letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - If MKs refuse to exercise their responsibilities, how can they complain about the Supreme Court filling the vacuum? ("A too-political judiciary," December 21.)
The Knesset is lazy and does not function properly. As Evelyn Gordon states, there must be a balance of powers between the branches of government, and the Supreme Court must be bound by the laws of the Knesset.
More than the enemy
Sir, - Further to "IDF: Hizbullah almost back to full combat strength" (December 21) and the IDF officer's comment that if Hizbullah attacks, it will be left to the "country's diplomatic echelon to determine Israel's response":
The North will become another Sderot which can look forward to a life back in the shelters; to more broken promises of what the government will do when the war is over; and to another resounding national and international humiliation.
It is time Israelis used the full democratic process to remove this government, whose only solution is capitulation to every international demand, as well as those of the enemy. It threatens Israel's existence more than any enemy.
Orwell in 2006...
Sir, - Re "Austrian judge commutes [David] Irving's sentence" (December 21): The Orwell archives at University College, London, include a notebook containing the outline Orwell made for his politically prophetic work 1984, under its working title The Last Man in Europe. At the head of the list of themes the author noted to bear in mind was: a) the system of organized lies on which society is founded; b) the ways in which this is done - falsification of records, etc.; c) the nightmarish feeling caused by the disappearance of objective truth; d) leadership worship, etc.; e) anti-Semitism (and the terrible cruelty of war, etc.).
All those themes are current today, except for "the nightmarish feeling caused by the disappearance of objective truth."
Why not this one? Because we have passively accepted the false definition of freedom of speech as including the right to lie, just as we have passively accepted the false claim that one does not make peace with one's friend, but with one's enemy.
MIRIAM L. GAVARIN
...and in Britain
Sir, - Once again British writers and artists are being called upon by John Berger and his pack of 95 signatories to undertake a cultural boycott of Israel ("Prize-winning writer calls on Brits to join Israeli cultural boycott - John Berger condemns 'day-to-day brutality of the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank,'" December 20).
Amazing how the Brits are always spearheading some boycott or other of Israel! I don't ever remember reading or hearing of Berger, Ken Loach, Eno, or Arundhati Roy and the rest of them instigating a boycott of Russia on account of its brutal handling of Chechnya; or of China for subjugating and occupying Tibet, and so on. And why are there no violent protestations and letters to The Guardian condemning the United Nations and the protesters' own governments for their inaction in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands are being killed?
The truth of the matter, one has to conclude, is that they could not care less, the overriding factor seeming to be hatred of Israel, which in essence is hatred of Jews.
Sir, - Perhaps it was a coincidence, but on the page facing the report detailing the antics of John Berger and his band of merry men, all eager to "rob from the rich" - Israel - and "give to the poor" Palestinians, you ran "Birthright trips expected to contribute NIS 100m. to economy this winter."
As we get ready to welcome a "record 13,000 [birthright] participants from 25 countries," those who are shocked by the bias and appalled by the hypocrisy of the latter-day would-be Robin Hoods can take comfort in the knowledge that most, if not all, of the young Jewish visitors to Israel will return to their homes in the Diaspora with a picture of our country that is far truer and more honest than the one peddled by Berger and his ilk.
Why the walls don't
come tumbling down
Sir, - Newspapers are filled with reports of the two Palestinian groups, Hamas and Fatah, killing each other, noting that civilians of both parties are being slaughtered. The Egyptians are not able to control the borders between their country and the Gaza Strip, and the huge underground tunnels built by the Palestinians are used to bring astronomical quantities of weapons to that territory for the purpose of terrorizing Israelis, as well as making war on their own people. To the north, Hizbullah is bringing in massive amounts of deadly rockets under the auspices of Syria and Iran, looking for another war to destabilize Lebanon.
And yet President Jimmy Carter saw fit to write a book in which he claims that despite all that Israel has given up - leaving Gaza peacefully, not striking back after the bombing of Israeli citizens in Sderot and suicide bombings in Israel proper - all that is wrong in the region is totally Israel's doing!
These opinions do no credit to a past US president. As for the statement equating Israel's security fence - put up to prevent further injury to Israelis, including Arabs, who have also been hurt by the violence - with past South African apartheid, it is just ridiculous.
The fence has been an effective deterrent in stopping Palestinian suicide attacks, and every nation has the right to protect its citizens. If the Palestinians made efforts to stop the terror and began to educate their people to responsible partnership for peace, that fence and those walls would come down!
Monroe Twp, New Jersey
Bin there, done that
Sir, - My husband led a delegation of rabbis from New York City to the White House to meet then president Jimmy Carter. A photograph of this meeting adorned my husband's study until last week - when it was relegated to the refuse bin.
We have been faithful readers of your newspaper since making aliya some years ago, and are quite dismayed that so much coverage has been given to this man and his anti-Israel (anti-Semitic?) tirades.
EILEEN P. STRIZOWER
Sir, - I wonder whether MK Ophir Paz-Pines's proposed bill barring adults from bringing minors closer to Judaism applies the other way as well.
Will it bar secular youth organizations which organize activities that desecrate the Sabbath from recruiting Ethiopian immigrant children from traditional homes? Will it prosecute social workers and youth leaders from the Jewish Agency who encourage Ethiopian and other immigrant youngsters to go to the beach on Shabbat rather than to synagogue with their parents?
Will it retroactively prosecute the Hashomer Hatza'ir movement, the madrichim of Youth Aliya, and their bosses, who turned thousands of people away from religious observance?
And what about the heartbreak of parents who survived with their Judaism intact in the Diaspora, only to see their children come home and say, "Look, Ma, this is Israel, we don't have to do this stuff to be good Jews anymore"?
What a hypocritical and shortsighted proposal! ("Bill handcuffs Chabad's tefillin campaign," December 12).
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