July 19: Choice of words

"Success on the seas” was a pretty good editorial.

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
July 19, 2010 00:23
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Choice of words

Sir, – “Success on the seas” (July 18) was a pretty good editorial.

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But two comments: Why do you call the Mavi Marmara affair a “fiasco?” It was a success. We stopped them.

And why do you call the way the Amalthea matter turned out “desirable?” The cargo ended up in Egypt, which is not our friend and might very well let the stuff into Gaza by land.

Also, we shouldn’t worry about bad press. We’ll get that anyway.

SANDY KESTENBAUM
Jerusalem

Frank gets it



Sir, – During the early years of American journalism, the phrase “stop the presses” would signify that an important story was imminent. Such is the nature of “The word according to Frank” (Editor’s Notes, July 16).

In a lengthy, important give and take, we are treated to a candid and creative outflow of ideas by Frank Luntz, the communications maven, as he discusses his Israel Project advocacy group and how Israeli leaders have much to learn about articulating words to tell Israel’s story to the world. One must wonder where this man has been hiding.

In example after example, he presents evidence of how a word here, a phrase there, the accentuation of the positive and the use of our enemies’ own words can influence even the most rabid Israel bashers to reevaluate their feelings. He cites President Shimon Peres as being our best spokesman when Peres began to read from the Hamas charter during the World Economic Forum meeting at Davos in 2009.

Luntz reminds us of our priorities by concentrating on the single theme of what our leaders should be saying: that Hamas and others are determined to destroy Israel and that Jewish children are its victims. And that the skills of public relations in expressing this theme are an art that is more important than guns or tanks.

I recommend this article most highly. It should be read and reread, especially by those we elect. As Luntz confers with Israel’s leadership echelon, it is to be hoped that partisanship and ego will be set aside in reorganizing our public relations program.

YITZCHAK BEN-SHMUEL
Modi’in

Sir, – The article on Frank Luntz was excellent. It’s time for The Jerusalem Post and every major newspaper and media outlet in Israel, America and the free world to tell everyone what is in the Hamas charter.

RUTH ZIMBERG

Safed

Rights of the accused

Sir, – In “Pearlman alleges Shin Bet agent urged him to murder Raed Salah” (July 16), you state that Haim Pearlman’s remand hearing “was held in Pearlman’s absence as he has been forbidden to meet with his lawyer Adi Keidar since his arrest.”

I am no supporter of the excesses of Kach and its adherents, but I do have two questions: What has happened to the rule of law and, in particular, the rights of the accused? Where is the clamor from all the “usual suspects” in the field of human rights in Israel? Would there not be a tremendous scream of horror if an Arab terror suspect had been denied the right to meet with his lawyer?

LESLIE PORTNOY
Netanya

Chelsea and the tribe

Sir, – So Chelsea Clinton is to marry a Jewish man (”Jews wring their hands over ‘shiksa’ Chelsea Clinton’s nuptials to Yiddishe boy,” July 16).

This brings to mind an item in your paper some weeks ago quoting an incident where, after UK Prime Minister David Cameron revealed that he had a Jewish ancestor in the 15th century, he was asked by a British journalist if he could remain objective in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

How will the world’s press now react to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton having a Jewish son-inlaw? More to the point, how will the Arabs ever trust US mediation efforts?

ALAN (SHLOMO) KOOR

Petah Tikva

Sir, – I found the use of the term ‘shiksa’ in your headline to be highly offensive. Would any journalist use the “N” word to describe an African-American? I doubt it.

While some may say Hilary Leila Krieger was using satire to make a point, at this time and place such a remark might not be seen as such by Jews or gentiles.

HYLA BERKOWITZ
Jerusalem

National recklessness

Sir, – I was shocked to the core to read that no less an authority than Israel’s deputy attorney-general was reported to have told the UN Human Rights Committee that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights did not apply to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza “because these areas were outside the country’s national boundaries” (“Israel to UN: West Bank outside our boundaries,” July 16).

The unmistakable implication of this statement (if indeed it was made) is that Israel regards the armistice lines of 1949 – the so-called Green Line, once dubbed by the late Abba Eban as Israel’s “Auschwitz lines” – as its national boundary, an implication that runs directly counter to Israeli policy as conducted by all of Israel’s governments ever since the 1967 Six-Day War. Thus, when the Begin government in December 1977 submitted its proposals for the establishment of autonomy for the Arab inhabitants of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza district, it spelled out its position as follows: “Israel stands by its right and its claim of sovereignty to Judea, Samaria and the Gaza district. In the knowledge that other claims exist, it proposes, for the sake of the agreement and the peace, that the question of sovereignty in these areas be left open.”

This has been Israel’s stated or implied position ever since.

It is a position firmly grounded in international law, going back to the League of Nations and reaffirmed by Article 80 of the UN Charter. For a presumably responsible Israeli official to come along now and, in a statement at the UN, of all places, to score this self-goal against his own country seems to me to be the epitome of national recklessness.

MOSHE AUMANN
Jerusalem
The writer is a retired diplomat

Once a journalist...

Sir, – Chutzpah and “journalistic invention” (not lying, heaven forbid) are the best description I can think of for what MK Daniel Ben-Simon said in “Bill requiring referendum before ceding Golan, J’lem advances” (July 15).

Shame on you, Ben-Simon, for saying, “I always opposed referenda because they were meant to bypass the Knesset and the broad public consensus in the nineties that supported handing over the Golan Heights....”

The exact opposite was the case: The vast, popular and successful “The People are With the Golan” campaign from 1992 to 1995 gathered huge support across the spectrum of Israeli society. More than anything else, it damaged Yitzhak Rabin’s reputation of integrity. The Golan campaign also became the leading edge of opposition to the Oslo Agreement and Rabin’s entire policy of territorial surrender.

Ex-journalist Ben-Simon owes the public journalistic accuracy and fairness, not the re-writing of history.

JIM BENNETT
Haifa

Leave the kids alone

Sir, – I cannot believe this is Israel, and I cannot believe the cruel bureaucracy that decides the fate of little children born to legally working foreigners (“Fear of small children,” Opinion, July 15)! Please don’t let these children be torn from the only home they know, and the only culture they know, and please do not part them from their parents! How cruel can that be? My heart goes out to “Maria,” who has lived here for the whole 22 years of her young life, and now faces deportation with her young son! I hope this has a happy ending for all of these foreign families that work hard and enrich the lives of the people they care for.

LINDA SILVERSTONE
Herzliya Pituah

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