Sir, – I have been a subscriber for 32 years. Certainly, for the past few years
I was constantly annoyed and ready to discontinue, but I learned not to read
Larry Derfner’s tirades.
So I, for one, admire your courage and am sure
you will be able to give balanced opinions without Derfner’s
Sir, – So you fired Larry Derfner because
of real or implied subscription cancellations? While I hold no brief for his
opinions, I, for one, would not buy a subscription from a newspaper that is
unable to stand up for an errant columnist.
Refute him, certainly, but
fire him? And after an apology? Shame on you.G. GERSHON GUBBIO
Sir, – I have held back from publicly criticizing a former colleague because of
my allegiance to the fundamental democratic tenet of “freedom of
But even this much-vaunted pillar of democracy has its limits,
and Derfner has certainly exceeded them.
There are journals in Israel
that might welcome a contributor with his leanings, but a respectable and
honorable publication such as The Jerusalem Post
should not be one of
Jerusalem The writer is a former employee of the
Sir, – I was shocked to read that Larry Derfner has been fired. He was the
reason my family and I read The Jerusalem Post
. As long as he was writing we
could feel confident that the paper truly stood for freedom of the
Just last month, your new editor, Steve Linde, wrote that the
purpose of a newspaper was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
He mentioned Derfner and others by name to illustrate the point. And now you
have thrown one of your best writers over the side because some people objected
to something he wrote – and not even in this newspaper (and also after he
offered a heartfelt written apology)! Apparently, your paper exists to comfort
the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.
Sir, – The Jerusalem Post
was right to fire Larry Derfner. Perhaps what is most
frustrating is that in his apology, he failed to grasp the essence of the
criticism against his argument.
Indeed, there is a need for a vocal,
left-of-center opinion columnist in your paper, but that voice certainly does
not belong to Derfner.YITZHAK BRONSTEIN
Sir, – I was astonished
to hear about Larry Derfner’s dismissal.
He is one of the greatest
patriots of our country, a noble humanist, a person of courage, honesty and
His text on Palestinian terror is an act of true love and care
for every Israeli, and any misunderstanding of this is a sign of deep cognitive
His dismissal is an ugly step radiating hatred and a lack of any
humanism. A Jerusalem Post
without Derfner will be an impoverished and
not-serious newspaper. Do not allow that! ZECHARIA PLAVIN
During the many years I read Larry Derfner’s column, he almost never seemed
concerned about the lives and safety of Jews. No matter how much land given up
or efforts made by Israel, it was never enough.
This country needs at
least one newspaper that cheerleads for us.
Thank you for a good
Sir, – It’s not nice to lose
subscriptions, but do the values of freedom of thought and expression count for
absolutely nothing? Larry Derfner made a comment on a non-related forum, which
he later withdrew and apologized for. I don’t think he expressed himself well,
but you must know that many people – Jews, even, both here and abroad – think
along the basic lines of his intended point.
What’s left for the Post
More restaurant reviews by people who were “guests of the owners?” Now there’s a
journalistic standard to uphold.
Sir, – The Post
right to fire Larry Derfner, though not for the most apparent reason.
function of a columnist is to open the field for spirited
Occasionally espousing unpopular stances is a necessary
Unfortunately, there was a startling shift in Derfner’s writings
over the past year or so – from somewhat rational (though often mistaken) to
ever more bitter and unproductive personal attacks. As a result, he foreclosed
the possibility for rational consideration of important issues.
chief Steve Linde recently called on columnists to exhibit a higher level of
reason and civility. Derfner’s columns failed to meet the paper’s
It was for this, not the substance of his positions, that
Derfner had to go.EFRAIM A. COHEN
Sir, – My students are
impressed by the breadth of Israeli opinion, so the loss of Larry Derfner is
troubling and embarrassing. He represents Israel by being a voice that is both
critical and loving. He is clearly not a self-hating Jew, but someone who made
aliya and committed himself and his family to the future of Israel.
is a voice that needs to be heard. His is a voice that says so much about how
Israel is different from all other nations.JONATHAN DOBRER
California The writer is a professor of comparative religion.
Sir, – I am a
long-time reader who has often commented in response to articles. Permit me say,
in no uncertain terms, that Larry Derfner’s termination is justified in every
sense of the word.
Despite his palpably insincere apology, there’s no
sane reason to publish and financially support an individual who repeatedly aids
and abets those who would butcher each and every Jew in the
Bravo for your courage and clarity! MICHAEL DISEND
Sir, – So far as I can tell, Larry Derfner committed two crimes.
he was wholly unoriginal and peddled the same silly, pseudo-Marxist casual
theory of murderous violence we have seen for so long: Palestinians murder Jews
because they have no state.
But what is both absurd and – much worse –
disgusting and saddening is to find that for uttering this thought, Derfner was
Sir, – That’s it? Someone
writes an abominably scurrilous posting that justifies the terrorist slaughter
of innocent men, women and children – and has the monumental audacity to claim
to be patriotic about it – and all you do is place a tiny note in the paper
saying he is no longer there due to “a professional disagreement?” No wonder he
was kept in a cage that needed rattling.MARCHAL KAPLAN
Larry Derfner was often wrong in my view, but always worth reading. If we are
not exposed to a wide range of ideas and opinions through your paper, where in
Israel do you expect the English-reading public to encounter them? Why not
accept his apology and reinstate him?
Sir, – Thank you for
terminating Larry Derfner. His columns were an insult to all of us who take
pride in living in Israel and work hard to make it a better place.
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