August 9: Ritual rights

Surely religious indoctrination is as serious a breech of personal freedom as the removal of a baby boy’s foreskin.

Ritual rights
Sir, – Regarding “Norwegian official: Jews and Muslims should replace circumcision with ‘symbolic’ ritual” (August 7), if Norway’s objection to ritual circumcision is that the procedure doesn’t give the child the right to choose, then in order to be consistent, it must also insist that no child be force-fed any religious training until he or she is old enough to choose for themselves.
Surely religious indoctrination is as serious a breech of personal freedom as the removal of a baby boy’s foreskin.
Rancho Mirage, California
Sir, – Ervin Kohn, president of the Jewish community of Oslo, is right when he says Norwegian Jews “will not be able to live in a society where circumcision is forbidden.”
Perhaps he is more of a prophet than he knows. It seems clear that the day is coming when the only place that will allow halachic circumcision will be Israel.
This is yet another indication that in the not-too-distant future, Jews in the Diaspora – those who still identify with Jewish laws and customs – will finally understand that their future is in the Land of Israel.
Sir, – I want to say sorry from all Christian Norwegians that the Ombudsman interferes in Jewish circumcision. It is none of the Norwegians’ business! And being a Christian I am very sorry that one here in Norway can think that we are any better than others and that they even want to interfere with this. I also want to thank you for teaching other countries how to circumcise as this will definitely help the spread of HIV as well, KAREN FURUHOLMEN Oslo
Not nourished
Sir, – I read with not much amazement “Holon hospital survey: Half of patients in internal medicine wards malnourished when admitted,” (August 7).
First, most are elderly and and live on very limited budgets. Secondly, if the hospital provided reasonable food perhaps they would recover more quickly and at that time give them hints based on budgetary information on what can be eaten.
I know from prior experience that food in most government hospitals is below substandard. I have it on good authority that the Prisons Service provides inmates better food than is provided by hospitals. I am not expecting five-star hotel menus but nutritious, well balanced food.
When I was at Kaplan Medical Center I got food with more carb filler than meat, no salad and no fresh fruit. Bread and potatoes are cheap and since the Healthy Ministry does not teach or preach preventive medicine, malnourished patients will continue to be the norm not the exception.
Drawing comparisons
Sir, – I wish to commend Gershon Baskin for his comparative analysis of Israel today and South Africa under apartheid (“On Apartheid,” Encountering Peace, August 7).
It is direct, fair and even-handed, however it could go even further concerning where the truth really lies about Israel’s “rule of the West Bank as a form of apartheid,” because in the West Bank, Israel is a land grabber – meaning that she grabs land that has been allocated to the other for its own expression of national identity.
Having been born and raised in apartheid South Africa, I saw many instances where Blacks were pushed off the land to make way for the white farmer.
No matter how many explanations the white farmer provided, none could really be justified. So as we all know in 1994, apartheid was defeated.
Hence it seems to me that the message of the Afrikaaner to the Israeli today would be – passop – watch out, what happened to us might just happen to you if you go on and on grabbing Palestinian land.
Sir, – So Gershon Baskin has joined the horde of Israel-bashers.
Doesn’t he realize that by accusing Israel of practicing “a form of apartheid” he confirms the slander used to justify Israel’s boycott, divestment, and demonization? Whatever problems of transit the Palestinians may experience are not based on race, skin color or anything else other than very real security concerns.
Baskin is doing with the term “Apartheid” what anti-Semites do with the “Holocaust,” when they use the word to describe any massacre, real or imaginary.
Israel did not ever and does not practice apartheid.
Sir, – Regarding Gershon Baskin’s “On Apartheid” – In America, where I was born and raised, there used to be a saying: “People vote with their feet.”
Despite Soviet propaganda, people escaped the “evil empire,” and came to America.
Likewise, in Israel, despite the perverted propaganda of the left, everyone wants to come and live here – from Palestinians to Eritreans, Sudanese, Filipinos, Thais, Nigerians, etc.
Israel, on the other hand, was created as the homeland of the Jewish people. If Arabs want to live in their own state, then they can chose among any one of the 22 Arab states – including the already existent Palestinian state in Jordan.
If Arabs have it so bad living under Jewish rule, then why do they prefer to live and work in Israel rather than under Palestinian Authority rule?
Exerting effort?
Sir, – Peter A. Joseph and David A. Halperin (“Israel’s future depends on two states,” Comment and Features, August 7) write: “Let us be blunt: Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state depends on continued efforts to promote a two-state solution.”
They are so right! Their key words are “continued efforts to promote...”
The “efforts must be made,” but certainly even Joseph and Halperin know that there will never be a two-state solution in our lifetime.
Evidence: Do the writers accept the return of millions of Arab “refugees” (children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the original refugees)? Of course not. Such a state would be neither democratic nor Jewish.
Is there any Palestinian who will not demand the return of all of these “refugees”? Of course not.
So where is your two-state solution? But “the effort must be made”... as they say, “the show must go on.”
Sir, – The Israel Policy Forum is a US-based, liberal organization advocating for a two-state solution.
Authors Peter A. Joseph and David A. Halperin recently wrote that the Levy Report jeopardizes the two-state solution, “ ...because the report is at odds with international opinion regarding the status of the West Bank, adopting it may provoke an adverse international reaction and bolster Israel’s critics who take every opportunity to question the state’s legitimacy, even within its existing borders.”
Personally, I think the two-state solution is obsolete because of the Palestinians’ obstinacy and their refusal to accept a Jewish state. Nevertheless, I strenuously object to American Jews fussing over “adverse international reaction” to Israel’s policies. With that attitude, Israel never would have proclaimed its independence, because the West, including the US State Department, was agitating against a Jewish state at the very instant of Israel's declaration.
Jewish “leaders” pontificating from America have no right to undercut Israel’s rights because of fear of “international reaction” or of bucking the “mainstream.”
At the very least, the authors should move to Israel, where they could vote for leadership that shares their opinions. No more lectures from abroad, please!
Alfei Menashe