March 3: Avert this Disaster

What a disaster it will be if the minister of the interior doesn’t immediately back down from his heartless policy of deporting 400 migrant children.

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
March 2, 2011 23:30
letters

letters 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Avert this disaster

Sir, – What a wonderful success for the documentary Strangers No More (“Film about South Tel Aviv school wins Oscar, but 120 students still face deportation,” March 1).

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What a wonderful tribute to principal Keren Tal, her dedicated staff and the 831 students, all providing living examples of tolerance, love and how to live together with mutual respect and dignity. And what a huge boost for Israel in displaying its heart and soul – and utterly destroying any basis for the hatred and bias of those attempting to persuade the world that Israel is an apartheid country.

What a disaster it will be if the minister of the interior doesn’t immediately back down from his heartless (and totally un-Jewish) policy of deporting not only the 120 migrant children at the school, but the rest of the 400 youngsters under threat of expulsion.

All credit goes to those who have been fighting this order (including Sara Netanyahu), but everybody should now be encouraged to shout from every corner of the country: No! Absolutely not! Israel cannot be a party to such a cruel, mean-spirited and utterly stupid policy!

HARRY BRODIE
Herzliya

Dense statement



Sir, – In “How can an intelligent people like the Israelis only see the short term?” (Comment & Features, March 1), Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s foreign minister, tries to blame Israel for the Palestinians’ problems by stating that 1.5 million people live in Gaza in an area “seven times smaller than Luxembourg,” causing “very difficult conditions.”

The population density of Gaza comes to about 4,200 people per square kilometer. Petah Tikva has a population density of 5,800; Tel Aviv has 7,600; New York City has 10,600. No one claims that living conditions in these places is especially difficult.

ABE BROT
Petah Tikva

Waste of newsprint

Sir, – To take up close to half of Page 4 of the March 1 Post reporting the purported sexually ambivalent tendencies of the monster Adolf Eichmann is tantamount to discussing whether he suffered from ingrown toenails or chronic heartburn. To say that we neither know nor care would be a gross understatement.

In the future, please find something more newsworthy and palatable to include in your paper.

STANLEY COHEN
Jerusalem

Laudable editorial

Sir, – I wish to thank The Jerusalem Post for praising J Street as a “laudable endeavor to present a viable left-wing, pro- Zionist alternative to American Jews” (“J Street’s fragile alternative,” Editorial,, February 28).

I hope that instead of emphasizing only the relatively minor issues on which it might disagree with J Street, the Post will fully cover the crucial central issues on which the two agree – Israel’s legitimacy, defensibility and security, and the need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict that will ensure her existence forever as a sovereign, strong and safe Jewish democratic state.

JAMES ADLER
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sir, – At the recent J Street conference in Washington, DC, I saw an energized and committed group of people – almost all of them Jews – who care deeply about Israel and the Jewish people, and who are very concerned that the policies of the current Israeli government and religious leadership are doing a great deal of harm. I believe that acting and speaking out on these concerns are the highest form of patriotism and Jewish responsibility.

I did not hear a single comment from anyone who didn’t care deeply about Israel’s future as a Jewish state. As with all healthy organizations, I heard a lot of introspection and selfcriticism.

I am saddened that so many of my Jewish friends have resorted to the Fox News-like tactics of lies, partial truths and distortions in an effort to demonize J Street and smear its donors and professionals.

Virtually every viral email I have received was written and/or forwarded by people who were not at the conference and who have had no first-hand contact with anyone from J Street.

What we have now in the Jewish and pro-Israel movement is a healthy alternative. For Jews who believe our top priority is to protect and defend the State of Israel, then AIPAC provides a great way to leverage that feeling.

(I support AIPAC financially and have served on its local board.) For those who believe our top priority is to live out our Jewish values and are focused on the commandments to work for peace, to improve the world, and to love the stranger, then J Street provides a vehicle to leverage that approach.

As a serious Jew who cares deeply about both Israel and Jewish values, I am thrilled that both organizations are part of our political and Jewish landscape.

LARRY GELLMAN
Tucson, Arizona

...and one less laudable

Sir, – It is regrettable that “Balancing NGOs democratically” (Editorial, February 25) sees fit to base its main thesis on a false attack on B’Tselem.

The editorial, to borrow your own language, does little more than a “near-copy-and-paste job.” It repeats a deliberate miscalculation of B’Tselem’s Cast Lead casualty statistics by NGO Monitor, rehashing claims that a public statement by Hamas’s Fathi Hamad about losses incurred by Hamas somehow casts doubt over B’Tselem’s research.

Any suggested “discrepancy” stems not from shortcomings in B’Tselem’s rigorous methodology or legal analysis, but from The Jerusalem Post’s insistence in following NGO Monitor’s bogus arithmetic.

Hamad, the recent unlikely darling of Israeli government propagandists, lists not only casualties of Hamas’s military wing, but of police officers and members of other security forces. The Post intentionally and unethically misrepresents B’Tselem’s casualty statistics by excluding our list of 248 police officers. When following Hamad’s math and adding the figures of combatants and police officers, it is found that his ballpark figures match B’Tselem’s data to the same extent that they correspond with official Israeli figures.

Additionally, real commitment to transparency and even a modicum of intellectual integrity mean not withholding from the Post’s readers the simple fact that the funding provided by Western governments to self-critical Israeli human rights NGOs is a drop in the ocean compared to European government support to every facet of Israel’s economy and society. It is also dwarfed by the torrents of money provided by foreign business magnates and evangelical Christians to promote the expansion and entrenchment of the settlement project.

As part of our commitment to transparency and accountability, B’Tselem already holds itself to higher standards than those demanded by law. Israel must remain a strong, vibrant democracy, and this requires that someone holds up a critical mirror on our government’s activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. We shall continue to do so with pride in spite of the attempts to discredit us.

SARIT MICHAELI
Jerusalem
The writer is spokesperson for B’Tselem

The Editor notes: Among the points our editorial sought to make was that B’Tselem uses highly controversial criteria for defining who constitutes a “combatant” – criteria that do not recognize the realities of battle with terrorist organizations like Hamas. B’Tselem, for instance, does not classify as combatants any of 248 Gaza police officers killed at police stations in Operation Cast Lead; according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a “decisive” majority of them “were members of the military wings of the Palestinian terror organizations and fighters who had undergone military training.”


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