is Rachel Corrie, which Jerusalem’s Khan Theater – using poor judgment – is including in its summer schedule (“Controversial ‘Rachel Corrie’ play ignites debate over freedom of speech,” July 4), is not controversial. It is pure propaganda.

The issue of free speech has nothing to do with it.

We must be honest and accept the fact that we are at war, and we must not do that which would aid and abet the enemy.

This play would do that.

Plays and movies have been used many times to promote one or another point of view. We need look no farther than wartime Germany, where Leni Riefenstahl, a very talented movie director, created productions for Hitler and his war effort.

Were these films shown in the United States or other Allied countries? Of course not. In the US, where freedom of speech is enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution, they knew there were limits and that enemy propaganda must be recognized as such.

Critics have called Riefenstahl’s documentaries masterful, epic and innovative works of documentary filmmaking, but no Americans demanded to have them shown in their local theater.

That would certainly have been sedition.

Rachel Corrie died while trying her best to prevent us from protecting ourselves against an enemy. Those who are trying to have this play shown in Jerusalem are attempting to have her succeed after her death.

We must never forget that an enemy’s art is propaganda, and we must not be so delicate as to demand its local production with the excuse that freedom of speech demands it. Self-preservation demands that it not be shown.

RHEA ISRAEL
Rehovot

Sir, – The mayor of Jerusalem is supporting a performance that promulgates lies and slander to undermine the legitimacy of Israel’s right to self-defense, and the stupid, politically-correct excuse is freedom of speech.

Nir Barkat perhaps has scored a few empty points with so-called liberal, democratic politicians abroad. Hurrah! Perhaps he can hold his head high with those who bow theirs in shame.

PAUL RABOFF
Jerusalem

Warning stickers

Sir, – Stickers reminding parents not to leave a baby in the car are an excellent idea (“German adopts sticker campaign to prevent forgetting kids in cars,” July 3). Even if parents get used to such stickers and don’t “see” them each time, they will save many lives. They should be required by law.

One more idea: Just as an alarm sounds when a driver starts the car while somebody is not yet buckled in, there should be an alarm when the door is opened and someone’s seatbelt is still buckled. This might be inconvenient for someone who stays in the car while the driver leaves for a moment (e.g., at a gas station), but everyone would be ready to put up with this for such an important goal.

HANNA ZLOTNICK
Jerusalem

Sir, – Someone needs to invent an audible device to prevent people from locking a car with a baby inside. Perhaps it could be a sensor in the baby seat that is activated by the baby’s weight and signals a warning when a car door opens.

This kind of tragedy happens too often and requires serious thought.

BARBARA KASTRO
Haifa

Sir, – From your editorial “Stickers for life” (July 3) we learn that there have been 160 cases of children forgotten in cars between 2008 and 2012. A sticker would not have helped, since what one sees every day does not register.

My low-tech solution: 1. Clip a clothespin on the tongue of the child’s seatbelt so that the buckle cannot be closed without removing it.

2. After belting in the child, clip the clothespin on the inside handle of the driver’s door.

3. On reaching your destination, retain the clothespin in your hand until you remove the child. Then clip it back on the tongue of the seatbelt buckle.

Hopefully, this simple procedure will avoid future tragedies.

GERRY MYERS
Beit Zayit

Sir, – Health and science editor Judy Siegel’s recommendation for a sticker aimed at preventing parents from leaving children unattended in hot vehicles is excellent. I am astounded it wasn’t implemented long ago.

But I believe there’s another issue we must address, and that’s the distraction caused by speaking on cellphones. A number of simulation tests in the US have showed that smokers of marijuana are more alert than those speaking on cellphones! It’s not having one hand off the wheel that’s the problem. It’s the general distraction of talking on the phone. I would like to suggest a law prohibiting all cellphone use by drivers in moving vehicles.

RIVKA ZAHAVY
Jerusalem

On Israel’s case

Sir, – Gil Troy (“Fight the delegitimizing lies, don’t embrace them,” Center Field, July 3) highlights the problems of putting Israel’s case to the world when it is stabbed in the back by the likes of its own Tzipi Livni.

Most Europeans (and, regretfully, some Israelis) do not appreciate the strength of this case.

Some points that need greater emphasis are: • The Oslo Accords made absolutely no mention of a settlement freeze. When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu enforced a 10-month freeze as a goodwill gesture, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did not react until the 10th month – and then, only to walk out again.

• The question of borders is governed by UN Resolution 242.

This resolution was very carefully worded and clearly implies that the 1949 armistice lines are not sacrosanct.

• The 1949 armistice gave Israelis the right to visit Jewish holy places (e.g., the Temple Mount). However, the Jordanians forbade not only Israelis from visiting the most holy of Jewish sites, it also barred non-Israeli Jews. Yet in 1967, Israel, in a gesture of unprecedented magnanimity, handed over control of the Temple Mount to the Muslims so that even today Jews are prevented from praying at their holiest site.

• All documents talk of two states for two peoples. Have the Arabs recognized Israel as the Jewish state?

GABRIEL H. COHN
Jerusalem

Sir, – I agree with Gil Troy when he chastises our leaders who use language that delegitimizes Israel. However, I take umbrage when he writes that “Jews should no longer live in places like Hebron, where Palestinians outnumber Jews by more than 300 to 1.”

With a world population of about 6.5 billion and, arguably, 20 million Jews, simple arithmetic shows that the planet’s peoples outnumber the Jews by 325 to 1. Where would Troy have us live, Mars?
R. KATZ
Rehovot

Huge miscalculation

Sir, – US President Barack Obama’s recent decision to provide weapons to anti-Assad forces in Syria (“Obama decides to arm Syrian rebels,” June 16) is just another of the administration’s huge mistakes that will have dire consequences for both the US and Israel.

The excuse is that chemical weapons have been used by the regime of Bashar Assad, and that Obama’s red line has been crossed. Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin have denied this; these weapons could actually have been used by the rebels.

Obama will merely involve the United States in an uncontrollable escalation, especially with Hezbollah and the Iranian regime involved.

The US should stay clear of this conflict. Supporting the Syrian rebels would be a huge miscalculation and have dire consequences for the security of Israel and the US, as well as for Israeli-US relations.

AL EISNER
Silver Spring, Maryland

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