One need not be a 9/11 survivor or family member to feel moral outrage at the prospect of a mosque.
By JERUSALEM POST READERSJews would be outraged Sir, – Reader Eva Gold (“No comparison,” Letters, August 25) says that if and when Jews fly a plane into a building, killing loads of people, she’ll oppose building a synagogue near the site.Even if such a scenario were to occur, there is nothing in the Jewish religion that would encourage such an action. And even if some misguided fringe group were to take such action, there’d be outrage by Jews of all sectors. But there is no rage or condemnation from the Muslim world, because jihad is considered the highest form of religious devotion.If the group wishing to build this mosque expressed a desire to combat fanaticism and wanted to use this building in that pursuit, it might be more acceptable to many people’s sensitivities.And speaking of sensitivities, I don’t think that one needs to be a 9/11 survivor or family member to feel moral outrage at the prospect of a mosque. I knew none of the victims, but as a human being, I feel solidarity with all the victims’ families and cannot tolerate this disrespect.SHARON LINDENBAUM RehovotDepressing icehole Sir, – Frank Johansson told The Jerusalem Post last week that he stands by his statement (“Amnesty International head in Finland calls Israel ‘scum state,’” August 25).However, this may just be Johansson’s way of trying to generate a bit of excitement.According to MSN travel editor Simon Busch, Finland is sixth on a list of “the most boring places on earth.” Message board users have referred to “HelsinkiDepressing.com” and called a town in northern Finland the “icehole of the world,” saying it’s “freezing cold for eight months and swarming with millions of mosquitoes in the damp summer.”So perhaps vibrant Israel was just too much of a shock for him.A more welcome shock would be for Amnesty International to condemn Johansson’s hateful remarks and to revive the principles of humanity and justice upon which the organization was originally based.RONA HART HaifaEqually valid question Sir, – The important question as presented in your headline “Would an IDF withdrawal from the West Bank mean a safe haven for extremists?” (August 24) is answered very well by Col. Richard Kemp. His concerns are legitimate and pertinent. The dangers as he assesses them, many of which we experienced personally not so long ago, are all too real.However, the real essence of the question asked by the title of the conference at which he made his presentation – “Israel’s Critical Security Needs in a Viable Peace” – is far wider, and I think an equally valid question would be: Do the many scattered civilian communities in Judea and Samaria contribute to our critical security needs? Here, I believe the answer is a resounding no.These settlements have demanded a scattering of IDF resources of all sorts, from vehicles to manpower to moral certainty. In any future full-scale attack by foreign armies from the East, these many population centers would require IDF security support. This is not an efficient use of our limited military resources.I think a more effective and efficient fulfillment of our critical security needs would be served by a withdrawal of the Israeli civilians and the continuing presence of the IDF.Then, the lightened task on the IDF would allow for far more efficiency in fulfilling its true task of preventing the unhindered development of a terrorist threat and looking after the safety of our population. The money saved could be used to expand an important and critical area of our security by adding additional anti-rocket systems.YORAM GETZLER AminadavIm Tirtzu and BGU Sir, – David Newman (“A dangerous political agenda,” Borderline views, August 24) states that when one tries to influence the hiring and firing policy of universities based on political views, it is McCarthyism.Newman is mistaken. The McCarthyists are the academics who persist in hiring only those who reflect the politically correct fringe leftist view they subscribe to themselves, and then abuse their academic positions to indoctrinate rather than teach. The academic world reaches new depths of hypocrisy when it engages in internal McCarthyism under the guise of political correctness and then demonizes those who lobby for a greater academic freedom of ideas.Universities are the incubators of ideas that should find expression in the open marketplace; they are not the protected turf of left-wing teachers who denigrate others (students, other teaching applicants and the tax-paying public) who disagree with them.Newman’s broadly painted portrait of a threat to academic freedom is ridiculous. Im Tirtzu isn’t asking for anything other than some ideological balance in Prof.Neve Gordon’s department, where there exists a radical indoctrination that students challenge at the risk of a poor grade. The hysterical denunciations of Im Tirtzu by the academic Left only underscore their terror at the thought of losing their ideological monopoly on campus.Freedom of expression is for everyone, including those who disagree with the left-wing of the academic elite. Freedom of expression, in the form of protest and boycott, is a tool available to all, not just to the self-appointed politically correct.Silencing protest by casting it as an existential threat to the very academic freedom the protest seeks to expand, as Newman describes, is fascist.SARAH WILLIAMSJerusalemSir, – David Newman disingenuously uses the term “McCarthyism” to indict Im Tirtzu.He writes that “when you try to influence the hiring (and firing) policy of universities based on political views, that is McCarthyism.” Yet ironically, this is what has happened at Ben-Gurion University. Faculty members have been hired because of their political views. The head of BGU’s Department of Politics and Government has packed it with political cronies.Newman further applies a double standard in opining that “[w]hen you portray anyone who doesn’t agree with you as being anti-state...this is McCarthyism – pure and simple.” So, on the one hand, it is free speech for Neve Gordon and his cohorts to denigrate Israel and say that Zionism is destroying the country. On the other, Newman says it is McCarthyism if one disagrees with the anti-Zionist movement because of the belief that it is destroying the country.Finally, Newman accuses Im Tirtzu of saying that Ben-Gurion faculty members are “abetting the enemy.” I can tell you after successfully fighting against an attempt to boycott Israeli products at the Davis (California) Food Coop during the past year that the BGU advocates of boycotting Israeli universities are absolutely abetting those who seek to delegitimize Israel. At every opportunity, the BDS movement glowingly parades the names of Israelis who support economic and academic boycotts against Israel, especially the above-mentioned faculty at Ben- Gurion.HILA ZIZOV Davis, CaliforniaSir, – David Newman defends freedom of speech for academics but wants to quash said freedom when it is used to criticize academics who support boycotting BGU itself. Is this not the height of hypocrisy? Bar-Ilan University’s president, Moshe Kaveh, a former chairman of Israel’s Committee of University Presidents, is the first leader of an Israeli university to back the dismissal of professors who publicly express support for a boycott against the country’s institutions of higher learning. In contrast, BGU president Rivka Carmi isn’t interested in responding to criticism of her university’s Politics and Government Department, which according to Im Tirtzu, hosts many of that “handful.”Kudos to Kaveh. Let’s hope that his sensible view will influence our government to look into the practice of giving tenure to anti- Zionists who have control of our lecture halls.STEVE KRAMER Alfei MenasheSir, – I have two recommendations for the implementation of Prof. Neve Gordon’s call for a boycott of Israel and its universities: 1. Gordon should resign from BGU, setting a personal example. If he does not have the guts, perhaps Prof. Rivka Carmi should help him.2. All of BGU’s donors should endorse Gordon’s call for a boycott and immediately stop funding his department.SHLOMO FELDMANN Givatayim
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