letters to the editor 88.
(photo credit: )
Sir, - So Alon Ben-Meir thinks the US has "neglected the Arab-Israeli conflict, precipitating more violence, even to the point of war" ("A post 9/11 scorecard," September 11).
Perhaps he should have looked at that day's Jerusalem Post, where the headline on page 1 read "Olmert looking for ways to 'kick-start' diplomatic process," and on page 2, "Poll: 61% of Palestinians support terrorist attacks."
What the US has neglected to do is explain to people like Mr. Ben-Meir that headline 1 is simply incompatible with headline 2, and that as long as two-thirds of the Palestinian population succumb to the jihadi ethics by which they are absolved of the deliberate killing of innocents, there cannot be any solution.
For myself, I have coined a new word which accurately reflects the symptoms of the anxiety disorder I have been suffering from since 9/11: Jihadophobia.
Sir, - Re Mark Steyn's "Hiding in plain sight" (September 11): Tragically, most Americans still don't realize that they're at war with Islamo-fascists who are out to destroy them.
Rather than indulging in continuous Bush-bashing, they should wake up and smell the coffee - while they still can.
HAIM M. LERNER
...to a new reality
Sir, - I would like to see Shimon Peres head a national unity or interim government until we sort ourselves out.
The poor turnout at the demonstration in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Saturday night leads us to ponder: Do the people agree with Ehud Olmert that we do not need a state commission of inquiry because they are now satisfied regarding everything they were grumbling about during and immediately after the war in Lebanon? Or don't they give a damn about the state's future? ("30,000 demand state inquiry into 'mismanagement' of war," September 10).
My feeling, and that of many of my friends, is that Israel can never be the same again after July 2006, and that we need to soul-search and clean our house. We need to do whatever we can to get the right people into government and the Knesset, but only after all the slovenliness, negligence and exploitation of the ordinary citizen (soldier and civilian) has been thoroughly analyzed and conclusions drawn.
Perhaps for now we should leave the running of our country to non-profit organizations, for they at least are taking on the responsibility, once again, of feeding the hungry at Rosh Hashana.
Wake up, people of Israel. You live in a democracy, make it work.
At your own risk
Sir, - Re "N. American Jews accuse gov't of betraying Ethiopian aliya" (September 11): I write not only as a lifelong American supporter of the Jewish state but also as a member of the board of trustees of the United Jewish Communities, the umbrella organization of all North American Jewish federations.
We American and Canadian Jews have always been proud of two things relating to your country - your courage in the face of Arab terrorism and your pledge to open your gates wide to Ethiopian aliya. But now we see you are not keeping that promise.
Originally you stated you would accept 600 Ethiopian immigrants a year. Then you reduced that figure to 300. Now your finance minister wants to cut it down to 150!
Unless your government acts fast to restore the 600 figure, you risk the alienation of North American Jewry.
Sir, - I may not be the only reader to find Larry Derfner's criticism of Caroline Glick quite curious ("Shimshon Cytryn and other 'innocents,'" September 7). It is especially remarkable for its quality of self-deception, evident in the following contradictions:
1. "I was one of the reporters on the Moassi beachfront... One of those settlers did in fact try to murder that Palestinian teenager... I don't know if it was Cytryn who hit the Palestinian boy in the head..."
2. "I got to the beachfront a little after the incident for which Cytryn is standing trial... A TV cameraman showed me the raw footage... I remember seeing a boy hoisting himself atop the wall and hurling a rock at Mejeida, and another boy trying to get at Mejeida..."
3. "To fill in the lapses in my memory, here is the relevant excerpt written by the Chicago Tribune's Joel Greenberg..."
4. "I don't know how long Mejeida stayed in the hospital, and I don't know what kind of condition he was in when he got out...."
I am not a lawyer, but even a mere historian could tear this confused account to shreds without much difficulty. The use of the phrase "in fact" in no.
