letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - (Further to the October 1 letter from the Editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger,) op-eds that are published in hard copy by The Observer, which is the Guardian's sister Sunday edition, are published throughout the world on the Guardian website, which is where I saw it. The Guardian uses the association to its advantage, but then distances itself from its sister when that stance serves its interests. I sent repeated emails to The Guardian with regard to its mendacious review. It chose to ignore them until I got its attention by publishing my article. Let's see if they finally publish my letters now.
Sir, - Re Tom Carew's letter (September 27) about Irish academics' call for a boycott of Israel: Readers should know of an already successful Irish boycott - the word itself comes from Ireland - of Israel only a couple of months ago.
Irish Palestinian Solidarity activists, working together with Irish trade union representatives, forced the cancellation of a proposed contract to train Israeli engineers and drivers for Jerusalem's new light rail system on Dublin's Luas tram system. They regard the light rail as incorporating "a number of illegal Occupation settlements, such as Pisgat Ze'ev, French Hill, Neve Ya'acov, and Gilo."
The Luas operator stated that cooperation with Israeli technicians was halted only for operational reasons. Good weasel words - but this is a clear case of succumbing to pressure.
The third choice
Sir, - In "The big con about Iran" (September 28) Larry Derfner wrote: "But if Iran gets the bomb, which I think is likely, we are going to have to learn to live with it like we lived with Stalin and Mao having the bomb."
To make such a comparison shows a lack of understanding of either Communism or Islam. Mao was probably responsible for the deaths of 70 million people, and Stalin for the deaths of 20 million - but neither would have risked half the Chinese or Soviet population in a nuclear confrontation with the US. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would risk half of Iran's population, and sometimes even seems to relish the idea.
For Derfner, Israel's choice is either preemptive nuclear annihilation of Iran, or doing nothing. Why not consider using tactical nuclear weapons to destroy the Iranian nuclear sites only?
Sir, - Etgar Lefkowitz's report on the opposition to the Safdie plan rightly highlights its potential for promoting the flight westward of upwardly mobile families from Jerusalem, i.e. "unilateral disengagement" ("50 bipartisan MKs oppose Safdie plan to expand Jerusalem westward," September 27). The plan will also have negative impacts on public health, via massive road building and urban sprawl. More roads means more cars in and out of the city every day, more road injury, and more air pollution going from the tailpipes of well-off commuters down the windpipes of poor inner-city residents.
Studies show these impacts will mean more respiratory disease and more cancer, while more time spent commuting means more obesity, more stress and less time with family. Paving more roads means more washoff of water, penetration of pollutants into aquifers and hill erosion.
Indirect effects on health will result from the diversion of billions from investment in real infrastructure - education, health, job creation, social services and culture - to the distorted priorities of Asphalt Zionism: roads, cost overruns, scandal and corruption.
The case for an alternative has been made by the Coalition for a Sustainable Jerusalem; but the Lebanon war has mandated updating it to protect Israel's population centers from missile attacks.
I say: Imitate Montreal and build down below ground. Much of Montreal's center is underground to make life possible during the winter.
Safdie, now a resident of Canada, should be put to use to design underground centers in Jerusalem.
ELIHU D RICHTER MD, MPH
Wishing Cipel well
Sir, - As an American, I read Golan Cipel's interview with great interest ("'I'm just seeking a nice American Jewish bride,'" September 28).
Many Americans find James McGreevey's book, and media celebrity interviewers' softball segments, appalling. The former New Jersey governor seems as pathological in defending his account of events as was president Clinton in refuting the Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers and Kathleen Wiley allegations. Ever since Clinton's first presidential campaign the Democratic Party, along with its media accomplices, has perfected the art of smear the victim; which, unfortunately, now includes Mr. Cipel.
I wouldn't fault him if he never returned to America again. However, he should know that many average Americans never automatically bought McGreevey's account. If Mr. Cipel were truly gay the Democratic machine would have marched out individuals with proof. Its silence on this point is deafening, lending support to Mr. Cipel's account.
I wish him well in fulfilling his desire for marriage, family and a peaceful life.
Call him correctly
Sir, - It is inappropriate to call Asher Weisgan a Jewish terrorist, when he is not. You can call him a murderer, but he is not affiliated with any terrorist organization ("Jewish terrorist sentenced to four life terms for murdering Palestinians," September 28).
Lakewood, New Jersey
Helm and Chelm
Sir, - Compliments on your September 22 issue - the daily paper, In Jerusalem and the UpFront weekend magazine section with their thought-provoking articles.
However, in your coverage of Dalia Itzik ("Speak and be heard," UpFront), I didn't know if I should laugh or cry about her first week as Knesset speaker. Her most important agenda was to give the Knesset a facelift - new carpeting, lighting and modern furniture, plus a ruling for fresh flowers to be put in all committee rooms weekly.
Where is this lady living? Doesn't she know the government claims it lacks money to supply all fighting soldiers with protective clothing, food and water, etc.; for decent shelters in the North, and other necessities?
She might have requested that MKs return from their summer vacation during the war and visit the people in shelters, or maybe even donate some of their salaries and perks.
Even more out of touch, Kadima MK Menahem Ben Sasson favors enlarging the Knesset from 120 to 180 members (September 27).
Sir, - In "Mice that partake of Cabernet Sauvignon run less risk of suffering from Alzheimer's" (September 26) Prof. Eliot Berry says it is also important to have regular mental exercise. Two examples he gave were solving crossword and sudoku puzzles.
It occurred to me that The Jerusalem Post deserves a hearty vote of thanks from us senior citizens for providing us daily with these and other fascinating brain-teasers.
LOLA S. COHEN