Continuing farce

Sir, – In speaking about Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wryly stated: “This is who you want to trust in negotiations” (“Tell-and-Show,” Analysis, March 6).

I ask the prime minister to say the same about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. As stated in the political cartoon in the same issue of the Post, Abbas gives the “best performance by an actor in a continuing farce....”

AVRAHAM FRIEDMAN
Modi’in Illit

Tolerance, please

Sir, – I was disturbed to read “One in three teenage girls posts revealing photos online” (March 6). This follows “An ultra-Orthodox perspective on army service” (Comment & Features, March 3), in which Daniel Gamson wrote: “My spirituality and religious observance was definitely reduced as a result of my experience” in the IDF’s Nahal Haharedi unit.

Any reader who is or has been a teenager understands the “herd mentality,” the need to fit in. We walked the walk, talked the talk and wore the clothing “everyone else” did. He who didn’t was ostracized.

It is the major responsibility of parents to monitor their children’s activities and guide them in what they consider the right path. We should understand the concern of haredi parents to limit their children’s exposure to influences they consider unwholesome and contrary to their lifestyle.

We pride ourselves on being a religiously tolerant society. We must be tolerant of other Jews as well.

DEENA SPIGELMAN
Jerusalem

Sir, – Raised as a secular Jew in the US, I joined a Reform synagogue as a college student. I loved the rabbi’s sermons and the choir, and learned about my faith. As I moved on in life, with a husband and children, I joined a Conservative shul and, once again, enjoyed the experience.

Later, I decided I wanted to learn more; this took me to an Orthodox organization, where I became a ba’alat teshuva. Six years ago, we all made aliya and I have never been happier.

The road to becoming more learned is a great one. That is why it is so difficult for me to read items where Jew is pitted against Jew.

Criticizing another’s way of worshiping and not being able to accept people for what they are or how they dress are unconscionable.

The sect we call “haredi” wanted to protest so others could see and learn what they had to say. They did it at a time when many people would know what they felt.

I hope The Jerusalem Post will reflect on this, and I pray that Finance Minister Yair Lapid will come to his senses. He is pitting Jew against Jew. This is what the Arabs do. That really scares me!

BARBARA RATNER
Beit Shemesh

Hate speech

Sir, – With regard to “Israel’s k-word: Can Holon teach us a lesson in racism?” (Terra Incognita, March 6), Seth J. Frantzman says we must “confront the racism, we must demand that it stop, and we must start treating every person as an individual, and not as some group to be castigated by any terms, biblical or modern.” But he does not go far enough.

I refer to Irwin Cotler’s “Lessons of the Rwandan genocide” on the facing page. Cotler’s third lesson is never condone “the danger of a culture of impunity,” adding that “there cannot be a sanctuary for hate or a refuge for bigotry.”

Holon Mayor Moti Sasson and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau did not advocate genocide, but their racist and demeaning characterizations made in public venues gave traction to intolerance.

They must pay a price. Both should resign or at least be personally fined to demonstrate that Israel takes action against the perpetrators of hate speech.

HAROLD GOLDMEIER
Beit Shemesh/Chicago

Sleeping ministry


Sir, – Yisrael Medad and Eli Pollak (“Views which are not fit to print,” Media Comment, March 6) correctly ask why the Foreign Ministry has been “asleep all these years,” leaving it to outstanding NGOs such as UN Watch, Camera, MEMRI and Honest Reporting to counter lies, distortions and the crude burial of truth against Israel.

Is there no need for the ministry to remind British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is always spouting off about “the settlements,” about Lord Caradon, who served as Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations when Security Council Resolution 242 was passed? Lord Caradon once said: “We did not say there should be a withdrawal to the 1967 line.... We did not say all the territories, deliberately.”

He also said: “...I know the 1967 line, and it’s a rotten line.

You couldn’t have a worse line for a permanent international boundary. It’s where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948. It’s got no relation to the needs of the situation.

Had we said that you must go back to the 1967 line, which would have resulted if we had specified a retreat from all the occupied territories, we would have been wrong.”

LOUIS GARB
Jerusalem

Watch your words

Sir, – Global Agenda columnist Pinchas Landau writes well. But he should watch what he says.

A bit more than a year ago his column presented readers with a definite warning: Considering a constellation of influences headed by the anticipated reduction in quantitative easing, the US stock market was in for a serious and protracted correction. He emphatically argued that this was not a matter of if, but when.

So, I sold my S&P holdings – and watched curiously throughout the year as the index gained more than 30%.

More recently, his column used the “when – not if” phrase about interest rates rising (“The trap opens wide,” February 28).

He should look at the latest figures as he eats his humble pie.

If I may, I suggest that Landau will gain credibility by focusing on analysis rather than prediction.

Then again, with the markets’ fluidity and flux, predictions are bound to materialize at some point.

BARBARA SCHIPPER
Jerusalem

Doesn’t wash

Sir, – In “Exposing the boycott” (Editorial, February 20), you say: “The double standard and demonization unleashed against Israel attest to something that runs deeper than the holier-thanthou criteria for not doing business with the Jewish state.”

The double-standard charge is the holy of holies of right-wing hasbara (public diplomacy).

When it comes to occupations and expansionism, all claimants to Western democratic status and all aspirants to close Western economic, military or other affiliations are held to the same standards – except Israel. Israel is the beneficiary, rather than the target, of Western double standards.

I oppose BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions). But we were willing to “BDS” Arizona over its proposed anti-gay law and we have been willing to BDS Florida over its “stand your ground” law, just as Martin Luther King, Jr. boycotted the Montgomery bus system. No one was accused of anti-Alabamism, Anti-Arizonism or Anti-Floridism. No one said there were double standards. Likewise, the old South Africa defense – that it was being unfairly singled out because black African states were dictatorially ruled and South African blacks were better off – was repudiated by the West.

The false defense of “double standards” is one of the core self-justifications by conservative perpetrators of injustice. It doesn’t wash. It never has.

JAMES ADLER
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Thanks, Nick

Sir, – I wish to thank New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof for his straightforward and extremely readable columns. I am grateful to him for suggesting solutions rather than just sinking into negativity.

RIVKA ZAHAVY
Jerusalem

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