April 14: 'Cheer up, Economist'

I went back to the weekly's original "special report" and would respectfully list some major oversights.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - After reading "Cheer up, Economist" (Editorial, April 11) I went back to the weekly's original "special report" and would respectfully list some major oversights:
  • Shelling from Gaza. "The crude rockets causing few casualties" are accompanied by very real, conventional mortar fire and cause serious psychological damage to civilians.
  • Blockade of Gaza. No mention was made of the dozens of trucks of humanitarian supplies and fuel traveling into Gaza, nor of the medical treatment given to numerous Gaza residents in Israeli hospitals.
  • There was no mention of the destruction by Palestinians of the myriad farming projects handed over to the Palestinians after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza; nor of the destruction of multimillion-dollar projects donated by generous Western donors - projects that would have provided a wonderful livelihood for Palestinians.
  • Unjustified prison sentences ("long sentences on minor and dubious crimes") had no elaboration, nor any statistics.
  • Gaza elections won by Hamas. No mention was made of the main reason for Hamas's success, namely, the unbridled major corruption and misappropriation of hundreds of millions of dollars by Fatah politicians.
  • Israel's Research & Development budgets. It is no secret that these have been severely reduced.
  • 13 Arabs killed in the October 2000 Riots. No mention was made of the fact that the main reason why the investigations had to be closed was families' refusal to allow post-mortems to be conducted, without which it is impossible to conduct a fair trial under a democratic legal system.
  • "Constitution by consensus." The more democratic type of state proposed by Israeli Arabs must take into account that in the event of a Muslim majority, all religions other than Islam would not be tolerated. The almost complete disappearance of Christians from the West Bank and Gaza is proof of this feature of Islamic rule in the whole Middle East and other Muslim-dominated countries. D. GOSHEN Kiryat Ono Sir, - Your editorial on The Economist's Israel special report, which I wrote, urged us to "cheer up" and look at the facts about Israel's economy: the high GDP growth of recent years, the booming tech sector, tourism, property prices, economic reform, and so on. But I cited these very same facts to explain why the economy is in good shape now. I followed them with reasons why it may falter in the future: the weak education system, the concentration of wealth, low workforce participation and government bureaucracy. Your editorial simply stated the negative things first and the positive things second to generate a sunnier impression. It did not actually attack or undermine my argument. So simplistic a sleight-of-hand insults your readers' intelligence. GIDEON LICHFIELD Jerusalem Correspondent 'The Economist' Jerusalem The editor writes: The Jerusalem Post invites readers to read the original Economist report, reread our editorial, and draw their own conclusions. Sir, - Gone are the days when a US president (Kennedy) was seen to stop on the tarmac, return to Air Force 1, and come out with a copy of The Economist in his hand. Today there is more useful information on the pages of The Jerusalem Post than in the weekly whose advertising campaign used to be " "Two-thirds of the world is covered by water, the other third is covered by The Economist." Maybe, but it's covered with info which avoids the main problems of the day. When will you find an article like "It was always a jihad" (David Horovitz's interview with Benny Morris, April 11)in The Economist? MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC Beersheba Sir, - I disagreed with your editorial where it created a deceptive aura of self-confidence for Israeli citizens. From my experience and observation, except for a small percentage of wealthy elite, the majority of Israel's people are fighting to survive physically and economically. I believe this is caused by the waste, inefficiency and incompetence of a self-serving political system led by failed leaders and ineffective ministers whose main aim is to remain in power. Israel survives despite itself - but for how long? JACK DAVIS Sydney/Jerusalem Preposterous plan Sir, - I read with complete disbelief about a plan to return to the Palestinian Authority archeological artifacts excavated from Judea and Samaria as part of a final peace deal ("US academics work to bridge archeological gap between Israelis, Palestinians," April 10). If these were Muslim or Arab artifacts I could at least understand, but they're talking about the Dead Sea Scrolls, antiquities from the First and Second Temple periods - our very history, and the physical evidence of the Jewish people's connection to Israel! To even contemplate giving these to the PA - which continues to deny that there ever was a Jewish presence in Israel or Jerusalem, or even a Temple in Jerusalem - is a form of national suicide. As Israel Meir Lau, former chief rabbi of Israel and now chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, once said: "A nation that does not value its past has no right to dream about its future." KEN SPIRO Givat Ze'ev Don't wound China... Sir, - During the Olympic Games, hundreds of thousands of people from the free world will be in China. We will get a real look at what is going on there, and the presence of those hundreds of thousands can only strengthen the will of the dissidents. There is every indication that China is cleaning up the environment in its main cities so the athletes can perform safely. Since the stadiums will remain, the laws against pollution probably will too. "The Berlin Olympics was a major victory for Hitler," Jonathan Tobin wrote in "Forget the fun and games" (April 13). But we are living in an era far removed from the 1930s. Communication is much better, and for all practical purposes the world is much smaller. People know what is going on, and they care. To protest is a democracy's fundamental right, but a boycott would be counterproductive. A wounded China is a much more dangerous China. PAUL BERMAN Shoham ...but make a stand Sir, - Jonathan Tobin claimed the 1936 Olympics were a major triumph for Hitler. But it was no triumph for Hitler to watch his great Aryan athletes left in the dust by a black man - Jesse Owens - who won four gold medals at those games, wiping the triumphant smiles off the faces of the fuehrer and his followers. Hitler himself refused to shake Owens's hand but one of his minions had to, which was almost as bad for him. I agree with Tobin, though, that the leaders of the major nations should boycott the opening ceremonies. LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Keep your feet on the ground Sir, - Jerusalem is obviously our capital, but surely airports are called after where they are situated - for example, LAX (Los Angeles). Is Ben-Gurion Airport not closer to Tel Aviv than to Jerusalem? Were an airport to be built in Jerusalem, then obviously it would have JLM after its name. Let us not get a phobia about this ("Lupolianski: Make Ben-Gurion Airport code JLM, not TLV," April 8, and "From TLV to JLM," Letters, April 11). JUDY GOLDIN Kiryat Ono