February 12: Recognizing courage

The 'Post’s promptly publishing Fahmi Shabaneh’s courageous act of idealism is an excellent beginning.

Recognizing courage
Sir, – The Jerusalem Post’s promptly publishing Fahmi Shabaneh’s courageous act of idealism is an excellent beginning (“PA issues warrant for whistleblower’s arrest,” February 11).
In my opinion, referring to him as a “whistleblower” relegates him to a variously-interpretable label rather than encouraging his being admired as an individual of extraordinary merit. In exposing PA corruption, Mr. Shabaneh has literally risked his life and his family’s welfare with his commitment to insist on integrity as the fundamental currency for advancing peace and equity.
Israel is notorious for losing sight of the political importance of events such as this. Mr. Shabaneh deserves powerful and public recognition as a hero of humankind. The praise and support he receives for what he has done will not necessarily validate him – he accomplished that with his actions – but it will assert that Israel has finally begun to know the value of a sensitive, prompt response to valuable services that have been rendered it and civilization.
    PESACH GOODLEY     Telz Stone
The usual ‘occupation’
Sir, – Under the guise of a passionate defense of Naomi Chazan, Gershon Baskin insists on lumping together his favored gripes under one umbrella and demands that we all seek its protection (“A dark day for democracy,” February 9).
He couples human rights and civil liberties advocates with those who are against the “occupation of the Palestinian people and territories” and thus opposed to the policies of Israel’s government.
I dare say that the vast majority of Israelis are, like most Jews, supporters of civil liberties and human rights, but do not accept Baskin’s stand on the “occupation.”
His claim of “occupation” is a dubious one, and has been at the core of the Arab-Israel conflict ever since the inauguration of the Zionist enterprise in the historical birthplace of the Jewish people. The legal right to this homeland was recognized by the Balfour Declaration and repeatedly reconfirmed by the League of Nations. There was never an independent Arab sovereignty over this part of the globe, and following the defensive War of Independence, fought victoriously against seven invading Arab armies, the territories that came under Israel’s control should justly remain there.
If Baskin really is concerned about the Palestinians, he must convince them that neither clichés nor terrorist atrocities will solve their problems, but rather a willingness to accept Israel’s existence, followed by negotiations in good faith.
    ZEV CHAMUDOT     Petah Tikva
‘Label jars, not people’
Sir, – As an ex-South African who has been living in Israel for almost29 years, I absolutely abhor the use of the term “apartheid state” inrelation to Israel (“Away with campus timidity,” February 10). Onlythose who lived in South Africa during the years of apartheid canactually know and understand from experience what it was to haveseparate entrances for “whites” and “blacks” in post offices and otherpublic places, separate benches in parks, separate transportation,separate hospitals where black doctors (if there were any) would treatonly black patients, separate areas where people were allowed to live,separate schools, separate cinemas and restaurants, all according tothe color of one’s skin; to have laws prohibiting black people to marryor have social contact with white friends, travel from area to area oreven go out at night. I could go on ad infinitum.
We need only go into Israeli hospitals to disprove the use of the“apartheid” term where everyone is treated equally and  both Jewish andArab doctors and nurses treat everyone.
Too easily we use completely inappropriate terminology, and it causesuntold damage. Behind my desk at my work is a poster: “Label jars, notpeople.” We should all try not to throw improper and harsh words around.