Letters to the editor, May 11

Right-wing 'Post'? Sir, - Walid Awad suggests in "The Palestinian premise for peace" (May 10) that Jerusalem Post readers are subjected daily to a barrage of Islamophobia by right-wing writers. While the writers he is apparently referring to have been associated with the Post for a very long time, he ignores the group of Israeli-based contributors who, to this reader, often appear more pro-Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves. But readers know who they are and our talkbacks to their views are there to be seen at jpost.com Also writing for the paper are a number of left-wing Jewish American contributors, for example the representative of the Israel Policy Forum. Speaking for myself, I wish the Post were more right-wing. BORIS CELSER Calgary Sir, - Walid Awad accuses The Jerusalem Post of extremist views and blames "the occupation" for all Palestinian ills. But were Yasser Arafat and the PA blameless? Consider all the money spent on bombs, guns and explosives; on training children to become terrorists; on teaching them to hate. Instead of getting educated for a productive life college-age youngsters march as they shoot rifles in the air. And don't overlook all the money stolen by corrupt PA officials. If the Palestinians want a state let them do something honest and productive. Israel took a barren land and turned it into a wonderful country which has made great contributions to the world. S. WEISSMANN Jerusalem Sir, - Walid Awad claims that most Palestinians are peaceful people who want to make peace with the Jewish state. Yet when Jewish women, children, babies and old folk have been blown to smithereens by Arab suicide bombers, the reaction of average Palestinians has been one of celebration and rejoicing. And who voted in the Hamas terrorist organization? Father Christmas? DOV AARONS London Thanks, guys Sir, - I would like to thank Britain's Association of University Teachers for again attempting to implement a boycott of Israeli universities and lecturers. This helps reassure me that I made the correct choice when I left the UK for Israel two years ago ("Academic boycott debate returns to UK," On-Line Edition, May 10). DARREN GLADSTONE Tel Aviv Saudis & Audis Sir, - Iran isn't the main problem. Jews live in Iran, and there is at least one functioning synagogue still in Iran. The anti-Semitism and anti-Israel passion current throughout the Islamic world has always had one basic source: instruction by Saudi imams in Wahabi theology. Only one form of religion is allowed in Saudi Arabia, and the many foreign workers are treated like slaves. This, and the production of anti-Semitic books and articles, is what converted a religion that used to be more friendly to Judaism than Christianity to being seen as the source of nearly all the world's evils. The golden calf of the personal automobile and an intense desire for cheap oil blinds people to where the problem is really located. Iran's Rafsanjani reflects a theology that has its source in Saudi Arabia ("Impeccable logic, clear intentions," Charles Krauthammer, May 8). DAVE KLEPPER Jerusalem 'Way back' for Bush Sir, - The letter from the president of Iran to President Bush is far from being a diplomatic note. It is a theological harangue aiming to cause the recipient to repent and ask for forgiveness - tawbah in Arabic. This is the writing common among Muslim fundamentalists. Essentially, George Bush's Christian beliefs are being challenged no less than the right of Israel to exist. If Israel is described as the root of all evil, Bush is being told that he is a hypocrite who only pretends to be a religious person. The subtext: By abandoning Israel he will have taken a step toward spiritual salvation. Can we now expect evangelical Christian supporters of Bush to draft a missive and fire back? ("The choice for Russia and China," May 10). DAVID ZOHAR Jerusalem Silent anti-Semitism Sir, - There is enough anti-Semitism in the world without the silent type. I watched ABC-TV's The Ten Commandments, and was appalled. Our people were never mentioned as Jewish, Hebrew or Israelites. We were called slaves or ex-slaves ("Moses rules," Pessah Supplement). This is the second example of silent anti-Semitism I have seen in entertainment media. The first was on April 15, 2001, Easter Sunday, in the disgusting BC comic strip. The replacement theology strip started with a menora; by the last panel it had become a cross. I called other rabbis and even the publisher of the Jewish-run newspaper as I had advance notice of the strip. Nobody cared to do anything. When are we going to stop being afraid to let people know we are Jews and not slaves? I am proud to be Jewish. RABBI DR. MOTTEL CUTLER Universal Synagogue Las Vegas Sickening distinction Sir, - I am sick when I see the images from Darfur. I was all the more pleased therefore to read Samuel Freedman's "Messinger's message" (May 10) about Ruth Messinger and her work in Darfur. The cynicism of the UN and European Union is beyond belief. The UN representative in Darfur has openly stated that the food allocation money has run out and the need is greater than ever. But the Western world seems concerned solely with the needs of the Palestinians and the dream of "two states living side by side in peace." I cannot fathom the distinction that says the cause of feeding desperate people in Africa is less attractive than feeding people in the Middle East. How can the UN excuse not calling an emergency meeting to allocate more funds for Darfur? All the rallies in the world cannot make up for this lack of leadership and commitment, nor disguise the negligence and bias. TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem Mighty obligation Sir - Thank you for publishing news of the Sudanese refugees being held in an Israeli prison ("Darfur refugees to get their day in High Court, May 7). I hope that the High Court rules to release the refugees, and that Israel then heeds the words of Prof. Yehuda Bauer and grants them asylum. As a people who have experienced firsthand the devastation of genocide, we have a mighty responsibility to care for the refugees of this, the first genocide of the 21st century. NAVA LEVINE-COREN Jerusalem Lag Ba'Omer's wasted wood Sir, - Every afternoon for the past several weeks we have seen groups of youngsters hauling perfectly good wooden pallets from a nearby construction site in preparation for their Lag Ba'Omer bonfire. Quite apart from the prohibition against appropriating someone else's property there is the Torah prohibition of lo tashchit - do not unnecessarily destroy anything of worth - clearly all the more so if, in so doing, we fail to create something more useful. We would not want to discourage kids from taking scrap wood or broken wooden articles; our grandchildren have been doing it for years. And indeed, there is benefit in ridding empty lots of this discarded material. Nor are we against a bonfire in principle, or wanting to detract from the beautiful and varied symbolism of the Lag B'Omer bonfire. Let this beautiful custom continue for many generations to come, but let us perform it in the spirit of the Torah. It is worrisome, especially here in Israel, to see good recyclable wooden skids wasted. And as parents and grandparents, we should also remember that the larger the fire, the more pollution is released; and the greater its height, the greater the potential for danger. BLOSSOM AND ISRAEL RUBIN Beit Shemesh