Response to two letters
I consider the Letters section the most valuable part of your newspaper – even more than the editorial – because it allows for an exchange of ideas (new and old). In this vein, I must comment on the November 26 letters of Mr. Stern “Violence in the air” and Ms. Bamberger (Airbnb in Bethlehem).
1) First, a perusal of National Weather Service discussions prior to the snowstorm of November 15 2018 finds no mention of an expected heavy snow. In fact, news articles following the paralysis of New York City and nearby localities make clear that the ferocity and accumulation of the snow were unexpected. While there is, perhaps, much to be desired concerning the conduct of the flight crew, El Al did arrange through hotels in Athens and Shabbat meals (as well). Other airlines that the haredim now say they will fly won’t do that!
2) Bamberger, while not displaying any obvious errors in her facts, overlooks the elephant in the room. Being a resident of Australia, I am sure that she is familiar with the book A Place To Call Home, which details the trials and tribulations (still ongoing) of Aboriginal peoples native to “her” land. I would love to know if she has similarly campaigned for a delisting of vacation homes in (most of) Australia – and if not, why not?
Rachel, the husband of the Jacob, walked the land in the valley beneath my house. Can she say the same thing?BARRY LYNN
El Al agony
I read with utter disgust, “El Al said that it did not blame anybody for events that occurred on the November 15 flight ... [and] promised all of its passengers a round-trip to Europe, as compensation for inconvenience caused by the events” (November 27).
The airline is just trying to do damage control by not admitting that the blame lies with its failure to get the crew to the airport in time and communicate effectively with the passengers.
There is no mention of refunding their fares – the least they could do in my opinion – only offering a mid-week trip to some European location that may be of no interest to them – no doubt one on which it has many empty seats – so this “generous offer” won’t cost the airline anything!
No wonder “Haredi reactions to the mishap were furious, with influential Rabbi Sholom Ber Sorotzkin, who was on the flight, announcing a boycott of El Al.”
I fully support his call and urge everyone to do so, whatever their religious orientation, until El Al realizes that its purpose is to serve its customers – who are not merely a nuisance to be tolerated for their money.MARTIN D. STERN
Ultra-Orthodox passengers should not be flying so close to Shabbat. Anything could happen: technical problems, bad weather, etc.HELEN SIMPSON
No surprises in the vitriolic content in the letter from your reader in O’Connor, Australia (November 26). Sadly, she identifies herself as Jewish, but feels no compunction in promoting the discrimination of fellow Jews.
As she is misinformed, allow me to disabuse her of her ignorance in matters concerning discrimination of persons when based on consideration of religious, ethnic or national origin as promulgated under American law. Legal actions have been put in motion against Airbnb by both the Lawfare Project and Honest Reporting with potential civil and criminal consequences.
Rather than flaunt her shameful behavior, your reader ought to internalize the message of the 19th prayer that our sages added to the weekday amida.JOEL KUTNER
Is the Airbnb decision to remove “West Bank” apartments from their listings, antisemitic, anti-Israeli or just plain anti-occupation? Are Jews being selected/ discriminated against or is the whole affair just a “tempest in a teapot” making a “mountain out of a molehill?”
An interesting question that might help us to decide is how Airbnb would react to an Israeli Arab who wants to put an apartment he happens to own (in the “occupied” West Bank) on the Airbnb listings...YIGAL HOROWITZ
In “Airbnb – A case of overreaction” (November 26) Susan Hattis Rolef notes that the status of Judea and Samaria “has not been settled under international law” and that the Geneva Convention limits “what Israel may do unilaterally to change their status…”
Rolef is in error on several levels. The applicable Convention is the Geneva Convention of 1949, Part IV. The pertinent Sections are Articles 47-78, “Occupied territories.” A review of these Articles, as well as a review of the commentary by Jean S. Pictet, the then-director-general of General Affairs of the International Committee of the Red Cross, conclusively shows that the term “occupied territories” refers only to a situation where the territories constituted a prior legitimate power and sovereign – not an amorphous entity and situation where there was no clear title to the land in question. The signs of a prior legitimate power and sovereign would be an established government and governmental institutions. This was not the case with Judea and Samaria. Rather, this area was contested after the cessation of the British mandate.
Moreover, the armistice between Israel and Jordan clearly stated that the status of these areas were to be decided subsequently.
