Letters: Week of August 5

My husband says I don't have much of a sense of humor, but I do have the sense to recognize when 'The Sounds of Silence' are preferable to your paper, which is 'Still Crazy After All These Years.'

An embarrassmentSir, – What a sycophantic interview of Glenn Beck (“‘Israel – You are not the bad guys!,’” Cover, July 22)! Asking questions of him as if he were an expert on the Middle East, Israel and global affairs – when he never attended college and knows little! Beck revealed his ignorance by planning his event for the Temple Mount, unaware of the problems there for Muslims and Jews. No questions asked about his demeaning the Holocaust with his constant Nazi metaphors, or about his statements that Jews killed Jesus and that Reform Judaism is like radicalized Islam. (Only after there were complaints did he apologize.) Or his identifying nine people in history as “enemies of America and humanity,” with eight of them being Jews. Or his apocalyptic forecasts and wild conspiracy theories. Or his many factual errors, distortions and outright lies in which he has been caught.
As for his “crying,” Beck frequently “cries.” He is a performer. And a megalomaniac.
Beck’s upcoming rally is an embarrassment to Israel. This interview was an embarrassment to The Jerusalem Post.
One-trick paperSir, – “You can call me Paul” (Short Story, July 22) might be entertaining to the stereotypical secularite, or maybe you just get a high from making others look foolish. Overall, satire (“a way of criticizing people or ideas in a humorous way,” – Cambridge Dictionary) is ugly at best and can be very destructive.
My husband says I don’t have much of a sense of humor, but I do have the sense to recognize when “The Sounds of Silence” are preferable to your paper, which is “Still Crazy After All These Years.”
Beyond the pale
Sir, – Alon Ben-Meir’s prophecy of our demographic doom (“Escaping the Jewish ghetto,” Above the Fray, July 22) is based on Palestinian data that have long been debunked as wildly inaccurate if not politically motivated. While the annual number of Arab births stabilized at 39,000 in 1995-2009, the annual number of Jewish births surged by 50 percent, from 80,400 in 1995 to 121,000 in 2009.
For Ben-Meir, nothing is right with Israel, especially, it seems, the tripling of the haredi population over the past 20 years. He has a problem with the prospect of 30% of IDF recruits being haredi and sees this turning the IDF into a “tool of suppression.” He talks of a “brain drain” of predominantly “secular, liberal and cosmopolitan” Israelis.
Did it ever occur to him that religious and conservative Israelis also have brains? Perhaps he should check out the number of kippot among Prime Minister Netanyahu’s appointees and his closest advisers. They were not forced on him; they happened to be his best choices.
And finally, Ben-Meir’s most egregious line of all: “Israelis today are clamoring to return to Germany and other free countries.” Aside from anything else, as a child of Holocaust survivors I find this thought – and the implication that Israel is perhaps not so free – utterly repugnant.
His weekly column is called “Above the Fray.” This surely was “Beyond the Pale.”
The writer is chairman of Likud-Herut UK.
Sir, – Alon Ben-Meir is quite possibly an armchair hero in his ivory tower at NYU. The truth is, many olim have moved to Israel from the utopian lands to which he seems so attached. We feel privileged to have the opportunity to live in this country and raise our children here.
It is far from a perfect society, but at least we are seeking to improve what we have from within, rather than throwing stones from the outside.
I would suggest that Ben-Meir’s negative approach is irrelevant to the vast majority of Israelis, including many who live abroad and have huge pride in this country. The real shame is that he appears to abuse his name and position to promote fringe views that are totally unrepresentative of Israel to his American students, who probably know no better.
Uplifting story
Sir, – Regarding “The long journey from tukul to bar” (The Human Spirit, July 22), another uplifting story! Rebuilding Jewish lives and Israel, one person at a time.
Warminster, Pennsylvania