February 17: Definitions

Where are the pro-Basques, pro-Tibetans or pro-Kurds? Who is boycotting China, Turkey and Spain?

Sir, – Gil Troy, in company with other defenders of Israel, makes the remark that “many people are pro- Palestinian or critical of Israel without being anti- Semitic” (“Defining ‘hIsraesteria,’” Center Field, February 15). But why is Israel treated so differently from any other country unless anti-Semitism is involved? I acknowledge that a Muslim or an Arab might be pro-Palestinian. But why should a non-Muslim or non-Arab be pro-Palestinian? All over the world there are organizations devoted to the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Where are the pro-Basques, pro-Tibetans or pro-Kurds? Who is boycotting China, Turkey and Spain? If one hears nothing about these then the pro-Palestinians and the BDS movement must be anti- Semitic.
No defense
Sir, – I find myself deeply disturbed by the defenses of prostitution offered by some of your readers (“Prostitution: Yes, No,” Letters, February 15).
The claim that this immorality was “acceptable” in biblical times holds no water since times and culture have changed. The laws of the Torah dictating moral and marital relations had not been handed down yet (and the fact that the Torah was completely ignored in these letters is an enormity that speaks for itself). It is no longer “acceptable” to marry your niece or sleep with your daughter-in-law, so why should prostitution be any different? I also derived particular mirth from the description of prostitution as “nature at its sophisticated best.” The writer would do well to recall that it is nature that makes female praying mantises bite the heads off males during or right after mating. New leaders of lion packs kill the cubs of the previous leader. There is a host of other of nature’s atrocities that would be unthinkable in any civilized country.
As human beings and Jews, it behooves us to be the masters of our animalistic urges, and not the other way round.
US indulgence
Sir, – Your editorial “The US and Assad” (February 12) rightly underscores the appalling indulgence of Bashar Assad’s regime in Damascus by the Obama administration.
Not only did President Barack Obama appoint Ambassador Robert Ford to Damascus despite the fact that Assad had done absolutely nothing to justify it, he did so by waiting until Congress was not in session.
The reason is simple: Congress was opposed to appeasing Assad in this fashion and refused to confirm Ford’s appointment.
It is because President Obama was set on engaging Assad, no matter his rearming of Hezbollah, enabling of terrorists infiltrating Iraq to kill American servicemen and his longstanding support of terrorists, that the administration ended up with the unedifying picture of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton describing Assad as a reformer just before his bloody repression began to claim the lives of thousands.
MORTON A. KLEIN New York The writer is national president of the Zionist Organization of America
Aussie connection?
Sir, – In the Jewish community of Australia, as in Israel, this year we are celebrating the centenary of Hadassah.
Little known is that Australia has maintained an unbroken connection to Hadassah’s Jerusalem hospitals virtually from the start.
There are families whose forebears either worked at or were treated at Hadassah Hospital. Some met Henrietta Szold and can recall anecdotes and/or photos of their meetings.
We would like to hear from people who have an Australian connection to the hospital with a view to publishing a brief account as part of our own centenary celebrations. Contact us at [email protected]
RON FINKEL Caulfield, Australia The writer is president of Hadassah Australia