Iran's not alone
Sir, - Holocaust-denial is not limited to Teheran. It is a serious and growing problem in much of the Muslim world, supported by Muslim governments ("Ahmadinejad: Create a 'Zionist state' in Germany," December 9).
In recent months, the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram al-Massai published an article by editor-in-chief Mursi Atallah about what he called "the claims and lies of Israel and world Jewry about the number of Jews exterminated by Nazi Germany." Palestinian Authority TV aired a sermon by Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris claiming that "the Jews brought Nazism" and that Jews exaggerate the number of Holocaust victims in order to gain world sympathy. Saudi Arabia's Al-Ikhbariya TV featured remarks by a professor who said "the Holocaust is a myth with a certain political agenda;" and the Syrian government hosted Holocaust-denier and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
While the many protests against the Iranian leadership's Holocaust-denial is welcome, it is troubling that there has been no similar outrage in response to other regimes' similar behavior.
RAFAEL MEDOFF, Director
BENYAMIN KORN, Associate Director
The David S. Wyman Institute
for Holocaust Studies
Melrose Park, Pennsylvania
Sir, - It turns out that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's schtick about wiping Israel off the map was but a slip of the tongue and that he's actually an ardent Zionist.
Yes, most recently he did explicitly deny that Hitler killed 6 million Jews, but he also suggested that, in case Germany and Austria do somehow feel responsible for such actions, they create a Jewish homeland in their territories. In other words, the problem isn't Zionism, just Israel's current address in the Middle East. I guess for Ahmadinejad the "anthropologist" the whole Jewish ritual of praying towards Jerusalem three times a day was just a ruse and that Jews should have actually been facing Leipzig or Salzburg.
Sir, - Imagine, the President of Iran urges Vienna to establish a Zionist Jewish state on its territory. Perhaps it would be better for all the world if Iran was relocated to a corner of the United States instead where it could be watched over more closely, and where its citizenry could develop an understanding of democracy.
Sir, - Congratulations on your editorial, "Hiding behind a crystal," (December 11). You stated the obvious that seemed to have escaped notice: How can any self-respecting Israeli accept the International Committee of the Red Cross's so-called compromise symbol, one that blatantly underscores the lesser status of Israel in the organization?
The episode also proves that over 20 countries, who voted against Magen David Adom's acceptance, hate Israel more than they value the lives of their own citizens that MDA might help rescue. Of course, this is not news to anyone who has recognized the low value some of these countries place upon the lives of their own people, given that they send and/or support suicide bombers.
Sir, - I do not see great joy in having the ICRC add a "crystal" symbol to enable Magen David Adom's acceptance by the organization. The irony, for those with a good memory, is that up until 1980, the ICRC permitted Iran to use the "red lion and sun" until the Islamic Republic stopped its use. So having a third national/religious symbol was possible - just not for the Jews.
Noble Nobel family
Sir, - How delightful to begin the week with your beautiful front page picture of the Aumann family (December 11). And how appropriate, two weeks before Hanukka, for the light of such kiddush hashem (the sanctification of God's name) to dispel some of the darkness of our usual front page terrorists, scandals and corrupt politicians.
Instead of your headline, "Aumann's Nobel a family affair," I would have humbly suggested "Aumann's family a noble affair!"
Thank you, Prof. Aumann and family.
GABIE AND DANNY SYKORA
Sir, - Congratulations to Professor Aumann. It's truly refreshing to see an Israeli win a Nobel Prize without actually having to give up great tracts of land.
The $100/minute bat mitzva
Sir, - Elizabeth Brooks's family spent some $10 million on her bat mitzva ("My big, fat $10 million bat mitzva: Video iPod giveaways and Aerosmith live," December 8). With some 300 attendees, the family spent $33,333 per guest. If the party lasted, say, four hours, that works out to $8,333 an hour or $138 per minute for each quest. Can anyone think of a better way that kind of money could have been spent?
