letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - Further to Herb Keinon's "Playing 'Gotcha'" (February 18) about journalists' mistakes being so public and the merciless criticism they are exposed to:
When a famous surgeon complained to a famous painter about having to come back a sixth time to sit for his portrait, saying, "My time is very valuable," the painter explained, "When you doctors ruin something, they put it underground. When we ruin something, they hang it on the wall."
Mr. Keinon doesn't mention the journalist's ultimate chagrin: No matter how long and well he probes or writes, next day it's just a wrapper for the fish vendor at the market, as we say in the Netherlands.
M.M. VAN ZUIDEN
Sir, - High-profile people can have their lives crushed or their fortunes made depending on how an article is presented to the public. The damage done by an incorrect report can very rarely be properly corrected.
O.J. Simpson will always be considered guilty by a large portion of the population, regardless of the fact that he was found innocent; and how many of your readers would allow their sons to spend an unchaperoned evening at Neverland with Michael Jackson?
Freedom of the press enjoyed by responsible journalists is the backbone of democracy.
Sir, - "Playing Gotcha" was right on target. I am only a sometime freelancer, but I've had the same brickbats hurled at "your paper," especially its political and literary aspersions.
However, I'd just like to tell Herb and all my other favorite columnists that my day begins with the Post. I do the crossword, catch up on the news, enjoy some controversial columns as I have breakfast, and only then am I ready to face the day.
Believe me, the silent majority is out there with a big bouquet of rare orchids.
Start getting strict...
Sir, - That those under the rule of the Palestinian Authority - brought up on a daily diet of Israel/Jew-hatred from nursery school, and on government TV, and fed by huge quantities of Western aid diverted to weapons and warfare - should be baying for blood and violence is hardly surprising.
What is surprising is that it has not occurred to those Western leaders who have bent over backwards to try to persuade the Palestinians to have a state side by side and at peace with Israel, that the more they offer them this vision, the more they reject it; and that the time has come to do precisely the opposite if they really want to try to save Palestinian society from self-destruction.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice might use her current trip to Israel to be the first politician to start applying this message, if she is really interested in contributing to eventual Palestinian statehood once Palestinian society has been purged of terrorism ("Analysts suggest Rice look for small gains," February 18).
Pinner, Middx, UK
...no, talk and keep talking
Sir, - Start talking, and go on talking. In order to get peace and for Israel to continue as a democratic state we need to get the Palestinians to declare their own state alongside Israel. The alternative, a one-state solution, will be devastating. Since we cannot achieve this goal by force, we have to start talks in order to get a political solution.
What keeps us from starting talks? The Hamas charter? That Hamas does not acknowledge Israel? Why should we care? Does Israel need that acknowledgement?
Start talking. What Israel needs is an agreement and a Palestinian state as a neighbor, not words of praise or to rule millions of Arabs. Start talking with whomever the other side appoints. Invite talks and take the initiative for talks. Invite anyone. And continue talking.
Even if bombs go off, continue talking. Retaliate and bring the perpetrators to justice, but continue talking at the same time.
Talks might bring peace. All the alternatives are worse.
Forget them not
Sir, - The Israeli soldiers kidnapped last summer must be remembered at all times. This is a humanitarian issue of importance to all people.
Those who wish to participate in the campaign to reunite these men with their loved ones may visit the freethesoldiers.org Web site and sign the petition to obtain their freedom ("'Despite our yearning for peace... the time has not yet come to sheath our sword," February 15).
How could you?
Sir, - After reading your February 18 editorial "The forgotten evacuees," I now feel it was criminal of our government to have removed the Gaza settlers from their homes and livelihoods without immediate action to resettle them and get them work similar to what they had before. This should become our government's immediate and first priority.
As for the children of settlers not being given the same hot food as regular kids in their classes in the Ashkelon area, this is completely cruel and despicable! Never could I have thought Jews capable of behaving thus to any children. I ask our leadership: How could you?
ARCHIE M. KAHN
Sir, - Judging by J rg Luyken's author photograph in "Numbers can mislead" (February 15), he is clearly not old enough, when he writes "Palestine," to be referring to the Palestine that existed pre-State of Israel.
Please assure me, therefore, that his incorrect and politically weighted use of the term, presumably referring to the Palestinian Authority and not a sovereign state, as might be understood, mistakenly slipped past your editors.
Reassure me that it is against Jerusalem Post policy to allow contributors of any status or citizenship to publish incorrect information to promote a political agenda.
Your paper should not echo the cause of those who replace Israel with Palestine on school atlases, and would like to replace Israel with Palestine, de facto.
The Opinion Editor responds:
We give opinion writers wide latitude in using the terms that best help them make their arguments.
Bring our bowlers in out of the cold
Sir, - It is difficult to conceive that out of the budgets of millions given to sport in this country some insignificant amounts cannot be made available to enable lawn bowlers to represent Israel, especially when they are outstanding, world-class players and bring the country much credit ("He's bowled the world over, but gets no kudos here," February 16).
I am aware that lawn bowls is not yet an Olympic sport, and this possibly serves as an excuse not to make any funds available.
Those who allocate the money seem to have forgotten the words of Tal Brody after his team's historic basketball win in 1977 - "We are now on the map." No Israeli can ever forget that great day.
Stand up for sanity
Sir, - Time and again Israel describes itself as the only democracy in the Middle East. I heard with dismay the story of the fundamental conservatives who demand of women that they sit in the back of the bus. These people are fundamentally distorted, insensitive and disrespectful of the civilized world. If you allow the tail to wag the dog, what will differentiate you from the rest of the nations in your area?
Isn't it time for reason to rule and for biblical justification for anything and everything to be abandoned in the name of sanity and peace? ("Israel isn't Saudi Arabia," Letters, February 11).