January 22: Obama's message

I felt that a memorable line from his speech was: "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Obama's message Sir, - Most people enjoyed Obama's inaugural address but said there was no "Kennedy memorable line" ("Glimpses, sans poetry, into his program," Herb Keinon, January 21). I felt that a memorable line was "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist," directed at "those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent." So when I opened Wednesday's Jerusalem Post and saw that line in your printing of Obama's full text, I was most gratified. The line I did not like, and sort of worries me, is "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus..." I have never heard the religious groups in the United States quoted in that order. JENNY WEIL Jerusalem Sir, - And so the torch is passed to President Barack Obama. Um.... more like a hot potato, isn't it? HERB STARK Massapequa, New York Sir, - Has it been observed that "Obama," read in reverse, becomes the Latin "amabo," meaning "I shall love?" ("America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity," January 21.) IGO FELDBLUM Haifa Pollard isn't celebrating Sir, - Re "Bush leaves office without pardoning Pollard" (January 21) indicates a lack of mercy in a man the Western world thought was a believing Christian and therefore approachable in a clemency case. There is no valid reason for Jonathan Pollard to remain in prison. He has expiated whatever crime he was supposed to have committed, and the only reason he is still in jail is the calculated indifference of American Jews and Israeli leaders. The American Jewish community is very uncomfortable with the idea of Pollard having committed a crime, and is reluctant to jeopardize its own standing. It should have learned that cowardice never pays off. As for Israel's leadership, it weakens itself by not advocating clemency for Pollard when it negotiates with foreign governments. Moses walked into Pharaoh's chambers unafraid, and within a year the Israelites had left Egypt. Israel still has time to act on Pollard's behalf. TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem Hot chestnuts... Sir, - The UN's Ban Ki-moon is full of wrath and criticism of Israel after visiting Gaza in its "post-Hamas-victory" state. He's right; for the amount of warring, Israel could have done much more to pull its own and others' chestnuts out of the fire. My question to the honorable secretary-general is: How furious were you - and where were you - during the eight years that Sderot was being shelled? ("UN chief calls for accountability on both sides during Gaza, Sderot visits," January 21) YOASH TSIDDON-CHATTO Tel Aviv ...munched in silence Sir, - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is upset by the postwar Gaza situation ("Ban in Gaza: Situation 'heartbreaking,'" January, 20). This compares strangely with his deafening silence on the deaths and injuries inflicted on the civilian population by the Sri Lankan military in its defensive war against the Tamil rebels. Maybe he's stayed silent because of the ban on foreign journalists being allowed into that area? On this the Western media too has been strangely silent, in contrast to their loud complaints against not being allowed into the Gaza war zone. STANLEY LAWSON Jerusalem What about this murder? Sir, - When will all those people protesting Israel's actions in Gaza protest the murdering of Fatah Palestinians by Hamas? ("Hamas intensifies crackdown on Fatah after Gaza cease-fire," January 20.) Don't hold your breath. HARVEY MATTHEW Jerusalem Yep, they've done it again Sir, - Our political leaders have thrown away our battlefield triumphs by declaring a premature cease-fire, leaving Hamas alone in the field to claim victory. They didn't even get Gilad Schalit back ("Hamas supporters claim victory," January 21). If we want to stop terrorism in Gaza, we have to do it ourselves. No one else is going to do it for us - not Fatah, not Egypt and not the Europeans. Let's face the truth and stop deluding ourselves. There's no choice. MICHAEL GREENGARD Holon Electing to fight Sir, - Year after terrifying year of thousands of Hamas rockets fired at the beleaguered citizens of our southern communities brought hardly a response from the politicians who aspire to be our national leaders. Then suddenly our magnificent IDF is finally unleashed to do what it does best, protect the nation. Why the wait, and why only now? The answer is in the calendar. New elections are just over the horizon, the last big opportunity to repair and enhance images before the votes are cast. I wonder why the name given to the IDF operation was not "Cast Vote" ("Livni aims to win at least some credit for Gaza op's success," January 21). JACK CARLIN Jerusalem Criticism, that's OK. But context is vital Sir, - The Norwegian diplomat who equated Israel with the Nazis is clearly poorly educated about the Holocaust and WWII ("Norwegian diplomat's e-mail equates Israel with the Nazis," January 21). Her actions reflect negatively on her and on her country's education system. While I accept everyone's right to disagree with Israel's actions, I believe that criticism which only slanders Israel is useless. Israel's critics would be much wiser, and their stance more valid, if they provided constructive criticism and suggestions for solving our quite complex problems. LEAH GOEPPINGER-LEVY Rehovot Sir, - I was disappointed that your report, in an incautious use of language, unwittingly supported the despicable argument of the Norwegian "diplomat" who e-mailed the juxtaposition of black-and-white images from the Holocaust and color images of Operation Cast Lead. Your words "next to an image of an Israeli soldier aiming [italics - H.K.] his weapon at a Palestinian boy" did not accurately describe what the accompanying photo actually showed. The soldier, while on the alert - as our soldiers have to be in Gaza - is not aiming his weapon at the small boy, who looks to be about three or four. That is old enough to perceive threat, yet the child looks curious rather than alarmed. More likely, he was wandering by and stopped to stare, at which point the photo was snapped. At the same time, standing quite close to the soldier in a casual posture, his hands in his pockets, is another obviously unfrightened and unthreatened much older Palestinian boy. I feel you ought to have done a better job in placing this picture in its right context. HENRY KAYE Maskeret Batya Tribute to our boys Sir, - Re "Song for Sderot" (Letters, January 21), our son-in-law Ofer Chatuka wrote a song for our soldiers, which was aired on Arutz 7 audio and Army Radio. It can be found on www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/129496 and is a beautiful tribute to our brave boys. DOREEN MALKINSON Ra'anana