(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Trump visit
US President Donald Trump spoke with great passion against terrorism while standing on a podium with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (“President in Bethlehem: I will do everything for an agreement,” May 24).
Abbas is in the 10th year of his four-year term as president of the PA, which, among other terror-encouraging activities, names streets after suicide bombers, gives stipends to families of those who murder Jews, and indoctrinates children starting from kindergarten that Israel should be destroyed and Jews slain.
Thus, President Trump managed to actualize an important concept in talmudic logic during his visit to Bethlehem: Ritual impurity caused by contact with objects capable of defiling (such as various insects) can be remedied by immersion in a mikve (ritual bath). However, if one enters the bath while holding the defiling object in his hand, he cannot remove the impurity. This is known to scholars as ha’ba l’tahir v’sheretz b’yado.
President Trump is a sincere friend of the Jewish people and the Jewish state, and is undoubtedly earnest in his desire to help bring peace to this area of the world. But to give equal status to the government of Israel and a terrorist entity means that, like those before him, he is misguided in his understanding of the fundamental issues of the conflict.
In his desire to reach what he calls “the ultimate deal,” the current US president will be no more successful than those who preceded him unless he has advisers who understand that what we have is an existential question, not an argument over real estate.
JAY SHAPIRO Jerusalem
With regard to “ISIS claims responsibility for Manchester arena attack that kills 22” (May 24), one worries that the heavy-handed, momentby- moment coverage of the attacks serves the yearning of the suicide bomber for posthumous notoriety.
All broadcast channels in Australia suspended normal programming for live feeds.
Terrorism’s tentacles in capturing public attention and inducing fear is magnified by TV stations and websites running endless loops of panicked escapes, anguished parents and distraught children.
Although the press has a mandate to inform, caution demands not replaying ad infinitum the murderous spectacle so craved by terrorists.
After every outrage, there are acts of solidarity that risk becoming congealed rituals that hold no power to dissuade the next attack. However, the press does a great deed in issuing a clarion call for anger around the world that is tempered with grief for innocent lives lost.
A note of caution though: Unchanneled anger or anger not given shape by mechanisms for progress can easily become hatefully sectarian.
The challenge we face is to rebuild organizations of civil society and movements for social change that not only pierce the jihadi state of mind, but also channel the grief into political hope and not anti-Muslim vengeance.
JOSEPH TING BrisbaneFalse readings
With regard to “A failed trip to Jerusalem” (Comment & Features, May 24), while I might sympathize with anybody for his misadventures, I wish to praise all those who protect our borders, including those at Ben-Gurion Airport.
One hundred percent sensitivity and specificity is unattainable.
However, a false positive (i.e., preventing somebody who is not a threat from entering our land) is preferable to a false negative. A false positive might be annoying for one person, but a false negative could be deadly for many.
Even assuming that Ahmed Alkhatib’s was a false positive – and I am quite willing to do so despite his unsubstantiated claim – I wonder why you gave half a page of visibility to his narrative. You could better have left this piece to another newspaper that specializes in this kind of complaint.
DANIEL SHER Jerusalem CORRECTION
The May 25 front-page headline for the news item about Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and settlements should have been “Liberman: Israel doesn’t need green light from Washington to build settlements,” and not as stated. We apologize for the error.