Cops they aren’t
I appreciate Khaled Abu Toameh’s articles very much. But doesn’t he see the irony in one of the phrases in “Hamas breaks up reconciliation rally” (April 30)? The article says: “Hamas plainclothes policemen used clubs to disperse the activists....”
These are members of a terrorist organization, without uniforms, who were beating civilians. How can they be called policemen?
JOHN A. KENNEDY Haifa
Former US president Jimmy Carter, who wanted to meet with Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip last week, is generally described as being one of Israel’s most prominent critics. That’s a gross understatement, given his behavior from the time of his presidency.See the latest opinion pieces on our Opinion & Blogs Facebook page
When Carter became president, he created a special Office of Human Rights. The office sent a letter to the shah of Iran. It was called a “polite reminder” of the importance of political rights and freedom.
The letter resulted in the shah releasing 350 Islamic fundamentalist prisoners – who would later play roles in the Islamic Revolution and US embassy hostage crisis. Ultimately, he had to step down and was replaced by the infamous tyrant, the ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Add to the hostage crises the Iran-Iraq war, which would not have occurred but for the shah’s replacement.
The world today is suffering the consequences of Carter’s indecisiveness, as well as that of the incumbent, Barack Obama.
ALEX ROSE AshkelonBoot him out!
Just over a month ago, I attended the bar mitzva ceremony of our grandson. The ceremony, which took place at a non-Orthodox synagogue in Kfar Vradim, was truly heart-warming. The young, friendly rabbi welcomed everyone and made sure both parents and the two sets of grandparents were included in the ceremony. It was a delightful, unforgettable experience.
So you can imagine how sad – and angry – I felt when I read that the mayor of Rehovot, Rahamim Maloul, prevented a bar and bat mitzva ceremony for autistic youngsters (“Rehovot stops Masorti bar mitzva for autistic teens,” April 30). Surely such an experience, whether conducted by an Orthodox or Conservative rabbi, is every Jewish child’s birthright.
The Masorti (Conservative) Movement and the Lotem School deserve the highest praise. The mayor should be booted out of town!
MARION LUPU Haifa
Poland in WWII
With regard to “Too important for politics to get in the way” (Comment & Features, April 30), Tal Harris mentions a “Polish gas chamber.” Mr. Harris, it’s time to learn history! ANNA and ROMAN BIS Adelaide, Australia My grandparents, John and Monika of Dabrowa Tarnowska, near Krakow, hid two Jewish students from the Gestapo. They survived. It would have been death on the spot.
Are the Poles people or just goyim?
STANISLAW JODŁWOSKI Gdansk, Poland
In “Shedding light” (Letters, April 28), reader Gerry Myers describes the crime of Jedwabne, the Polish town where 1,600 Jews were murdered in 1941.
Jedwabne is mentioned in numerous Polish history books.
When a monument was erected there, then-president Aleksander Kwasniewski stated that though the misdeed had been incited by the German occupiers, the crime shall not be denied by the Polish people. In 1991, former president Lech Walesa asked in the Knesset for “forgiveness in the name of the Polish people” for any wrong they had done against Jewish citizens.
The attitude was never a denial, but one of sincere sadness.
When we remember any hardships in Poland, it would be good to recall that more than 6,500 Polish citizens have been honored by Yad Vashem for having saved Jews during the Nazi occupation.
I’m also thinking of Irena Sendler, a nurse who rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto. The Nazis broke her arms and legs, but she did not disclose the children’s hiding places among Polish families.
Do we realize the risks these Poles dared take on behalf of their neighbors of the Jewish faith? Germany had twice as many citizens at the time, over 60 million, but its heroes, according to Yad Vashem, total only 569.
When mentioning Polish faults, mainly under foreign occupation or influence, it is important to also show the good sides, perhaps especially that we were welcome there for almost 1,000 years. In this way we can prove our gratefulness.
LISELOTTE LEAH GOLDBERG Jerusalem Inside contacts
With regard to “It’s time for Palestine” (Encountering Peace, April 30), let’s give the naysayers to Gershon Baskin’s version of “peace” equal time.
In his previous column (“The citizen’s challenge – from despair to hope,” April 16), he explained his supreme knowledge of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as coming from the fact that he has spoken with him, and thus assured us of Abbas’s honest and realistic intentions.
That column, quoting an unashamed Holocaust denier, appeared on Holocaust Remembrance Day and thus hit me hard.
In his latest column, he quotes an article written by Abbas. In Baskin’s own words, he extracted the “positive and operative aspects of what Abbas is saying.”
How about dealing with the frightening things – the continued school curriculum toward hate instead of peaceful coexistence, the offers that the Palestinians declined, their insistence on the right of return for all those they consider refugees, their behind-the-scenes declarations that the land in its entirety is Palestine, etc., etc.
It seems that up to now, Baskin has not succeeded in his aim and insists that the real obstacle is Israel’s intransigence. Despite his privileged inside contacts, even with all the given possibilities, it’s clear that the other side has turned a blind eye to any give and take.
NAOMI FEINSTEIN Nordiya
Gershon Baskin puts forth the urgency of Israel returning to the 1949 armistice lines. He premises this statement on a magazine article Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wrote last year, which Baskin admits is “undoubtedly difficult for Israelis to read.”
Having read the article, I found it to be just another propaganda screed. It will never be time to return to indefensible borders or entrust our security to proven terrorists backed up by the worthless promises of US President Barack Obama.
JON SCHNEIDER Tel Aviv Just a syllogism
Reader Fred Gottlieb (“Inner workings,” Letters, April 28) is wrong when he asserts that because of the fine detail of a watch, “anyone... cannot but conclude that it was created by a watchmaker,” and then says it’s clear “how much more so would the complexity of the natural world require a Maker.”
This is a fallacious argument based on 19th-century philosophy.
In fact, it is a syllogism, defined as a “kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two or more propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true.” Note that these propositions are “asserted” or “assumed,” not proven.
In the 19th century, a watch was considered advanced technology, although in fact it was a simple device run by a spring. In our more advanced time, a person finding an actual living organism (such as a sheep) cannot be sure whether it was naturally produced or was the product of a laboratory, produced by a man (a biologist) through cloning.
Now that we know about DNA and understand the great complexity of the natural world, there is no need, according to Occam’s theorem of accepting the simplest satisfactory explanation, to assert the existence of a “Maker” to explain it.
JACK S. COHEN Netanya The writer is a retired professor of pharmacology, biochemistry and molecular biology.