December 9: No pogrom...

For PM Ehud Olmert to refer to the recent skirmishes between Jews and Arabs in Hebron as "pogroms" is shameful.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
No pogrom... Sir, - In 1903 in Kishinev there were pogroms. On November 9, 1938, in Germany, there was the pogrom known as Kristallnacht. Many other pogroms are, unfortunately, part of our long history. For PM Ehud Olmert to refer to the recent skirmishes between Jews and Arabs in Hebron as "pogroms" is shameful ("Olmert calls Hebron settler violence a 'pogrom,'" December 8). RACHEL RABINOWITZ Jerusalem Sir, - Perhaps Olmert should read some Jewish history and literature and find out what a pogrom was, and not just make statements which make him look like an ignoramus with no knowledge of what Jewish suffering was inflicted, with no justification, during a pogrom. YISRAEL (IAN) LAST Kiryat Ata government Sir, - The Israeli government is in a state of total non-function. PM Olmert, who won't go home, seems involved in either criminal investigation of his actions or dreams of peace with the Palestinians and Syria. Tzipi Livni talks of a "faltering truce," Shaul Mofaz gives his years-long, weekly declaration - Israel must change its policy regarding Hamas in the Gaza Strip - and Haim Ramon calls for "an immediate halt to the cease-fire." There is no truce. There is no cease-fire. Hamas is at war against Israel. How can a decision-making process exist with a non-functioning Olmert, a powerless Livni and a defense minister, Ehud Barak, struggling with a personality problem and an antagonistic, expiring party? Ben-Gurion is turning over in his grave ("Livni attacks Barak, calls for reassessment of Gaza truce," December 7). YEHUDA OPPENHEIM Jerusalem First things first Sir, - I have just returned from visiting Israel and was struck by all the talk about negotiating peace with the Palestinians. It appears to me that negotiations about land, borders, Jerusalem and even the right of return miss the main issue. The continued incitement by the Palestinians in their media, textbooks and mosques needs to be addressed first. There can be no peace with a people who are taught that the Jews have no historical connection to the land, that they stole the Arabs' lands and are a cancer on the earth. Only when people are taught the truth and made ready to live in peace with Jews as neighbors will peace be possible. Until then, Israelis will only have an avowed enemy on their borders, wherever those borders are set ("Arab peace or Durban war?" Gerald Steinberg, November 26). CONRAD NADELL Scotch Plains, New Jersey Sir, - Attempting to "negotiate" with those who are theologically committed to your destruction is, at a minimum, naive; at most a logical absurdity. Frankly, it's a moral crime against the Jewish people. DAN CALIC San Ramon, California Nobody's fool? Sir, - Martin Kramer's "What do the financial crisis and America's Middle East policy have in common?" (December 7) expressed skepticism about the risks inherent in a new policy of "engagement," which holds the danger of unintentionally legitimizing extremists. While one shudders at the prospect of yet more catastrophic adventures in foreign policy naivete, there are reasons to be optimistic as Barack Obama takes the reins. For example, his newly designated secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has shown that she can be very tough-minded, particularly toward Iran; during the campaign, she outflanked Obama to the right on that issue. And to apply Mr. Kramer's economic parallel, Obama's team of economic advisers are hard-headed and seasoned free-traders whose views belie much of his starry-eyed campaign rhetoric. Let's keep our fingers crossed, but it's looking like Obama may turn out to be nobody's fool. DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont Sane Muslim voice Sir, - There is at least one sane Muslim voice in India. From the Times of India, December 3: "A group of imams here has come out strongly against the (Mumbai) attacks and asked the Muslim community to wear a black ribbon on Bakr-Eid as an expression of solidarity with those killed in the outrage. "The imams, under the banner of All India Organisation of Imams of Mosques, called for subdued Eid-ul-Azha (Bakr-Eid) festivities across the country... "The imams... appealed to all the mosques, muftis and madrasas to reiterate in this week's Friday prayers that Islam forbids the killing of innocent people and is against any form of terrorism. "'We are deeply aggrieved by the loss of human lives and especially by the brutal killing of Jews,' they said. 'We have to think above caste, class, region and religion. It's an attack on India and all true Indians should come forward and salute the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country'" ("The jihadist-multicultural alliance, Caroline B. Glick, December 2). GEORGE ROTH Jerusalem It's only fare Sir, - With bus fares set to rise in spite of a decrease in oil prices, which will mainly affect the elderly and poor, I suggest a strike by the bus-riding population. On the day the fares rise, only travel by bus if absolutely necessary. Postpone all bus journeys that can be postponed; walk wherever possible. If there is a significant decrease in the numbers of passengers, even if for only one day, maybe the powers that be will get the message. Everyone strikes for their own narrow interests - why shouldn't the bus-traveling public do so too? Perhaps we could also organize a picket line outside the bus garages. Is there even one among our aspiring politicians ready to take up our cause and organize a protest? ("Fare play," Editorial, December 7) YEHUDIT COLLINS Jerusalem Call for change Sir, - I fully sympathize with Meira Schwartz ("Five little agorot," Letters, December 4). Where the stated price of an item requires change to be given, even if it is only an agora, the store should be compelled to so so by law so the customer need not be forced to overpay. (If the smallest available coin is 10 agorot, so be it.) In the US and the UK, when goods are marked at XX.99, a penny change is always given. In Israel, where there is no agora coin, the price quoted should be such that change can be given. I have always thought that a special tax on the tabulation of the amount of .99 would either bring a bonanza to the tax authorities or, even better, stop this conning of the public. ARIEL BROCH Shadmot Mehola Follow the red & green men Sir, - Re "High rates of pedestrian deaths" (November 27): Many pedestrians, adults and children alike, routinely and blithely ignore the "red and green men" when crossing main roads and side streets. This surely contributes to the alarmingly high rate of pedestrian deaths. Schools need to stress the importance of obeying these signals, and all adult pedestrians, no matter how agile and speedy, should do likewise - in particular if a youngster is also at the traffic-light-regulated crossing. REBECCA GOLDSMITH Jerusalem