January 25: Why should Jews be discriminated against?

To what does Dan Izenberg refer when he speaks of injustice stemming from the "formal sense" of the law?

January 25, 2010 05:32

letters 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Why should Jews be discriminated against?

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Sir, - Dan Izenberg asserts in his analysis ("Arabs, Jews don't have equal rights to recover pre-1948 properties," January 20) that while the Sheikh Jarrah property of Jews which has been returned to its owners "is legal in the formal sense of the term," nevertheless "Israeli law discriminates between the Jewish and Arab residents of Jerusalem" with regards to the recovery of property owned before the 1948 war.

The "formal sense of the term?" What does that mean?

One side launched a war seeking to destroy a state called into being by a UN recommendation, and lost. Why should Jews be discriminated against for being victorious in their war of defense, and indeed existence, and why should the aggressor be rewarded? I would suggest that the Arabs evicted from Sheikh Jarrah were most assuredly "not in exactly the same positions as the Jewish owners of the land," as Izenberg would have us believe.


Think twice before putting on tefillin

Sir, - I'm Jewish, but I can understand the fear that a terrorist could easily conceal a bomb inside a tefillin's arm or forehead box ("After tefilim flap, Orthodox group calls for training," January 24).

If the 17-year-old, whose public practice of his religion caused a pilot to conduct an emergency landing, was as "brilliant" as his rabbi said he was, then he should have been bright enough to anticipate the possible fear-engendered reaction that putting his phylacteries on inside an airborne plane might produce; especially since, as his rabbi said, donning the tefillin is meant to serve as "a reminder for the person that their actions during the day... should be on a level of holiness and should inspire them to do productive, good things."

Plainview, New York

The ADL is fighting the wrong fight

Sir, - When it comes to fighting Muslim intimidation of Jewish students, the ADL's leadership has not merely been lacking; it's undermined the Zionist Organization of America's legal effort to fix the problem ("Where's our leadership?," January 18).

For years, a Muslim group at the University of California, Irvine has promoted hatred of Jews and Israel, displaying signs equating the Star of David with the swastika, and sponsoring events like "Ethnic Cleansing, Israeli Style" and "Zionism: America's Disease." Jewish students have been assaulted, at least two transferred, and others have feared wearing anything identifying them as Jewish or pro-Israel. Students sought the ADL's help, but the situation didn't improve.

Then, with students' support, the ZOA filed a legal action with the US Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It sought to enforce students' right to a campus without anti-Semitic harassment.

Instead of supporting the ZOA, the ADL publicly disparaged us, accusing us of acting with "all guns blazing." Despite the fact that civil rights litigation has achieved landmark legal protections for minorities and others, the ADL criticized our effort, commenting that "changes occur not through lawsuits."

The ADL's actions went beyond indifference. They were damaging.

National President
Zionist Organization of America
New York, NY

Blue and white shines bright in Haiti...

Sir, - We can view with pride the work of the Israeli medical teams in Haiti ("'This is the spirit of the IDF,'" January 22). Media around the world have acknowledged that the mobile field hospital and advanced medical ancillary services were not only the first to be functional in Haiti, but were even described by CBS as the Rolls Royce of medicine in Haiti, and to which other medical facilities were referring their more complicated cases.

Indeed a light unto the nations.


...and leave Gaza out of it

Sir, - Despite the years of my living in this land, I still am shocked to read the petty and jealous criticisms of those who are not able to shout with joy about our heroic role in Haiti these past weeks. Israel needs to point a finger at those who seek to minimize our wonderful achievements, and embarrass them for their efforts to undermine the individual and group mitzvot which are being performed in the name of this nation.


Sir, - Three of the Jerusalem Post's regular commentators offered interesting reactions to Israel's heroic efforts following the Haitian earthquake. Veteran left-winger Gershon Baskin wondered how Israelis could be so proud of the assistance provided to Haitian victims while not recognizing the humanitarian disaster in Gaza ("Israel - a leader among the community of nations," January 19). Similarly, Larry Derfner, who rarely misses an opportunity to tell us what Israel is doing wrong, saw the events of the past week in Haiti as an invitation to ask, "When will this big-hearted nation stop being heartless to the people in Gaza?" ("The pride and the shame," January 21).

It was left to Michael Freund to resist the urge to find fault. In his article, "Israel's finest hour indeed," (January 21), he stated simply, "One could only marvel at the valor and courage of our soldiers, as they risked their lives to save those of others... Though a vast gulf separates Israel and Haiti... the Jewish people demonstrated that their extended hand can bridge any gap and traverse any chasm when it comes to saving lives."

That was it. No need to mention Gaza or criticize Israel's actions there.

It is not too much to suggest that Baskin and Derfner step back from their regular critical vantage points once in awhile and offer unadulterated congratulations for a job that, as Freund noted, "brings honor to us all."


Sir, - Leave it to Larry Derfner to ask in his closing question ("The pride and the shame," January 21): "When will this big-hearted nation stop being heartless to the people in Gaza?"

Allow me to answer: When Hamas and its supporters stop digging tunnels and smuggling weapons that they intend to use against Israel; and when the Hamas leadership begins to encourage economic development, industrial and agricultural production and political stability rather than incite to war against Israel.

I'm astounded at just how blind and deaf Mr. Derfner is when it comes to the poor people of Gaza. True, they are suffering, but not because Israel is heartless. We should only live to see the day when we can open up our hearts to our Palestinian cousins without committing national suicide.

Petah Tikva

Water, water everywhere

Sir, - Looking at the great rainfall we are blessed to be having ("Potent winter storm dumps record rainfall on the South," January 20), and viewing the swollen with runoff wadis in the South, one wonders what our water engineers are thinking. Why can't Israel, with the US and EU, solve the problem of the excess water being wasted by running into the sea? If all that flood water was diverted to reservoirs, I would think it would save us from water shortages.


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