PR for survival
HAIM M. LERNER
Sir, – Our leadership must absolutely come to realize that our
continuous struggle for survival is no longer confined merely to the
battlefield, but is being fought daily on the screens of computers and TVs
around the world (“Czech foreign minister to ‘Post’: Israeli PR in Europe is
‘miserable,’” January 25).
We can be proud of the IDF’s achievements in
defending us to this today, but we must invest the same kind of talent, money
and effort in convincing the uninformed that we are not the occupying monsters
our enemies make us out to be. David Ben-Gurion’s attitude of “oom schmoom” may
have been valid in 1956, but in today’s world of instant visual communications,
the situation has drastically changed.
Ganei Tikva A
Sir, – I would not be surprised if Israel were blamed for the
explosion at the Moscow airport (“Suicide bomber kills at least 35 in Moscow
airport attack,” January 25). After all, if we made peace with the Palestinians,
the Chechens would have no more complaints against the Russians, and the Greek
and Turkish Cypriots would make up, as would the Tamils and Hindus in Sri Lanka,
the Sunnis and Shi’ites in Iraq, and the lions and antelope on the plains of
Rehovot Full-phylactery scan
Sir, – David
Newman’s January 25 column (“Torah to Zion,” Borderline Views) about bringing
Torah scrolls here by air reminds me of an argument at Beijing airport. The
problem was my tefillin.
An officious security woman wanted to see inside
the tefillin to determine if they were a security risk, but I would not let her
touch or open them. When she insisted, I told her they were holy objects I
needed for my prayers, but it was clear that she did not understand “holy” or
“prayers,” and probably didn’t know what religion was either. She refused to
call someone from El Al and got more and more annoyed with
Mild-mannered though I normally am, I got more and more annoyed with
her. My wife whispered, “Do you want to spend Shabbat in jail?” So I caImed
down, and finally a security supervisor let me through.
I asked the rabbi
of a southeast Asian country to get me a statement in Asian languages to explain
that observant Jews carry religious appurtenances with them, but the statement
How do other readers deal with such problems? RABBI RAYMOND
APPLE Jerusalem Poisonous and malign Sir, – Colin Nevin writes from County Down
to wonder aloud why Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has never visited the Holy
Land during her 60-year reign (“Majestic Pilgrimage,” Letters, January
The answer is the poisonous and malign influence of the British
Foreign Office, which has steadfastly maintained its pro-Arab and anti- Semitic
stance for the past 80 years and longer. While they continue to whisper their
vile messages into the ears of the queen and her ministers, we shall never be
privileged to greet her in the holy city.STANLEY COHEN
writer made aliya from London in 2006 Must not be silent
Sir, – It is truly
shocking that we still have in our midst Jewish leaders who appear intent on
returning to the days of silence, and hiding the facts so that only the “select
few” will know the truth of the growing dangers to the community (“Montreal
Jewish leader: We don’t always notify the public about incidents of vandalism,”
Did we not learn from our recent history the dangers of not
letting the community know the truth, which would have allowed them to make
their own decisions? Why this paternal attitude to the “Jewish street?” Rabbi
Reuven Poupko must assume he knows best when, by his own admission, he has
withheld knowledge of anti-Semitic incidents from the likes of Irwin Cotler MP,
the member of Parliament for one of the affected areas.
The rabbi has
also withheld data from B’nai Brith Canada, which is charged with documenting
all anti-Semitic incidents and sharing the information with those who are
monitoring anti-Semitism across Canada and worldwide.
Only last year,
after a string of incidents in Montreal, Rabbi Poupko and others in his
organization downplayed their seriousness, calling them “the smallest crime wave
in the history of mankind,” while lashing out at B’nai Brith Canada for raising
the alarm and keeping the community informed.
This “sweeping under the
rug” approach works against the best efforts of the front-line Jewish defense
Had the seriousness of the incidents not been downplayed
last year as just “one guy who threw rocks through four institutions and broke
some glass” and “one kid with spray paint who daubed several places,” then
perhaps a clear community-led strategy might have been put in place. There was
even government funding available in Canada to help institutions beef up their
Are there others like Rabbi Poupko worldwide who are burying
the truth? Could it be that Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli
Edelstein’s reported figures on anti-Semitism worldwide appear lower because the
facts are being kept secret? In Canada, we have urged all Jewish institutions
and individuals to contact the community’s Anti- Hate Hot Line (1-800-892-2624)
to report all acts of anti-Semitism.
Total disclosure and transparency is
what is needed, not obscuring the truth.FRANK DIMANT
Toronto The writer
is CEO of B’nai Brith Canada God in sports
Sir, – Regarding the letter you
printed attributing Shahar Pe’er’s loss in the Australian Open to playing on
Shabbat (“Sabbath tennis, January 24), a bit of sports history might be
instructive: the case of legendary Jewish baseball star Hank
In 1934, with Greenberg’s Detroit Tigers uncharacteristically
in a pennant race, Greenberg announced he would not play on Rosh Hashana or Yom
Under tremendous pressure from fans – who helpfully pointed out
that the Jewish New Year comes every year, while the Tigers hadn’t won a pennant
since 1909 – Greenberg consulted a local Reform rabbi who permitted him to play
on Rosh Hashana.
Though he felt uneasy taking the field, he heroically
hit two home runs in a 2-1 game that clinched the pennant for Detroit. The next
day, the Detroit Free Press headline read “Shana Tova” – Hebrew lettering!
Despite continuing fan pressure, Greenberg refused to play on Yom Kippur. When
he walked into synagogue late in the morning service, the congregation stopped
praying and gave him a standing ovation.
But without him in the lineup,
the Tigers lost, 5-2.
What is the cosmic meaning of all this? I don’t
know. But please think twice before declaring sports results to be divine
Sir, – I have just
finished reading Sir Martin Gilbert’s Churchill and the Jews. It was an
eye-opener for me – I never realized how consistently supportive Churchill was
of the Jews and the Zionist movement for over 30 years.
There are streets
in Tel Aviv named after Allenby, Masaryk and King George V, but none in the name
of Churchill. Isn’t it time this was corrected? D.E. MANY
Harvey Milk (“Give them a second chance to be straight,” Comment & Features,
January 25) was a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, but never
served as mayor.