April 29, 2018: Ms. Portman again

Our readers have their say

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Ms. Portman again
In response to Seth J. Frantzman’s long comments regarding Natalie Portman and the Genesis Prize (“Power, politics and the Natalie Portman Rorschach test,” Analysis, April 23), I am surprised that Ms. Portman was offered this prestigious accolade. What has she achieved to warrant getting this? A few mediocre films?
I am also surprised that her naïve motives for rejecting this are taken so seriously.
In my opinion, the fact that she was born in Israel certainly does not excuse her inability to see the forest for the trees. She has spent most of her life as an American Jewess who most probably voted for Hillary Clinton – of course she would not like either the Likud or Benjamin Netanyahu! But to refuse an Israeli award by pretending she does not endorse Mr. Netanyahu is insulting and ungrateful.
I totally disagree with Mr. Frantzman. Ms. Portman does not deserve to be listened to. Although she discounts it, she has definitely fallen for the floriferous Hamas propaganda that is based on fallacies.
Stop giving her a platform.
Hen Mazzig (“Open letter to Natalie Portman from an Israeli progressive,” Comment & Features, April 23) correctly defines the reasons why the way her non-acceptance of this prestigious award has been interpreted and latched onto by others as outright criticism of Israel, and not just certain political policies and individuals.
I would, however, not appear to be chasing her to change her mind, as she has clearly made her decision. Now she and we must live with it. Perhaps it will be a learning curve, as “for every action, there is a reaction.” Such is life.
Tel Aviv
Kol hakavod to Hen Mazzig for his open letter to Natalie Portman. Very impressive! He said it all.
Kudos to Hen Mazzig for his important article. I would just like to add some more thoughts.
Natalie Portman should by now have realized that words have impact. They are like feathers: Once released, they cannot be returned.
Where are her words praising Israel’s medical care for wounded Syrian refugees or establishing successful field hospitals for disaster-torn countries or caring for ill family members of our enemies? These acts of Israeli humanity do not often reach the news outlets of America and the world.
I want to commend Hen Mazzig for his words.
I am an English teacher living and teaching in Gush Etzion, and although he and I might not see eye to eye on several topics, I am thankful to be living in a place that allows us to express our divergent opinions.
Natalie Portman missed that message and I applaud Mr. Mazzig for reminding her. I wish him health and continued success in expressing his views in our beautiful country.
A more careful reading
Rafael Medoff’s “The US Holocaust Museum vs. Elie Wiesel” (Comment & Features, April 22) quotes an interview I gave to the Times of Israel about my book Rescue Board, which was published on April 10 by Doubleday and is a comprehensive history of the US War Refugee Board.
In the interview, I said “I’m extremely cautious about saying that bombing the gas chambers would have saved a lot of lives” and that “if the [US] had carpet-bombed the camp, most of the camp would have died.” These statements are true and I stand by them. Careful historians do not presume to know the outcome of events that did not occur.
At the same time, logic dictates that any long-range, non-precision bombing of Auschwitz- Birkenau, where tens of thousands of prisoners were crammed together, would likely have resulted in many prisoner deaths. I did not comment on the possible effects of a targeted bombing raid, which has long been debated by historians.
Medoff misrepresents my words to claim that I think the US government was correct in its decision not to target the extermination facilities at Birkenau – which I do not believe and would not ever say. He and I agree that bombing Auschwitz never became a military priority for the United States even though the 15th US Air Force was flying bombing missions over the area in the summer of 1944. We also agree that if the US War Department conducted a study on the feasibility of targeted bombing of the gas chambers, crematoria or rail lines leading to Auschwitz, this study has never been found by historians.
Medoff then tries to pit me against the late Elie Wiesel, who remembered wishing for the American bombs to fall while he was imprisoned in Auschwitz, arguing that Wiesel and I have opposing views on the matter. Yet in his book Night, Wiesel, when describing an American attack on the Buna factories near Birkenau, wrote: “[I]f a bomb had fallen on the blocks, it alone would have claimed hundreds of victims on the spot.”
There is no conflict between my statements and those of Wiesel. Medoff needs to read my words, and those of Wiesel, more carefully.
Not ready for primetime
I am sure that I am not the only reader to be sickened by the publicity – more than half a page – that you gave to a club for self-declared perverts (“When this paper became a safe word,” Arts & Entertainment, April 22). Even more, you proudly allowed “Jerusalem Post” to be used as a “safe word” when the torture became unbearable.
How low have we sunk?
This is how Israel, striving to be “a light unto the nations,” wants to show itself to the world? Bondage, whipping, public sex? This is what is considered suitable for the Arts & Entertainment section?
What on earth were you thinking when publishing this piece of garbage? This might be entertainment for adults, but do children really have to see the photos?
People who find pleasure in places like this know where to find them. Shame on you!
‘Jewish’ writer?
With regard to “Thousands attend Israeli-Palestinian ceremony” (April 20), Israeli author David Grossman, in his speech at the Alternative Memorial Day event, stated that “when Israeli snipers kill dozens of Palestinian protesters, most of them civilians, Israel is less of a home.”
A sniper, by definition, has perfect vision enabling pinpoint accuracy. It is therefore hard to believe that the Israeli army, made up of our own sons and daughters ,would willingly target and shoot civilians. It is more conceivable that these “civilians” are rather gun-toting Hamasniks presenting a dangerous threat.
When Grossman accuses Israeli soldiers of shooting unarmed civilians, is he not aware that he is aligning himself with the very worst of Jew-haters? In my opinion, he forfeited the right to be called a “Jewish writer.”
In the words of the late author Aharon Appelfeld, “There are no longer Jewish writers – only writers of Jewish descent. They no longer represent the tribe; they only represent themselves. They remain on the margin of society, observers, but they can never represent the tribe. They are outsiders.”
From being an Israeli icon, Grossman, by his own hand, has demoted himself to a writer of little credibility.
Mevaseret Zion