letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - So let me see if I understand this: Michael Lerner writes an article in which he asks me to stop attacking him, after he accuses me of supporting torture and assassination, of being "one of the most detested figures in liberal American circles" and of calling him an "anti-Semitic rabbi" ("Alan Dershowitz! stop your personal attacks," October 24).
He knows that each of these charges is false. I oppose torture, but favor accountability if and when it is applied. I only support targeted assassination as a last resort to prevent imminent terrorist attacks. I continue to be invited by and to receive awards from liberal organizations (though not from the kind of far-left groups that Lerner admires; then again, I never was a favorite of either political extreme).
And as I noted in my original column, though Lerner rationalizes his lies about me by saying that I called him an "anti-Semitic rabbi," what I actually wrote is that Lerner's support for divestment from Israel proves that "even a rabbi can support anti-Semitic actions." Quite a difference!
Lerner claims that the genesis of our dispute is that he "criticized" me for being a member of the OJ Simpson defense team. His exact words were that my "hands" were "still dripping from the blood of the victims whose assassins [Dershowitz] protected." So much for the rights of the accused. (And Lerner says that my views are anathema to liberalism!)
Finally, Lerner's claim that he now disavows the Finkelstein assassination-masturbation article that he forwarded insults our intelligence. When's the last time he forwarded a David Duke article to his friends?
So here's my counteroffer to Michael Lerner. If Lerner promises to stop lying about me, I promise to stop telling the truth about him.
Sir,- I find your comparison of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin to the assassination of Gedalya ben Ahikam in very poor taste ("Amir's 'rights,'" Editorial, October 25). The only thing they have in common is that they were leaders of Israel.
Firstly, the religious observance of the two was as different as day and night. Secondly, the fast of Gedalya, the rabbis decreed, was not to commemorate his assassination, but the consequences thereof, i.e. the exile of the remnant of the Jewish people from the Land of Israel. Therefore your conclusion the Rabin's murderer should be treated differently is flawed.
Yitzhak Rabin was a man not a saint, and his murderer has the same rights as any other murderer.
Sir, - I feel I must respond to Muriel Vered's letter (October 25) regarding her protest of "humane treatment for Yigal Amir."
Israel's prisons are filled with the most contemptible murderers, Jewish and Arab. Yet they are entitled to "humane treatment." Not for one of them has the Knesset passed a law barring parole, save for Yigal Amir. Amir is a convicted murderer and should be treated no different than any other prisoner incarcerated for murder or terror.
Sir, - Re "Just 14% of schools teach about US Jewry" (October 25).
Given that the majority of Jewish youth in the United States are raised with a stronger American than Jewish identity, and the majority of Jewish youth in Israel are raised with a stronger Israeli than Jewish identity, should the results of these surveys be so surprising? We are harvesting the bitter fruit of more than a century of embracing acculturation in the Diaspora and secular Zionist education in Israel.
End the corruption
Sir, - Those agencies given the responsibility of rooting out corruption in the government must be encouraged to continue there good work regardless of where there investigation leads ("New allegations about Leumi tender surface against PM," October 25).
Any person who makes the decision to turn to politics as a means of making a living must know that all of his or her actions from the time he or she became an adult will be open to investigation and to public scrutiny. Any impropriety will come back to haunt him and may bring an end to a promising career.
The message we must send our children and those entering politics is that we will not tolerate corruption and the use of power to corrupt others. A strong stand by a public which insists on quality government rather than cronyism will lead to a better standard of government and a better life for all of us.
Women in business
Sir, - Re "70% of ex jobless entrepreneurs 'happy'" (October 24).
One of fastest growing sectors in small business is that of women, who are no longer satisfied with the enormous disparities and unequal wages, the glass ceiling and lack of opportunities for professional growth in traditional firms and the government sectors.
At Lila, whose mission it is to advance women in business, we see that with support and professional training specifically geared to the needs of women, their businesses expand at a fast and significant rate. We encourage all authorities to invest in the particular needs of women in business, as we know the returns are very high in terms of contribution to the economy and financial independence and mobility of half of the population.
Co-founder, Lila - Advancing Women in Business
An important film
Sir, - Your article "Libyan Jew recalls fleeing in terror in 1967" (October 24) recounting the persecution and the total evacuation of Libyan Jews in recognition of the International Rights and Redress Campaign puts on the agenda an often overlooked aspect of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
I saw a documentary called The Forgotten Refugees about the history and mass exodus of these Jews, and this movie is one way to dispel the myths that cloud our understanding of the conflict. It is a shame that out of all places, it has not been widely distributed in Israel.
The world must know that more Jewish refugees were created as a result of the conflict than were Palestinian refugees. The world must know that it is those Jews who were forced out of their homes where they flourished for thousands of years - before Islam was even a religion - that make up the majority of Israel's population.
The wrong place
Sir, - Re "Choose honor" (Editorial, October 24).
Once again, Israel finds itself between the rock and the hard place. Unfortunately, if it's looking to its Western "friends and allies" for salvation, it's looking in all the wrong places. In dealing with Iran, the West seems to only be able to cajole, nudge, urge, threaten, but not take any concrete steps to stop Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from boasting about his nuclear prowess or threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth.
Those same nations who chose dishonor by appeasing the Nazis prior to World War II seem ready to do so again.
HAIM M. LERNER
Gil's good works
Sir, - In response to Jack Karlin, who claims the Gil Pensioners Party has failed to live up to expectations (Letter, October 22), let me say that we, the membership, are seeking advantages for pensioners as well as involving young people who voted Gil.
We have started the following: We have entertained soldiers at Sheba Hospital and disadvantaged young people. Here in Meitar, we are seeking to create housing that is affordable. We are seeking to reduce bank charges for pensioners. Pensioners from the academic community are now doing the research and development to produce an English magazine for global distribution.