December 23: We’re bullies

Unequal, selective enforcement of laws and codes makes us bullies, hypocrites and demagogues.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
We’re bullies
Sir, – With regard to “Municipality demolishes Arab home in east Jerusalem’s Isawiya neighborhood” (January 21), such demolitions are an act of political violence by the State of Israel, where building- code enforcement is not evenhanded.
Daniel K. Eisenbud describes the owner of the home as a family man, not a terrorist. The owner complains that the municipality delays building permits for Arabs for years and charges exorbitant fees.
In 2004, 13 west Jerusalem home demolitions were recorded; there were 114 in east Jerusalem. In 2005, the numbers were 26 and 76, respectively. In 2005, more than 10 times the number of permits were issued to west Jerusalem applicants than for those in east Jerusalem. The pattern belies the defense of government excuses.
Unequal, selective enforcement of laws and codes makes us bullies, hypocrites and demagogues.
Beit Shemesh
No surprise
Sir, – With regard to “NGO: Gazans had no place to hide during IDF bombardments” (January 21), the Israeli government learned from bitter experience, so it ensured that almost every citizen would have a safe place to shelter.
Hamas knew that Israel would react to its attacks by trying to make them stop, so the Islamists invested great efforts to protect their fighters and rocket launchers in tunnels, hospitals, schools, etc.
For the ordinary Gazan, not one shelter. Worse, when Israel warned civilians it would attack certain areas, Hamas told them to ignore the warnings. It used them as human shields.
The fact that there were so few Israeli casualties and far too many Palestinian victims despite the IDF’s efforts to avoid harming civilians should not surprise Physicians for Human Rights.
Hate can be good
Sir, – Richard L. Curwin (“Why Shmuley Boteach is wrong about hate,” Comment & Features, January 21) relies on the second definition of hatred, implying irrationality (“prejudiced hostility or animosity”) while ignoring the first definition from the same source: “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger or sense of injury.” The latter is precisely the emotion that we have every right and reason to feel toward Islamic extremists.
Curwin warns that the overuse of hatred can cause children to hate more. To the contrary, the expression of hatred toward those who commit atrocities teaches children that these terrorists deserve only contempt, and that their actions exceed the limits of civilized behavior.
His assertion that “the person who hates is hurt more than the object of that hatred” applies to cases where the emotion festers inside while the other individual goes on with his life. However, hatred can be a great motivator, energizing us to do everything necessary to protect ourselves and our way of life.
Radical Islamists intend to do great harm to modern western civilization.
We minimize our antipathy toward them at our peril.
Referring to Hitler, Curwin shockingly asserts: “I’ll never let the Nazis make me hate because that gives them too much power over me.” In forgoing one of the most powerful human emotions, has he not allowed the barbarians, including ISIS, al-Qaida et al, to control a fundamental part of his being?
Zichron Ya’acov
Different slant
Sir, – I always look forward to reading Liat Collins’s My Word columns in The Jerusalem Post. They are invariably articulate, eloquent, evocative and meaningful.
My sincerest congratulations for her ability to give a different slant to the complex story of Israel’s survival. It helps inform us about life in Israel – especially those of us who live far from the tribulations in your corner of the world.
Santiago, Chile