Letters to the editor, June 11

Germany: Keep Ahmadinejad out! Sir, - Iran's genocidal president is deliberating whether to attend the World Cup in Germany this month, and would do so "if his team qualifies for the knockout round" ("Ahmadinejad could attend World Cup in 2nd round, Iran's coach tells 'Post,'" June 7). It is up to the German government to release Mr. Ahmadinejad from his dilemma, and a splendid opportunity for the German people to make it clear that it will have no truck with Nazism and its imitators, German or other. This includes the neo-Nazis, who reportedly regard Ahmadinejad as "Hitler's spiritual heir" following his repeated denial of the Holocaust and his call for Israel's destruction. Ahmadinejad is on the way to getting his hands on nuclear weapons - something which, fortunately, eluded Adolf Hitler. Germany should make it very clear that a person who wants to continue Hitler's work and commit genocide against the Jewish people will not be permitted to enter the country. Chancellor Merkel: Please keep him out! AMBASSADOR ZALMAN SHOVAL Tel Aviv Prisoners' 'peace' Sir, - The Palestinian prisoners' document has been called a "Palestinian peace plan." Yet how can that be when it supports "resistance" (violence) 13 times; refers to the Palestinian "right of return" - which would end Israel as a Jewish state - eight times; talks about "joining" the terrorist Hamas and Islamic Jihad to the PLO, and advocates making "the Gaza Strip a real support force [for]... resistance"? The document calls for the release of Arab prisoners from Israeli prisons four times - but never once mentions support for Israel's existence. A step toward peace and reconciliation? ("To avoid clash, Abbas postpones referendum," June 7.) MORTON A. KLEIN National President Zionist Organization of America New York Small expectations Sir, - Your editorial "Before our luck runs out" (June 7) on the morality of our restrained response to the ongoing Kassam rocket fire was long overdue, but somewhat naive. First we had "Oslo will bring peace," then "Sharon will bring security," followed by "Restraint is power," culminating in operation "Defensive Shield 2002" and finally "Disengagement will bring more (!) security," also known as "We are here, while they are there." We do not need to bomb their generating stations; the PA is connected to the Israeli electrical grid. But those who are not able to flip the switch cannot be expected to stop the rockets. ISRAEL SHARON Givatayim Clear and simple Sir, - Re "Swedish alcohol monopoly labels Golan wines 'made in Israel-occupied Syrian territories,'" (June 7): Why use that clumsy wording when a simple yellow star would say it better? SAMUEL ALUNNI Sterling, Massachusetts We're outraged by this boycott! Sir, - One of the pillars of higher education is the concept of academic freedom. Universities and their faculties around the world pride themselves on their ability to freely exchange thoughts and ideas. My colleagues at the University of Miami and I are outraged regarding the majority decision of Britain's National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education to boycott Israeli universities and their faculties. We join our colleagues around the world in condemning this action. I am personally familiar with the commitment and dedication of Israeli universities to the principles of academic freedom. Members of the faculty and students at Israel's universities are always welcome at the University of Miami ("UK teachers' union votes to boycott Israeli academics," May 30). DONNA E. SHALALA President University of Miami Miami Mofaz's promise Sir, - On National Road Safety Day, June 6, Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz stated that the war against road carnage would have top priority in his ministry. "I have two sons in fighting units and a daughter who will soon enlist," he said, "and I believe they are less at risk on our borders than driving on our roads." Let us hope Mofaz is the first transport minister in 10 years to keep his word and put an end to the needless waste of life and unendurable suffering. ZELDA HARRIS PR Director, Metuna Netanya Brazilian 'anusim' Sir, - Dutch Sephardi Jews had already achieved religious freedom in Calvinist Holland a generation or more before sailing to Dutch-conquered northeastern Brazil to improve their economic lot. The Portuguese reconquered Pernambuco and reestablished their earlier government, which included the Inquisition. The Portuguese granted the defeated Dutch, including their former anusim, generous surrender terms, including three months to divest themselves of immovable property and arrange for shipment of themselves and other property to destinations of their choice. Consequently, there was no compelling reason for Dutch