Norway double-speak

Sir, – With all due respect to Ambassador Svein Sevje in the article regarding his country’s strong support of Israel (“What ‘Post’ readers of conscience need to know about Norway,” Comment & Features, May 10), I have never read such doublespeak in my long life.

The ambassador states “claims” and “facts” regarding such issues as Israel being singled out among all nations on matters of human rights, a proposal by Left Party leaders in Norway for boycotts, the classification of Hamas as a terrorist organization, the insistence that Israel dismantle the security barrier, attendance at the Durban II conference, proposals to impose academic boycotts.... The list continues.

The ambassador states that the “facts” are true by spinning his view of the “claims,” in most instances leaving me shaking my head, wondering what he is talking about. The way I see it, he feels he holds his nation to a higher standard than we do, so be damned, all Israelis.

DEBRA FORMAN
Modi’in

Safety first

Sir, – Ray Hanania (“Offense is in the eye of the beheld,” Yalla Peace, May 10) tries to make Israelis seem “anti-Palestinian” or “anti non-Jewish” due to warnings by the army for soldiers not to hitchhike for fear of abduction.

He makes sarcastic digs such as, “How about urging ‘Israelis’ not to take cabs driven by Israeli Palestinians...” and “put up signs in restaurants that read ‘Jews only.’” What chutzpah! The fact is, Jewish Israelis and Israeli soldiers have good reason to mistrust Arabs due to abductions and foiled abductions that have already occurred. Even though Arabs have bombed supermarkets, buses, etc., you can see them walking freely in Israel. Why can’t Israelis walk around freely in Arab towns? Also, I wish Hanania would give up the bunk that a Palestinian state “will make Israel safe, too.” Really? Which Arab state has ever made Israel a safe place? Which Arab state really believes that the Jewish people has any right to live here? Let’s call it like it is: A Palestinian state will be just one more enemy with which to contend.

Hanania should put the blame where it belongs. Why doesn’t he preach to his own people about actually living in peace with us? Perhaps he doesn’t want to risk his own safety.

BARBARA BROWN
Beit Shemesh

Sir, – Ray Hanania decries Israel’s newest proactive series of public service announcements warning soldiers against hitchhiking.

He feels that the Palestinians will see the campaign as offensive. He believes that this only plays into the stereotype of what Palestinians do in Israel.

At the very beginning of his column he states that the campaign is based on information obtained by the Shin Bet. Where exactly is the stereotype? Stereotype is defined as “a set of inaccurate, simplistic generalizations about a group that allows others to categorize them and treat them accordingly.”

Knowledge of planned attacks and warning the public is not stereotyping people. It is what’s called protecting people!

ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV
Ma’aleh Adumim

No to coercion

Sir, – I could not agree more with the sentiments expressed by Dov Lipman (“Opportunity to right decades of wrong,” Comment & Features, May 10).

I find it sad that in a Jewish country that guarantees freedom of religion to all its citizens, the people who are discriminated against most are Conservative, Reform and secular Jews.

Has anyone ever thought about this factor when it comes to the abominably small number of educated, Western Jews who might consider aliya if not for the restrictions it would place on their practice of Judaism? Personally, I don’t and will not force any Jew to deviate from his or her Orthodox lifestyle, but these people have no right to legislate or discriminate against my practice, or non-practice, of Judaism as I see fit.

If the religious parties don’t like it, they can sit with Meretz and Balad or go home.

I. ELLIOT
Ma’aleh Adumim

Correct vs. just

Sir, – Last summer’s tent protests cemented what I always thought about Israeli young adults – that they believe they are entitled to a luxurious lifestyle without putting in the hard work needed to rise up the socio-economic ladder. It now appears that this summer will be filled with similar protests.

Aaron Katsman hits the nail on the head in “Higher taxes and spending set to curtail Israeli economic growth” (Your Investments, May 10) as he clearly points out the costs of giving in to these protesters.

I hope I am wrong, but Israel looks to be headed straight toward an economic train wreck.

JOJO SEGAL
Jerusalem

Sir, – Aaron Katsman’s defense of the wealthy and keeping their low tax rates has grown old.

It is piggish capitalism that has created income inequality in this country. The rich have more money and as such need to pay their fair share.

I work hard, have three kids and can’t even afford a summer vacation, while the wealthy that Katsman is trying to protect are flying around the world on their private jets.

Why should my boss make so much more money than I do? It’s not fair. We need more equality, not less.

PENINA CHANA GINSBERG
Betar Illit

Sir, – It is well known that we have children in Israel who do not have enough to eat. That is, we have hungry children. They wake up hungry, they go to sleep hungry.

And they grow older hungry.

Some years ago the government provided food for these children. Not any more. Why? Why do we see politicians living in multi-million-shekel homes while our children are hungry? We can buy submarines worth billions from Germany; that way we ensure that German children don’t go hungry. But what of our own? What a pitiful situation.

We wonder why our children are growing up to be poor citizens.

Why do they dodge the military? Why do they drink alcohol? Maybe they have lost faith in this country.

JAMES JOHNSON
Beersheba

Academic neatness

Sir, – It brings me no pleasure to disparage the two visions for peace that Messrs. Epshtein (“National freedom demands a two-state solution”) and Tiersky (“Toward confederation,” Comment & Features, May 9) postulate.

Both writers are well intentioned and sincere about making something happen. However, like so many other peace proposals, theirs founder on the shoals of a reality that cannot be deductively adduced.

There is the whiff of academic neatness to these ideas; the laws of unintended consequences, the less-than-pleasant mindset and attitude of our adversaries is perforce put aside. How could it be otherwise for theorists of diplomatic solutions?

Rampant obstinacy, rejection and resentment cannot be dealt with as motivating forces. They can only be dismissed as products of the current environment, destined to disappear once there is some grand overarching solution.

This is where the difference between living here and living anywhere else becomes paramount.

It is not that we don’t yearn for peace, for solutions. It is not that we lack imagination or the will to dream. It is simply that we cannot afford to suspend disbelief, to wish away facts on the ground.

True peace will come as a consequence of desire for it by Palestinians, as well as by Israelis. Until then, the best we can do is show our neighbors by our example the benefits of living constructively.

OUGLAS S. ALTABEF
Rosh Pina

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