Letters to the editor, November 20

Taxing question Sir, - As Prof. Amnon Rubinstein sagely observed, the Israel-bashers of today are simply a new form of the "biological anti-Semite" ("A world without Israel," November 16). In recent studies I have identified Jewish self-hatred with the Naumann-Schoeps syndrome, which developed in German Jewry between 1920 and 1935. Max Naumann headed the Association of National-German Jews, which denounced Zionism and Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Hans-Joachim Schoeps led a group of assimilationists, the German-Jewish Vanguard. Their intellectual descendants banded together in Matzpen on Israeli campuses in the 1960s and 70s. Matzpen leader Uri Davis called for banning Jewish student groups from British universities long before academics like Daniel Dor and Ilan Pappe were vilifying the Jewish state. Does academic freedom justify the salaries of "biological anti-Semites" at the Israeli tax payer's expense? GABRIEL A. SIVAN Jerusalem Sir, - Prof. Amnon Rubinstein rightly points out the alarming increase in the number of books written by American, British and European university professors advocating the end of Zionism and the dismantling of the State of Israel. I wish I could share his optimism about the eventual disregard of such works. However, as students and doctoral candidates depend on these professors for their grades, promotions and job placements, I fear that this anti-Jewish and anti-Israel propaganda, masquerading as scholarship, will be with us for some time. RIVKAH FISHMAN Jerusalem From curious to scandalous Sir, - Kudos for the editorial that reminded readers that Omri Sharon's election-funding hanky-panky takes second place to that perpetrated by someone who is now a minister ("A corrosive pattern," November 16). Isaac Herzog's machinations on Ehud Barak's behalf - dubbed "the greatest scam ever" - were perpetrated in a national, and not just a party, election. Moreover, in Herzog's case there was also suspicion of breach of fiduciary duty for transferring huge sums from charitable foundations, of which he was the trustee, into Barak's campaign coffers - among other alleged irregularities. As your columnist, Jonathan Rosenblum, said at the time, "It is curious how few of those waxing indignant about the integrity of the Likud electoral process were similarly outraged by the selection of Isaac Herzog to the 10th spot on the Labor list." Not just "curious," but also scandalous. JEANETTE DERSHOWITZ Herzliya Pituah Sir, - The editorial "A corrosive pattern" dances around the issue of political corruption without rooting out its real cause. It is easy to condemn dirty tricks and money laundering and to blame judicial reluctance to handle such hot potatoes. However, it takes journalistic backbone to call a spade a spade and recognize that the attorney-general and the entire apparatus subordinate to him are not simply passive bystanders. The refusal to indict any higher-ups, such as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon or former prime minister Ehud Barak, and pursue only the small fries, reveals a clear political agenda. As long as Sharon embraces a leftist ideology the media, the elite and, yes, even the judicial system, will continue to zealously guard their precious "etrog" regardless of the cost to democracy. MORRIS KARLIN Mercaz Shapira What's the answer? Sir, - Yosef Lapid gave an excellent analysis of the failures of Amir Peretz's economic policies ("No free lunch," November 17), but nowhere in his article did he attempt to provide solutions to the grave economic problems that exist in our society. If he agrees completely with the policies of the current government what does he propose to do in the short run? There are a lot of hungry and helpless people out there and they are waiting for someone to do something. As the leader of the opposition Lapid should be trying to solve these problems. PAUL BERMAN Shoham Trauma closer to home Sir, - It's laudable that the Israel Trauma Coalition is offering its expertise to help Katrina hurricane victims ("Israelis to help US cope with Katrina trauma," November 15). I would hope that the ITC, our government and other responsible organizations would make a supreme effort to alleviate the trauma of our own victims of the disengagement who "lost homes, jobs and communities." The education-related problems encountered in Nitzan ("School conditions upset Nitzan parents," November 15) is only the tip of the iceberg. NANCY MILGRAM Nahariya Resounding boon Sir, - Greek President Karolos Papoulias's visit to Israel to attend the coronation of the new but disputed Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem on Tuesday was characterized by an Israeli Foreign Ministry official as a "private" visit ("Greek Orthodox ignore Israeli opposition," November 17). Therefore, his attendance at the coronation is not viewed by Israel as a diplomatic affront, even though Minister-without-Portfolio Tzahi Hanegbi said the ceremony was against Israeli law. The Foreign Ministry official went on to say Papoulias will receive VIP treatment and meet with high-ranking Israeli officials. Thus, I look forward to the next visit of friends or relatives from abroad who, after, say, getting a parking ticket (thus participating in an illegal activity in Israel) will also be given VIP treatment and ushered in to meet with high-ranking officials. If this becomes a trend imagine the resounding boon to tourism here. LEVY WINSOM Jerusalem It's not anti-Semitism Sir, - As a founding member of the British Aliya Movement in the mid 1970s, I cannot recall a single Jew who made aliya because of anti-Semitism in the UK ("More Brits mulling aliya," November 15). While some anti-Israel feeling may be encouraged today by Muslim extremists and others, this certainly is not what brings UK Jews here. The pull of living in the only Jewish country, where Jewish values abound, brings people on aliya. Shabbat and Jewish holy days as official days of rest, Hebrew as the official language, and the Jewish educational facilities here are among those things that bring Anglo Jews. Jewish education and more assistance to youth movements are the best recipe for increased aliya. MENNY KLAUSNER Petah Tikva GA g-o-n-e Sir, - Regarding "A relevant GA?" (November 15), when is it that the GA was relevant? Its positions always read as if they had been written by the left-wing of the Democratic Party. So - surprise - Jews are wandering away from Jewish institutions? The GA has long been dead. Let's just bury it and save the money it wastes. HANNAH BLOOM Pittsburgh Car blues Sir, - As a Canadian living in Israel for the last 10 years, I know exactly what Lauren Basson went though as she describes it in her excellent article "How not to buy a car in Israel" (November 15). Just because I have a strong American accent doesn't mean that I'm wealthy and willing to be ripped off. Unfortunately, many sabras seem to react this way as soon as I open my mouth. After she purchases her car, she'll notice this reaction immediately at her friendly neighborhood car garage. Watch out! As for finding a car, she should tell everyone she knows that she is looking for a used car. Hopefully a trustworthy friend of a friend will have something for her. MIKE ECKLER Kfar Saba