December 9, 2019: 20th century creation

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters
(photo credit: REUTERS)
20th century creation
I read the story of Mark Twain’s visit to the region with much interest (“Mark Twain in the Holy Land,” December 8). One point the article failed to mention was that Twain describes Palestine as being “sparsely populated.” In terms of the Jews, this makes sense, as in the late 19th century, there had yet to be any substantial influxes. The depleted Jewish population had been a fact of life since the destruction of the Second Temple.
But what about the people known at present as Palestinians? Where were they?! The answer is quite simple – the Palestinians were a 20th century creation. Period. End of quote.
MICHAEL D. HIRSCH
Tzur Yitzhak
Good and bad
The headline “They saw them as their own sons and daughters” in the December 6 edition encompasses both the good done by the Polish non-Jewish families who hid Jewish children during the Shoah, thereby saving their lives, but also their failure to return them to their Jewish families after the war.
Irena Sendler, who is credited with saving many Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto by smuggling them out of the ghetto, and is among the Righteous Among the Nations honored by Yad Vashem, was meticulous about keeping lists in jars of the names and addresses of these children so that she could eventually return them to their rightful places. As a matter of fact, it was those lists that the Nazis sought when they arrested and tortured her. Refusing to turn over the lists, she was sentenced to be executed and was only saved when the underground paid a large ransom for her release.
After the war, of course, very few Jewish parents were left alive to reclaim their hidden children, and throughout Poland and all of Europe, there were various strategies to return these children to their Jewish roots. Numerous Jewish agencies and private people scoured Europe for these hidden children to bring them to family members who had either survived in Europe or were living in other places. The Jewish Agency was proactive to identify these children and bring them to live in Israel. The fact that the protagonist in this story was not told by her Polish family about her Jewishness until she was 17, is the sad side of the title, and one that Irena Sendler would not have envisioned.
MARION REISS
Beit Shemesh
The writer is the author of
Not To Forget: The Story of Harry Reiss and the Creation of the Rockland Center for Holocaust Studies, and a gallery educator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
Drive change
Regarding the report from Monday, December 1, “Mother and three-week-old daughter killed in car accident near Jerusalem,” I am sure the editorial board agrees with me about this but I would like it to go out to all the readers of The Jerusalem Post, which is an excellent paper.
One is more likely to get injured or killed on the roads in this country than by a terrorist attack.
Please can each and everyone of you help to stop this by writing to the Transportation Ministry or any other important people who can appreciate such danger.
For those of you who know, influential or official people in Israel bring it to their attention and have meetings to deal with this matter.
I made aliyah 10 years ago after driving for more than 40 years in the UK. I took my test here and passed on the first time, but I cannot drive here due to the very poor drivers. I strongly feel as the older generation we must now do something about it for our children and grandchildren.
The speed on motorways is much to high in most areas, with shoulder drivers driving without caution as if they are on the main highway.
In Israel we must have more speed cameras and ensure drivers are fined.
We all enjoy living here, and we cannot help it when terrorists strike but we can help our own people to drive with caution.
We need to do this as a legacy for future generations.
Please all help.
LINDA GILL
Ramat Aviv
Real news?
I just finished reading the article on Tiffany Haddish from Friday’s paper, (“Actress Tiffany Haddish celebrates Jewish heritage in lavish ‘Black Mitzvah,’ December 6).
I was left wondering why this item qualified a major article in the first section of the paper, and not relegated to the Arts and Entertainment page. And I had the same feeling while reading the article a week ago about Quentin Tarantino and Daniella Pick (“It’s a girl! Tarantino, Pick reveal baby’s gender,” November 29).
There used to be a Briefs section. Why not bring that back, for items like these two, which are more tabloid-style articles.
I would be interested in knowing whether Haddish would now be interested in what it truly means to be Jewish? About what being bat mitzvah really means?
BATYA BERLINGER
Jerusalem
French delusion
Let us not delude ourselves on the French anti-Zionism resolution, “French parliament declares anti-Zionism is antisemitism,” December 4.
A closer look at the vote in L’Assemblée nationale shows that out of the 577 members, only 154, which is less than a third, voted for a resolution that nowhere mentions anti-Zionism by name. Seventy-two opposed it and most of the others members prudently left the house so as not to have to take sides. Furthermore, a collective of 127 s “intellectual Jews” had published a day earlier in French daily Le Monde a strongly worded appeal to the assembly urging it not to vote for the resolution.
MICHELLE MAZEL
Jerusalem
Smoke screens
Regarding “Bushfires surround Sydney, blanketing city in thick smoke,” December 6:
Whether it’s drier shrubbery resulting in unmatched wildfire devastation Down Under, extreme weather for Israel, record-breaking flooding in Europe, the mass deforestation and incineration of the Amazon rain forest (home to a third of all known terrestrial plant, animal and insect species), single-use plastics clogging life-bearing waters, unprecedented stalling hurricanes, a British Columbian midsummer’s snowfall, the gradually dying endangered whale species or geologically invasive/destructive fracking or a myriad of other categories of large-scale toxic pollutant emissions and dumps – there’s discouragingly insufficient political gonad planet-wide to sufficiently address it.