Jewish landowners and merchants to flee inland. On the other hand, anusim living in the unconquered portion of Brazil to the south, who may have come with Old Christian Portuguese colonists and were accused of Judaizing, probably had no choice but to flee inland in the hope of finding an accepting Aboriginal population; from these anusim today's Brazilian anusim may have descended. Some of these southern anusim moved north to Dutch Pernambuco and integrated into Dutch-Jewish Brazilian society. Anita Novinsky, cited in "The lost Jews" (UpFront, June 1) points out in an earlier article that southern anusim also joined the Old Christian Brazilians in the guerilla war against the Dutch invader. ARYE HAZARY Nahariya Sir, - The Jews forcibly converted in Spain, Portugal and South America, and their descendants have gone through unspeakable suffering. Not the least of it undoubtedly stems from the fact that so many of their fellow Jews refer to them as "Marranos." In both Spanish and Portuguese, marrano means pig. The hereditary Christians in Spain and Portugal, and the colonies of those two countries used this term to refer to Jews who converted to Christianity (and their descendants) in order to brand them, express hatred and contempt for them, and set them aside from their neighbors. What must it be like for these people, who have maintained their identity for five centuries despite forcible deprivation of their Jewish heritage, to hear their fellow Jews refer to them thus? They can be called conversos, or, as Michael Freund calls them, anusim and bnei anusim. Whatever our attitude to them, we at least owe them that. MICHAEL GREENGARD Holon Can't we stop the postal thieves? Sir, - The new postal authority seems to be carrying on a long-standing tradition of employing thieves. For years I've been receiving letters, posted from the United States, with 2-cm. perpendicular rips used to insert an instrument looking for cash. I received a vandalized letter on June 7, two on May 15 from two different postal branches, and one on May 1, enclosed in a postal authority envelope apologizing for the vandalism. I have letters from the authority dating back six years, stating basically, "We're checking into it." In addition I have three confirmed letters sent from the United States in February and March that were stolen outright and the checks enclosed forged and cashed. I, as an ordinary citizen, have so far succeeded in recouping the stolen funds, tracing checks all the way back to within one person of the thief. Why can't the postal authority do the same? It is obvious that between the off-loading of incoming US mail at the airport and its reaching the local branches is a team of thieves, long employed by the postal authority, treating our mail as their personal grab-bag. As this problem particularly affects US immigrants and businesses that market to the US, and since the postal authority is not tackling the problem, perhaps we should get together to do something about it. If you have received vandalized letters, or have had checks stolen, forged and cashed from mail arriving from the United States, please e-mail me the information, and let's see just how widespread a phenomenon this is. REUVEN PRAGER reuven@actcom.com Jerusalem Go ahead, but someplace else Sir, - Your correspondent from Kiryat Ono who is not "bothered" by the proposed celebration in Jerusalem by the gay community (Letters, June 7) deserves an answer. For me, and the other 75 percent of Jerusalemites opposed to the week-long gay festival supposed to take place this summer, a person's sexuality is not a cause for parades but a matter of his own private life. Wouldn't one be offended (indeed, deeply disgusted) if a crowd of strangers invaded the streets and "celebrated" incestuous sexual relationships, or bestiality? Homosexuality is forbidden by the Torah. If the "harmless" gays wish to parade, let them choose a place far from our holy shores. SHIRLEY DOMB Jerusalem Sir, - If the Greeks lived as homosexuals and used their wives for procreation only, that is not a moral example we need to emulate. Already our beautiful girls and women walk around in various stages of undress, looking as if they have been shopping in the children's or the beachwear department. This only encourages immoral behavior and leads to problems between husband and wife. Someone once said to his wife, who was wearing a dress with a little more cleavage than usual: "If you're advertising, it means you're selling." We have fallen very low, and that is not the Jewish way. Our children are, unfortunately, learning that anything goes. They need to be taught the basics of decent behavior - which also includes respecting people who are different; but gays should keep their private lives private. B.M. JOFFE Haifa