letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - Congratulations for publishing Daoud Kuttab's "Small wrongs need correcting, too" (September 25) with regard to the vandalizing of offices at Al-Quds University in Ramallah. This, if his allegations are correct, is at the very least an embarrassment to Israel, the IDF and the court.
Kuttab wrote a "small wrong." May I correct him in stating that I consider it was an unforgivable wrong.
The members of the British Israel Group work constantly to project the good name of Israel, which has become a most difficult job in view of the excellent propaganda perpetrated by Israel's implacable enemies, who are ably assisted by the world media.
At the moment, the judicial system of Israel is very occupied in dealing with the problems of sexual harassment in high places.
Quite rightly so, because the good conduct and example of our senior officials is essential to enable the good name of Israel to be preserved in all spheres of our society.
Now that Kuttab has brought to our attention the occurrence at Al-Quds University, it is to be hoped that, if this matter is true, it will be dealt with at once with due apologies and full recompense to the university.
NORMAN W. COHEN
Chairman, British Israel Group
Prayer for peace
Sir, - Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh need to be on the same page regarding the recognition of the sovereign State of Israel ("Abbas to give Hamas 'one more chance' before dissolving gov't," September 25).
Past commitments of the PLO have already recognized Israel's right to exist, but we are all living in the present.
At the start of the Jewish New Year, I pray that both the Palestinians and the Israelis can begin the healing process that both peoples so desperately need, deserve and are entitled to. Peace should be on the horizon for such peoples.
Peace beckons its attainable presence if only the hearts and souls of these two neighbors finally play out what they both truly need and want: a lasting commitment to live side by side with respect and dignity and peace.
Sir, - Re "Chirac says rumor of bin Laden death 'in no way confirmed'" (September 25): That would be the report out of France via Saudi Arabia of Osama's demise via typhoid.
I'm inclined not to put too much stock in this breaking news. The key word being "France."
Hardly a reliable source.
Sir, - As a Swedish friend of Israel, I am very happy that the Israel-bashing socialists, like former minister for development aide Karin Jamtin, who was filmed when she was cursing the security barrier with very rude words, will disappear from our government.
But I should like to warn that the Center leader of the coalition, Maud Olofsson, showed the same attitude when she publicly condemned Israel's "exaggerated violence" in Lebanon without a word about Hizbullah's actions in the last few years.
So unfortunately we still have future government representatives without any knowledge of history.
Sir, - Re "A Prayer for 5767" (September 22): Caroline Glick brought tears of gratitude for her erudite eloquence.
Power to the people
Sir, - Uri Dan's "Leave Bishara alone to go traveling" (September 21) is cynical and meaningful, particularly when he arrives at "what is needed is a complete overhaul in every area of our democracy where the rot has set in."
But he fails to recognize what is holding together the rot when he describes the loud call for a change in the system of government, starting with a power to the people system of electoral voting, as cosmetic surgery and childish. Are his eyes closed to the systems employed by the world's real democracies?
Here in Israel parties, their leaders and those to whom they are committed rule the system, and those of us who originate from the Western world are embittered because we have no say. We cannot fire the party-elected baddies and replace them with politically mature individuals who know that their duty is to consult with and serve all their constituents without corruption.
Were the United Nations to be replaced by a United Democratic Nations, as has been suggested, Israel would currently not qualify for admission.
In a time warp
Sir, - David Horovitz's observations that Israel lacks a "realistic... plan for its very survival" ("Removing the pretext," August 25) and suffers from "tactical intelligence failures" ("Fix the 'mediocracy,'" September 1), while true, fail to prescribe what Israel should do to correct her blunders.
Israel is stuck in a time warp. The country's failure to reform its outdated political system has resulted in an inability to abandon anachronistic Zionist ideas that are preventing Israel from defending herself. Herzl's Haskala idea that a benevolent Jewish state would eradicate anti-Semitism has resulted in 58 years of military restraint, which the Arabs have interpreted as weakness.
Israel's policies remind me of a Chelm-like farce. Instead of preparing and fighting Hamas in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon, successive governments pick on the nationalistic settlers and evict them from their homes. The Zionist dream has become a superficial attempt to appease international opinion by blaming the nationalistic/kippa-wearing Jew as Israel's true impediment to "normalcy."
When Israel has a system of direct elections for all Knesset members and the Israeli public returns to a rational appraisal of her situation, maybe the delusional policies of the previous decades can be corrected.
Watch your words
Sir, - Your editorial "Another shameful UN moment" (September 21) criticizes Secretary-General Kofi Annan for implying "that Israel is provoking 'rage and violence.'"
But how can Israel expect to hear otherwise when our own foreign minister tells the UN that the Palestinian Arabs are entitled to a national, sovereign existence in a state of their own? Once we proclaim that the enemy is entitled to what we are withholding from him, then the argument is only over whether our foot-dragging is justified, and for how long.
We can lose such an argument today, next year or five years from now, but we can never win it.
MARK L. LEVINSON
Just like Lindbergh
Sir, - The US Council for Foreign Relations, by hosting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran for a luncheon meeting, downgraded to a foodless Q and A session, delegitimized itself by offering a platform for him to legitimize both himself and his genocidal messages.
If Ahmadinejad continues on his course of incitement, support for terror and the concealed pursuit of nuclear weapons, historians will compare the pictures of this event with the pictures of Charles Lindbergh under the swastika in his visits to Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
These pictures haunted Lindbergh, who eventually redeemed his lost honor by participating in bombing attacks against the Japanese in the last year of World War II.
I have two questions: What will Richard Haas, the director of CFR, now have to do to redeem his reputation and undo the damage resulting from this unfortunate episode? And what was the menu for the cancelled luncheon?
ELIHU D. RICHTER
Not yet a household name
Sir, - There actually is an Israeli program that exposes high school students to Israel, the Land and its history ("A year of patriotism and prayer," September 20).
It is called Masa Israeli (Israeli Trek) and it is loosely based on the birthright model. It is run by Rabbi Mordechai "Moti" Elon, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Hakotel, and his MiBereishit organization. Masa Israeli has been running for about two years now, although it has yet to become a household name, as birthright has in the Jewish community, both in Israel and the Diaspora.
If Michael Freund feels he has something to contribute to this up-and-coming program, I encourage him to do so.
No is no
Sir,- In response to Yehudit Collins's article ("'There's a rat in the corner!'" September 21), she's got it all wrong.
No punching faces; no crotch crunching; and no rats in the corner.
I taught my daughter to say, "It's my private body. Don't touch."
No is no, be it in city or field.
Drives me nuts
Sir, - Golda Zafer-Smith of London (Letters, September 19) says she understands conversational Hebrew well enough to speak, but it is impossible for her the Hebrew news broadcasts.
I find this is true with some newscasters, like the lady on Channel 2 at 8 p.m. whose babbling way of speaking drives me nuts.
On the other hand, for example, there is the exemplary delivery of the news by Oded Ben-Ami, whose speech is as clear as a bell.
Sir, - In her two-page, 70-language display for her slogan "We are all one," Shari Arison has included a phrase in what seems to be Yiddish. Of the four words, however, only the first, mir, is correctly spelled. One would think that she could afford to hire someone who knows Yiddish to spell it properly.
Since we cannot read most of the languages printed there, we do not know if there are egregious errors in other languages.
DR. JOSEPH M. SCHWARCZ
DR. IDA SELAVAN SCHWARCZ