It takes two
Sir, - In "US spying on Israel's nuke program, new state-sponsored book claims" (December 14, 2008) Barak Ben-Zur, a retired Shin Bet officer, described the effort "as largely benign, given the closeness of defense ties between Israel and Washington." Many of us fail to see that "closeness." If it exists, why is Jonathan Pollard serving a punitive, cruel and inhumane prison sentence in an American prison for giving Israel crucial information illegally withheld by America?
Fast forward to "No more Pollards," your editorial of October 20, 2009. The FBI's arrest of Stewart David Nozette in Washington this week on charges of trying to sell national security secrets to Israel is bad news, even though Israel's position since the 1984 Pollard affair has been that it does not spy on the US.
The Nozette case only reinforces the need to adhere strictly to this promise and, as the Post urges, "not to let anything undermine the special relationship between our two countries." That applies to America, as well: It takes two to make a "special relationship."
Sir, - Is it not perplexing, and disturbing, that an important West African country like Nigeria was one of the 25 that voted to adopt the Goldstone Report at the UN Human Rights Council? After Greer Fay Cashman's description of Nigerian Ambassador Dada Olisa's high personal regard and genuine warm feelings for Israel and the enhanced economic and cultural relations between our two countries (Grapevine, October 21), the perplexity increases enormously.
It must be borne in mind that the Goldstone Report not only accuses Israel of the grossest of crimes, but obscenely adds that Israel's intent was not based primarily on self-defense but on an interest in inflicting suffering on the Palestinian people. Can such a thing be endorsed by countries that enjoy amicable relations and a modicum of mutual respect with Israel?
Among the other countries that voted to adopt the Goldstone Report one can find Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and India!
Sir, - Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren is right ("Oren turns down J Street conference invitation," October 21.) Why would any friend of Israel have anything to do with J Street?
J Street smiles at Israel while doing everything possible to stab her in the back. In more rational times, Jews everywhere, but especially in Israel, would shun members of J Street, but these days such people are treated with respect by the Obama administration because they represent a large number of a certain kind of Jew.
At least Hamas and Hizbullah are up front regarding their motivation.
Highland Park, New Jersey
Sir, - In referring to poet Josh Healey's invitation to the conference and the subsequent cancellation of the event featuring him because of his comparing Israel's actions to the Nazis', J Street's response was that the poet's appearance at the conference "might also be offensive to some conference participants."
It made me wonder to which participants - of this "pro-Israel" conference - such referencing might not be offensive.
Year of the Knife
Sir, - I think we should call 2009 Year of the Knife - the year in which the blood of innocent victims watered the earth of the Holy Land; in which vicious murderers painted the cities of Israel red with blood. The latest horror - an entire family put to the knife ("Rishon firefighters receive counseling to cope with memories of Oshrenko tragedy," October 20).
When is this country going to get up off its backside, put an end to the rot and make the land livable and lovable again?
I say bring in the IDF to patrol our cities and make them safe, in close cooperation with the police. And deter would-be killers with the death penalty - a life for a life.
Our media mavens put home-made terror down to booze-drinking youth and an atmosphere of violence. I put it down to an increasingly godless, valueless society intoxicated with arrogance, hedonism andprofit-lust.
It is crystal clear to me that if the people of Israel returned sincerely in repentance and contrition to the tenets of their Jewish faith; if they frequented synagogues on the Sabbath instead of nightclubs and practiced respect and caring for their fellow citizens, making it their job to help the elderly, weak and less fortunate, we might see the violence, bullying, godlessness and corruption giving way to the exemplary and proud society which I, like so many other Israeli citizens, aspire to live in.
This isn't child's play
Sir, - Re the October 21 advertisement headlined "Jews do not deport children":
The basic question we should be asking concerning these children of foreign and illegal workers is where we draw the line. Right now, they number 1,200; in another year or two, it could be tens of thousands.
Yes, we have a conscience, but we also have our own problems with our own needy, and our resources are not unlimited.
If we retain these children now, will we be able to say no to future foreign workers and refugees from Africa and Asia, numbering potentially in the millions?
Friday night at Freddy's
Sir, - Freddy Sopher, who died this week in London, was a legend for over 50 years to all those who traveled to, trekked or were stranded in Bombay. Businessmen and tourists all found a home away from home at Freddy's.
A confirmed bachelor and proud Sephardi Jew whose father came from Baghdad earlier in the century, he received a private British school education and joined the family business. But he will be remembered mostly for his Friday evening meals, served to all who showed up without regard to background or religious persuasion. He was tolerant of all and pure giving in character.
Long before Chabad, Freddy's effect on young people could be felt years later when they recalled his hospitality.
He lived across the street from Chabad House and witnessed last year's horrific events of barbarity and cruelty firsthand.
Owing to his failing health, Freddy's family brought him to London last year, where he finally succumbed.
This prince of a man will be sorely missed by all those who sat at his table over the years, and by all those travelers to exotic places. Freddy was Bombay, and vice versa.
The past lives
Sir, - Many thanks to Alexander Zvielli for bringing the past to life in his From Our Archives compilation. It enables older readers to relive historic events, and younger readers to hear voices from the past.
Israel Association of University Women
What price pretty?
Sir, - Re Judy Montagu's "Ugly can be beautiful" (October 21) and Barbie dolls' "chocolate-box prettiness":
When I compare US and European movies, the American actresses all tend to look like Barbies - so similar, in fact, that it can actually lead to confusion about the plot - while the British and European actresses have character and individuality in their faces and bodies.
Some, like Judy Dench and Maggie Smith, to take just two examples, are a delight to watch even as they age.