December 21: Business as usual (sigh)

A truly democratic and responsive government would be a refreshing change from the "corruption as usual."

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Business as usual (sigh) Sir, - Evelyn Gordon expresses approbation for the primary-elected Likud list, which rejected "opportunistic" candidates whose tenure as MKs was governed by expediency and preoccupation with retaining their Knesset seats, and rewarded those candidates who epitomized "accountability" and stood by their principles, whatever the political cost ("Three cheers for democracy," December 17). However, her praise for Binyamin Netanyahu, "who singlehandedly forced democratic primaries on a reluctant party establishment," was effectively neutralized by her censure of his "disgraceful move of questionable legality moving the opportunists up and the disengagement opponents down, thereby overruling the voters." A truly democratic and responsive government would be a refreshing change from the "corruption as usual" which appears to be the sad choice for the Israeli electorate on February 10. FAY DICKER Lakewood, New Jersey For Arab and Jew, both Sir, - Re "Israel denies entry to top UN official" (December 16): Everything said by the Foreign Ministry about Richard Falk in denying him reentry to Israel is correct. He is indeed "legitimizing Hamas terrorism and drawing shameful comparisons to the Holocaust." Nonetheless, it behooves the Kadima-Labor government to provide the correct, useful and long-overdue answer to Hamas terrorism in the interests of the human rights of both Gazans and Israelis. Collective punishment in the misguided belief that Gazans will apply successful pressure on their oppressors is not the answer. Israel should answer Falk's one-sided call to respect international human rights in Gaza by applying international law on self-defense: Eliminate the Hamas terror leadership there, destroy its military capabilities and liberate the international border along the Philadelphi corridor now under Hamas control. Gaza is primarily our problem, not Egypt's. Israel, therefore, must act for the sake of the future of all the children of the Land of Israel, Arab and Jew. At the same time, Israel can allow supervised, massive international humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza - half of it only through an Israeli-controlled passageway from Egypt. AARON BASHANI Jerusalem When a slave gains the throne Sir, - As Jonathan Spyer wrote in "A political culture of self-righteous fury" (December 17) and reader Joseph Sadeh underlined in "He put his foot in it" (Letters, December 18), it is precisely because of President George Bush's policies that "the Iraqi citizen [Muntar] Al-Zeidi," who in a show of ultimate disrespect and rank ingratitude threw his shoes at the president of the United States, "is (now) able to work freely as a journalist, worship freely as a Shi'ite, and vote freely as a citizen" under the aegis of a Shi'ite-dominated government after years of brutal repression under the tyrannical rule of the Sunni Saddam Hussein . As Solomon the Wise said in Proverbs 30:23, one of the things for which the earth trembles is when a slave becomes king. MIRIAM L. GAVARIN Jerusalem BBC's impartiality Sir, - "What they say isn't what you hear" by Barry Rubin (December 15) asserted that BBC Arabic allowed a contributor to condone, unchallenged, the killing of civilians during a discussion program. This is not true. Firstly, the contributor actually condemned the killings of civilians and, secondly, any other impression that such acts might be acceptable was quickly challenged in the program. It is true, however, that the same contributor asserted that the Israeli curriculum contains a maths problem about killing Arabs. That is factually wrong and should have been challenged at the time. When we make a mistake we will acknowledge it, but one error does not substantiate a claim that the BBC limits debate and incites violence. The BBC adheres to strict editorial guidelines which we aim to uphold at all times. One of the key features of these guidelines is impartiality. We are committed to supplying views from all sides of any issue in our output and to testing arguments with equal rigor. We sometimes make mistakes and are constantly reviewing our program to give the audience the strongest possible news and current affairs. We want to get the story right, and we work hard to achieve balance over time in our coverage. JERRY TIMMINS Head of Region Africa and Middle East BBC World Service London Just love that money Sir, - It is not money that is the root of all evil, but the love of money. Or, as Benjamin Franklin said, "If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some, for he that goes a-borrowing, goes a-sorrowing" ("Tycoon enjoyed $50 pedicures, 9.8 handicap and yacht called 'Bull,'" December 18). SARA SHAW Kfar Saba No joke, I assure you Sir, - Re "Evolution - a joke?" (UpFront Letters, December 5): Amnon Goldberg says there is a "vast body of solid scientific evidence supporting a recent creation." While there may be some minimal amount of literature presenting that point of view, as a professor emeritus of anthropology, I can tell you that the scientific literature supporting evolutionary theory is far greater by many magnitudes. I made sure that my children studied evolutionary ideas, and I would hope my grandchildren do the same. Jews have earned a significant number of Nobel prizes in medical and scientific research, far greater than would be expected given the percentage of Jews in the total world population. I would hope that here in Israel we continue to teach our children these important concepts, so that we can remain in the forefront of scientific knowledge. Mr. Goldberg thinks that "Evolution will be laughed at as one of the great jokes of history." He is totally wrong. ROBERT I. SUNDICK Jerusalem