1 is especially revealing of Mr. Derfner's preconceived notions of what went on, based as they were on hearsay, biased reporting (staged TV footage, the words of Joel Greenberg, well-known for left-wing bias when he worked for The New York Times and just hearing what he wanted to hear).
Mr. Derfner's article seamlessly slides from suggesting to the reader that he knows what the "facts" were as a reporter on the beachfront at the time of the incident, into admissions that he didn't actually see the incident, into affirmations that other media reporters did show him the "facts" and could not be mistaken. In doing this he bypasses rather neatly the main charges of Caroline Glick's op-ed ("Shimshon Cytryn and Aharon Barak," September 5) that the incident was largely staged and misrepresented by the media, and that the true facts are other than Mr. Derfner and some of his media colleagues claim them to be.
I would certainly not accuse him of knowingly misrepresenting the facts; but it is even more worrying to reflect that his evident belief in what is most likely a falsified version of them testifies to a self-deception that has overwhelmed the minds of a large segment of the media reporting on Israeli events.
PAUL LAWRENCE ROIE
Mitrani Professor of Jewish Studies
Pennsylvania State University
Sir, - Kudos to Larry Derfner for calling Caroline Glick to account on her story of the Katif "rock fight." It confirms my suspicion that much of what she writes is driven by a blind adherence to right-wing ideology.
To the point
Sir, - Caroline Glick's column of September 8 was right to the point ("The coronation of Kofi"). As Iran's Ahmadinejad has already correctly been named the Hitler of the 21st century we must assume that he will use his atomic bomb, once he has it, to destroy Israel and will not mind if at the same time he massacres the Palestinians and Jordanians as well. Hitler also threatened the Jews of Europe before WW2 and they did not take him seriously.
History is our best teacher. We must set aside our small discords and demand a government that looks after Israel's national interest.
Zionism & the West's media
Sir, - Anshel Pfeffer refers to Israeli spokesmen's reluctance to enter into any debate about the growing delegimization in Western media of Israel's very right of existence ("Proving the link between extreme criticism of Israel and violence against Jews," September 6).
While there is undoubtedly a close link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, the Israeli government is quite right not to demean itself by entering into such a debate - which doesn't mean Zionism should not be promoted to the Western media; quite the contrary.
In 2000, before the intifada, I tried to raise less than $1 million initial funding to establish a Centre for Zionist Studies and Research in London, and was rebuffed by everybody I spoke to. Never has such an investment, for such a purpose, been needed more than over the last six years, and yet the Diaspora communities have done nothing about it with the Israeli government.
Given the sophisticated forms of communication through Web logs (blogs), one could probably establish such a center on the Net now without the need for any physical offices and cover the world accordingly. Why is the World Jewish Congress not at the forefront of Zionist promotion to the Western media?
Pinner, Middx, UK
Sir, - Thank you, Seth Freedman, for your great humor and good sportsmanship ("Torment across the board," September 10). I haven't laughed so much in a long time at a Post article. Now I know what "Blitz chess" is all about, and well done for the points you won.
Have a seat...
Sir, - Though a long-time and loyal dues-paying member of our local Conservative synagogue, my mother was always angry at having to pay extra for High Holy Day seats and we spent many years at home because we couldn't afford them.
Then she discovered a nearby Reform Temple where High Holy Day seats were included in the dues. So we switched.
So it is with many MKs who are forced to give up their Knesset seats for one reason or another. They switch loyalties to a new party and get a new seat - ideology be damned! ("Sitting tight," Herb Keinon, September 10.)
...give it up
Sir, - I long ago overcame SSPD - Shul-Seat Possessive Disorder - by imagining that one time the Messiah came to synagogue unannounced and sat down. Someone told him: You're sitting in my seat. Mashiach quickly left the seat, the shul and this world, noting that Jews, regrettably, still had this repugnant habit. And he decided to try again in another millennium.
The future is in your hands - or in your seat, Herb. Try to give it up. You'll hasten the redemption.