January 1: Matter of time

To compare Britain’s not-yet- 200-year occupation of the Falkland Islands to the Jews’ 3,000 years of continuous claim to Judea and Samaria is hardly the brightest example of effective hasbara.

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
December 31, 2012 21:42
Letters

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

 
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Matter of time

Sir, – Gideon Sa’ar (“Sa’ar: Israel no less connected to Ariel than British are to Falklands,” December 30) may have inadvertently given Israel’s enemies a gratuitous piece of propaganda fodder.

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To compare Britain’s not-yet- 200-year occupation of the Falkland Islands to the Jews’ 3,000 years of continuous claim to Judea and Samaria is hardly the brightest example of effective hasbara (public diplomacy).

OSCAR DAVIES
Jerusalem


No idolatry

Sir, – Regarding recent articles and letters to the editor about celebrations in Israel on the first of January, there seems to be some confusion.

Until early in the last century New Year’s Day was called by many the Feast of the Circumcision.

Some may have noticed that it comes eight days after Christmas Eve, and that is exactly what it celebrated – the circumcision of that famous Jewish baby, Jesus.

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Orthodox rabbis might not agree with what has become of the faith that arose around Jesus, but a mitzva is a mitzva, regardless of whose body, so there really is no case for “idol worship” since Jesus was undoubtedly Jewish.

ROBERT HICKINBOTHAM
Pulheim, Germany


Quite disgusting

Sir, – With regard to “Bayit Yehudi gains 3 seats in a week, ‘Post’ poll finds” (December 28), those who attribute Likud Beytenu’s slide in the polls mainly to the party’s attacks on Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett are missing an important point.

Of far more concern to me as a potential Likud voter is Binyamin Netanyahu’s failure to express the slightest concern or discomfort that his partner, Avigdor Liberman, is being indicted on serious corruption charges.

We should still be shaken to the core by a senior cabinet minister in the State of Israel facing such charges. That Netanyahu seems to brush it off as the new norm in Israeli politics is quite disgusting.

YEDIDYA SINCLAIR
Jerusalem


Sir, – Why is there a fuss about saying that soldiers should sometimes refuse to follow orders? It was established at the Nuremburg trials after World War II that immoral, oppressive orders must be refused.

Carrying out an atrocity is not excused by saying, “I was following orders.”

There is room to think that an order to use force – perhaps deadly force – to make an area of the Jewish homeland judenrein is an immoral order. Perhaps we should focus on the errors of those who give such orders rather than on the newest sin: not physically forcing Jews out of their homes in Israel.

SEYMOUR HABER
Jerusalem


Modern Luddites

Sir, – Normally, Pinchas Landau is logical, and even if I disagree with his conclusions his column is thought-provoking. However, “Nice work if you can get it” (Global Agenda, Business & Finance, December 28) was off the mark.

Landau repeats the arguments that date back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. In 19th-century England, Luddites fearful of losing work rioted and smashed the new wide-framed looms that threatened to put skilled artisans out of work. Every change since then that improves efficiency, thus reducing labor requirements, has been resisted on the same basis.

What the objectors forget is that the human race has an infinite desire for more possessions, so that when the automated looms allowed one worker to produce three times as much cloth, cloth became cheaper and more garments were sold. In fact, societies have absorbed the efficiencies created by automation by consuming more goods and working shorter hours. Gone are the days, at least in advanced societies, of 72-hour work weeks.

The current stage of automation is no different in principal from that faced by the Luddites, only that we are now automating some intellectual activities as well as physical ones.

Change always affects some members of society adversely, as well as providing benefits for the majority; this has always been so.

It behooves us to cushion the hardships that changes inflict on some, and adapt to the new opportunities that increased efficiency provides for others.

STEPHEN COHEN
Ma’aleh Adumim

We don’t get it

Sir, – I know Barry Shaw (“Why a two-state solution will never work,” Original Thinking, December 28). I’ve read his book, Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.

I’m from Netanya – a realistic “30-second rocket shot” from Tulkarm.

Why don’t we Israeli Jews get it? I couldn’t agree more that a two-state solution is impossible.

Islamic leaders from every group cannot and will not recognize the State of Israel. How then, can they sit at so-called peace negotiations? What they demand would definitely lead to a death warrant for Israel.

RENIE HIRSCH
Netanya


Be forewarned

Sir, – Congratulations to Abraham Katsman for his excellent reminder about US President Barack Obama’s proposed secretary of state, Sen. John Kerry, and the latter’s disturbing record against America’s assertive international policies (“John Kerry: ‘Perfect choice’ for whom?,” Comment & Features, December 27).

Kerry’s missteps are indicative of Obama’s larger picture of failures in the Middle East – indeed, a “perfect choice.” But, one might say, what about Kerry’s positive support for Israel? For an answer, one need only refer to another US senator-turned-secretary of state.

I was at the State Department in 1980 when President Jimmy Carter appointed Sen. Edmund Muskie (D-Maine) to the post.

When Muskie’s first disagreement with Israel emerged, he stated flippantly that he was no longer representing one state, but an entire country and the national interest – the “national interest,” of course, as he saw it.

Despite all the justified criticism that will continue to be leveled against the appointment of Kerry, he will almost assuredly be approved. He should be watched closely as he takes up his new functions. Forewarned is forearmed.

AARON BRAUNSTEIN
Jerusalem
The writer is a retired US Foreign Service officer


Fabulous ‘hasbara’

Sir, – The “From our Archives” section of December 21 states that on that date 65 years previously, it was reported in The Palestine Post that, according to a “resolution submitted to the Arab League and an anonymous bulletin sent to all foreign embassies and newspaper agencies in Cairo, Jewish citizens of Arab countries were to be considered citizens of the Jewish state and would become enemies of the Arab states.”

It is startling that such clear, damning evidence about the responsibility for the Jewish refugees from Arab countries is not widely known and publicized.

This says something about our fabulous hasbara (public diplomacy).

ALFRED INSELBERG
Ra’anana


Statisticians lie

Sir, – You recently ran an article headlined “Poll finds majority of Israelis want two-state solution” (December 19). This is simply false, as proven by the results of the last Israeli elections.

Polling is very much dependent on the sample, the questions and who is asking and interpreting the answers. Remember: “Statistics don’t lie but statisticians do.”

People generally want peace.

But what if you are offered just a piece of paper called peace. The Arabs have made it abundantly clear that to them, peace means the destruction of Israel and its replacement by Palestine. Is The Jerusalem Post in favor of this?

BERNARD SHAPIRO
Houston

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