letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - You report: "In response to the artillery strike, six Kassams were fired at the western Negev on Wednesday morning, one of which landed in central Sderot and wounded one person lightly from shrapnel" ("Hamas to react with 'deeds, not words'; police raise alert," On-Line Edition, November 8),
I have to ask: How many Kassam rockets fell before the strike? Those that fell after and those that fell before were all equally designed to kill as many Israelis as possible. Failing this, the rockets are designed to cause an Israeli response that will lead - like the errant artillery strike - to a shift in world opinion against us.
Hence there is no connection between the artillery strike and the rockets that fell after it.
Sir, - What has happened to Alan Dershowitz? ("Neve Gordon can't take criticism," November 8.) Harvard's Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law and one of America's most highly regarded civil rights lawyers has become completely preoccupied with pursuing personal vendettas against a variety of minor personalities from the far Left.
Dershowitz certainly has the right to defend his reputation against accusations, but he must realize that by engaging in angry debate with people of far lower academic status, including Neve Gordon, Michael Lerner and Norman Finkelstein, he gives them more attention than they deserve and diverts focus from real issues. If he continues in this manner, individuals from the far Left will deliberately seek to provoke him, viewing an assault from the Harvard professor as the ultimate seal of approval on their extreme credentials.
I would far prefer to read Dershowitz's views on Israel's military operations in Gaza and the Jerusalem Gay Pride March.
Sir, - About that Jerusalem parade: I am very offended at the Gay Pride movement, and I am becoming more hostile the longer this shoving match goes on. I am not "homophobic," and I resent the PC way my disapproval is glibly labeled as a neurosis.
My disapproval is not based on personal condemnation, and I fully agree that gays should have the same civil rights as anyone else. However, I have no more wish to hear about their intimate lives than about anyone else's. And I resent to the core their aggressive pressure to coerce our approval, even exchange our moral values for theirs - which, in essence, is what the parade is about.
A parade has societal meaning. Parades are society's way of honoring someone or celebrating something. Where else would you find a "Celebrate XYZ" parade except in a city that approves of XYZ?
Frankly, I don't want to go to this party, and it shouldn't come to me as an uninvited bully ("Genuine tolerance? Cancel the march," Uri Lupolianski, November 8).
Advice from afar
Sir, - Agudath Israel of America takes out a large ad in the Post against the forthcoming gay parade in Jerusalem, headed "Israel is a free country, but Eretz Yisrael is a Holy Land" (November 8). What hypocrisy from people who, of their own volition, choose to live outside Eretz Yisrael in galut!
This very Shabbat we read of Abraham's nephew Lot, who opted to live in the fleshpots of Sodom rather than in Hebron with Abraham.
The prophet Isaiah tells us that "From Zion shall go forth the Torah" - but Agudath at its 2005 heavyweight championship Siyum Hashas in Madison Square Garden had four and a half hours of lectures, with nary a mention of Eretz Yisrael!
Rebrand Israel, but not for sex tourism!
Sir, - Having spent over two decades working in the health field in Asian and Far Eastern countries, I can tell you that planning to attract hordes of "fun-loving" sex-tourists is not only endangering our 1.6 million citizens who live under the poverty line but also our children ("Truth in advertising," Caroline Glick, November 3).
Some of the worst ravages of sex tourism around the world occur among the lower-income population, and some of the most horrendous abuses are among minors and children - such as the four-year-old girl in care of a beachside Asian institution who was sexually assaulted by a "fun-loving tourist" and now has AIDS. There are millions of examples. Do we want to risk that here?
This is not about tourist dollars, it is about the safety and human rights of the vulnerable and young in Israeli society.
The proposed outreach to the gay, lesbian and transgender societies and encouragement of homosexual tourism as an entryway to "libertine culture" is likewise very dangerous, and not the image the vast majority of Israelis want to portray to the world.
We would prefer one that stressed "unique family holidays": Israel is particularly full of family fun places. To a Western world beginning to sense its own spiritual decay we would prefer an image projecting "places of spiritual healing and refreshment, holy cities, the desert," and "fun sporting, musical and cultural events."
Government officials: Open your eyes before it's too late.
DR MT FEUERSTEIN
Sir, - Caroline B. Glick presents a false dichotomy: Either Israel must present itself as the vanguard of the anti-jihadist struggle, or as the world's gay capital.
In recent years I have traveled widely in the US, Australia and New Zealand and met many "ordinary" people in small towns. Overwhelmingly their idea of Israel is based on what they see on TV; they believe our lives here consist of dodging bombs and bullets. Many have said they would like to visit Israel but they are frankly scared.
On the other hand, I have heard many stories of such people who do come here and are captivated by the beauty and excitement of the country.
It is the image of the omnipresent battlefield we have to counteract, by showing all the good things here - and, yes, the fun.
Re the anti-jihadist argument, this is hardly proving a winner. Many Europeans and a growing number of Americans think the threat has been overplayed.
Glick may be correct in her analysis of the spread of jihadist violence, but we have to ask ourselves: Do we want to be right, or do we want to win? In my opinion, at present we win by bringing more people here to see for themselves what this country is about.
Sir, - In "Pat Robertson is once again spreading the word... for the Tourism Ministry, wooing Christians to Israel" (September 28) I was misquoted to state that Rev. Robertson had said former prime minister Ariel Sharon should be shot because of his decision to withdraw Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip.
Unfortunately, I believe that your reporter confused my disgust for Rev. Robertson's reported comments [for which Robertson subsequently apologized - Ed. JP] suggesting a divine cause for Sharon's tragic health situation with another episode entirely, concerning the president of Venezuela.
I know of no instance in which Robertson has spoken about Ariel Sharon being shot.
DR. R. STEVEN NOTLEY
Professor of Biblical Studies