Meanwhile, what politically matters most is the seemingly euphoria-inducing creation (or, in this case, just the maintenance) of jobs, however temporary, and stimulating the economy, however intangible when compared to the Big Business destruction and max-exploitation of our natural environment/resources.
Thus student-initiated climate-protest actions – including young activist lawsuits against negligent governments – are, sadly, quite needed.
FRANK STERLE JR.
White Rock, British Columbia
Corbyn believes it
Regarding Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party (“TV interviewer to Corbyn: ‘No, just say sorry,’” December 4), 70 years after revelation of Ministry of Information director-general Cyril Radcliffe’s 1943 antisemitic sentiments, one encounters Corbyn’s 2013 antisemitism: “[Jews] clearly have two problems: One is they don’t want to study history and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time... don’t understand English irony either... they needed two lessons, which we could perhaps help them with.”
In wake of the report regarding the antisemitic outrage committed against Labour MP Dame Louise Ellman as well as the Jewish religious calendar in general (“Jewish Labour MP faces no confidence vote on Yom Kippur,” October 4) one is comforted by the following ironic remarks - applicable to Labour party members of the Corbyn-ite persuasion – leveled by the Archbishop of Lublin Jozef Miroslaw of Zycinski, commenting on Pope John Paul’s encyclical letter (Faith & Reason) from October 16, 1998, as follows:
“Sympathizers with alternative cultural models suggest that the place which has [heretofore] been occupied by a ‘rational animal’ shall be taken [over] by a brainless ‘homo ludens’ who puts irony and happenings before reflection.”
Corbyn-ites take note of Addison’s 1873 Law of Torts: “A man [person] has no right to make him-her-self the medium of propagating scandalous and defamatory accusations, unless he him-her-self believes them to be true, and his-her belief is not an honest belief if it is formed in a reckless and inconsiderate manner.”
Enough said.
KARL HUTTENBAUER
Berlin
Any change
A 19-year-old woman was killed last week after being hit by a light rail in Jerusalem after falling onto the tracks, “19-year-old killed after being struck by Jerusalem light rail,” December 5.
The following story made me feel like trains and light rails and anything in that category does not have enough safety precautions and is very unsafe for people on a daily basis.
There should be cameras on the tracks so the train can be told to stop if someone accidentally falls.
Even the slightest change can make a big difference.

PHYLLIS HECHT
Hashmonaim
A third US mistake
Regarding “Preparing for the election of a US Democratic president,” December 3, Manfred Gerstenfeld is absolutely right in his assessment of the need for Israel to prepare for the real possibility that a Democrat could be the next president.
But alongside the two mistakes he feels that Israel has made in not being more assertive in exposing and emphasizing Palestinian criminality and intransigence to the American people and not sufficiently cultivating pro-Israel organizations in the US, I suggest a third mistake, especially on the part of our prime minister and the various right-wing factions, which is the almost messianic awe and drunk euphoria they show toward President Donald Trump and his very pro-Israel stance and historical actions.
Though certainly the greatest friend Israel has ever had in the White House, our leaders totally ignore the very real possibility that Trump, and especially his very unique and more than welcome pro-Israel stance, may be a one-time phenomenon, as dark clouds seem to be rapidly approaching in terms of traditional American bipartisan support for the Jewish state and its security.
There is even a danger of many of Trump’s most significant actions in Israel’s favor being overturned by a new and hostile Democratic administration.
However, how can we expect our elected officials to prepare for anything, as they continue to hold the voters in total contempt, with their egomania and lust for power taking precedence over any real concern for the country’s future and the urgent and existential need to form a functioning government to deal with the external threats and internal social and economic problems we face.
They continue to play petty politics and push narrow party and personal interests, while the world burns, including our longstanding and critical friendship with the US.
GERSHON HARRIS
Hatzor Haglilit
Cowardly EU
After having read the online December 6 article “147 nations call to halt ‘aid’ to Israeli settlements,” when will someone from Israel ask the UN and EU to provide a list of non-Jewish settlements that they are talking about.
If the list only contains Jewish settlements then it is firstly cowardly to hide behind the word Israeli when they mean Jewish, and secondly it is probably a hate crime.
By declaring these settlements illegal the UN is actually creating a precedent and is probably declaring all past settlements illegal, including Ottoman settlements in Turkey, Arab settlements in North Africa, Anglo Saxon settlements in the United Kingdom, Frankish settlements in France and Germany, and so on.
Please ask the UN to clarify the non-Jewish settlements they are referencing.
MICHAEL H. DAVIS
Rishon Lezion