August 30: Caring Kidnappers?

Incredibly, they are urging their colleagues to continue reporting from Gaza.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Caring kidnapers? Sir, - The fulsome praise with which Fox News correspondents Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig referred to the Palestinians as "a beautiful, kind-hearted and caring people," was reiterated in their remarks in Jerusalem when they were no longer "unfree." The kindest inference is that both are suffering, perhaps understandably, from Stockholm Syndrome, in which hostages identify with their kidnapers and parrot their views. Incredibly, they are urging their colleagues to continue reporting from Gaza; however, one must assume that the two will not soon be among those vying for assignment to the region. Caroline Glick continues to cogently articulate the deceptive and all-too-persuasive PR campaign waged by a cabal of media outlets more intent on demonizing Israel than on fulfilling their professional imperative of impartial and accurate reporting ("Terrorist theater tricks," August 29). F. DICKER Lakewood, New Jersey Asymetrically yours Sir, - In "Do Israel's media know their place?" (August 29) Yisrael Medad focused on the media of his country alone. Yet a potentially dangerous disinformation is taking place worldwide, and it must stop immediately. During the Mideast crisis the international media has continually shown a great deal of sympathy for Lebanon by highlighting the collateral damage done to it by Israel. This is exemplified each time news cameras voyage into Lebanese territory to show Arab shop owners and factory workers in despair. Hizbullah fighters are never seen. Yet when the cameras travel into Israeli territory, it is the soldier, not the local resident, who receives face time. It is the military that captures the camera's attention, not the terrified Israeli civilian who has just witnessed a Kaytusha rocket striking his home. This asymmetrical treatment must stop because it gives the world a skewed perspective of a very divisive international issue. A fairer, more balanced portrayal of what is really occurring needs to take priority. MICHAEL GORSHEIN Wayne, New Jersey Balanced view from Britain Sir, - I am a British academic who now spends his time writing an on-line magazine called "A Question of Balance!" Although my name is Leven I am not Jewish, but I identify with Israel and her struggle against the murderous enemies on her frontiers. Israel must not become the West's Maginot Line. I am sickened and disgusted by the appalling anti-Semitism in the West, especially the Islamist-appeasing hypocrites at the BBC. British opinion is largely favorable to Israel despite appearances to the contrary, especially among the more intelligent sections of our society. GUY LEVEN-TORRES London Where's the clamor? Sir, - Re the continuing absence of action on behalf of kidnapped Israeli soldiers Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev: Where's the clamor? The shock? The outrage? The human solidarity? The so-called humanitarian organizations that wasted no time in condemning acts of self-defense are turning a blind eye to the precise act that sparked the conflict between Lebanon and Israel. The moral stature of these humanitarian organization is very small indeed ("MIAs to the fore, all of them," David J. Forman, August 29). AARON SWIRSKI Netanya Crafty sheikh Sir, - Methinks Sheikh Nasrallah protesteth too much in saying that he would never have abducted those soldiers had he known "it would lead to such a response." Herb Keinon cites some Israeli officials who believe this shows that Nasrallah "realizes he did not win the recent war," and that at times he even sounded "apologetic." I hope the sheikh didn't bamboozle too many other people. I think he's crafty, and knows well how to manipulate the media. These kinds of statements serve to portray him as the good guy, making Israel the bad guy. If he really means what he says, let's see him put his money where his mouth is and give the soldiers back ("Nasrallah: No 2nd round looming," August 28). DEENA SPIGELMAN Jerusalem Twain's cat Sir, - Southern Lebanon is in ruins, bodies are still being discovered, there are billions of dollars' worth of damage and the leaders of Hizbullah, Iran, Syria and assorted jihadists are claiming victory ("IDF intel chief: Syria learns from Hizbullah with eye on the Golan," August 25). It reminds me of Mark Twain's hoax in which he requested assistance in finding his lost cat, which was so black as to be invisible. Thousands wrote in claiming to have seen it. ROBERT PRENTISS San Francisco Uneasy truths in Iraq Sir, - If there are no easy solutions to the conflict in Iraq, neither are there easy truths. While most commentators write of tribal loyalties, internecine conflicts between Sunni and Shi'ite, and of a civil society in its infancy, consider this: From 258 CE to 1038 CE Pumbedita, a city in what is now the modern state of Iraq was, together with Sura, the most important center of Jewish scholarship and learning in the entire Jewish Diaspora. Communities throughout the then known world, but especially the Arabic-speaking Jews of Al-Andalus, looked to Pumbedita for guidance and the most authoritative interpretation and meaning of talmudic questions. Pumbedita's role as the center of Jewish learning, and the theological and practical opinions rendered there, written in Arabic using Hebrew script, lasted as long as Islamic rule in Al-Andalus, more than twice as long as the US has existed, and almost 20 times as long as the modern Iraqi nation. Today Pumbedita will not be found on any map of Iraq. This is not the consequence of its being destroyed when the Mongols overran today's Iraq, or of its being reduced to a nameless desert pinprick on the map. Pumbedita was renamed. Today it is known as Fallujah ("Over 100 people die in 2-day Iraqi spike of violence," August 29). WARREN BRATTER New York Yad Vashem's guides Sir, - I'd like to thank Greer Fay Cashman for her comprehensive and informative "The stories speak for themselves" (August 22) which gave many insights into guiding in Yad Vashem's new Holocaust History Museum. We have indeed several volunteer guides who have been with us for over 10 years and who guide mainly official visitors. Each underwent a rigorous training course, is highly dedicated and skilled, and part of our professional guiding cadre. Totally committed to their work, these volunteer guides give of their valuable time, come rain or shine, and are deeply appreciated by Yad Vashem. Guy Shemer, who ran the most recent training course run by the Guiding Department of the Commemoration and Public Relations Division, was misidentified as director of that department - a position held by Naama Galil. Guides for official visits are handled by the Official Visits Unit, headed by Shoshie Rosin, also within that division. RACHEL BARKAI, Director Commemoration and Public Relations Yad Vashem Jerusalem No hurry-cane Sir, - I agree that it is not a slight if one's national or ethnic group is underrepresented in the names assigned to destructive hurricanes ("Hurricane Terrorist?" Letters, August 29). A few years ago, an article discussing Israel's objection to the inclusion of "Israel" in a list of names to be assigned to future hurricanes included the comment "'Israel' is a good Spanish name," and the retort "So is Jesus." "Israel" was dropped from the list. YONATAN SILVER Jerusalem