letters to the editor 88.
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Israel's singularity beats out cuties
Sir, - As a tour agent operating in 20 cities across the US, I was disappointed - shocked - to read that your tourism minister has approved a sleazy new Internet campaign depicting a game of beach soccer gone wrong as the players get distracted by women playing and showering ("Tourism Ministry takes another shot at sexy ad," July 10).
The best way to "sell" a product is to point out what it alone offers and others do not, or cannot.
In attempting to sell potential tourists a visit to Israel why waste your time on "bikini-clad women playing and showering on the Tel Aviv beach?" In case Isaac Herzog doesn't know, thousands of beaches all over the world offer the tourist beautiful bikini-clad women. Instead of cuties showering, why not something like this:
"Israel is where you can touch history. This little country is truly God's gift to humanity. Here you can walk the same land Abraham, Isaac and Jacob walked. This is where Christ was crucified. And this is where Muhammad went on his journey to the skies."
Heaven protect us
Sir, - Barry Rubin is right that Palestinian political strategy is not based on the benign goals the West takes for granted ("Palestinian suicide strategy," July 10), but it is hard to agree that "this is a losing strategy."
By repeating their lies, refusing to compromise, publicizing their suffering and silencing their critics the Palestinian establishment has won worldwide agreement that a unique Arab people exists with roots West of the Jordan, and that there will be no justice until that people has control of an independent state. It has set much of the world, and much of America, against Israel and cast Israel as the foot-dragging spoilsport that always has a new excuse for postponing the rectification of the wrongs it has committed.
On top of that the Palestinians now have territory of their own, and they received it without disavowing terrorism. If that's a sign of a losing strategy, heaven protect us from such a gang of losers.
MARK L. LEVINSON
Sir, - Since Oslo we have been playing by the "Arafat rules." Yasser Arafat signaled his intentions when he addressed the UN General Assembly carrying a gun. He demanded the dual status of diplomat/combatant. His terrorists were to be considered legitimate fighters benefiting from all the humanitarian protection accorded an occupied people.
Thus the Palestinians have exploited humanitarian law to excuse their inhuman behavior. They have fought with impunity because they fought with immunity. And the world bought it in the hope that, somehow, the political side of the equation would triumph. The world was wrong.
It is time to change that paradigm. We did not elect Hamas. The Palestinian people did. There is no longer a diplomatic pretense. If these elected leaders decide on peace, let them say so and stop the missiles and the murders. But if Hamas wants war until Israel is destroyed - as it constantly declares - then, inevitably, the Palestinian people will suffer for its choice. The life of Gilad Shalit and many others is in the balance ("Palestinians support kidnapping, Kassam fire,"July 10).
Sir, - Yasser Arafat, an Arab leader who combined cleverness with evil, went to his death not conceding anything - in contrast to Israeli leaders, who seem totally incapable of advancing Jewish claims.
Sir, - I am a historical novelist. In WW2 Winston Churchill said, "You ask: What is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, however long or hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."
These famous words speak to today's Iraq, and to Israel in particular - provided we have the courage to stay the course and exact unconditional surrender.
Italy, Germany and Japan are winning in peace what they lost in war after their unconditional surrender. America is still fighting the Korean War because of its lack of political determination in 1954. It is fighting the Terrorist War in Iraq, Afghanistan and New York because one terrorist suicide bomber in Lebanon killed 220 Marines and US politicians made the Marines leave Lebanon. Israel has defeated several Arab nations in several wars and still does not have peace.
We now have an opportunity to stabilize our lives and the Palestinians,' and to share our prosperity with them; but we must have the courage to get there.
Churchill left us an important message: unconditional surrender ("As Israel fight on, Europe starts to squirm," July 10).
Refusals all around
Sir, - Re "Bnei Menashe aliya, conversions halted pending government review" (June 30): Conversions conducted under the auspices of the office of Israel's Sephardi chief rabbi do not hold much water for Absorption Minister Ze'ev Boim, whose intention seems to be to show said chief rabbi "who's boss."
On the one hand our newspapers are full of complaints about the Orthodox establishment's refusal to accept Reform or Conservative conversions; and on the other we have the non-Orthodox Mr. Boim throwing a "kashrut" certificate issued by the chief rabbi himself out of the window.
Prevent the parade
Sir, - This parade they are trying to ram down our throats in our holy city of Jerusalem next month may well bring us disaster ("Religious leaders unite to protest gay parade in capital," July 5). There is a security danger as well as a physical and spiritual one.
Is Jerusalem less than Moscow, Warsaw or Tiberias? This embarrassing parade is not welcome to 75% of Israel's people. Please prevent it.
PINCHAS RAFAEL ISRAEL
Sir, - How nice to know that Jews can be just as bigoted, hateful, ignorant and persecutory as Christians and Muslims.
Little Rock, Arkansaw
Sir, - I like to relate to people's intellect, to their creativity and/or good deeds. l feel sorry for those who appear so lacking in these qualities that all they have to be proud of is their sex life.
No pop in church
Sir, - I commend Pope Benedict XVI for pulling the plug on electric guitars and modern music in church ("Pope bans rock 'n' roll," Irish Independent, June 27).
Pop music, industrially produced, is aimed at the masses and ultimately has to be described as the cult of the banal. Rock music is the expression of elemental passions, at rock festivals assuming a cultic character - a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. Rap music has a downward deflection, condescending in nature.
People are released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd, and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise and special lighting effects. There is little chance for the sober inebriation of faith to take place.
Traditional choirs and Gregorian chants, on the other hand, possess that solemn cadence capable of creating the correct ambience for perceiving God's mystery.
For those Catholics tired of the empty freedom experienced through pop music at Holy Mass and other liturgical events the pope's latest condemnation of modern music is both refreshing and welcome. May leaders of other religious faiths follow this good example.