Shirts and the IDF
Sir, – The explanation given by five Golani soldiers who wore
Tshirts with a political message at a military ceremony strain credulity
(“Soldiers pardoned over political T-shirts,” News in Brief, July 1). They
claimed that they were not aware of the slogans on the backs of their shirts,
and had put them on after the ceremony was over.
Several questions remain
unanswered: Who designed and ordered the shirts? Are we to believe that the
soldiers didn’t notice words they had not intended to use? How is it that not
one of them – or any of their comrades – saw the message and asked about it?
Whether or not one sympathizes with the message’s sentiment, we have the right
to expect discipline and honesty from IDF troops.EFRAIM A. COHEN
Ya’acov A kinder cut?
Sir, – Regarding “Uniting against the shechita ban”
(Editorial, July 1), it should be pointed out that the process of stunning is
ineffective in approximately 10 percent of all non-kosher slaughter, resulting
in animals being partly conscious.
Since the figures for slaughter are
gigantic, it is self-evident that the weekly toll of such government- approved
cruelty vastly outnumbers the pathetically small number of creatures dispatched
by shechita. The woolly- minded, animal-loving Left, together with the
Jew-hating Right, choose to disregard this fact totally in their crusade to
follow 1933 Nazi legislation.STANLEY COHEN
Sir, – We should
not be seeking an exemption from general stunning requirements, but emphasizing
the advantages of shechita and the cruelty involved in the frequent cases of
While under laboratory conditions stunning might be
effective and not cause any pain or distress, this is most definitely not the
case in the typical abattoir.
Animal Aid recently filmed inside eight
randomly chosen British slaughterhouses and found evidence of cruelty in seven
where animals were kicked, slapped, stamped on, picked up by the ears or fleece,
and often improperly stunned before going to the knife while still
In shechita, where such practices are banned, the cut of a
razor-sharp knife causes such a rapid loss of blood supply to the brain that the
animal becomes unconscious before it has time to feel the cut itself. The
slightest nick in the knife renders the process invalid; the slaughterer is
obliged to check his knife regularly to ensure that none are present.
is probably counterproductive to accuse animal-rights agitators of anti-Semitism
just because banning shechita was one of the first things introduced by the
Nazis. Only by going over to the attack and emphasizing its superiority over
stunning in the avoidance of animal suffering will we be able to make any impact
on the wider non-Jewish world.MARTIN D. STERN
Salford, UK Setting things
Sir, – “Friends of Israel to PM: Accept Obama principles and restart
talks” (June 30) mischaracterizes some basic facts.
First, it alleges
that I spoke “at a banquet at the King David Hotel on Tuesday together with Ron
Lauder at a gathering closed to journalists.” In fact, Lauder spoke at the
opening banquet on Monday evening, at which I did not speak at all. Second, I
spoke at the Knesset in an open forum on Tuesday morning (which was faithfully
reported in the June 29 paper) where I made only passing reference to the fact
that Netanyahu should call for direct negotiations based on the Obama
principles. But it had no connection with Lauder’s speech.
also misquoted me – I believe my words were lost in translation – by attributing
to me the remarks that “people think there has been a cultural pond between
Obama and Bibi.” I did not use the phrase “cultural pond,” which makes no sense.
The word I used was “contretemps.”IRWIN COTLER
Montreal, Canada Unequal
Sir, – Isi Leibler (“Religious extremism and the democratic Jewish
state,” Candidly Speaking, June 30) attacks rabbis of the moderate religious
Zionist community for not denouncing the rioting by followers of Rabbi Dov Lior.
But he omitted the fact that the author of the infamous Torat Hamelech
brought in for questioning, handcuffed and chained, and was released within a
few days without being charged. That being the case, what do the police want
Leibler correctly points out that professors can call for the death
of settlers and not be questioned by the police. This being the case, is it no
wonder that Lior’s followers reacted so violently?
It is precisely for this
reason that moderate rabbis will not denounce these yeshiva
Petah Tikva Effect over intent
Regarding “State gives more land to settler farms in Jordan Valley” (June 29),
if settlements and the occupation stop a two-state solution, Israel dissolves
into one large binational state. Then, the biggest threat to Israel is
Former Harvard president Larry Summers said there can be
“anti-Semitism in effect if not in intent.” If so, there can be “anti- Zionism
in effect if not in intent.” Sorrowfully, for Israel’s liberal and realistic
well-wishers anti-Zionism is the self-destructive bent of Israel’s most
right-wing government in history.JAMES ADLER
Cambridge, Massachusetts Advocate for Arik
Sir, – After reading Herb Keinon’s “Sharon should have hit
back hard when first rockets fell after Gaza disengagement” (June 24), I have a
feeling that former US ambassador Dan Kurtzer lacks a profound understanding of
what led to the unilateral disengagement in 2005 and of Israel’s policies prior
to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s illness.
An immediate attack on Gaza
could have been politically useful to Sharon because it would immediately have
lessened rightwing pressure on him after the disengagement. Before his illness,
surveys gave his party 44 seats. One can assume that after a strike in Gaza,
these surveys would have given it more than 60 seats.
But he did not act,
and there were a number of reasons.
The disengagement had not been aimed
only at withdrawing from Gush Katif. Another reason was to separate the Gaza
Strip from the West Bank, thus separating Hamas from Fatah, and those who
accepted the existence of a Jewish state from those who denied its right to
Sharon needed time and additional legitimacy to strike back fully
against Gaza and its leaders. He had foreseen attacks from there and was
slowly preparing for action against terrorists. He applied the same kind
of tactics during the Second Intifada. Even after the terrible terrorist act at
Tel Aviv’s Dolphinarium in 2001, he did not lead the army directly into Gaza,
waiting with patience for all the world to understand that Israel cannot coexist
with terror. This was the reason that a wide military operation began only after
the Passover 2002 terrorist act at Netanya’s Park Hotel.
This is not a
guess. This is from impressions from regular meetings with him in 2005, when I
was a Likud MK and deputy minister.
It is difficult to say what Sharon
would have done after Hamas’s election and the capture of Gilad Schalit. One can
be sure that in contrast to former prime minister Ehud Olmert and former defense
minister Amir Peretz, who were drawn into the Second Lebanese War, he would have
attacked Gaza first and foremost.MARINA SOLODKIN
The writer is
a member of Knesset from the Kadima party, whose first leader was Ariel Sharon