August 24: Ban trial by media

[Even] if no trial takes place because of lack of evidence, the damage has already been done.

letters to the editor 88 (photo credit: )
letters to the editor 88
(photo credit: )
Ban trial by media Sir, - Is it not time for this country to institute and rigorously enforce a sub-judice rule? Trial by the media is not, and cannot be justice ("Katsav's lawyers decry leaks into harassment probe," August 23). By its very nature the media is mainly interested in a "good story," whatever effect it may have on the parties or the outcome of any trial. If no trial takes place because of lack of evidence, the damage has already been done. Has anyone ever read of a newspaper issuing an apology in such a case? Restricting publication of rumor and innuendo does not take away the public's right to know - it merely postpones it to the trial itself, when evidence is taken on oath and is tested by experienced lawyers, not hotshot reporters. M. VEEDER Netanya Sir, - After eight years in Israel I am amazed at how the media can lower itself yet further. Yes, the police are investigating our president, a respected and honorable man, for alleged harassment. For the duration of his tenure Mr. Katsav has been a shining example of diplomatic correctness. Why must the media sully his reputation? Why cannot yet another "politician" serve out his term of office without emerging with a reputation in ruins? ELLEN SHAFNER Beit Shemesh Two questions Sir, - It seems likely that in the very near future the following officials will be leaving their posts: the president, prime minister, defense minister, foreign minister, chief of General Staff, COG Northern Command, about half the General Staff and a number of other senior military officers ("Government blamed for military disaster," August 23). This begs two questions: Who will replace them? And will the new ones do any better? JOSEF GILBOA Jaffa Won't work Sir, - The UN "rules of engagement" are a travesty. At the time of the cease-fire Lebanon agreed to disarm Hizbullah, and Europe and the UN agreed to help. Now Lebanon says it doesn't want to, and won't. According to the terms of the cease-fire the UN can't participate in disarming Hizbullah unless Lebanon asks it to. Lebanon has made it quite clear it isn't going to ask. The "rules" essentially allow the UN forces to fight only if attacked. This is a travesty. And it puts Israel in grave, unacceptable danger. Israel should declare that the cease-fire agreement has been abandoned by Lebanon and is no longer in effect, and then go finish the job ("UNIFIL to be cleared to shoot in self-defense," August 23). SKIP KELLEY Sunnyvale, California Ignore HRW Sir, - Avi Bell's searing indictment of Human Rights Watch's blatantly biased and highly suspect reports which levelled specious accusations against Israel was on target and overdue ("Whose war crimes in Lebanon?" August 23). How long can the reputation of HRW remain untarnished and relevant when its pronouncements and critiques are open to challenge for veracity and reliability? The time is surely long past when HRW's indictments and charges should be ignored and treated with the contempt they deserve. HRW has lost any claim to integrity. FAY DICKER Lakewood, New Jersey Why wait? Sir, - The failed Israeli policies and leadership have to change if Israel is to survive as a nation. Caroline Glick's is the only rational voice coming out of Israel. Relying on others to keep Israel safe is not realistic. Mightn't it be better to attack Iran and Syria now instead of waiting to be attacked by them? ("The coming wars," August 18.) STEVE GURE Coconut Creek, Florida 'Piggy' banks... Sir, - News that a British Muslim group is planning to take the British government to court to try to change UK foreign policy should set alarm bells ringing ("Suit by Muslim group seeks to change UK's Mideast policy," August 23). Earlier this month there was a demand that Muslim religious holidays be UK public Bank Holidays. Banks have stopped issuing "piggy" banks, and companies have changed their logos and advertisements to avoid offending Muslims. When the Jewish community first starting growing in the UK there were no demands for special treatment. While keeping our separate identity we were happy to integrate and become a productive part of the wider community. If authorities continue the trend of giving into unreasonable Muslim demands there is danger of a backlash, and moderate Muslims who are happy to be a part of British society will suffer. I hope people in the UK, and Europe, will not wake up too late to the dangers of political correctness - and one day find that Shari'a law and a Muslim lifestyle have taken us over. JOY WOLFE Cheadle, Cheshire, UK ...and multiculturalism Sir, - In "UK police to investigate Muslim scholar's call for martyrdom" (August 23) Azzam Tamimi, director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought and a leading member of the Muslim Association of Britain, is quoted as declaring to an audience of 8,000 at the Expo-Islamia event in Manchester: "We are Muslims in Europe, not European Muslims." It's as clear an answer, I think, as Europe's gung-ho multiculturalists are ever going to get to the question of how the continent's Muslims see themselves vis-a-vis their countries of residence. MIRIAM AMGAD Jerusalem 'All non-Muslims go to hell' Sir, - I appreciate interreligious dialogue. So I found some basic points which directly affect Muslim countries' attitude to Israel. The school syllabus in every Muslim country, especially Pakistan, must be required to change in accordance with [the aim for] global peace. Example 1: A textbook teaches children aged 6+ that the heroic Muslim leader Ali killed the Jewish leader Marhab during an attack on a Jewish village, obeying the order of the prophet ("God give him an honorable name - the lion of God - for killing a Jewish leader"). Example 2: All nursery school children (aged 3 and under) learn this dialogue: Teacher: Who are we? Children: (loudly) Muslims! T: Where do we go after death? Ch: (loudly) Paradise! T: And all non-Muslims? Ch: (loudly) To hell! T: Who will live forever? Ch: Shaheed will live forever! T: Who is Shaheed? Ch: Those who die in the Jihad. They will be interred in paradise without hesitation. This brainwashing prepares the main base of terrorism in the next generation. THOMS JOHN KHAN Karachi, Pakistan Dual-tariff electricity Sir, - The electric company's ad "Getting Ready for Peak Electricity Demand" (August 23) and the item in your business section "Israel Electric seeks limited power use" (August 22) invite the question: Why does the IEC not provide cheap night electricity - standard practice with many electric power utilities worldwide? Much of their capacity is idle during night hours, when the load drops. Via a cheaper night tariff the utility can induce its consumers to program "heavy-load" domestic appliances - dishwashers, washing machines, etc. - to run at night. Maximum daytime electricity demand can then be met with a smaller total generating capacity. The IEC, a monopoly, is not concerned to reduce the burden on its consumers and on national resources. Yet it seems reasonable to ask whether the government ministry responsible is aware of this possibility and, if it is, why it has taken no action, despite the IEC's perennial difficulty in meeting maximum demand. GERRY MYERS Beit Zayit