August 21: Home's where the eruv is

To strew Northeastern America's streets with Christmas decorations is acceptable, but to erect an almost invisible eruv is anathema.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Home's where the eruv is Sir, - Within the center of Northeastern American liberalism, hypocrisy rears its ugly head. To strew the town's streets with Christmas decorations and lights is acceptable, but to erect an almost invisible eruv is anathema and "would cause the ghettoization" of the Hamptons. Once again this proves that Jewish life can only be fully appreciated in the Jewish land of Israel. Therefore, brothers and sisters, come home! ("Eruv battle in NY's Hamptons turns ugly," August 20.) HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva Brutish vs brainy Sir, - Re "One for one" (August 20): To paraphrase George Orwell, "All ones are equal, but some ones are more equal than others." With all due respect to Hillel Halkin, Samir Kuntar is a different kind of murderer than Marwan Barghouti. Kuntar is brutish rank-and-file; Barghouti is a brainy PA terrorist leader. His credentials are impeccable. He is the glue needed for Hamas to join solidly with the PA. To free our "one" hostage, Gilad Schalit, it will be necessary to release terrorist prisoners; but not ever Barghouti. It needs to be made abundantly clear that high-ranking terrorist leaders are infinitely more dangerous than their foot-soldiers. MIRIAM L. GAVARIN Jerusalem Let us praise Darwish Sir, - So far I have not read one word of praise in The Jerusalem Post for the poet Mahmoud Darwish ("An uncompromising voice for Israel's transience. Darwish expressed a fundamental tenet of Palestinian nationalism - the absence of any moral content whatsoever to Israel's claim to existence," Analysis, Jonathan Spyer, August 14). I am going to be blunt. I have read only out-of-context mutilations of isolated lines, mixed with a politically polemical desire to destroy something the literate and educated world would find impossible to destroy - Darwish's reputation. I would recommend to all English-speaking readers his The Adam of Two Edens, (Syracuse University Press, 2000), Unfortunately It Was Paradise, (University of California Press, 2003) and The Butterfly's Burden (Copper Canyon Press, 2006). Darwish was a spiritual poet. He also sang of his people's exile and freedom and reality - and the higher reality above us all. What kind of poet would not sing these refrains about his people? What poet who did not sing this way would be recognized by any people? What poet of Palestine would not sing these songs and remain Palestinian? Darwish loved the greatest Israeli poet, Yehuda Amichai, and Amichai would be distraught over the crudity of the denunciations, reminiscent of Stalin's denunciation of poets. This has nothing to do with politics. I cherish both Amichai and Darwish and painfully feel that on this one matter of cultural integrity Israel cannot be said to represent a light unto the nations. Let us love the Israeli Amichai and give ourselves the opportunity to love Darwish as well. Politics can often divide us, but please let us allow poetry at the height of Amichai and Darwish to unite us. JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts Status quo is best Sir, - "Boundaries for Israel" (August 15) highlighted the enormous gap between most Israelis, who want a two-state solution, and the PA, which has never really accepted such a solution. In spite of this unbridgeable gap, your editorial emphasized that the "status quo is untenable." Given this contradiction, it will become increasingly self-evident over time that the status quo is, in reality, the best outcome Israel can realistically hope for. Every major deviation from it will be unacceptable/too risky for Israel, or insufficient for the PA. Therefore, the two sides should stop wasting their time on an unachievable political settlement and, instead, focus on a far more realistic economic settlement that will mutually benefit both populations. KENNETH ABRAMOWITZ New York Precisely what he said Sir, - World Jewish Congress Secretary-General Michael Schneider apparently now belatedly recognizes that groveling and showering accolades on Venezuelan anti-Semitic tyrant Hugo Chavez was an affront to Jewish dignity and counterproductive in terms of Jewish diplomacy. It would therefore have been commendable for him to concede that remarks made to the media were an unfortunate lapseand unintended. But to resolve his blunder by denying the veracity of those remarks is simply unconscionable. My quotations from Schneider and his colleagues were precise and in no way distorted. Space precludes me from elaborating, but Schneider explicitly told the Associated Press that "on the question of anti-Semitism, Chavez and I are on the same page." His Latin American chairman went further, stating that "a new era has begun" and Chavez was now "a good friend." I challenge Schneider to back up his allegation that I misrepresented him in any way ("Misrepresenting comments," Letters, August 20). ISI LEIBLER Jerusalem Timely read Sir, - "Neo-coms are the threat" by Michael Widlanski (August 19) was an excellent article, and very timely. I wish millions of people could read it. A.K. NESS Norway It's the issues that matter Sir, - I would like to clarify one misconception in the otherwise thoughtful "Right-leaning Anglo organization calls for elections, unity gov't" (August 19). It is incorrect to describe the American Israeli Action Coalition (AIAC) as "Right-leaning." "Right" and "Left" are political terms; AIAC, on the other hand, is a non-political, non-partisan, issue-oriented NGO whose purpose is to represent the voice of the more than 250,000 Americans living in Israel on issues of significance to Israel and the Jewish people as a whole, no matter where on the political spectrum they may fall. It is the issues which are important, not any particular political characterization. HARVEY SCHWARTZ, Chairman American Israeli Action Coalition Jerusalem Caring solutions Sir - Re the American Consulate's refusal to issue a visa to the Filipino caregiver of Harriet Weitz, it would appear that Israel has a much more liberal approach than the Americans ("Filipino caregiver of octogenarian American immigrant denied US visa," August 20). Some years ago, the Filipina caregiver of another US immigrant wanted her husband to vacation in Israel to see what life was like here and secured a letter from her employer testifying that he was coming for a brief period and would be a guest in her home. Even though he arrived with several thousand dollars in his pocket, he was detained by the immigration authorities at Ben-Gurion Airport and risked deportation. The daughter of the caregiver's employer sped to the airport and deposited a check for a sum in excess of NIS 30,000 with the immigration authorities as a guarantee that the man would leave Israel by a certain date. As a rule these authorities do not accept checks, but they accepted the check on condition she return with cash the next day, which she did. It was an unnerving experience for the caregiver's husband, but it proved there is a solution to everything if people make the effort. I have no idea whether the US Consulate in Jerusalem would be prepared to accept a similar security to guarantee that Weitz's caregiver will return to Israel - but it's worth a try. TOVA LANDAU Jerusalem