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August 18: Biased view

I was deeply disappointed to read the piece by Caroline B. Glick ("Turkey's abandonment of the West," August 12).

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Biased view Sir, - I was deeply disappointed to read the piece by Caroline B. Glick ("Turkey's abandonment of the West," August 12) which constitutes yet another grossly biased and ill-informed view by this author on Turkey and its efforts toward reaching a sustainable peace in theMiddle East. Although the impeccable record of Turkish-Israeli relations, as well as the role that Turkey has been playing to promote peace and stability in the region, which is highly regarded by all concerned parties, simply discredit Glick's innuendos, I still believe that this prejudiced piece, full of farfetched and baseless arguments, should not have found a place in your paper, which is well known for its objective and balanced reporting. NAMIK TAN Ambassador, Republic of Turkey Tel Aviv For your information Sir, - Hillel Neuer's op-ed 2008 "Who will guard human rights at the UN?" (July 14) was republished by the Israel Hasbara Committee in New York on August 12. We would like to draw your attention to the following facts: 1) Human rights issues and the human rights situation in Iran were on the agenda of the talks that Swiss Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey held with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Teheran. In her meetings and in a press conference, Federal Councillor Calmy-Rey expressed her concerns about the human rights situation in Iran and the unacceptable rhetoric of the Iranian leadership against Israel. 2) Calmy-Rey was neither a candidate for the post of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights nor has she ever been "vigorously campaigning" for it. 3) On Monday, July 28, the General Assembly approved the appointment by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of Judge Navanethem Pillay as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. LARS KNUCHEL Deputy Head of Information Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Berne What chutzpa Sir, - It is disheartening to note that Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielski is following the path of previous chairman Avraham Burg and engaging in political activities while receiving a full-time salary plus perks from the agency ("Livni: First I'll win Kadima primary, then we'll win national election," August 17). The Jerusalem Post reported that Bielski endorsed Tzipi Livni as head of Kadima. Burg recently had the chutzpa to sue the agency which did not continue to provide a driver and vehicle for his personal use! Is it any wonder that the Israeli public holds public officials in low regard? ARNOLD SULLUM Jerusalem Ratification not needed Sir, - In the editorial "Boundaries for Israel" (August 15), you point out the dangers of Israel's negotiating a "shelf agreement" with the Palestinians under the current circumstances. However, when you note, "The chances of him winning Knesset ratification for any 'shelf agreement' are close to nil," you incorrectly assume that ratification by the Knesset is necessary before it would enter into effect. Unlike in America and in most European states, this is not our law. Here, when the government signs a treaty, we are bound internationally without any prior action by the Knesset. Knesset approval is required only to make the treaty part of our domestic law. We were bound by the Oslo Accords when Yitzhak Rabin signed on the White House lawn. There is now a bill in the Knesset which seeks to rectify this anomaly in our law. Prof. Malvina Halberstam, a world-renowned expert in international law, explained the need to enact such a law, in a Jerusalem Post article entitled "The cart before the horse" (April 27, 1994) when a similar law was first proposed. It is even more relevant today. DR. JAN SOKOLOVSKY Jerusalem Ride a bike Sir, - On the same day that Ehud Waldoks reported about the green agenda in the upcoming Tel Aviv mayoral election ("Next Tel Aviv mayor's big challenge is to clear the air," August 14), The Jerusalem Post printed an article entitled "Flush with energy" about why Denmark leads in clean power. What shocks me about the Waldoks article is that there is no mention of the noise polluting, air polluting buses and cars. To this observer, the one thing that ruins the quality of life in Tel Aviv more than anything else is the buses and cars. Not to mention 100 deaths and 26,000 cases of pulmonary illness in children. Just imagine a Tel Aviv where 50 percent of its work force commutes to work by bike every day - even in the rain. Imagine a Tel Aviv where all taxis, buses and cars are electric. Gas stations and their pollution problems would be non-existent. In Denmark the cost of gasoline is $10 a gallon and rising ($4 in the States) because of high energy taxes.They will consequently lower income taxes. What a revolution that would be here. MATTIAS ROTENBERG Petah Tikva Not quite so rare Sir, - I'm delighted to hear that in Dr. Nir Osherov's department at Tel Aviv University the view is optimistic ("This bias is rare," Letters, August 14). Nonetheless, the statistics I cite in my op-ed ("You want that degree? Sleep with the professor," August 13) come from the extensive, longitudinal work done by Nina Toren about all the departments in all the universities, coupled with the investigation currently under way at Hebrew University and my own 13 years of personal experience and compiled anecdotal evidence. I look forward to the day when all the departments in all the universities reflect the culture created in Nir's. ELANA SZTOKMAN Jerusalem Self reliance Sir, - What do Georgia and Czechoslovakia have in common? Both were small, democratic peace loving countries. Both were attacked by big and powerful neighboring dictatorships on some pretext. Both had close ties with Western democratic countries and both had treaties with powerful Western countries to guarantee their integrity. And when attacked both were abandoned by their Western sponsors when, in spite of treaties and sweet promises, it became politically expedient. In both instances appeasement was - in the short term - more convenient to the Western powers than meeting their moral and treaty obligations. Israel must learn that lesson. Israel, too is a small, democratic country surrounded by aggressive and extremist dictatorships. We too have treaties, but when it comes to the crunch we cannot rely on all those sweet promises US President George W. Bush murmured when here for our 60th anniversary. We can only rely on ourselves and make our decisions according to what is best for us. We must ignore other countries' pressures or wishes. If it means preempting, so be it. JOE FRANKL Savyon Correction The photographs accompanying the article "Animal farm in Sderot" (August 5) were incorrectly identified as "courtesy photos." They were taken by Noam Bedein.