February 3: That Cartoon

“Vulgar” does not imply disagreement with Gerald Scarfe’s opinion, only of its style of expression.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
That cartoon
Sir, – Regarding “Scarfe apologizes for timing of ‘Sunday Times’ cartoon” (January 31), the 21st Century is a totally inappropriate time.
Sir, – Your January 30 editorial (“Vulgar defamation”) is in line with old style, polite British anti- Semitism. “Vulgar” does not imply disagreement with Gerald Scarfe’s opinion, only of its style of expression.
Sir, – This latest episode is nothing more than a continuation of resentment caused by ignorance and stupidity.
Let’s not forget, had the British ruling class of the time not created the so-called Palestinian nation from thin air in the 1940s, the present hatred and volatility might never have happened.
Had the Arabs (particularly the Jordanians ) fessed up and proclaimed allegiance to their “brothers” and helped them, the present dreadful contretemps could have been avoided.
Britain should carry some of the responsibility and reeducate its Foreign Office personnel to reflect truth and honesty. I doubt this will happen, as I fear that bias comes with their mothers’ milk.
Sir, – The editor-in-chief of The Sunday Times, Martin Ivens, told The Jerusalem Post that it would be insulting the memory of the Shoah to invoke the blood libel (“‘Sunday Times’ editor to meet Jewish leaders, looks to repair damage from anti-Semitic cartoon,” January 29). The lengthy article then mentions the Holocaust six times, proving they just don’t understand.
Anti-Semitism has gone on 24/7, century after century. It is not a phenomenon unique to the Holocaust. The blood libel has been used throughout history by supposedly educated people in order to make the Jews scapegoats for problems of their own making.
Jewish narrative Sir, – I read with interest Moshe Dann’s analysis of the Jewish connection to the Golan Heights (“To whom does the Golan belong? A brief history,” Comment & Features, January 31).
It seems to me that if Dann is right, the annexation of the Golan was natural and essential for our connection to Jewish historical truth in the Land of Israel.
But I ask myself why, after all that Dann writes about Jewish existential living on the Golan, are our leftist Israelis enraged when the flag is raised about that region, as well as the entire Land of Israel? Why do they continually support the Arab narrative, not even trying to see the Jewish narrative, which may contain intrinsic historical truth? Why do they also debunk the Levy Report concerning Jewish historic and legal rights to the land west of the Jordan River; especially since the report was compiled by three very respected judges? They smile or laugh and deride the report as being a lie that the government forced on us, making the questioner feel he has been fooled.
Why isn’t the Jewish narrative displayed so that all Israelis can decide for themselves about the validity of the report? I suggest it be added to other academic work and made into a television documentary. The Jewish historical and legal narrative could then be discussed widely. Call the documentary “To whom does the Land of Israel belong? A short history.”
Growing list
Sir, – In his timely “Draftdodgers or deserters?” (Comment & Features, January 30), Natan Slifkin considers the arguments put forward on behalf of those who sit in yeshivot and other religious study halls while disdaining any form of army or non-military national service.
I am not a rabbi, nor have I ever been a yeshiva student. I worked for a living. Despite this background I have not neglected the study of Talmud and halachic literature.
Over the past few years I have been collecting references in the Babylonian Talmud to the professions of the rabbis whose opinions are quoted there. My list is growing; it now contains 29 names and over 20 trades or professions. It is only much more recently that I started collecting the occupations of post-Talmudic authorities, so that list is shorter. But already the variety of trades and professions is astonishing.
With the exception of those few about whom the text makes some disparaging comment, every rabbi mentioned in the Talmud is treated by the yeshiva world as a genius whose example is to be emulated. Every post-Talmudic halachic authority is treated with similar respect.
Why are the examples of rabbis who worked for a living ignored by the yeshiva world? Why do leading rabbinical authorities hold in such disdain the students and graduates of hesder yeshivot who serve in the IDF? It seems to me that they should be providing some more justification, especially given the examples cited by Slifkin, who evidently felt constrained not to mention the calls by leading haredi rabbis just before the elections for yeshiva students to leave their study halls and go out canvassing for Shas and UTJ.
Facile pronouncements
Sir, – According to Gershon Baskin (“Good governments make peace,” Encountering Peace, January 29), “The most important thing any government can provide for its people is peace.” In fact, the most important thing a government can provide is security.
The two are by no means synonymous.
A cold, unenforceable peace treaty that leaves hostile forces near Israeli population centers is worthless.
Baskin also asserts that the territorial dimension of security “has become essentially irrelevant,” and downplays the Palestinian danger because it is not an existential threat.
In asymmetrical conflicts such as the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, territory is critical. When your opponent doesn’t have bombs and planes he must rely on close proximity to inflict maximum damage.
Baskin recommends that renewed negotiations “should begin at the point where they ended four years ago.” The Palestinians walked out of those negotiations.
If Israel were to return to the previously rejected position as the new starting point, the Palestinians would conclude that they can pocket any offer or concession and then come back months later and ask for even more. The result would be interminable negotiations as they make ever greater demands.
We all hope for a reliable, enforceable and lasting peace with our neighbors. Baskin’s facile pronouncements bring us no closer to that goal.
EFRAIM A. COHEN Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – In “Good governments make peace,” Gershon Baskin invents negotiating positions of the Palestinian Authority that do not exist.
He advances the illusion that “terms for peace with the Palestinians that have been accepted by them include a non-militarized Palestinian state with security mechanisms in place, including Israeli involvement on its external borders that would prevent the turning of the West Bank into a launching pad for terrorism against Israel.”
He goes on to fantasize that “Palestinians accepted the annexation of the settlement blocks into Israel in exchange for uninhabited land inside of Israel” and that the “main argument is on the size of the annexation.”
Does Baskin not heed or know the consistent message the PA conveys every day on official television and radio, and in Palestinian Authority schools, that calls for the liberation of Palestine, the armed struggle and the realization of the full right to return to villages lost in 1948?