January 11: Works both ways

If orthodox rabbis' view is correct and removing organs is sixth commandment, then they should advise them not to accept donated organs.

Works both ways
Sir, – Orthodox rabbis in the US and UK have recently opposed the halachic ruling, in force in many countries for many years, accepting brain-stem death as the death of an individual (“US rabbis avoid clear stance on brain-stem death after earlier study raises hackles,” January 10).
If their view is correct, removing organs from such individuals, such as the heart and lungs, constitutes murder, forbidden by the sixth commandment. In that case, recipients of such organs would be accessories to murder. Thus, these rabbis, in addition to advising their followers not to sign organ-donation cards, should advise them not to accept donated organs, as they would then be accessories to a crime.
Back to school
Sir, – Regarding “Probe launched over ‘National Geographic’ ad which omits Israel” (January 9), has anyone noticed the irony in a magazine with the word “geographic” in its name not knowing the geography of the Middle East? LARRY SHAPIRO Rancho Mirage, California What’s in a name Sir, – Judy Siegel-Itzkovich is to be complimented on publicizing the danger of heavy cell phone use (“Cancer differences, Health Scan, January 9). The quadrupling since 1970 of cancer in the salivary gland closest to the cheek should send a clear message of the danger.
Antoine-Henri Becquerel, the discoverer of radio activity, also discovered the physiological effect of radiation. In 1901, he reported a burn he had sustained as a result of carrying a radium sample in a vest pocket.
Becquerel is honored by the fact that a unit of radio activity is called a Becquerel. I suggest that he can be further recognized by having the effect referred to as the Becquerel Effect in future articles.
Putting a name to the phenomenon will, hopefully, make heavy cell phone users aware of the risk they run, and induce them to switch to a cell phone configuration with a separate microphone and earphone, thus keeping the handset away from the head.
Go, Ruby!
Sir, – Three cheers for Ruby Rivlin! He is a dyed-in-the-wool right-winger, but one who believes in justice for all. That’s something the younger members of the Likud Party, as well as other groups, can’t seem to understand. Here he is, a leading member of the Likud, but he believes in giving everyone a chance to be heard (“Rivlin slams Knesset ‘legal tribunal’ against leftwing NGO groups,” January 9).
As speaker of the Knesset, Rivlin does everything he can to keep things fair, and on a fair and equal basis. This is something many younger Likud members and members of other right-wing parties fail to grasp – that in a real democracy everyone has a right to be heard, even if you don’t like what they say or do. Unfortunately, it is not only the younger members of the Knesset’s right wing (and even left wing, sometimes ), but the older and wiser members who fail the litmus test of real democracy.
Reuven Rivlin is an example of how a democrat in a democracy works and believes. If only we had more like him, on both sides of the aisle, Israel would be a more democratic state. And a better one, as well.
Offensive needed
Sir, With regard to Harry Zeitlin’s “Villainization comes to a ‘blue state’” (Comment & Features, January 9), he fails to mention the organizations and networking that made sure the hate posters did not appear on buses in Seattle.
First and foremost, many Jewish federations, including Seattle’s, were involved in pointing out to the City Board of Governors that permitting such posters would inflame the community and expose the city and the bus company to liability in case of property damage or personal injury. Second, a grass roots effort flooded the board’s telephones, and the board got the message – no such advertising on Seattle’s buses, from any point of view.
Being pro-active and going on the offensive is the answer. We need a network of people willing to spend less than one hour a week fighting the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement and others. I am looking for such people.
Hod Hasharon
Intelligent and witty
Sir, – Liat Collins is my favorite writer in The Jerusalem Post. Her columns and articles are always intelligent and sprinkled liberally with her wry wit. “Justice for All” (My Word, January 9) and “People of Note” (Real Israel/Magazine, January 7) are two examples of her outstanding writing.
I wish her a new year of good health and continued success in her work.
Kfar Haim
Distorted and bogus
Sir, – Yet again, Anne Herzberg, in “Civilian casualties, Gaza and the political war” (Comment & Features, January 3), deliberately misrepresents the facts in order to malign B’Tselem’s research, using NGO Monitor’s blend of distorted misquotations and bogus arithmetic.
According to B’Tselem’s casualty figures, which are readily available online, Israeli security forces killed 1,390 Palestinians in Operation Cast Lead. Of those, at least 759 (54.6%, and not as NGO Monitor falsely claims) did not participate in the hostilities. B’Tselem documented 349 Palestinians who were killed while participating in the hostilities, and 32 whose participation in hostilities could not be determined.
An additional 248 police officers were killed in police stations, most of them on the first day of the operation. As is clearly stated on our website, B’Tselem has placed them in a separate category since it does not have sufficient information on the functions of the Palestinian Police and its connection with organized armed groups in Gaza. Therefore, it cannot be stated with certainty whether the police officers were legitimate targets or not.
During the same period, three Israeli civilians and one member of the security forces were killed by rocket attacks emanating from Gaza. Five soldiers were killed by Palestinians, and an additional four were killed in friendly-fire incidents.
B’Tselem conducted in-depth field research and cross-referenced its independent data with a variety of sources to reach these figures. When following the math of Hamas’s Fathi Hamad and adding the figures of combatants and police officers, it is found that his claim corresponds with B’Tselem's figures, in contrast to NGO Monitor’s claim. Neither Hamad nor the IDF Spokesman’s office has provided a list of civilian casualties from Cast Lead.
B’Tselem documented 108 women and 318 minors who did not take part in the hostilities and who were killed. Those people were largely ignored in the official versions provided by both sides, but are of utmost concern to B’Tselem.
Contrary to NGO Monitor’s odd faith in Hamas as a reliable source of information, B’Tselem did not base any analysis of the legality of Israeli conduct on a comparison of Israeli and Palestinian casualties. Its primary message was and still is that Israel needs to properly investigate the very severe allegations raised as to its conduct during Cast Lead, and much of B’Tselem's efforts over the past two years have been devoted to promoting such accountability.
Further, and not surprisingly, NGO Monitor neglected to mention B’Tselem's clear and consistent position that Hamas must be held accountable for its war crimes during Cast Lead and elsewhere.
The writer is spokesperson for B’Tselem