September 26: Sobol’s metaphors

As a medical doctor, I suggest that Sobol apply the term “cancerous” to real carcinogens, not metaphorical ones.

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
September 25, 2010 22:17
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Sobol’s metaphors

Sir, – I have always admired Yehoshua Sobol for his courage, mastery of words and ideas. But I condemn his use of the term “cancerous” to describe the spread of settlements beyond the Green Line (“Playwright Sobol: Settlements are like ticks on a dog, metastasizing tumors,” September 21).

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His use of dehumanizing language to describe places where people live appears to have been intended to apply to the people themselves, and to provoke revulsion toward them. He was playing with fire when using what can only be called hate language that demonizes and delegitimizes an entire group.

Biological metaphors are used by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to incite to genocide.

As someone working in public health, I am well aware of the long history of this use of medical metaphors. Sobol might well have violated norms and laws prohibiting incitement.

As one of Israel’s greatest playwrights, he knows the power of words. He is no ordinary Archie Bunker spouting off at the kitchen table.

Just last week, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef had the good sense to retract a similarly unfortunate, though less explicit, statement he made about Palestinian leaders.



I suggest that Sobol follow the example of Rabbi Yosef.

As a medical doctor, I suggest that Sobol apply the term “cancerous” to real carcinogens, not metaphorical ones.

PROFESSOR ELIHU D. RICHTER
Jerusalem

The writer is associated with Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and with Genocide Prevention Now

Sir, – The actors who refuse to perform for Jews risking their lives to live across the Green Line, and the self-aggrandizing Yehoshua Sobol, who writes their plays (which never take pride in Jewry or Judaism), would have considered themselves honored had they been invited to cross that line to entertain the likes of the terrorist and mass-murderer Yasser Arafat.

This psychopathic attitude, which seems to manifest itself among a certain segment of Jews with European connections, warrants serious study.

CHAYIM SEIDEN
Jerusalem

Sir, – What an unfortunate choice of metaphor. I know it’s seemingly okay to refer to Jews as “ticks,” but Yehoshua Sobol should know that you just can’t go around calling the Palestinians “dogs.” It’s highly inappropriate.

DANIEL ABELMAN
Jerusalem

Sir, – I would like to thank Peace Now for the picture of Ma’ale Levona from the air. I have only seen it from the ground, as our children were the seventh family to move there in 1984.

It is time we as a nation learned to accept each other and where they live. No group I know of has ever questioned anyone in Peace Now as where they choose to live.

M. SCHAEFFER
Jerusalem

Reich is wrong

Sir, – Seymour Reich believes that President Obama is good for Israel because there are direct talks between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas (“Obama – good for Israel, good for the US,” Comment, September 20). He states, too, that Obama’s overall policies relating to Israel and Iran are also good for the Jewish state, although he doesn’t tell us why, or what exactly these policies are.

Why, then, do polls in the US and Israel disagree? Reich wants us to believe that most people are wrong in their assessment of Obama’s policies toward Israel. Just because Obama, during his first days in office, called the leaders of Israel, the PA, Egypt and Jordan, and appointed George Mitchell as his special Mideast envoy, doesn’t mean his policies are in Israel’s best interest.

Reich says that time isn’t on Israel’s side. That is why Rabin negotiated with Arafat, and Sharon gave away the Gaza Strip. He doesn’t refer to all the resulting bloodshed on the Israeli side. Perhaps that is why Obama’s endless pursuit of negotiations with the Palestinians and his pressuring of Israel into extending the settlement freeze don’t sit well with either American Jews or Israelis.

The writer believes that a peace agreement with the Palestinians would deprive Hamas and Hizbullah of their main reason for attacking Israel.

Is he kidding? When has either one spoken about peace with Israel? When Israel left southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, the missiles came raining down.

Sanctions against Iran have not stopped it from pursuing nuclear weapons. It has threatened to eliminate Israel over and over again. Have Obama’s policies eliminated that threat? We all should be very grateful that American Jews and Israelis don’t see things the way Reich does. They realize that Obama’s policies of appeasement have done nothing to make the world, or Israel, a safer place.

JONATHAN SURASKY
Ra’anana

Outside the box

Sir, – Regarding “Peace talks should cover future of Israeli Arabs, says Lieberman” (September 20), our foreign minister’s brilliant thinking outside the box is what is needed in the present negotiations, which require a different approach if anything is to come of them.

Some Israeli Arab leaders continue to define themselves as Palestinians, so why do MKs Haneen Zoabi and Ahmad Tibi object to redrawing the 1948 armistice lines, which are wrongly called “borders?” It is accepted by everyone that major Jewish cities, such as Ariel, Ma’aleh Adumim and the Etzion Bloc, are going to be in Israel, so to compensate, why not draw a line around those Arab towns that call themselves Palestinian? People would remain exactly where they are – the only difference is that it would be under the benign rule of their co-religionists.

I do not understand what the furor is about. I certainly cannot understand MK Avishay Braverman’s sham outrage. He knows that there would not be a population exchange in the accepted sense of the word.

I suspect the uproar is because Israeli Arabs know on which side their bread is buttered and wish to remain Israeli, with all the advantages that entails. They just make noise to get their names in the paper.

CYRIL ATKINS
Beit Shemesh

Another battlefield

Sir, – I contest Jacob Mchangama’s view (“Israel-bashers should be debated, not censored,” September 19). The delegitimization of Israel is a real existential threat, and it must be challenged by all means at our disposal.

There is a wide range of lawfare being conducted against Israel, from the Goldstone Report to universal jurisdiction.

There are also lies being spread to defame us.

Debate is nice – that is, in forums where the Israeli voice is allowed to be heard.

I am currently active in helping to organize a counter-lawfare campaign. We intend to face down those who prevent our free speech, those who perpetrate fraud and libel against the Jewish state, and those who take illegal action against us. I hope some of our future activities will include suing members of the print media who have been spreading Hamas propaganda and perpetrating a fraud about the living conditions in Gaza.

We are also engaged in strengthening laws regarding the aiding and abetting of terror organizations. In Britain, for example, it is not a criminal offense to give money to Hamas, whereas in France and the US it is. To this end, we wish to have anyone arrested who supports internationally recognized terror groups and regimes.

This would apply, for example, to the notorious former MP George Galloway.

Lawfare and counter-lawfare are as much a battlefield as is fighting terror in the alleys of Gaza.

BARRY SHAW
Netanya

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