April 12: Mourn, don’t copy

By the time Thatcher's Conservative Party was kicked out of office, hospitals and schools across the country were in decay and disrepair after years of under-investment.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Atavistic ritual
Sir, – With the brave exception of the Israeli Pediatric Association, which in 2012 called for an end to metzitza b’peh, or oral suction during the circumcision ritual, the response throughout the Jewish world has been silence (“Erroneous report on Fox News says child got HIV from circumcision ritual,” April 10). No voices of outrage, no expressions of shock and horror, no calls for an end to this atavistic ritual.
Sucking blood from the wound of a newly circumcised infant’s penis is construed as a mitzvah – even when it might endanger the life of the child. Where are the grand Jewish principals of pikuah nefesh? Where is our fundamental sensibility of simple decency? How many babies will be sacrificed in order to protect this sacrosanct assault on our tender boys? What is the acceptable number? From the silence of the Jewish leadership, it seems there is no limit.
MIRIAM POLLACK Boulder, Colorado
Sir, – Your report on metzitza b’peh omitted an important bit of information.
The fact is, major rabbinic authorities allow, even advocate, the use of a pipette as a means for suction so that the mohel’s mouth never needs to touch the wound.
The Israeli public would be well served if a signed informed consent for direct oral suction, as is required in New York City, becomes mandatory here as well.
FRED GOTTLIEB Jerusalem The writer is a physician
Mourn, don’t copy
Sir, – Margaret Thatcher’s steadfast and genuine support for Israel and the British Jewish community is to be praised and admired, but you should have done your homework before writing the editorial calling on Israel to emulate her model of society (“Thatcher and Israel,” April 10).
It is true that Thatcher made badly needed reforms to a country where the trade unions were often militant mini-dictatorships, and the statist economic model was simply no longer working.
However, she moved too far too fast.
By the time her Conservative Party was kicked out of office, hospitals and schools across the country were in decay and disrepair after years of under-investment.
On her watch, Britain became the western European nation with the highest proportion of children living below the poverty line.
Thatcher promoted a philosophy that made the attainment of personal wealth a pre-eminent objective, to be pursued without consideration for wider society. Indeed, she famously said: “There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals and their families.”
I sincerely hope that this is not The Jerusalem Post’s idea of the correct social model for Israel.
PAUL GROSS Jerusalem
Sir, – In “NGO: Closing Gaza crossings strengthens Hamas” (April 8), Sari Bashi, head of the political advocacy NGO Gisha, makes statements that are inconsistent and unsupported.
Her foreign-funded group has no expertise on security or political issues and is unable judge the impact of Israeli responses to rocket attacks. Indeed, Gisha admits to having no alternative security options – such essential details are beyond its remit or capability.
Furthermore, Bashi invents international law to fit an ideological agenda.
Her use of the term “collective punishment” to refer to economic sanctions does not conform its use under international law, which refers to imprisonment and other criminal penalties within national jurisdictions.
States are free to regulate their border crossings, and policy makers are charged with the responsibility to protect their citizens. While Bashi is free to express her opinions, they do not reflect special knowledge or expertise.GERALD M. STEINBERG Jerusalem
The writer is president of NGO Monitor