February 13: Heed Sharansky

Mr. Sharansky's call to action could help save Israel and the Diaspora from the tipping point.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Heed Sharansky Sir, - The Diaspora should heed Natan Sharansky's call to action ("Mobilize now, save the world," February 12). He knows, in ways we could never imagine, what the future may be. Canadian Jewish leaders who have received ideas, advice and recommendations in a similar vein over the past several years have dismissed them and opted for business as usual. Meanwhile, the Canadian street increasingly blames Israel for the ongoing conflict and accuses it of pressuring the US into Iraq. Next, it will blame Israel if the US hits Iran's nuclear facilities. Currently, our local adversaries have won the hearts and minds of Canadians. Mr. Sharansky's call to action could help save Israel and the Diaspora from the tipping point - if it isn't already too late. SANDY STERN Toronto Cowering Europe? Sir, - I find fascinating the anger and hatred Europeans express toward Jews and Americans, from whom they have nothing to fear. Yet they do not express anger or hatred toward Muslims in Europe who have been carrying out a crime wave of hate, bigotry and violence toward Europeans. Do they fear Muslims so much they have taken the coward's way out and cower on their knees in fear? W.W. TERRY Portland, Oregon Cowed Israel? Sir, - No matter what we do, the Muslim world complains. We built a tunnel; no good. We are repairing a walkway to the Temple Mount; no good. If they told us to stop eating or breathing, I am sure some of us would acquiesce. When will we learn to do what has to be done and stop folding in the face of other opinions? We were chosen for a reason and should do what is right for us. M. SCHAEFFER Jerusalem Might be worth it Sir, - Re "Fatah, Hamas sign deal in Mecca - Saudis pledge $1b." (February 9): Will Saudi Arabia donate $1 billion to us also if Ehud Olmert and Amir Peretz sign a pledge to work in unity? JOE FRANKL Savyon Unwanted Witnesses Sir, - Credit to former justice minister Yaakov Ne'eman and Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav for their clear opposition to permitting known missionaries to the Jews, the Jehovah's Witnesses, to operate in Israel. ("A-G backs Jehovah's witnesses' demand for equal right to hold events," February 11). Yes, Israel is a democratic Jewish state and we must all guard it. But even the greatest democracy ever, the US, acted to keep its democracy by forbidding the German-American Bund during World War II. Israel is in a state of war against those who want to destroy us as a nation (Hamas, etc.) and those who want to destroy us as a people: Christian missionary groups. The greatest insult to Jewish Americans came almost right after the defeat of Nazi Germany, when the American Nazi party attempted to hold a parade through a very Jewishly populated town in Illinois. It took a large and strong group to override the "cry for democracy" to keep US democracy alive. Let's not allow a non-demo- cratic group to use democracy to destroy democracy. SEYMOUR BRODSKY Jerusalem Consider the impact Sir, - Is it always appropriate to write a book no matter what impact it may have on others? The shocking "Israeli historian gives credence to blood libel" (February 8) made one wonder if the author considered that, in the current climate, Jews may be abused or even murdered as a result of his book. And the author himself is not even convinced that the allegation is true. He simply says it "might have been true." The yearning to say something new seems to override all other considerations. MATIS GREENBLATT Jerusalem ZOA's credentials Sir, - In "Who speaks for the Zionists" (February 4), Jonathan Tobin claimed that the Zionist Organization of America's request that the Union of Progressive Zionists stop its anti-Israel programs or be removed from the pro-Israel umbrella called the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) is an issue of free speech. Not true. The UPZ is free to promote its anti-Israel programs, but should do so without the credibility of being part of a pro-Israel coalition. ZOA's board members must also address Tobin's false charge that the ZOA has lost popularity due to our positions against Oslo and the Gaza withdrawal plan. In fact, ZOA support has improved dramatically, including a seven-fold increase in our budget over the last few years. The Wall Street Journal called ZOA "the most credible advocate for Israel in America." ZOA's national dinners have attracted over 1,000 people, with recent honorees who are giants in the organized Jewish communal world, such as three past chairmen of the Conference of Presidents, Mortimer Zuckerman, James Tisch and Ronald Lauder. Members of Congress praise us regularly. For example, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, then chair of the Mid-East Sub-Committee, said, "Thanks to the ZOA, we have had a record season of passing pro-Israel legislation." No wonder the new Encyclopaedia Judaica has two listings, on Morton Klein and ZOA, stating that Mort and his administration "revived a moribund organization and brought ZOA to prominence... making it one of the most visible Jewish groups in America." MICHAEL GOLDBLATT Chair, ZOA National Board New York Lookup hang-up Sir, - Re "Bezeq launches new phone directory," (February 9): The new on-line Bezeq site described sounds good in theory, but in some ways it is a regression. The old site was arranged like a phone book, with each dialing code a searchable area. Now you must know the person's city or place of residence. If you know the person lives in one of the Haifa suburbs, for instance, you have to look them up one by one; the same if you know that the person lives in a kibbutz somewhere near Netanya, or a place in the southern Hebron Hills. What was one lookup can become dozens. Perhaps there is compensation in having the cell phone lookups available - but when I checked my own, I was told that they didn't find it. ISRAEL PICKHOLTZ Elazar Just kidding? Sir, - Paul Brownfield and others who believe they "have to" eventually like Sarah Silverman's comedy have got it wrong: They don't ("The Semitic goddess of comedy," Arts and Entertainment, February 12). Modern media and technology are the new religions. A generation of children is addicted to violent computer games, sex in advertising and on the Internet, and celebrities as role models, and they expect their parents to come around to the new reality. Young adults believe that if something is new and hip then it must be good: You just have to adjust and get with it. Silverman is a funny comedienne. However, that doesn't excuse an act which, with cute irony, force-feeds the audience demented and disgusting disrespect for the old and deceased, along with racism and porn - all as acceptable humor because she's just kidding, after all. This kind of humor does not have to be acceptable just because it's out there. It is okay to reject certain extremes in life. People who believe they need to "adjust to it" are fooling themselves. DAVID ROTENBERG Jerusalem