Letters to the Editor: Not here

I sincerely hope that Ashley Madison’s bid to advertise in Israel is firmly rejected.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Not here
I sincerely hope that Ashley Madison’s bid to advertise in Israel is firmly rejected.
As Judy Montagu points out in “A site for sore ‘I’s?” (In My Own Write, June 10), adultery is forbidden under the Ten Commandments – it is not just some esoteric custom or law that only the ultra-Orthodox believe still has value in our time.
If, instead of “Life is short. Have an affair,” Madison’s ads said “Life is short. Go rob a bank” or “Life is short. Go murder someone,” there would be outrage.
We must not allow this anti-family, anti-Jewish-values company to promote itself in Israel.
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In the dock
I was very stimulated and impressed by the ideas Alexander Zvielli expressed in “How to punish our enemies” (Comment & Features, June 10). I agree with every word he writes.
It is about time we thought outside the box and used the full force of the law to hit back against those malicious BDS anti-Semites. Trying them in Israel, whether in absentia or otherwise, would doubtless have a salutary and deterrent effect.
So come on, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Start the legislative ball rolling and show us what you are made of.
To all the anti-Israel NGOs of this world, I ask: Which Palestinian civil society do you support? Is it the one that denigrates and suppresses women, throws gays off rooftops and denies free speech and free media to its citizens, far less freedom of religion? Or is it the one in Gaza, which calls for the annihilation of all Jews worldwide and invokes jihad against Israel 36 times in the same charter?
ELLIOT DAVIS Kilmarnock, Scotland
Unsettling parallel
Throughout the middle ages and until the rise of the modern state, the political- legal status of European Jewry was based on agreements reached with sovereigns, be it monarchs, noblemen or clergy.
The sovereign would be obligated to guarantee the security of the Jews’ persons and property, their right to justice and their religious freedom, while the Jews accepted obligations to pay an annual tax and obey a set of economic and social conditions.
These Jews consistently cultivated their “vertical” relationships at the expense of the “horizontal” ones – they clung to their patrons and neglected their relationships with their Christian neighbors, the burghers and artisans whose political and social status was similar to theirs, if not lower. Perhaps this was unavoidable or the best available option, but the fact remains that from time to time these horizontal social forces targeted the Jews as enemies to be hounded and slaughtered.
When I look at the diplomatic strategy of the Foreign Ministry I see an unsettling parallel. Whether we examine the challenge posed by the BDS movement or by public opinion regarding West Bank settlements, we see the ministry directing its activity at governments and international public bodies. We do not see activity on the “horizontal” level, directed at world public opinion.
This is the age of social media, when one can reach the public everywhere and instantly, and these channels of communication are where information is disseminated and public opinion is shaped. It could be that now, as then, it is not the horizontal forces that determine the outcome of diplomatic struggles, although the fact remains that an important venue is being passed up.
The organs of the Jewish state should spare no effort to reach out to the people of the world and provide information about what is actually happening, and about the values and interests of the State of Israel.
DAVID MALKIEL Ramat Gan The writer is a professor of medieval Jewish history at Bar-Ilan University.