December 20: Look homeward, Lula

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva wants to improve image on the world stage by supporting Ahmadinejad and recognizing a Palestinian state.

Turkey Brazil Iran 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Turkey Brazil Iran 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Photo smarts
Sir, – What lack of editorial judgment suggested that you place the photo you used on the front page of Friday’s Jerusalem Post (“A bloody display of mourning,” December 17)? Not only did I not want to see it while eating breakfast, but I did not want my grandchildren to see it at all.
Is the Post in the business of displaying gratuitous violence? Did you find yourselves with a space in this most prominent position on the front page that needed filling? If so, you could have used a picture of something that would add to our weekend pleasure.
Please consider your readership’s needs a little more carefully in the future.
Sir, – I was appalled, horrified and nauseated to see the photo of a man mutilating himself in the name of the Shi’ite holiday.
We know these people have no respect for human life, as witnessed by the many suicide bombings and praise by mothers for their martyred children. However, we do not need to see this on the front page of a family-oriented newspaper.
I for one, had difficulty finishing my coffee.
Sir, – How horrible for your readers and for the children looking at your newspaper! If you insist on putting a picture of Arabs on your front page, at least pick a nice one, like the picture on page 8 of the same issue showing a girl praying at a mosque in Ramallah.
There is enough violence in the world. We don’t need such gore on the front page.
Sir, – I am sure that I was not the only person sickened by the photograph accompanying the article “Shi’ites mark day of grief” (December 17). A Lebanese baby boy is pictured crying, his head pouring with blood after being cut in a mourning ritual for the festival of Ashoura.
The front page was sickening enough, showing a man, his head also pouring with copious amounts of blood. But he did this to himself. The child had been cut by someone else, and the cut must have been pretty deep to cause that amount of blood. He appeared to be held in the arms of what looked to be his obviously delighted mother.
What kind of people are these? How can we ever understand this treatment of a baby in the name of a festival? I am sickened and baffled. Doesn’t this come under a law regarding cruelty to children, or don’t Lebanese Shi’ites have the same value for a baby’s life as we do?
What’s to clarify? Sir, – Judging by “Arab Peace Initiative – clarifications needed” (Observations, December 17), it seems that former ambassador Itamar Rabinovich believes the terms set forth by the Arab League for Israel to withdraw to the l967 boundaries, including giving up the Golan Heights, are in need of further study.
One hardly knows whether to laugh or cry that a high ranking diplomat who is well aware of the sacrifice made by IDF soldiers in repelling Arab aggression should opine that this “peace initiative,” which is cleverly designed to receive the spoils of Israel’s victory, is worthy of consideration.
The only saving grace in Rabinovich’s entire piece is his statement that Israel absorbed thousands of Jewish refugees who were expelled from their homes in Arab lands. In this regard, I believe a just solution to the “right of return” would be to complete this population exchange by resettling the Arab refugees in their own countries.
Not in my backyard
Sir, – Regarding “Rabbis: Raise your voices against extremism (Candidly Speaking, December 16), I sincerely think that if Isi Leibler were to be confronted with Arabs renting or buying apartments in his central Jerusalem neighborhood he would be up in arms and would not think that the rabbis who signed the letter calling for a ban on property sales or rentals to Arabs are extremists.
In the last paragraph, Leibler states the “bottom line,” that extremist religious parties are exercising excessive leverage on Israel.
The photo above his column shows Rabbi Mordechai Nagari, the Sephardi chief rabbi of Ma’aleh Adumim. I happen to know that Nagari is far from an extremist. He is merely committed to a Jewish democratic nation.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – Will all due respect to Isi Leibler, who usually writes opinions I can agree with, he is unfortunately confusing extremism with unadulterated Zionism.
Democracy is great and I wouldn’t want to live in any other type of society, but in Israel we are facing many dangers. What the Arabs are not able to accomplish on the battlefield or through terrorism, they are attempting in more subtle ways – by delegitimization, false propaganda and now by taking over Jewish communities.
These rabbis are merely trying to protect our land from being taken over. Their views are not extreme – just sensible.
Sir, – One needn’t be a supporter of rabbinic fatwas against renting apartments to Arabs or in favor of the summary deportation of illegal aliens in order to see through the gross hypocrisy of those who call these rabbis and the voices for deportation “racists” (“MK: Let’s settle African migrants among some of Tel Aviv’s wealthier residents,” December 16).
In America, affluent liberal Jews – and most liberal Jews are affluent – “earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.” Their hypocrisy is such that they are vociferous in their advocacy of, say, public school integration yet make sure their own kids go to private schools, or they live in suburbs so expensive that ordinary minority families cannot afford to be their neighbors.
It is no different in Israel. The shrillest voices of the liberals and Left come from north Tel Aviv and Herzliya, wealthy areas far removed from the grit of real life.
It is from these quarters that one hears screeching on behalf of the tidal wave of illegal African immigrants who are causing utter havoc in south Tel Aviv, where working-class Jews live, and about the “racism” of rabbis who are the only pubic officials who at least sometimes give a damn about Israel’s poorest Jews and their neighborhoods.
Sir, – The important story is the failure of the letter-writing rabbis to gain broader rabbinic support.
The most significant rabbis in differing camps – Rabbis Elyashiv, Yosef and Lichtenstein, and many others – objected to the letter.
Outside of Israel, major rabbinic organizations, from Haredi and Modern Orthodox to non-Orthodox, and a thousand individual rabbis expressed opposition.
There is a consensus that rabbinic pronouncements in Israel must take into account consequences for Jewish communities around the world. Many are questioning the ethical sensitivities as well as wisdom of such a public statement.
New York
Look homeward, Lula
Sir, – As a Bostonian who has lived in Rio de Janeiro for the past 22 years, I totally concur with Liat Collins’s views (“South American absurdity,” My Word, December 12).
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, wanting to leave office on a high and ever-seeking to improve his image on the world stage, had already expressed his support for Ahmadinejad (accent on the “mad”) and his nuclear ambitions.
Now, he wishes to take a bow for recognizing the Palestinian state.
If only he could have brought his wishes for peace and the security of the two Middle East entities to his own society, where we recently experienced our own civil war.
Rio de Janeiro