January 17, 2018: The fruits of strip-joint forays

Our readers weigh in.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The fruits of strip-joint forays
With regard to “Déjà vu: Finding comfort abroad as scandals whirl at home” (Analysis, January 15), perhaps the hapless Yair Netanyahu remembered how a visit to a strip club helped Britain win World War II, particularly when the Dam Busters raided the Möhne and Edersee dams, causing catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley and destroying factories, mines and hydroelectric power stations.
The aircraft carrying the specially designed “bouncing bombs” had to release the bombs at a height of exactly 50 meters above the water. The story, possibly apocryphal, tells how a visit to a strip club by the off-duty aircrew gave them the solution.
Watching two spotlights shining on the woman on the stage, they came up with the idea of putting spotlights on the aircraft’s nose and tail pointing down at just the right angles so that when the two beams shining on the water coincided, the aircraft was at the right height.
We don’t know what ideas Yair’s strip club visit gave him, but we may yet be grateful!
That’s democracy
What a very sad piece written by Alon Ben-Meir (“A party that has lost its soul,” Comment & Features, January 15). He doesn’t seem to understand democratic politics.
I sympathize that he doesn’t like US President Donald Trump or the policies being pursued in the US. But the facts of the matter are that in politics, the winner takes all. The winner has the power to implement the policies that gained his election. There is no point for disappointed Democrats to bemoan this. The Democrats lost! Trump and the Republicans won! I do not very much like the current Israeli government’s policies, but my recourse is to vote against it when we next have an election. In the meantime, like it or not, it is my government in my country.
Stop moaning, Alon Ben-Meir!
Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
In “Israel should not be extolling President Trump” (Observations, January 12), Richard H.
Schwartz asserts that US President Donald Trump’s pronouncement about Jerusalem “did not change the overall situation.” This conclusion is quite unjustified.
Trump’s pronouncement effectively nullified, for the United States, UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of December 23, 2016, and thus has considerable significance for American constitutional law and international law.
As far as the US is concerned, former president Barack Obama’s scheme to override Security Council Resolution 242, redivide Jerusalem and thereby bar access by Jews to their holy sites was countermanded. Trump stated categorically that the boundary issue was to be settled between the parties.
The flying pink elephant in the room that no one wishes to mention with regard to President Donald Trump’s declaration is its linkage to the supersessionary ideas held by many Christian sects and Islam.
For better or worse, Jews are the only people who figure in the theology and eschatology of all three revealed faiths, the result being that the fate of the Jews and Judaism has relevance to the perceived legitimacy of each such faith.
For faiths espousing supersessionary ideas, a prophecy from a “superseded” religion that something will happen “someday” or at the “end of time” must become invalid (i.e., it can’t happen ever without contradicting the notion of supersession) if the older religion’s prophecies remain valid.
As most readers of The Jerusalem Post know, Judaism’s prophets foretold the return of the Jews to their homeland and the reestablishment of Jerusalem as the Jewish capital. This would happen “someday” or perhaps at the “end of time.” If it didn’t happen during the lifetime of a Jew, the prophecy remained valid; the time simply hadn’t arrived. However, if one believes that something can’t happen, and then it does, that becomes an infuriating matter.
The reestablishment of the Jewish state, and the more recent acknowledgment that Jerusalem is its capital, are theological challenges to those who hold supersessionary beliefs. The solution posed by Pope John Paul II in his “big brother-little brother” formulation is to recognize that God is capable of providing parallel revelations to different peoples so that no religion need feel compelled to deny the validity of others.
It could be that Trump’s move on Jerusalem will serve to inoculate global politics against the illnesses engendered by supersessionary theology. If only there were also a way to get international relations specialists to abandon their commitment to the secular counterpart of supersession.
Framingham, Massachusetts
‘Northside’ has everything
I loved reviewer Hannah Brown’s history lesson (“Sweetheart, get me a newspaper movie,” Arts & Entertainment, January 10), but she seems to have missed the greatest newspaper movie ever made.
The 1948 film Call Northside 777 starring James Stewart had everything, including false imprisonment during Prohibition and the immigrant mother of a wrongly accused man saving for over 10 years by scrubbing floors to get enough money to place an ad in a paper.
In my opinion, this film prepared us for All the President’s Men!
An alternative plan for migrants
In response to “Why the government should reconsider its decision to expel or incarcerate African refugees” (January 9), there is an alternative to prison or deportation.
Deportation seems a reasonable solution when there is no reason to fear that the deportees might be slaughtered. As for imprisonment, the incarceration of able-bodied people for an indefinite period without trial is not only inhumane, it is expensive and counterproductive. Imprisonment does not improve people’s ability to deal with life’s problems.
Israel has had great experience in dealing with refugees and homeless people at a time when it had fewer resources. The kibbutzim are a magnificent example of groups of people with a common goal working together to build a viable society.
Something similar is suggested here.
Refugees should form small groups, and each group should appoint a leader. The groups should then choose from a range of social possibilities: for example, to start a kibbutz, build a village, create a green environment or a small, self-supporting town while using the latest technology and inventions such as the recycling of water, the use of unusual building materials, sun power, hydroponics and wall crops.
Entrepreneurs, inventors, start-ups firms, ecologists – anyone interested in trying out their ideas – could apply to take part in this social experiment.
University sociology departments would naturally want to monitor the relative successes or failures (and get grants to do so).
Other countries with similar problems might also want to take part, as natural catastrophes cause homelessness and wars create refugees.
The groups would need instruction and education.
Among the present prison population are many well-educated, skilled people guilty of nonviolent crimes who might welcome the chance to use their abilities in a freer environment. This would also be a grand opportunity for retired teachers and other pensioners to give of their time and expertise.
There are so many trades to be learned, and languages, too. The immigrants would have to work by day and study by night. The sanction for failing to remain with the group is obvious – deportation.
Petah Tikva
The writer is a lawyer and criminologist.