Letters to the Editor: August 12, 2018

Our readers have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Convictions at all costs
Regarding “In the pursuit of justice” (August 8), Greer Fay Cashman draws attention to a subject of great importance.
The instances she quotes of the egregious miscarriage of justice back up the assertion of Prof. Boaz Sangero, the founder of the criminal law and criminology department of Ramat Gan College of Law and business, that there are approximately 2,000 innocent people languishing in Israeli prisons, because psychological and/or physical force were used to extract confessions.
One expects to find this kind of situation only in the worst type of repressive dictatorships, not in a country that claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East, and which is supposed to strive to be a light onto the nations.
The primary concern of those responsible in the Israeli justice system for issuing indictments should be to bring the guilty to justice. The evidence clearly indicates that, instead of acting in the spirit of the biblical injunction “that which is altogether just shalt thou follow,” at least some are motivated by a desire to obtain convictions at all costs, whether the convicted person is the guilty party being only a secondary consideration. By following this policy, they inflate their record of convictions and enhance their prospects of promotion. These members of the police and the justice system are themselves guilty of the crime of incarcerating people who have committed no crime.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has been in office since 2015. She has had plenty of time to realize the existence of the situation described above but has done nothing. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and at least as far as justice in this country is concerned, we are in desperate times. Therefore, painful as it may be, there is only one way to right this situation: all those motivated by a desire to obtain convictions at all costs must be replaced by those who believe in the above biblical injunction.
Beit Zayit
Compromised leader
Regarding “Labour leader Corbyn photographed laying wreath for Munich Olympics terrorists” (August 12), how many more wake-up calls are going to be needed?
Jeremy Corbyn has been caught in numerous compromising positions, whether attending ceremonies as highlighted at graves of Munich terrorists or appearing on platforms with known Hamas and Hezbollah activists, or general disdaining remarks concerning Israel/Zionism.
We’ve heard more than enough to realize that should such a person reach the position of prime minister, it will be a clear and dangerous threat to Israel and to all right-thinking persons.
Let’s not wait to hear that “some of his best friends are Jewish.” Action is paramount, especially in the United Kingdom, to stop this nightmare from occurring before his voice screams out even louder from Number 10 Downing Street.
Tel Aviv
Value of life
Two seemingly unrelated news items from the Middle East conflict caught my eye this week.
One was that Palestinians so far paid $294,332 in terror stipends for the 2001 Sbarro suicide bombing that murdered 15 Israelis (“Sbarro bombers and families got almost $300k from PA, watchdog group says,” August 12) This works out to $19,622.13 per Jewish corpse
The other was that a new Twitter blood libel against Israel posted a picture of a cute US toddler and claimed falsely she was a victim of Israel’s bombing of Gaza.
Among honest people, there’s no serious disagreement that Israel hit back in response to the firing by Gazans of over 200 missiles and mortars at Israeli civilians. This was in addition to the thousands of incendiary balloons Gazans sent to scorch Israeli farms and natural habitats just over the border and further afield.
So what is human life really worth? Is it $19,622.13 per Jewish teenager eating pizza? Is an Arab child’s life worth more or less than that? How about if the child portrayed didn’t really die, but people lied that she did in order to generate sympathy?
It’s a difficult question to answer, but I would argue that the life of anyone who wants to deliberately take the life of a child or puts their own child’s life in danger by doing something to provoke a lethal response has no value at all.
San Mateo, CA
History lessons
In “The conference that paved the way to the murder of millions” (August 9), Ervin Birnbaum was succinct, clear and powerful. The Evian Conference in July 1938 paved the way for the Holocaust.
However, 18 years earlier, in April 1920, the San Remo Conference of The Principal Allied Powers, in the opinion of Louis Brandeis, who was appointed to the United States Supreme Court four years earlier in June 1916, established the foundation of the Jewish legal rights and title to sovereignty over Palestine.
Louis Brandeis realized that the political and “legal battles” and the central goal of Herzlian Zionism had been won and the time was ripe to take practical measures to establish the Jewish homeland. He saw no need for more political action to secure over again what had already been secured by the extraordinary efforts of Haim Weizmann others including himself.
He clashed with Weizmann and his supporters, who wanted the Zionist movement to continue unabated its political work as if the San Remo Resolution, the crowning achievement of prestate Zionism, never existed.
When Weizmann’s view gained the upper hand in 1921, Brandeis withdrew from the ranks of leadership of both American and world Zionism and two decades later the Holocaust consumed six million Jews.
Regarding “Swiss tourism official complains over behavior of ‘Jewish guests,’” (August 9), the headline, regardless of the subject at hand, brought to mind the fact that in the 1930s Switzerland that requested that Nazi Germany insert the letter “J” on the passports of German Jews to identify applying immigrants as Jews.
Beit Shemesh
Israel scores own goal
I found the article “IDF fires in error, kills 2 Hamas snipers” (Aug 8) so unbelievable that I had to reread it and on finding that it was what it was, I let out such a shout that my husband came running in to see what had happened!
I refer of course to the IDF sending messages to Hamas via Egypt acknowledging the error. If there was any doubt that we have lost the plot, this seals it – and possibly our long-term survival – if we cannot kill terrorists unless they are actually in the process of killing us.
How is it possible that the IDF can apologize to the terrorists that have been murdering us and burning our land and to my mind, getting away with it? Otherwise surely Hamas would by now have ceased to exist and at the very least, been beaten to within an inch of its life so that it would not dare even consider an attack.
We know by now that it is not going to happen, but what has happened to our strong IDF? Has it been so emasculated as having to apologize to terrorists for making a mistake in firing because it so happens at that particular time they were not in the act of killing us or destroying our land?
This is surely a continuation of the insane order that came down from the IDF High Command that we have to be humane even to terrorists. Sadly, another own goal by Israel.
Staying in Sderot
The situation in the South is inexcusable. Israel is known for its military strength, yet our government allows Hamas to constantly attack and try to kill our citizens. No other country would allow such a thing.
What if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top cabinet ministers and Knesset members all took small units in Sderot for a few weeks? Of course,they should bring along their wives, children and grandchildren.
Maybe that is the only way that they can truly understand what our citizens are living through. It is because they sit in their cushioned chairs so far away from the sirens and the missiles that they can talk, discuss, plan and think of what to do without putting their lives on the line. Shame on all of them. The main purpose of a government is to protect it’s citizens.
This government is failing.
Arguable language
Your editorial (“Civil debate,” August 12), regarding the level of debate in Israel and contrasting it with the success of the Israeli teams in international debate competition, describes English as a “civil tongue.”
Some anecdotal evidence: my English sister is married to an Israeli. I once asked them why they speak almost exclusively English, yet on the rare occasions that they argue, they argue in Hebrew.
Their answer was, “Hebrew is a better language for arguing!”
Vegan response
Stanley Cohen’s August 8 letter, “Vegan zeal,” must be responded to because it includes a very serious error that can be harmful in misleading people. Cohen states, “The methane output of countless millions of wildebeest and other ungulates across the entire face of the globe... far exceeds that of those of the domestic kine.” But a study produced by Israel’s Weizmann Institute this year showed that 60% of mammals on Earth are livestock, 36% are humans, and a mere 4% are wild animals, such as wildebeests. Incidentally, 70% of birds now on Earth are farmed poultry; just 30% are wild birds.
Professor Emeritus,
College of Staten Island