February 15: Prostitution: Yes, No

Proposed legislation misdirects its focus against those who contribute least to the sadism and violence that dominate today’s reality.

Prostitution: Yes, No
Sir, – Prostitution dates back to ancient times and although not encouraged, it was not frowned upon, and most certainly neither the practitioner nor her visitor was stigmatized as a criminal.
Both “Legislation to criminalize prostitution on its way after ministers back bill” (February 13) and “Stopping prostitution” (Editorial, February 15) rightly claim that the practice in our time has attracted a variety of associated negative elements. These are the low-lifes who are engaged in human trafficking and the degradation of women and children, and it is they who should be the objects of vigorous arrest and prosecution. Instead, the proposed legislation misdirects its focus and vehemence against those who contribute least to the sadism, greed and violence that dominate today’s reality.
The sad truth about the legislation is that it has very little chance of successfully accomplishing what it purports to do.
It will, however, succeed in diverting attention from the ugly criminal elements and even permit them to flourish, while the necessary protection against the exploitation and abuse of women will flounder under an avalanche of verbiage.
Sir, – I decry the abuse, exploitation and trafficking in the human body, and the victimization of prostitutes, sexual enslavement and all that is associated therewith. However, this is a far cry from the current move toward outlawing the services of the prostitute.
Sure, it should be a serious criminal offense to perpetrate the full list of abuses of the basic sex instinct, only some of which are listed above. But the free choice of willing parties to the purchase and sale of sexual services should not be a crime.
Not for nothing is prostitution referred to as “the oldest profession.”
In biblical times, it was not looked down upon; rather, it was seen in the context of a social necessity, a pressure valve, an uncomplicated means of allowing for the release of the pent up sexual urge that nature provided in each and every one of us.
It is this instinctive, natural urge that has and will maintain the existence of the human race.
It is not dirty – it is nature at its sophisticated best.
The damage done by persons suffering under severe sexual frustration far outweighs the supposed defects in the prostitution arena. It is to be noted that men who are incarcerated for lengthy periods are provided with prostitution facilities. This is because psychologists see this as essential for the sanity of the individual.
Yes, punish the abusers and punish them harshly, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Sir, – Your editorial seems to be on the right track, but a bit too soft. If such a situation really comes to truth (making prostitution illegal) it would be a strong step forward in the crusade to help helpless females. I just wonder whether such a law can really be made to work.
There are many sides to the issue, not only the women and their pimps. Many, if not most, of the women could find themselves out of work unless our government can find a way to teach them other skills (assuming they are willing to learn).
Those who profit most from this way of life would certainly not stand still while their means of making a living are threatened.
I welcome such a law although I doubt it can be made to work.
Sir, – The effort will have some interesting and perhaps beneficial results. For one thing, there should be plenty of work for the police since there are many thousands of sex workers and far more johns. No more wasting tax payers’ money on fruitless attempts to solve bank robberies while brothels go unraided.
Equally important, foreign workers, mostly male and unmarried, instead of frequenting bordellos can give more energy to finding a sexual life based on love. Naturally, this will encourage relationships with Israeli women, which might bring a valuable contribution to the Israeli genetic pool.
‘Judaization strategy’ Sir, – Were “UN investigator calls West Bank housing policy a ‘Judaization strategy’” (February 13) really accurate and true, we could celebrate! How seriously Israel is censured for wanting its Jewish nation to reflect its identity! It is perfectly okay with the UN that the Arabs proclaim loudly and frequently that wherever they live, it has to be judenrein. There was an eerie silence when the terrorists of Hamas and Fatah declared solidarity despite the Hamas’s declared goal of destroying Israel and Jews, and teaching that killing Jews is a “mitzva.”
Sir, – I was very upset reading “UN investigator calls West Bank housing policy a ‘Judaization strategy.’” Wasn’t that the aim of the UN when it agreed to partition? I guess it’s a terrible “violation” when it comes to Judea and Samaria, but it’s okay to make the new Palestinian state judenrein.
By the way, I’ve never heard the UN condemn any country for being “Islamicized.”
True empathy Sir, – The op-ed by Mudar Zahran (“A Palestinian Spring for Jordan?,” Comment & Features, February 13) should be required reading for anyone who is interested solving the Palestinian problem. It has all the main ingredients for success.
Zahran sincerely empathizes with his fellow Palestinians as human beings. He is not interested in using them as pawns and resents those who cynically do. He wants to make sure they have full political and civil rights, and fairly focuses his criticism on all countries guilty of discrimination, most notably Jordan. He also emphasizes the importance of “daily bread” for his people, a welcome, downto- earth concern.
A Palestinian Spring marked by fairness and a simple call for freedom and prosperity is the one that will lead to a radiant summer.
DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont
Oily figures Sir, – The article by Michael Sussman (“American military spending and oil dependency,” Comment & Features, February 9) contained factual errors.
The US consumes about 22 percent of the world’s oil production, not 50% as stated. It also produces 9%, not 2% as stated. Most of the oil that is imported comes from Canada and South America. Very little comes from the Middle East.
Sussman goes on to promote the “alternative energy” industry as a means for reducing dependence on oil imports. So far, alternatives to oil have proven mostly to be overly expensive and ineffective. Using corn to produce ethanol has cost billions in subsidies and has pushed up food prices disastrously.
Wind power is expensive and unreliable.
The one exception is natural gas, which has hardly been promoted at all. A serious drive to switch vehicles to natural gas, of which the US has a huge surplus, would be a smart policy.
The technology is available today. All that is required is a government incentive to make natural gas widely available. If it were, the 50% reduction in cost in comparison with gasoline would ensure that oil imports drop precipitously.
STEPHEN S. COHEN Ma’aleh Adumim
The Op-Ed Editor responds: The figures were indeed incorrect.

In the past decade the US has consumed 22-25% of the world’s oil and produced 9- 12%. According to Michael Sussman, the 2% figure actually referred to the US proportion of the world’s proven oil reserves.