If what is reported about the resignation of Priti Patel as the UK’s international development secretary is the whole truth (“UK minister bows out over unapproved Israel meetings,” November 9), our government and citizens should issue a strong protest.
The organizations and innovators with whom Patel met are internationally recognized as among the world’s most idealistic and effectual in working to solve exactly what her brief called for – international development. Since no reasonable person could object to the UK’s learning from such groups as IsraAid, Save a Child’s Heart and Energiya Global Capital, the real question is why the meetings had to be conducted in secret.
I think we all know the answer.CAROL CLAPSADDLE
No one could miss the extent of the coverage on television and in the newspapers in Britain given to the resignation of Priti Patel.
I can understand her interest in the unique and fascinating country that the world’s media seem to hate. What is wrong with showing an interest in Israel in a private capacity, as she did? Would such an outcry be heard if this had happened in some other country? Britain’s foreign policy was clearly outlined in the coverage – that the UK does not recognize Israel’s control of the Golan Heights, the same as it decries any Jewish settlement in the heartland of biblical Judea and Samaria, which Israel’s opponents prefer to call the “West Bank.”
Britain’s constant denial of Israel’s rights in these disputed areas is of great concern to those who value the Judeo-Christian values passed down from the Jewish people. Only due to the Holocaust was there enough sympathy to allow Jews to return to the land of their forefathers as a safer option than the ghettos of Europe and gas chambers of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. The Bible clearly states that “the Lord loveth the gates of Zion” (Psalm 87:2), yet the British government seems ready to allow the whole of the historic Old City of Jerusalem to become an Islamic caliphate.
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The bias shows exactly where Britain stands concerning Israel: ambivalent, at best. It is a long way since the evangelical fervor that brought about the Balfour Declaration 100 years ago. But back then, Great Britain was clearly blessed by God. Other great empires fell after their mistreatment of the Jews. As the Scripture says, “He that toucheth you [Israel] toucheth the apple of My eye” (Zechariah 2:8).
Ms. Patel should be proud of her visit to Israel and not be intimidated by her pro-Arabist peers who edge into antisemitic views with their anti-Israel rhetoric.COLIN NEVIN
Bangor, Northern Ireland
The furor in Britain’s parliament surrounding the visit to Israel by Priti Patel and her meetings with various groups and Israeli Knesset members is exaggerated and misplaced, and smacks of antisemitism. I find it very hard to believe that a person of her experience and political knowhow would initiate meetings with representatives of a foreign country without prior and full knowledge of her government.
Had Ms. Patel been in an Arab country and conducted “clandestine” meetings, she no doubt would have been congratulated for her initiative! DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
Larry David’s comments
How do you have the nerve to publish such ignorant drivel? I am referring, of course, to Orit Arfa’s “In defense of Larry David” (Comment & Features, November 9).
Larry David, a “comedian,” gave stand-up comedy that was beyond tasteless and had most of his audience writhing in shame at his mockery of the poor tortured souls trapped in the concentration camp. And Ms. Arfa comes to his defense! Her piece includes several gems, including “We can find humor in the insanity.” This wasn’t insanity! This was the epitome of pure evil! Another gem: “What more could the Jews have done to stop it?” Is she kidding? Does she not know that the victims of the Holocaust were utterly powerless to stop anything? Did she never hear of the Evian Conference? The Jews in the rest of the world were shown that no country except for tiny Costa Rica was willing to take in Germany’s Jews – if they could manage to get there at all.
Another gem: “At what point can we forgive?” How about never? And the last one: “We can’t always live in tears.” I, for one, will always have tears in my eyes when I hear the sirens on Holocaust Remembrance Day. I will cry when I read yet another account of what befell our people.
I had the luck of being born in Connecticut in 1941. The rest of the world was in flames. The chances of a baby girl surviving Europe in those years were grim indeed. What on earth could be funny about that situation? Ms. Arfa should read Daniel Silva’s trilogy, which deals with what he calls “the unfinished business of the Holocaust.” The last book is called A Death in Venice. Or she could read Herman Wouk’s masterpieces The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.
She lives in Germany, where, in the biblical phrase from Cain and Abel, “your brother’s blood cries out from the ground.” Please get this poor woman some appropriate reading matter! THELMA JACOBSON
First I felt sick – then I was filled with anger and disbelief. Then I thought what a sadness for Orit Arfa to sully the memory of her “brave, opinionated grandfather” by associating him with her despicable opinion piece.
Ms. Arfa obviously is too young to have seen the end-of-the-war newsreels that showed the liberation of death camps, when hardened-by-war American and British soldiers entered the camps and vomited or fainted or staggered around crying as they looked at the human skeletons who somehow survived the worst cruelty and inhumanity ever known in our history. No sex comments to make you laugh there.
I have only one thing left to say to Ms. Arfa: Come home – I am afraid you have been in Germany too long.
Oh, and by the way, I hope her new novel ends up in the trashcan.LINDA HIRSCH
Regarding Shmuley Boteach’s “A letter to Larry David about the Holocaust” (No Holds Barred, November 7), as a big fan of Seinfeld for years, I cannot believe that Larry David was ever a part of that show.
His own show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, is to me a disappointment and embarrassment. I never watched an entire season and could only take a few shows altogether.
In it, Mr. David plays the typical whiny, cheap, nebbishy bagels-and-lox Jew. His character lends credence to all the stereotypically negative impressions of what it means to be Jewish. Far from showing him as a proud Jew, his show, which no doubt is autobiographical, shows his disdain for his religion – especially the stupid episodes where he tries to seduce a married religious Jewish woman who wears a head covering.
If anything, his stupid monologue on Saturday Night Live (a show that used to be very funny decades ago) should be viewed as his own “Michael Richards” career-destroying moment.
But it won’t, because unlike the actor who played Kramer on Seinfeld, he degraded Jews and not African Americans.
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