October 15: Strange behavior...

October 15 Strange beha

October 14, 2009 19:45

Strange behavior... Sir, - Re "Throwing children to the wolves" (October 14): How can we punish these children of foreign workers, discarding young lives into the unknown without a thought for the impact on our image abroad, or how these youngsters will feel about us as they grow into adulthood? I agree completely with Greer Fay Cashman, and would go a step further - asking each organization with programs for children in distress to "adopt" some of these kids. It's time for us all to stand up for what the Torah and common decency say, for "we were once strangers in a strange land." A. WEINBERG Rehovot ...brainless, heartless Sir, - I too was one of those who tsk-tsk'd and shrugged my shoulders, thinking it was a government matter and there was nothing to be done. Wrong. I hope there are influential people moved by Ms. Cashman's words who will take steps to change this no-brain, no-heart decision. M. WACHTEL Jerusalem Sir, - A beautiful expression of our concerns about the direction our country is taking. I commend your writer on her candor. If we allow ourselves to ignore injustice and insensitivity, we can no longer define ourselves as a democratic state, much less a Jewish state based on a moral code. Escalating violence, disrespect for others' rights and a refusal to recognize the benefits of diversity have changed the face and image of Israeli society. An outcry is required. Hopefully somebody will listen. JUDY TELMAN Mevaseret Zion Kind and conscientious Sir, - Filipinos have been travelling the world to obtain employment so they can nurture their families. These men and women are conscientious, trustworthy, intelligent, gentle, kind, soft-spoken, talented and very oriented to the family with which they reside. They do not shrink from any task, no matter how demanding. During my 29 years in Israel, every Filipino I have met has earned the respect and affection of the people around them, whether they work with the elderly, the sick, or young children. Their devotion is returned tenfold. They deserve our utmost appreciation. MILLIE ROSENBLATT Haifa Offensive, intolerable... Sir, - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Croatia feels a need to react to "Croatian NGO plans monument to Nazi collaborator Ante Pavelic" (October 6), First of all, we emphasize that erecting the monument in honor of Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic is not only forbidden by law in the Republic of Croatia, but is also an offensive act that would not be tolerated either by the Croatian State institutions, or by Croatian citizens. We are using this opportunity to stress once again that the Republic of Croatia strongly condemns any kind of discrimination - national, racial, religious, gender etc., - as well as any ideological or state entity founded on these beliefs. It is, besides, against all kinds of discrimination or provocation of mutual intolerance on the above-mentioned bases. The foundations of our constitution stress that the establishment of state sovereignty, based on the decisions of the Anti-Fascist Council of the National Liberation of Croatia, oppose the proclamation of the so called Independent State of Croatia in 1941. In this respect, the republic will not allow any revisionism or changing of the historical facts associated with the existence and character of the so-called Independent State of Croatia. AMBASSADOR MARICA MATKOVIC´ Embassy of the Republic of Croatia Tel Aviv ...and incomplete Sir, - Whenever an article appears in the foreign media dealing with the role of Croatia during WWII, the reader must expect a deluge of unsubstantiated body counts. For their part, to prove their anti-fascist atonement, Croats worldwide must resort to apologetic disclaimers and self-accusatory mea culpas. Your writer might as well have gone a step further and declared that present-day Croatia is a Xerox copy of the former fascist WWII Croatia - since, after all, this newly reborn state uses more or less the same insignia while officially rejecting the number of 700,000 victims allegedly killed by Croat fascists. What in fact are the empirical sources that the author mines when he states that WWII Croatia was "the most murderous of the Axis-aligned countries?" Instead he discusses the marginal Croatian NGO, the Croatian Cultural Movement (HUP) and its desire to erect a monument to Ante Pavelic. Is your writer fluent in Croatian and German? Has he ever visited the German Federal Archives in Koblenz in order to give free rein to Efraim Zuroff's admonition "to any person with any sense of moral integrity" regarding the crimes committed by Ustashi Croats? The whole piece smacks of the old-style Yugoslav communist "normative agitprop locution," or the Soviet-styled "double talk" - which a B-student would have a hard time swallowing. Croatian history - and, for that matter, European history as a whole - is not black and white. Your writer could have mentioned that the head of WWII Croatia, Ante Pavelic, had a number of Muslim ministers in his government, and that a number of Croats of Jewish extraction served as high ranking officers in Ustashi military units. Last but not least, he might have mentioned large-scale genocides, in the months after WWII, of hundreds of thousands of Croatian and German civilians by the Yugoslav communist strongmen Josip Broz Tito, whose handful of surviving butchers, although senile, are still vocal in Croatia. As usual their killing fields are consigned to historical oblivion. Instead of wasting time on the trivial portraiture of would-be Pavelic fans, serious research should be done on communist crimes of the former Western darling, the ex-communist Yugoslavia. TOMISLAV (TOM) SUNIC Zagreb, Croatia Counter to Nobel Sir, - Amid all the brouhaha about President Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize: Interviewed about the controversial award, Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel committee, justified the committee's choice by saying that "Alfred Nobel wrote that the prize should go to the person who has contributed most to the development of peace in the previous year" (emphasis - A.G.). But according to his own words, Mr. Jagland went against Nobel's instructions: The award was given for Mr. Obama's deeds in the current year. Irrespective of his qualifications, the award was for the wrong year. The 2009 award covers the year 2008. In 2008, Mr. Obama was a United States senator and candidate for president. Moreover, the actions for which the award is given are done before the candidate is nominated. As the filing period for candidates closed by February 1, 2009, a nominee's actions had to have been before that date. Obama's efforts and actions came after it ("Decline and fall of the Nobel Peace Prize," Shmuley Boteach, October 14). AHARON GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit Germ barrier Sir, - Waiting to see your doctor in his surgery? It's a sure way to pick up germs. Surely we should be issued with face masks at the entrance ("Hospitals not prepared for swine flu outbreak: IMA warns, September 27). RAHEL SHRAGA Etz Efraim

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