Letters to the Editor: Sand in the face

Readers respond to the Jerusalem Post's latest articles.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Sand in the face
Sir, – With regard to “‘Lancet’ editor says he regrets attacks against Israel” (October 3), I was one of the instigators of a rebuttal to The Lancet after the infamous Gaza letter was published in July.
Jointly authored by the directors of the three big hospitals in the Galilee, it was summarily rejected by editor Richard Horton, as were other letters from colleagues in Britain and elsewhere. (It was later published by the Israel Medical Association Journal.)
Unfortunately, if one listens to Horton’s lecture (available on YouTube), he did not actually apologize for his decision to publish the Gaza letter, nor for its mendacious contents, nor for refusing to publish authoritative rebuttals. Rather, he expressed regret for the letter’s unexpected repercussions and the sad personal consequences for him (including his embarrassment after two of its authors produced an appalling racist video extolling anti-Semitism and Nazi politicians).
Horton failed to explain his long record of anti-Israel hate policies over many years or apologize for his long line of publishing blunders, some of which have caused huge damage to health. His lecture was self-serving and mealy-mouthed.
To my great regret, in what looks like an academic version of the Stockholm Syndrome my esteemed colleagues at Rambam Medical Center have only succeeded in throwing sand in the face of the medical community by providing legitimization for a hateful hypocrite and terrible scientist.
I believe we will live to regret this.
Horton should resign or be made to do so.
The writer is director of Pediatrics at Ziv Medical Center and vice dean of the Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee.
Hitting the nail
Sir, – In “Juristocracy in Israel: When legality loses legitimacy” (Into the Fray, October 3), Martin Sherman hits the nail on the head: The Israel Supreme Court does not exist for the purpose of striking down laws passed by the Knesset, nor is it equipped for such. He correctly quotes the late Michel Fox, who expressed in 2006 his concern at the “consequences of judicial activism for democratic governance.”
The Supreme Court in Washington interprets the US Constitution and rules on laws accordingly.
The Israel Supreme Court is unable to interpret the Israeli constitution for it does not exist.
It therefore has no basis for interpreting laws passed by the Knesset for it has no “constitutional authority.” Nonetheless, it strikes down laws, although based on what? This is the true crux of the matter: Israel needs a constitution. I was active for many years in “Constitution for Israel,” a movement founded by Prof. Uriel Reichmann. After many years of activity we finally gave up. While smaller parties wanted to change the electoral system in hopes of gaining Knesset seats, no one really wanted a constitution.
Unfortunately, the latest developments described by Sherman indicate that without a constitution we are rapidly headed for disaster because a Supreme Court without constitutional authority and limits has no basis for overriding laws passed by a legitimately elected government, with all that this implies.
Tel Aviv
Wrong for sure
Sir, – Reader Sha’i Ben-Tekoa (“Right move,” Letters, October 3) asserts that “proselytizing Jews in this country is illegal.”
Really? I searched through Israel’s Penal Code and could not find such a law.
I did find that sections 174A and 174B do prohibit the giving of benefits to induce a change of religion, which is not a blanket ban. On the other hand, for those planning protests, I think it would be prudent of me to point out that there are several offenses motivated by enmity against a public of which Ben-Tekoa should be aware.
According to section 144F: “If a person commits an offense out of enmity toward a public because of their religion, religious group... he shall be liable to double the penalty set for that offense or to 10 years imprisonment....”
And according to 171: “If a person maliciously disturbs a meeting of persons lawfully assembled for religious worship...
he is liable to three years imprisonment.” There is also section 173: “If a person... voices in a public place and in the hearing of another person any word or sound that is liable crudely to offend the religious faith or sentiment of others... then he is liable to three years imprisonment.”
Sir, – Reader Sha’i Ben-Tekoa endorses the rabbinic ban on our “ecumenical gathering” at the Hulda Steps during Succot and alleges that “one of the ICEJ’s top people” handed him New Testament material after interviewing him for our radio show.
First, The Jerusalem Post correctly reported in said article that our prayer gathering was not in fact an interfaith service, but one for our Christian pilgrims only.
This immediately defuses the entire controversy. Second, as senior producer of our FrontPage Jerusalem radio broadcast for the past 400-plus weekly shows going back some eight years, I have overseen every interview we ever aired and do not remember any interaction with this gentleman. He must be mistaking us for someone else.
Meanwhile, thanks to reader Tuly Weiss (“Wrong move,” Letters, October 3) and all our other Israeli friends who have warmly welcomed our Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem for Succot.
The writer is media director for International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
More than words
Sir, – In his address to the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered many prescriptions as to what Arab countries need to do to forge an Israel-Arab alliance (“PM tells UN: Israel’s fight is the world’s fight,” September 30).
I have one question for the prime minister: Instead of lecturing the world from the podium, why do you not immediately send a high-level delegation to the Arab League headquarters to open exploratory talks over the Arab Peace Initiative? It has been on the table for years and is being studiously ignored by your government.
Newton Center, Massachusetts
Sir, – If anti-Semitism is the dislike of Jews and criticism of what they do and how they behave, then surely the policies and actions of Prime Minister Netanyahu must be considered the prime cause of the current wave of anti-Semitism.
Israel is more unpopular than ever before. Who can blame people when they see Netanyahu speaking at the UN about sincerely wanting peace with the Palestinians while at the same time plans are being approved for new settlements and Jews are moving into east Jerusalem against the wishes of the Palestinians? Many non-Jewish people will presume that this two-faced behavior is typical of Jews; hence a rise in anti-Semitism.
When can we expect the prime minister to put the needs of the country before his own political future?
Kfar Hamaccabi
Gender and smoking
Sir, – Regarding the fracas on the flight between New York and Tel Aviv a few weeks ago, maybe El Al should revert to the old system of smoking and non-smoking seats, but using gender instead!
Kfar Saba
Past tense better
Sir, – As we have heard and read in the news the past few weeks, the US has decided to take a more active role in the fight against terror.
Perhaps with God’s help and nations fighting together, the world will soon be freed from the fear of terror.
It would be wonderful to change “ISIS” to “WASWAS.”
What a wonderful world it would be to become terror-free.