As such, the Geneva Convention of 1949 does not apply to Judea and Samaria. Page 273 of the Commentary is particularly cogent. It reports that the Hague Convention of 1907 stated the traditional concept whereby the authority of the legitimate power in fact passes “into the hands of the occupant.”
I think Rolef has to try harder to get the facts straight!I. GENDELMAN
Regarding “President of Chad makes unannounced historic visit” (November 26), these so called “friends” that Prime Minister Netanyahu is cultivating and collecting are certainly all to the good, however, until these countries – especially the ones associated with the Muslim religion – move their embassies to Jerusalem, I for one will remain somewhat skeptical on their true intentions.
Like any courtship, it remains to be seen if these relationships blossom into worthwhile ventures or as we currently seem to have what they want, only turn out to be temporary marriages of convenience.
Let’s try to be positive and look forward to these many “shidduchim” turning out to be truly successful affairs.STEPHEN VISHNICK
Tel AvivImmoral commerce?
I have recently read that the State of Israel still sells arms to third world countries who use them to kill civilians, including women and children and abuse human rights in other ways. I understand that other Western nations have made such business illegal. In order to try and whitewash this, these sales are (sometimes) made through agents from intermediate countries.
The Knesset plans to propose legislation to create a committee through which any arms sales need to be authorized. Hopefully this will alleviate what many people regard as immoral commerce. One hopes that the financial interests of the owners of involved companies and their supporters in the Knesset do not try and torpedo such legislation.
Please give this important issue more coverage.DAVID ZIANTS
Ma’aleh AdumimKhashoggi quagmire
Regarding Rabbi Reuven Hammer’s letter “Khashoggi was no Eichmann” (November 26), Khashoggi, while not an Eichman, was in no way a brave journalist crusading for truth and justice. He was an Israel-hater, a tool of the Turks, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a die-hard supporter of Iran. What was done to him by the Saudis was no different than what the Shi’as perpetually do to the Sunnis.
It is no surprise that Hammer, after misconstruing what Mike Evans was trying to illustrate, lapsed into a denunciation of US President Donald Trump based his on the “morals and ethics of Judaism and Christianity.” I suggest that people connect with the real morals and ethics of Judaism and not elevate the ideology of the Left over what Judaism teaches.CHAIM ABRAMOWITZJerusalem, Israel-Jewish refugees
In his article “Why is the story of the Jewish refugees so little known?” (November 25), Lyn Julius seems unaware of In Ishmael’s House
, the comprehensive and highly informative history of Jews in Muslim lands from before Islam to today by Martin Gilbert.
There were periods of trust, mutual benefit, quiet, as well as terrible oppression, murder, degradation and exile.
This book is eye-opening; I recommend it to Julius and your readers.MARSHA ROTH
JerusalemBagging the Persian cat
The rasping Persian cat is out of the bag (“PM slams Rouhani for calling Israel a cancerous growth,” November 25). Not that such outrageous messages haven’t been voiced by Persian Shi’a indignitaries before, but what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.
The internal Iranian empire, with about half its population not ethnic Persian, has little legitimacy as a unitary state. The country’s larger oppressed minorities include tens of millions of Azaris, Arabs, Kurds and Baluchis. Until Iran converts into a federation of its many peoples, the legitimacy of Persian-rule should be challenged. America may wish to be first on this for maximum effectiveness with Israel only second, all to the applause of hundreds of millions of Sunni Arabs under threat throughout the Middle East and around the globe.
With the true nature of the radical Shi’a Iranian internal empire under psychological attack worldwide, there is a better chance that its military will move against both the ayatollah leadership and its Revolutionary Guards in the name of the country’s “national survival.”
In the meantime, don’t expect continued popular protests in the streets to be able to bag the Persian cat.AARON BRAUNSTEIN
Earlier this week, I, alongside countless other citizens, was prevented from reaching an important appointment because of dissatisfied concrete importers who had not only blocked the entrance to Jerusalem, but had also emptied onto the road bags of powdered cement.
The next day I heard that Kaplan Street, adjacent to the Knesset, was blocked by demonstrators angry with the “cultural loyalty” bill.
Until and unless the law puts a stop to this growing epidemic of holding innocent civilians to ransom life will become even more intolerable and insufferable than it already is.DAVID S ADDLEMAN
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