April 1: Two-way deal

In the haredi media, one finds zero coverage of what goes on outside its four cubits except as to cast aspersions and vilify non-haredim.

Two-way deal Sir, – While it is indeed true that much of what passes for haredi life and death goes under-reported in the mainstream media, Yisrael Medad and Eli Pollak are being unbalanced in their criticism (“Cultural autism,” Media Comment, March 29).
The haredi world boasts a robust media of its own, in which one finds zero coverage of what goes on outside its four cubits except as to cast aspersions and vilify non-haredim.
Any attempt by an outsider to submit a letter to the editor, let alone a guest column, that does not conform to the haredi party line is rejected outright.
Mainstream media, among them The Jerusalem Post, provide ample opportunities for haredi columnists and flacks to appear on their pages. I would suggest that Medad and Pollak try publishing such a column in the haredi media. Its very appearance would not merely be news, it would make history.
J.J. GROSS Jerusalem
Sir, – The secular media is accused of covering Amy Winehouse’s death extensively and ignoring that of haredi leader Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg.
How extensively did the haredi media report on the death of Amy Winehouse?
Waiting for freedom Sir, – I suppose the fact that Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti can give interviews and write letters while serving multiple life sentences, as well as feel quite free to call for an intifada against Israel, does not strike our prime minister as slightly ludicrous (“Barghouti calls for new intifada, severing ties with Israel,” March 28).
I do have to agree with Barghouti on one point, though – that we should certainly be severing ties with the terrorist Mahmoud Abbas, and the sooner the better.
In this crazy upside-down land called Israel, good is called bad and bad is celebrated. Terrorists are treated with kid gloves while Jews are thrown out of their homes in the name of political correctness and Netanyahu continues to work against legislation to legalize Jewish homes.
In the meantime, the IDF is starting to train for the next expulsion of Jews from Judea and Samaria in Area C, which is controlled by Israel and contains all the Jewish communities in the region, and this may encourage the Palestinian Authority to become the de facto authority in areas where Jews live although only 4 percent of Palestinian Arabs live in Area C.
Can anyone see the logic in such an act, most especially while we are surrounded on all sides by enemies with rockets and missiles aimed at all parts of our land? It has been said that the emphasis on IDF training for the Gush Katif expulsion was widely blamed for the military’s lack of preparedness in the Second Lebanon War. The inmates in the asylum obviously have been and still are in charge. Perhaps this Pessah will bring us freedom – freedom from the strangulation of political correctness that is slowly destroying us.
New evidence Sir, – Ehud Olmert’s remarks on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the J Street convention (“Ehud Olmert maintains Abbas is ‘partner for peace,’” March 28) can only be for one purpose: to allow him to plead insanity at his many criminal trials.
Yalla boycott Sir, – Ray Hanania’s protestations notwithstanding in “The Peter (Beinart) principle” (Yalla Peace, March 28), his avowed aim to boycott products originating in Judea and Samaria is counterproductive to the cause of the peace we all seek.
His argument is flawed by more than one oversight, intentional or otherwise, although his track record on factual accuracy leaves a lot to be desired.
Suffice it to say that Israel learned the hard way the consequences of yielding territory in the ephemeral hope for peace.
Just two short weeks ago over one million Israeli citizens were terrorized by the rocket onslaught launched from what had been the settlements of Gush Katif, whose inhabitants’ homes and lives were ruined by ceding territory for so-called peace. Abandoning the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria would expose the majority of Israel’s citizenry to the inherent danger of transforming those locations into a vast launching pad whose targets will be homes, industry, infrastructure and, not least of all, Ben-Gurion Airport.
Peter Beinart’s stamp of approval is hardly the shelter from which Hanania should attempt his boycott. The Jewish people have had more than their share of Beinarts and J Streets, but owing to a healthy survival gene we have overcome them all.
When necessary to secure our existence, we have added military prowess to our moral principles, a lesson the world has taught us time and time again.
We will continue to do very well without Hanania’s preaching about compassion and concern for civil rights.
And by the way, I would like Hanania to publish a list of those products he intends to boycott so I and many others can make a concerted effort to purchase these goods and compensate for any shortfall.
Sir, – The climax of Ray Hanania’s column is what he calls “the solid moral principle that peace, not military superiority, is the true safeguard of both Israel and the Jewish people.”
If Hanania is preaching that by embracing weakness Israel would achieve peace, then shame on him. If he is right that by abandoning the settlements Israel would give up its military superiority, then hurray for the settlements.
Sir, – It is worth stating that many of the Israeli towns in the “West-Bank” and Jerusalem were built after the Arab countries rejected any possible peace agreement with Israel.
Moreover, it is worth stating that the Palestinians themselves have rejected and continue to reject any possible peace agreement, and even talks with the Israelis.
However, true compassion is not, as Ray Hanania suggests “dismantling” the “settlements” and throwing 750,000 people from their homes.
Rather, true compassion and compromise mean accepting the present situation and working to reach an agreement that minimizes the disruption to peoples’ lives, whether they’re Israeli Jews, Palestinians or even Israeli Arabs (who don’t want to be tossed over the border in any of the proposed land swaps).
More on Toynbee Sir, – Permit me to enlarge on reader Mordecai Chertoff’s letter (“It was Toynbee,” March 25).
In 1970, in the Journal of Contemporary History, I was privileged to cross words with Arnold Toynbee on the McMahon- Hussein correspondence when I demolished his misconception that Palestine was a “twice-promised land.” In my subsequent book I showed that initially Toynbee had been a convinced Zionist, both ideologically and politically. What made him change his mind later is a mystery.
From a letter he wrote to a friend, however, one might deduce that it had been the creation of Palestinian refugees that caused his dramatic volteface.
As a former Zionist he felt guilty for the Palestinians’ misfortune.
One can argue with Toynbee’s logic, but misconceptions were characteristic of his way of thinking.
ISAIAH FRIEDMAN Omer The writer is professor emeritus of history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.