(photo credit: Courtesy)
Not a chance
Sir, - Michael Freund praises MK Benny Elon for providing a right-wing solution to the Palestinian problem ("A man with a plan" November 7). However, the plan is futile and can never even start to be implemented, for several reasons. Suffice it to mention one.
The plan suggests that Israel must embrace Jordan as a partner. This implies that the Palestinians would obtain Jordanian citizenship. There is not the slightest chance that the Jordanian monarchy would accept this. Does Freund recall Black September?
While it is good to see a right-winger propose what he regards as a serious solution, the impossibility of it ever seeing the light of day suggests he is wasting his time.
Sir, - Rabbi Rabinowitz of Netanya may well be right that the archbishop of Canterbury knows there is nothing the Church of England could do to protect Christian Arabs from Muslims in the West Bank and Gaza if he were to speak the truth about the cause of Christian migration, but in that case he makes the archbishop's position even worse. The archbishop could have decided to be a coward and say nothing - but instead he decides to spread a modern-day version of the blood libel! Either way, why have him as a guest in Israel? (Letters, November 7.)
Your correction is... incorrect
Sir, - Ruth Rigbi of the Israel Association of University Women harshly rebukes John Lalor of Dublin for suggesting that "Leftists... often fete and romanticize murderers... granting them early release and privileges" ("Let me correct you," Letters, November 6). Her rebuke indicates inattention to the following facts - which Mr. Lalor must have judged to be so painfully well-known to Israelis that he refrained, politely, from stating them.
In Europe and Israel, Arab terrorists who murder Israeli Jews are presented with respect and sympathy (as heroic freedom-fighters) by leftists. This misplaced support leads to surprisingly mild conditions in prison for these terrorists: They communicate easily with people outside prison; they take university courses; they marry and father children; and even those held for especially grisly attacks do this without the passionate opposition from Israelis that an infamous Jewish prisoner endures. Often they are released early (in "good-will gestures" or over-generous prisoner exchanges). Mr. Lalor's points are valid.
Ms. Rigbi's letter seems to follow a sad pattern of behavior by leftist intellectuals: dismissing the opposition as worthless (as noted by Mr. Lalor, "suppressing the opinion of those on the other end of the political spectrum"). She judges his view as not merely mistaken, but absurd (he "shows abysmal ignorance"). A more restrained tone would be appropriate, since even intellectuals may err; in fact, intellectuals, because they are trained to think subtly, are liable, as George Orwell warned, to fall into far-fetched errors that simpler minds would not consider.
Peace vs peccadilloes
Sir, - Isi Leibler's drubbing of Haaretz editor David Landau for his remarks at a recent Limmud Conference in Moscow comes, unfortunately, two years late ("Shame on 'Haaretz,'" November 7). Landau's admission that he ordered the low-keying of corruption by Israeli political leaders in order to protect the peace process - known as the "etrog behavior" of left-wing journalists, a phrase coined by Amnon Abromovitch - was first uttered at a Limmud conference in Nottingham, England. It was proudly declared in response to a question I had put to him from the last rows of a lecture hall filled with almost 300 people about the journalistic ethics of the absence of criticism of political corruption.
Like now, also then: When challenged, Landau declared that the "peccadilloes" of Ariel Sharon were minor compared to the greater damage, in his opinion, caused by revenant Jewish residents in the communities throughout Judea and Samaria.
His remarks were generally accepted, which caused me disappointment in the morality of the participating British Jews.
Beit Shemesh dialogue
Sir, - Consistent with its diversity as a community, Beit Shemesh residents are adopting various strategies for positive community bonding in the face of differences of opinions, beliefs and lifestyles ("Anti-violence rally in Beit Shemesh reflects religious tensions," November 6).
In mid-August, 2007, a meeting of women was held, calling itself "Women in Dialogue." The women who attended came from Ramat Aleph and Ramat Bet as well as from other Beit Shemesh neighborhoods, and reflected a broad range of differences in life styles, beliefs, dress, background and education.
Those attending resolved 1. to continue to meet and establish a true dialogue with each other and encourage others to enter into our discussions; 2. to completely reject violence and coercion in any form as a means of resolving disputes; 3. to avoid provocative rhetoric and antagonism by not labeling sides, stereotyping, or placing blame; and 4. to encourage rabbis, political leaders and all residents to speak out on these issues and act respectfully toward all members of our community.
JOANNE JACKSON YELENIK
Israel in Blunderland
Sir, - When the English version of Al-Jazeera was to be aired on Canadian TV, there was an uproar in Jewish circles due to the anti-Israel, and often anti-Semitic, nature of the programs. Yet when HOT in Israel decides to terminate CNN and substitute Al-Jazeera in English, neither the government nor anyone else can prevent it.
When our culture minister promises to "turn over much of his resources to Arab causes" by, among other things, drastically cutting the budget of the Academy of the Hebrew Language in favor of an Academy for the Arabic Language" ("Hurting Hebrew," Editorial, November 4), the government does nothing.
When high school and university education is brought to a virtual halt by the strike of under-paid teachers and faculty, again the government seems powerless. Can we, then, have confidence in this government to make the right existential decisions for us in Annapolis?
G. S. MOSCHYTZ
Sir, - Is it just me, or has there been a deafening silence in the letters column over losing CNN?
I remember the endless number of letters that poured into the column, for many, many days, with the threat of BBC Prime's removal. But this issue has elicited three letters I can remember.
Perhaps no one really cares about CNN's vastly un-objective coverage: For example, during the height of the last intifada, it always rushed to hear Hanan Ashrawi's views on the latest terror atrocity. Do we really care if it's CNN or Al-Jazeera? At least with Al-Jazeera, you know where they stand!
Sir, - I volunteered to arbitrate the education strike and no one wanted me, so I offer a suggestion: Have the teachers exchange salaries with the Knesset members, and when the Knesset members go on strike for too little pay, none of us will care ("Tamir, Eini push for swift end to teachers' strike," November 7).