Swedish hypocrisy

Sir, – A few years ago the Swedish paper Aftonbladet reported that Israeli soldiers traded in the body organs harvested from killed Palestinian terrorists (“Israel’s envoy to Stockholm asked to clarify report about Sweden on Iran,” October 16). When Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was asked to officially condone the unproven article, he stated that Sweden is a democracy and the government doesn’t intervene in the free press.

Well, Mr. Bildt, Israel is no less democratic than Sweden and therefore Haaretz can print whatever they like and likewise the Israeli government cannot interfere in the free press.

ERWIN PAVEL
Ra’anana

Sir, – Sweden has a lot of chutzpa in that it silently accepts Ericsson’s business dealings with Iran.

The Swedes spoke about the harm that the sanctions cause the Iranian people, but at the very least Sweden wouldn’t say something to Ericsson about its sale of cell phones and equipment to the Iranian regime. Ericsson causes great harm to the Iranian people by its sale of cellphones and equipment to the regime as now it can locate and track opposition activists.

Israelis should boycott all Ericsson products.

KEN KALCHEIM
Dimona

No special treatment Sir, – I was surprised to read that Moshe Katsav’s wife is requesting a pardon for her husband (“Katsav’s wife submits request to Peres for husband’s pardon,” October 16).

As Katsav has never expressed remorse for his various convictions of rape, sexual harassment and other sexual offenses, I’m amazed that his wife is willing to forgive him so readily.

I realize that Katsav is the first president to be sentenced to prison, but he should be treated as any other citizen and not be given special treatment. I hope that Peres will reject the request so that Katsav can finish off his seven-year sentence.

HANNAH SONDHELM

Jerusalem

Being grateful

Sir, – Making aliya is sometimes materially difficult, but is more than compensated by idealism and sense of higher purpose – sadly lacking in Carmel Tanaka’s op-ed (“We are no ‘frierim,’ either,” Comment and Features, October 16).

Frustrations are normal, but attitude is most of the problem. Stop complaining and start doing better.

Appreciate the gifts and get in touch with Nefesh B’Nefesh – the professionals who can help you, free!

MOSHE DANN

Jerusalem

Sir, – There’s the old adage, you can be part of the problem or part of the solution.

My advice to Carmel Tanaka is that instead of “debating whether to live the rest of her existence in a relatively stress-free environment in Canada as opposed to enduring stress-filled frustration here in Israel,” she should become part of the solution to fix the types of problems or scams she writes about so that other new immigrants won’t have to deal with them in the future.

Why should we leave our homeland just because things don’t work perfectly?

COOKIE SCHWAEBER-ISSAN
Gizo

Kafka-esque

Sir, – The Tel Aviv Family Court ruling on Franz Kafka’s collection of works is of historical proportions (“TA Court: Kafka’s works must be given to National Library, 90 years after his death,” October 15). As a result of the court’s decision, the public will be allowed to access this cultural treasure, a fact which cannot be downplayed.

Having said so, one should not forget the real hero of this saga, Max Brod, who literally acted as a savior, ignoring Kafka’s unequivocal instructions to set his work ablaze.

Faced with the dilemma of fulfilling his friend’s wishes, or bequeathing to the world one of the most precious literary treasuries known by mankind, Brod opted for the latter.

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation is committed to preserve and divulge the legacies of the saviors, such as Raoul Wallenberg and his likes. As far as we are concerned, saviors are not only those who rescued human lives, but also those, like Max Brod, who rescued cultural assets.

To be sure, saving lives cannot be equated to saving a cultural heritage.

Brod did not face the same perils as those who during the Shoah risked their lives to save others, but nonetheless the transcendence of his decision was far-reaching for generations to come.

Can one imagine what would the world look like without Kafka’s legacy? We cannot. That’s why we have an infinite debt of gratitude to Max Brod.

BARUCH TENEMBAUM
The writer is the founder of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

Applying labels

Sir, – It is indeed difficult to clearly define and distinguish the terms “Jewish identity” or “Jewish culture,” but the apparent “fuzziness” does not make the distinction meaningless (“Educating the troops,” Editorial, October 15).

The difficulty seems to be partly due to the nature of the concepts themselves and partly to the fact that there is often no effort to make the distinction and it is generally disregarded or avoided when there is a need to try to develop an understanding of the nature of “Jewishness.”

Certainly the Post makes no such effort. I can’t recall ever reading in the Post some effort to differentiate between “Judaic,” a term often used to distinguish the religious aspect, from the term “Jewish,” which is often used to convey a broader, cultural characteristic involving “self-identity.” Given that there is no general agreement about their use and certainly no clearly available scientific distinction does not mean that the distinction could not be useful or even enlightening.

MOSHE KAPLAN

Herzliya

Double standard

Sir, – Jeff Barak’s idea of a “just settlement” involving total withdrawal from territories captured in the Six Day War conveniently ignores the historical context of the Zionist enterprise which, briefly, was to return to the ancestral homeland occupied for centuries by the Muslim conquest and rejoin the skeleton Jewish presence which had managed to survive the expulsions, persecution and forced conversion that that occupation involved (“Getting back to the negotiating table,” Reality Check, October 15).

The crowning glory of this Muslim conquest was the total destruction of the “Zionist entity” in the wake of its declaration of independence.

It is worthy of comment that is only in the case of the Jewish victors who succeeded in defeating enemies bent on their destruction that the demand is made for the aggressors to be given back their ill-gotten gains. No such understanding was shown for the millions of East Germans who had lived in Slavic lands colonized by them a thousand years earlier. Even the millions made refugees today through no fault of their own are resettled elsewhere as a matter of course.

Why are the Arabs of Palestine and descendants in perpetuity to be accorded this special treatment especially, if the statements of their leaders to their own people are to be believed, that they still aspire to destroy the Jewish state.

Perhaps Barak has a “just” answer.

ARYEH NEWMAN
Jerusalem

Time for change

Sir, – In her article “New elections – and what then?” Susan Hattis Rolef presents a frontal attack on the current government and the probable future Likud-led coalition.

(Think About It, Comment and Features, October 15). I would like to carry some of her criticism one step further.

Firstly, the economic policies of Netanyahu have been so irresponsible of late that we are on the verge of becoming another Greece. Second, he talks about our security but will not deal with the issue of the haredim and their induction into the army. And third, he disregarded the advice of his own military advisers and had most of the country convinced that Israel should attack Iran alone. It was only the determined effort of the Obama administration not to be dragged into a new war now and to give sanctions a chance that saved us from a national disaster.

At this time I see the current prime minister as a disaster on wheels and I can not wait for the new elections so that I can express my dissatisfaction.

PAUL BERMAN
Shoham

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