April 13, 2017: Compare the two

Perhaps the Arab populations will come to realize that the ways of freedom can be theirs if they act against their repressive regimes.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Compare the two
Let’s compare former refusenik Yosef Begun’s moving description of a prison Seder (“Seder in a prison camp in the Gulag,” Passover Supplement, April 10) and Molly Tulsky’s offensive report of her decision to go to the world champion Chicago Cubs’ opening game at Wrigley Field instead of taking part in a Seder (“This year my Passover Seder will be at Wrigley Field,” Sports, April 9).
I love my Cubbies, but Tulsky made me sorry, for the first time, that the Cubs won that game. At least she had to sit through a two-hour rain delay.
Begun tells us that in April 1984, when he was a prisoner in the Gulag, a Passover miracle occurred when a kilogram package of food, including matzot, arrived. So he decided to organize a celebration of “the most important event in the history of my people.”
He invited “20 to 30” fellow Jewish prisoners, “recounted the biblical story of the Exodus and the traditions of the holiday,” and then distributed “a small piece of matza” to each person there.
“For most of them,” he writes, “it was their first taste of the poor bread of Jewish liberation, as well as a reminder of what they well remembered without it – the difficulty of fighting for their freedom.”
The next day, he was summoned by the guards and was sentenced to six months in a locked cell for conducting “anti-Soviet activity.”
Contrast this with Tulsky’s obtuse, tasteless assertion that the Cubs are also a religion and that by going to the game, her family was celebrating “our destiny – how we’ve made it to the Promised Land, hallelujah, at last.”
Too bad we cannot arrange a conversation between Begun and Tulsky about religion, our obligation to think of the price many have paid for the precious gift of freedom, and the location of the Promised Land. It is certainly not Wrigley Field (notwithstanding the fun we have all had in its friendly confines).
Game changer
US President Donald Trump has changed the gestalt of the Middle East (“World leaders praise strike on Syria as US braces for Russian response,” April 9).
We all now realize that the Arab nations are weak and unable to be militarily supportive.
Their regimes are tottering.
They can only add their voice in support because the United States did their work for them.
They all understand that Syrian President Bashar Assad is a menace to all Arabs – except those who are supported by Iran.
No one can really predict what will happen now that the United States has shaken up the situation.
Perhaps the Arab populations will come to realize that the ways of freedom can be theirs if they act against their repressive regimes. We can still hope that the Iranians will realize that just as they got rid of the shah, they can get rid of the mullahs.
Thinking links
With regard to “On to Europe for PA, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Gulf states and even Iraq” (April 6), what is Israel Katz thinking? He might be transportation and intelligence minister, but as far as I can see, the intelligence is sadly lacking.
Under Katz’s plan, the Haifa to Beit She’an train link would be extended eastward to the border crossing with Jordan, and southward to the Jenin area, where the Palestinians could connect to it.
This, he believes, will help the “Palestinian” economy – as though their economy has never had anything to do with their goal of destroying us.
The rail line to Jordan would continue to Irbid, from where it would link with existing and planned lines extending south through Jordan into Saudi Arabia, and east to the Persian Gulf.
We are talking about enemy countries being given a strong foothold here, and my mind boggles at the thought of how we would be totally encompassed.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Katz to present the plan to US special envoy Jason Greenblatt, who, you report, received it “enthusiastically.”
Does anyone still think the Trump administration will be any better than the previous one? And why should it be when the Arabs are able to make a convincing case for their rights while we continue behaving like prize fools, running around looking for ways to make more concessions to our enemies? We have forgotten – if we ever really knew – how to stand as a people with faith in the justness of our cause, ready to challenge our enemies and so-called friends so that there will never again be any question about the rights of only the Jewish people to the Jewish land.
Not true
In “The fight for historical truth about the Holocaust in Ukraine” (Observations, March 31), Per Anders Rudling and Efraim Zuroff write that in Poland, “they outlaw criticism of the behavior of Poles toward Jews during the war.”
Absolutely not! It simply is not true. The law was passed to prosecute anyone who calls German concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Poland “Polish camps,” which they were not.
The difference is striking.
This grave error should be corrected.
Unlike in other eastern European countries, democracy in Poland is thriving.
It seems to me that authors’ memories about Poland are stuck in a period that has since undergone a dramatic change.