Jews would be outraged
Sir, – Reader Eva Gold (“No comparison,” Letters, August
25) says that if and when Jews fly a plane into a building, killing loads of
people, she’ll oppose building a synagogue near the site.
Even if such a
scenario were to occur, there is nothing in the Jewish religion that would
encourage such an action. And even if some misguided fringe group were to take
such action, there’d be outrage by Jews of all sectors. But there is no rage or
condemnation from the Muslim world, because jihad is considered the highest form
of religious devotion.
If the group wishing to build this mosque
expressed a desire to combat fanaticism and wanted to use this building in that
pursuit, it might be more acceptable to many people’s sensitivities.
speaking of sensitivities, I don’t think that one needs to be a 9/11 survivor or
family member to feel moral outrage at the prospect of a mosque. I knew none of
the victims, but as a human being, I feel solidarity with all the victims’
families and cannot tolerate this disrespect.SHARON LINDENBAUM
Sir, – Frank Johansson told The Jerusalem Post
last week that
he stands by his statement (“Amnesty International head in Finland calls Israel
‘scum state,’” August 25).
However, this may just be Johansson’s way of
trying to generate a bit of excitement.
According to MSN travel editor
Simon Busch, Finland is sixth on a list of “the most boring places on earth.”
Message board users have referred to “HelsinkiDepressing.com” and called a town
in northern Finland the “icehole of the world,” saying it’s “freezing cold for
eight months and swarming with millions of mosquitoes in the damp
So perhaps vibrant Israel was just too much of a shock for
A more welcome shock would be for Amnesty International to condemn
Johansson’s hateful remarks and to revive the principles of humanity and justice
upon which the organization was originally based.RONA HART
Sir, – The important question as presented in your headline
“Would an IDF withdrawal from the West Bank mean a safe haven for extremists?”
(August 24) is answered very well by Col. Richard Kemp. His concerns are
legitimate and pertinent. The dangers as he assesses them, many of which we
experienced personally not so long ago, are all too real.
real essence of the question asked by the title of the conference at which he
made his presentation – “Israel’s Critical Security Needs in a Viable Peace” –
is far wider, and I think an equally valid question would be: Do the many
scattered civilian communities in Judea and Samaria contribute to our critical
security needs? Here, I believe the answer is a resounding no.
settlements have demanded a scattering of IDF resources of all sorts, from
vehicles to manpower to moral certainty. In any future full-scale attack by
foreign armies from the East, these many population centers would require IDF
security support. This is not an efficient use of our limited military
I think a more effective and efficient fulfillment of our
critical security needs would be served by a withdrawal of the Israeli civilians
and the continuing presence of the IDF.
Then, the lightened task on the
IDF would allow for far more efficiency in fulfilling its true task of
preventing the unhindered development of a terrorist threat and looking after
the safety of our population. The money saved could be used to expand an
important and critical area of our security by adding additional anti-rocket
Aminadav Im Tirtzu and BGU
Sir, – David Newman (“A
dangerous political agenda,” Borderline views, August 24) states that when one
tries to influence the hiring and firing policy of universities based on
political views, it is McCarthyism.
Newman is mistaken. The McCarthyists
are the academics who persist in hiring only those who reflect the politically
correct fringe leftist view they subscribe to themselves, and then abuse their
academic positions to indoctrinate rather than teach. The academic world reaches
new depths of hypocrisy when it engages in internal McCarthyism under the guise
of political correctness and then demonizes those who lobby for a greater
academic freedom of ideas.
Universities are the incubators of ideas that
should find expression in the open marketplace; they are not the protected turf
of left-wing teachers who denigrate others (students, other teaching applicants
and the tax-paying public) who disagree with them.
painted portrait of a threat to academic freedom is ridiculous. Im Tirtzu isn’t
asking for anything other than some ideological balance in Prof.
Gordon’s department, where there exists a radical indoctrination that students
challenge at the risk of a poor grade. The hysterical denunciations of Im Tirtzu
by the academic Left only underscore their terror at the thought of losing their
ideological monopoly on campus.
Freedom of expression is for everyone,
including those who disagree with the left-wing of the academic elite. Freedom
of expression, in the form of protest and boycott, is a tool available to all,
not just to the self-appointed politically correct.
Silencing protest by
casting it as an existential threat to the very academic freedom the protest
seeks to expand, as Newman describes, is fascist.SARAH WILLIAMS
Sir, – David Newman disingenuously uses the term “McCarthyism” to
indict Im Tirtzu.
He writes that “when you try to influence the hiring
(and firing) policy of universities based on political views, that is
McCarthyism.” Yet ironically, this is what has happened at Ben-Gurion
University. Faculty members have been hired because of their political views.
The head of BGU’s Department of Politics and Government has packed it with
Newman further applies a double standard in opining
that “[w]hen you portray anyone who doesn’t agree with you as being
this is McCarthyism – pure and simple.” So, on the one
hand, it is free speech for Neve Gordon and his cohorts to denigrate Israel and
say that Zionism is destroying the country. On the other, Newman says it is
McCarthyism if one disagrees with the anti-Zionist movement because of the
belief that it is destroying the country.
Finally, Newman accuses Im
Tirtzu of saying that Ben-Gurion faculty members are “abetting the enemy.” I can
tell you after successfully fighting against an attempt to boycott Israeli
products at the Davis (California) Food Coop during the past year that the BGU
advocates of boycotting Israeli universities are absolutely abetting those who
seek to delegitimize Israel. At every opportunity, the BDS movement glowingly
parades the names of Israelis who support economic and academic boycotts against
Israel, especially the above-mentioned faculty at Ben- Gurion.HILA ZIZOV
Sir, – David Newman defends freedom of speech for academics
but wants to quash said freedom when it is used to criticize academics who
support boycotting BGU itself. Is this not the height of hypocrisy? Bar-Ilan
University’s president, Moshe Kaveh, a former chairman of Israel’s Committee of
University Presidents, is the first leader of an Israeli university to back the
dismissal of professors who publicly express support for a boycott against the
country’s institutions of higher learning. In contrast, BGU president Rivka
Carmi isn’t interested in responding to criticism of her university’s Politics
and Government Department, which according to Im Tirtzu, hosts many of that
Kudos to Kaveh. Let’s hope that his sensible view will
influence our government to look into the practice of giving tenure to anti-
Zionists who have control of our lecture halls.STEVE KRAMER
Sir, – I have two recommendations for the implementation of Prof. Neve
Gordon’s call for a boycott of Israel and its universities: 1. Gordon
resign from BGU, setting a personal example. If he does not have the
perhaps Prof. Rivka Carmi should help him.
2. All of BGU’s donors should
endorse Gordon’s call for a boycott and immediately stop funding his