By the way, mazel tov to the bat mitzva girl.
Sir, - How fortunate and blessed is David Brooks that he could spend $10 million to honor his daughter, Elizabeth, on becoming a bat mitzva.
I do hope he also remembered to give $10 million to charity in grateful thanks that he could so honor his daughter.
Sir, - I am sure that I am not alone in feeling disgusted at the report of the $10 million bat mitzva.
As chairman of the Committee of Friends of the Karmiel Children's Village, I am under constant pressure to find funds to help the 275 kids at the Village do more than just exist. These kids from broken homes get a loving atmosphere and house-parents at the Village; a fraction of the money paid to the bat mitzva's entertainers, caterers and gift suppliers could have eased their lives.
For my bar mitzva in 1938, the cost was the price of a bottle of kiddush wine and a packet of biscuits. It made me no less a Jew and no less appreciative of my parents or relatives.
Sir, - It was inappropriate for The Jerusalem Post to lead its front page with a headline describing a $10 million bat mitzva party. In a world where millions of children go to bed at night hungry, spending that kind of money on a grotesque ego trip under, the guise of a party for a child, is nothing short of obscene. But that is the tycoon's own business.
For the Post to give this an eye-catching front-page headline is insensitive. Please leave this kind of "news" to the tabloids.
FRANK J. VAN BERS
Beacon of light
Sir, - Kudos to The Jerusalem Post for a beautiful article in memory of Kaare Kristiansen, an outstanding human being ("Righteous Gentile, Kaare Kristiansen, 1920-2005," December 8). Here was a man of immense integrity who, as a member of the Nobel Prize committee, resigned rather than award the Peace Prize to Yasser Arafat.
I can understand why most Israeli politicians chose to ignore his passing, especially with elections coming up, as - in stark contrast to Mr. Kristiansen - they give us their hypocrisy, dishonesty, lack of integrity and corruption.
Do we have to look beyond our own populace for the inspiration of people like Mr. Kristiansen? Are there no people with integrity left among us?
Farewell Mr Kristiansen. You provided beacon of light in a black world.
German, Jewish and proud
Sir, - Judy Montagu's reflections on her time in Germany during the anniversary of Kristallnacht ("Less than joyful in Germany," December 4) ended with her proclaiming: "Israel is the one place on earth where I can stand up easily and with dignity, proclaiming: 'I am a Jew, and this is my country.'"
I respectfully disagree, in part. As a German Jew studying in Israel, I love Germany for its language and the culture. Jews have been living in some parts of western Germany since Roman times. I am an eighth-generation German Jew and I'm proud to say that Germany is my home, that I'm Jewish and German.
Rightists and 'rightest'
Sir, - We, the traditional supporters of the values and goals of the NRP for which it stood until the mid-1990s, lament the total take-over and transformation of the NRP - as described so well in your editorial ("NRP's wrong turn," December 9) - from one centered on the principles of religion and education to a party of the rightists and "rightest".
But the reasons are clear: To preserve the party it became obvious to the NRP's leaders that there are more votes to be gained from the religious Right than from the traditionalists who had largely abandoned the NRP for Shas, Likud and even Meimad or Labor. Today, there is no party for whom we can vote, one that will surely represent our primary interests.
MARTIN CHARLES GOLUMBIC
Sir, - Labor party head Amir Peretz feels that the standard-issue Mercedes provided to him does not fit with his image ("Peretz wants different car," December 7). Imagine if politicians were to receive vehicles that reflect their policies and personalities.
Kadima head Sharon would drive a bulldozer which suddenly swerves left without first indicating; Shinui ministers' vehicles would use hot air alone to get out of a rut; Meretz ("Energy") would insist against all evidence to the contrary that they are driven by alternative energy sources, and Likud ministers who join other parties would drive convertibles.
As for Mr. Peretz, famous for organizing work stoppages when head of the Histadrut, his car wouldn't even require an engine.