Cure for suffering
Sir, - Regarding "Doctors to ease Sharon from coma" (January 9): My late father, also overweight and unfit, had a massive stroke at the same age as Ariel Sharon. The doctors informed my family that there was no chance of him making a full recovery and we opted for non-invasive treatment to keep him comfortable. He died three days later, peacefully and with dignity.
I wonder, were Ariel Sharon not prime minister, if the good doctors of Hadassah would be making the same heroic efforts to keep him alive. I wonder if, in fact, he would want to survive, incapacitated and an object of pity.
So I pray, not for recovery to a half-life, but for what would be best for a poor, ailing old man and a cure for his suffering, one way or another.
Sir - "Praying for Sharon" (Editorial, January 6) contains the phrase "our nation's future without Sharon," capturing the desperation that has been expressed daily and widely ever since it became apparent that the prime minister would not return to his role. At the grassroots level, however, one can find both wisdom and reality.
Several years ago, prior to making aliya, on one of my many trips to Israel I found myself in conversation with an Israeli taxi driver. It was a time of national elections and I questioned him on who would be the beneficiary of his vote.
To my surprise, he stated that he had no intention of voting.
Why? "What purpose will it serve? he asked. "America makes the decisions."
Sir, - "The message of the haj" (Editorial, January 9) lacked any sense. Of course there are some pacifist Muslims, and of course there were periods when Jews paid the jizya poll tax but were not otherwise discriminated against. However, that does not change the reality of a world where the dominant Muslims are Islamists, one where most Muslim countries promote anti-Semitism in their media.
It's time to face the fact that Islam, as it is practiced today by the majority of Muslims, is the antithesis of democratic religious and political freedom as practised in the West. As such, we must defend ourselves against it until there is a substantial change in the Muslim intellectual, emotional and moral reality.
Thanks for the spark
Sir, - Greville Janner's "Fighting worldwide anti-Semitism" (January 9) recalled a talk he gave in the Oxford & St. George's Jewish youth club in London about 50 years ago. Having recently returned from his first visit to Israel he said that the pride he derived from what he had seen there strengthened him against anti-Semitic remarks he heard in England.
That was probably the first spark to ignite my interest in Israel. I now have a two-generation sabra family, so I would like to say thank you to him for helping me make the right decision.
Morality outside God
Sir, - There is another option between "Godless morality" (Marc Hauser & Peter Singer, January 8) and God-invented morality. Even a surface reading of Scripture forces the impression that there is a morality, outside God, to which man and God are subject. For example, when Abraham challenges God: "Shall the Judge of all the Earth not do justly?" is he not subjecting God to a morality outside God? Is this merely an argument for consistency between God and His declared morality, or is Abraham posing a justice to which the Judge must adhere?
Similarly, when Moses proclaims the superiority of Torah to other laws: "For where is there a nation which has such just laws as all of this Torah?" he is not appealing to the will of God, which the nations may reject, but to an objective standard of justice, independent of God.
All the debates between God and man in Scripture seem to assume a morality man must obey and to which God is also subject. God and His will have to be supported by this "Godless morality."
Time to let go...
Sir, - Re "Living in Israel and losing friends" (January 8): I think Judy Montagu should "let go" of this friendship because you can't convince your friends about the PA's true face if they think they know better. Friends abroad, if they are real friends, should work harder to understand our situation in Israel. But we can't make them do it.
It gets even harder when the Holocaust combines with the "elephant" to slap you in the face; and when your "friend" is a sibling on the other side of the ocean.
Sir, - Perhaps Judy Montagu should change her friends! My husband and I have had the complete opposite experience. We still have numerous friends, Jewish and non-Jewish, and of course both our families, back in the UK. Never in our 23 years here have we had criticism of Israel thrown in our faces. Some of those people have left-wing views and don't particularly like what is going in Judea and Samaria, but then lots of Israelis don't either! They have all shown great worry and concern for our welfare.
I send them on a regular basis items of what I call "propaganda." These include articles from BIG (British Israel Group) and HonestReporting.com and all have been welcomed because they explain Israel's side of things instead of what passes for honest reporting in the UK and elsewhere.
Sir, - Living in Israel since 1974 and having recently lost my best friend of 24 years, an Israeli born and raised here, to the leftist "knee-jerk" mania Judy Montagu describes, I can only sympathize. Volunteering at Beit Loewenstein here in Ra'anana and seeing the daily detritus of the last "intifada," planned and executed by Yasser Arafat, I've understood more and more what and who we as a nation are fighting. She didn't.
And yet I see some hope in the way we all seem to be sharing the pain of seeing our prime minister fighting for his life. It feels like a source of hope for us that, despite everything, we may just be able to join together when the crunch comes.
Sir, - I cannot understand Judy Montagu's friend saying she doesn't "like things that are happening in Israel" now; implying a contrast to a few years back when, for example, the Park Hotel in Netanya was bombed and it was comprehensible to take Israel's side.
I guess she hasn't been reading about the Kassam rockets hitting us almost every day and, by a miracle, mostly missing their targets; or about the thousands of Jews who have been torn from their homes and livelihoods. Nor, probably, has she read about the unfathomable number of terrorists we intercepted in 2005 before they could reach their destinations.
Fair and openminded?
Sir, - The phrase "fair and openminded" prompts me to warn that openmindedness without discrimination can lead to a whole lot of garbage reposing in your brain cells; alternatively a mind that is too open could lead to your brain falling out.
For the record
Sir, - Please know that we vigorously dispute the factual allegations in Susan B. Tuchman's "Jewish students of America, know your legal rights" (December 11). However, in deference to the Office for Civil Rights's pending investigation we cannot discuss details.
Our federal and state constitutions protect freedom of speech, even speech that may be offensive. As Ms. Tuchman suggests, UC Irvine "recognize[s] and condemn[s]" speech that is "hateful, degrading and demeaning" by sponsoring programs - such as The Daniel Pearl Dialogue for Muslim-Jewish Understanding - that foster civil, informed dialogues concerning this difficult subject. Because these events are sponsored by the university, unlike the speakers about whom ZOA complains who are invited by particular student organizations, they send an important message that UC Irvine values respectful dialogue, not hateful speech.
Finally, although Ms. Tuchman states that "the US Department of Education... determined that Jewish students are an ethnic group entitled to protection under [Title VI]," Title VI actually prohibits only discrimination on the grounds of "race, color or national origin." While we would never discriminate, or tolerate discrimination, against a student on the ground of religion, we do not believe that Title VI applies to ZOA's claims.
I have great respect for The Jerusalem Post and appreciate this opportunity to clarify some inaccuracies that might misinform your readers.
MANUEL N. G MEZ
University of California at Irvine
Sir, - One can only agree completely with Tom Hope's "Blackened by whiteness" (January 5) about our oh-so-pathetic TV ads, some of which make me cringe, they are in such poor taste. An example: Seeing, as I sit down to my solitary dinner in front of the TV, Eli Yatzpan, large as life, his trousers artistically draped around his ankles as he sits on the toilet peeking out at me from behind a newspaper. What exactly is HOT wishing to portray?
HULA K. SMITH
Sir, - Tom Hope deplores the commercials repeatedly screened, and screamed, at us every few minutes during some television programs, including the news. It is a fact that when American television commercials aimed at children made the object being advertised look larger than it actually was and implied that every child had to have the desirable toy being shown, there was an outcry by the US public.
I no longer buy products that are promoted if I object to the advertisement, and think the time has come to let the advertiser and the TV station know. If more of us did that perhaps we wouldn't be subjected to so much stereotyping and sheer drivel.