Democracy in action
Sir, – With regard to the ongoing events in Egypt, it should
be apparent to all democrats that their first duty is to defend democracy
against those who would overthrow it. But many, especially leftists, radical
Muslims and the historically ignorant, seem to ignore this; hence, the outcry
over what is happening.
While undoubtedly the democratic election of a
leader is important, more significant is how this person governs. There is no
more telling example than the fact that Adolf Hitler was elected democratically
in 1933 – yet the first thing he did was do away with democracy.
quite apparent that the opponents of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had
learned this lesson and did not wish to repeat the tragic mistake of the 1930s.
The current changes taking place in Egypt should be supported.
Sir, – Has anyone noticed the new democracy? Never before has
the “power of the people” been able to vote its support or dislike for
Facebook and Twitter can fill a square within hours; by such
force of numbers, unpopular regimes can be swept away. Dictators will be
Avihayil Pusillanimous nonsense
Sir, – One keeps
hearing from European politicians (“Britain wants EU ministers to break
Hezbollah deadlock,” July 7) that they cannot proscribe the group’s military
wing for fear of destabilizing Lebanon – as if Lebanon were not already
destabilized more than sufficiently by Hezbollah’s actions in Syria.
is the point of continuing to print this sort of pusillanimous nonsense, as if
it has any meaning whatsoever? Better to concentrate on the illogical
distinction that the rest of Europe’s leaders want to draw between the group’s
military and political wings, where in all likelihood the Czechs are right –
there is not any difference at all.
Jerusalem Cooking up
Sir, – To my great regret a number of people and institutions have
taken offense at a picture shown in Süddeutsche Zeitung (“Major German newspaper
publishes anti-Semitic cartoon,” July 5). As editor of the paper’s political
book section I should like to let you know that the picture was drawn for
another paper’s cooking column. The artist was in no way responsible for its
placement in Süddeutsche.
The picture has to be regarded in context with
the sub-headline: “Germany delivers. For decades Israel has been provided with
weapons, sometimes without having to pay for them. Israel’s enemies consider the
country as a voracious Moloch. Peter Beinart deplores this fact.”
only Israel’s enemies consider Israel to be a country comparable to the monster
And the monster has not the faintest resemblance to
stereotypical anti-Semitic pictures.
There is a long history of
caricatures that depict human beings or, as in this case, monsters, as being
representative of countries. Those pictures aim at the politics of the state in
question, not the inhabitants. It needs to be underlined: Governments of the
State of Israel or specific policies are not identical with the Jews in
In the light of the great misunderstandings this picture has
caused, I deeply and truly regret having inserted it in the paper.
mere idea was to attract readers’ attention to the article.
Munich Happy all around
Sir, – Martin Sherman’s article about the
hopelessness of whatever we decide to do (“Why Israel is lost,” Into the Fray,
July 5) requires a comment.
Israel remains one state, a Jewish state. The
Arabs don’t have to vote unless they want to agree to support the State of
Israel and take advantage of the wonderful life available here. Otherwise, they
have many other states to move to if they think life is better under Arab
Meanwhile, they are living here and working, and are loyal
members of our country for the most part. They should be happy and so can
Jerusalem No self-respect
Sir, – As reported in
“Turkish deputy PM blames ‘Diaspora Jews’ for protests” (July 3), Turkey’s
Jewish community and chief rabbinate expressed “concern and regret that
generalizations as such can be interpreted as including and targeting Jewish
citizens of any country in the world, including us Turkish Jews.” A Jewish
resident of Istanbul was quoted as saying: “We felt uncomfortable many times
before but this was possibly unintentional, due to some people’s inability to
differentiate between Israel and the Jews.
However, this [remark] is a
first in terms of targeting us directly.”
It is disgraceful but
unfortunately not a surprise to hear such comments, although to hear it from the
country’s chief rabbinate is unforgivable. How can any self-respecting Jew
separate him or herself from Israel? They are or should be the heart and limbs
of each other, together a winning combination. Separate them and they are easily
lost – which is what is happening with Turkish Jews.
I would have thought
the natural thing for the country’s Jews would be to up and leave for their own
land, or at the very least to stand with us and be happy not to be
differentiated “between Israel and the Jews.”
Missing the meat
Sir, – Uriel Heilman’s article about Dr. Norman Lamm’s
resignation as chancellor of Yeshiva University (“Resigning YU head admits
failures over sex allegations,” July 2) missed the meat while playing with the
Not only was it irresponsible to publish names of people who were
never mentioned in Lamm’s astonishing letter of resignation, it was
journalistically remiss not to question the underlying mystery that prompted
Anyone who knew Lamm during his productive years (we have known him
for over 65 years) would realize that he would not have written that letter to
his colleagues, students and alumni had he remained in good health. At the very
least, one would have expected a journalist to probe the underlying
What were the causes forcing the resignation agreement
with him three years ago? What possible issues at Yeshiva University might have
induced “family help” to produce that lengthy mea culpa in his name? In
addition, with Heilman having critically named names, what were the relevant
guidelines a generation ago for dealing with sexual accusations?
Jerusalem PM no fool
Sir, – In last month’s haftorah Balak,
taken from the Book of Micah, the so-called minor prophet denounced the
landgrabbing of the social leaders and their luxury living, and the venality of
Fast forward to modern Israel, where our Ashkenazi
chief rabbi, Yona Metzger, is under investigation for bribery, fraud and
money-laundering (“Chief Rabbi Metzger suspends himself from major duties,” June
Perhaps, had he heeded Micah’s diatribe more carefully and learned
from it, Metzger’s tenure would have been much more rewarding.
will soon be vacant.
Hopefully, Rabbi David Stav, an affable, liberal and
learned rabbi, will be elected. He is favored by many coalition members with the
exception of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Politics dictate the
prime minister’s choice. They necessitate a haredi chief rabbi and a strong
haredi party as allies in any sudden election. No fool, our Bibi.