Jerusalem Day

Artur Rubinstein, who said that after its unparalleled persecution of the Jews, “the world should offer Jerusalem to the Jewish people on bended knees.”

By
June 7, 2016 22:14
Letters

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Jerusalem Day

With regard to “With drums and flags, 30,000 marchers mark Jerusalem Day” (June 6), in this time of international turmoil concerning the fate of east Jerusalem, it is well to remember the words of the late pianist, Artur Rubinstein, who said that after its unparalleled persecution of the Jews, “the world should offer Jerusalem to the Jewish people on bended knees.”

ROY RUNDS

Tel Aviv

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Tunnel cover-up?

We learn from “Arrest of teenage Hamas operative leads to new details on Gaza tunnel” (June 6) that the youth revealed valuable information that the Defense Ministry apparently never knew about. I think this is a cover-up for the absolute misinformation and inadequacies at the ministry under the leadership of the recently resigned Moshe Ya’alon.

The mind boggles at the thought that this 17-year-old boy was so well informed and knew so much about the tunnels, and the whole defense establishment knew nothing. It took cabinet minister Naftali Bennett to speak out and complain about not knowing what was truly going on during Operation Protective Edge.

I am ashamed of our media, which have not called attention to the fact that we are woefully inadequate when it comes to intelligence and are bound to the desires of the world that we not defend ourselves properly. A free people that desires to remain free cannot accept this kind of situation.

Why can we not go in and blow up the tunnels once and for all? Why are we restrained where there is absolutely no reason to be restrained? There is not much time before the next confrontation. We had better win!

THELMA SUSSWEIN

Jerusalem

Simplistic approach

Seth J. Frantzman is perhaps to be commended for pointing out a little-known, unattractive side of political theorist Hannah Arendt (“Hannah Arendt, white supremacist,” Terra Incognita, June 6).

There were other unattractive sides, including a lack of sympathy for victims of the Holocaust in her “‘banality of evil” analysis in Eichmann in Jerusalem. But Frantzman’s attempt to dismiss her as a totally worthless villain is simplistic, and wholly misses her moral and, perhaps above all, intellectual contributions to humanity, and to some degree the Jewish people.

Arendt’s work for Youth Aliyah when she herself was a refugee in France in the late 1930s is one side of her contribution to the Jewish people. Her work as an editor for the Schocken publishing house, introducing many of the greatest Jewish cultural figures, is another.

But of course, her greatest contribution intellectually was in her pioneering work on the origins of totalitarianism. Her understanding of the two great monstrous evils of Nazism and Stalinism gave new perspective to our understanding of collective evil at its worst. Her effort to understand the human condition as a whole and illuminate the concept of political freedom was made with a particular depth and power of thought.

Arendt was in this sense a truly high-minded thinker whose work does have an important place in the history of 20th-century political thought.

SHALOM FREEDMAN
Jerusalem

‘Settlers’ and computers Wow!


Susan Hattis Rolef actually said something nice about “settlers” (“On Microsoft and a wedding in Gush Etzion,” Think About It, June 6)! I usually start reading her columns, but about a quarter of the way through, I give up because she is so anti anything to do with the religious public. But she actually had a good time in Gush Etzion at a wedding, and complimented us! I will definitely frame this column and put it on my wall.

The Messiah is on his way! SHELLEY BLOOM Elazar My thanks to Susan Hattis Rolef for her timely words about Microsoft and the forcing on customers of Windows 10, and to you for publishing them.

I had the same experience in rejecting the Windows 10 offer.

Now I find that I no longer have a word-count option, amidst other changes. As a battered old journalist who sometimes sends an article to the papers and is in the midst of writing a novel, I was shocked by this sudden disappearance of something I have had on every computer for 30 years.

I am now acting urgently to get my novel to safety somewhere.

DAVID SHAW
Jerusalem

A Trump predictor

The saying “People get the leaders they deserve” is usually a post-mortem. It implies some form of passive, fatalistic approach. Yet we can learn from our lessons, and to this effect I suggest we not look at presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but at Trump as the choice of a growing part of our society, and what this says about us.

Understanding Trump’s reasoning, motives, mind and ability to change is an exercise in futility.

What we know is that he unites people around issues that raise alarm: fear of foreigners, disdain of international treaties, dislike for outsiders and people who are different.

These symptoms are not new.

They can be found in recent history, in every fascist environment.

No, Trump is not Hitler. But America is becoming more and more like the Weimar culture, where racial prejudice united people around their hate, and where people were intoxicated with a new Germany that was not too different from what Trump envisages for America.

Voting hate and dreaming greatness are predictors for disaster.

People don’t change history.

The reverse is more plausible.

Just like a storm picks up a wave or a cloud to destroy a city, history picks up its useful candidates to wreak havoc. The only way to protect ourselves is by fencing ourselves off from the storm’s path.

People say Trump will not be able to bypass the legislative branch. But the same people said he was a joke and wouldn’t last. He possesses a rare talent for mobilizing the public, and I can see the same when he’s in office – if he decides to enact legislation Congress won’t approve, he could get legislators’ constituents to protest until the lawmakers change their minds and vote with an intoxicated public.

I don’t know if he will learn on the job how to moderate his views or work with Congress.

But the fact is, we cannot afford to speculate. We can laugh Trump off, but we can’t afford to. People find it difficult to compare our era with that of the 1930s. They call it ridiculous, alarmist and worse. But there is one reminder from the Weimar Republic that we should put deep into our mind: People ridiculed Hitler. They thought him a fool. Yet he managed to manipulate society against its will and brought a whole nation, one of the most advanced of its time, into a frenzy.

We cannot put down our guard and let one who wants to move us against our interests and into a state of dangerous euphoria to become our new emperor – even if his capital T is made out of gold.

SOLI Y. FOGER
Englewood, New Jersey
The writer “does not identify with any specific party or political agenda.”

CLARIFICATION
The caption for the photo accompanying “Ramadan feasting” (June 7) incorrectly identified Manal Karamal Jabereel as a homemaker from Shfaram. She is a chef from Umm el-Fahm who hosts Iftar meals in her home for patrons during the holy month of Ramadan. We apologize for the error.


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