July 22: Who reports the news

The notion that we must control who is allowed to report the news only ensures that just one viewpoint will survive.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Who reports the news Sir, - What an idea: News organizations should be taken away from the industrialists and given to the government to insure their impartiality. Even loonier, BBC and NPR are offered as the archetypes of fair reportage. Has journalism Prof. Theodore Glasser viewed or read the products he is touting? And does that mean the BBC and NPR are getting it right about Israel? Surely it always depends on whose ox is being gored - but the notion that we must control who is allowed to report the news only ensures that just one viewpoint will survive. And it does not take a professor of journalism to realize how bad an outcome that would be ("'A newspaper is as important to a community as a fire department,'" July 21). CHAIM A. ABRAMOWITZ Jerusalem JFS lesson Sir, - As a former chairman of the JFS Governors (1987-1993), I unreservedly applaud "The JFS lesson" (Editorial, July 21), which not only identified the immediate and wider issues raised by the Court of Appeal decision but accurately signaled the pitfalls of any ill-thought-out reaction, assuming the judgment stands. But disregarding for the moment the technical aspect of construing the wording of the Race Relations Act, there is a definite political and social climate in the Western democracies to disparage and eradicate all forms of ethnic discrimination - real or perceived; a climate the law will inevitably reflect. The last thing the Anglo-Jewish community needs is to be seen explaining, let alone defending, an admissions policy for the school that is legally designated racist. RAYMOND CANNON Netanya Sovereignty over Jerusalem Sir, - Re "PM flatly rejects US demand to halt J'lem housing project" (July 19) was spot-on that Jerusalem is the "unified capital of Israel and the capital of the Jewish people, and sovereignty over it is indisputable." It was the irresponsibility of previous prime ministers in not emphasizing the special status of Jerusalem that has resulted in external interference with our sovereign capital. In respect of US demands, it is time to remind the US, UK and EU that this property is adjacent to the Jewish neighborhoods of Shimon Hatzadik and Nahalat Shimon established in 1891, nine years prior to the settlement of Sheikh Jarrah being established. Furthermore, Ordinance Survey maps produced by the Survey of Palestine August 1925 and subsequent until the end of the Mandate show little significant residential development in east Sheikh Jarrah apart from the mufti's house. The world needs reminding that this is the area where the murder, in cold blood, of 78 doctors and nurses took place on April 13, 1948 by Palestinian Arabs on their way to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, while the British forces remained aloof. The massacre was part of the Arab plan for the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem in 1948, planned by none other than the Grand Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini. COLIN L LECI Jerusalem Shout it from the rooftops Sir, - I was delighted to read that Europe's Court of Human Rights has upheld a ruling that it is "illegal and discriminatory to boycott Israeli goods" ("European rights court rules boycotts of Israel is unlawful discrimination," July 20). In summary, the court, consisting of six judges, ruled that this judgment applies to all the countries of the European Union. I am at a loss, however, to understand why you placed such an important news item on an inside page. For someone like myself, the constant barrage of anti-Israel calls for boycotts from Trade Unions and Academic Institutions has been, to say the least, most depressing. Now at last various Jewish organizations can challenge on EU legal grounds the validity of calls for boycotting Israel. I would like to see this momentous ruling receiving the much greater publicity, both national and international, that it deserves. JOE BRISCOE Dublin Don't whitewash this Sir, - I can't help wondering if the reason we are witnessing such a strong reaction by the ultra-haredi community to the case involving the alleged systematic starving of a young child is an attempt to discourage the authorities from investigating whether or not this is an isolated case of a sick, distraught woman, or only the tip of the iceberg and child abuse is rampant in certain sections of ultra-religious communities. What part did the father play in this case? I find it hard to believe he was unaware and yet chose to ignore the problem, placing the life of the child at great risk. I saw a picture of the abused child on television and the sight gave me nightmares reminiscent of the Holocaust. This crime should not be whitewashed and the mainstream haredi movement should not be held responsible for the actions of a group of deranged extremists. I implore the proper authorities to find answers to these problems and not allow themselves to be intimidated by the extremists ("Suspected child-abuser skips court-ordered psychiatric review," July 20). P. YONAH Shoham A solution, at last Sir, - As I read about the latest civil unrest by haredim in Jerusalem ("Jerusalem woman suspected of starving three-year-old son for months," July 15), I realized we could kill two birds with one stone. Put up a wall around Mea She'arim, designate it the capital of the new Palestinian state, and let all the violence-prone anti-Zionists live together! MICHAEL D. HIRSCH Kochav Yair Stink 'em, that'll sink 'em Sir, - If those members of the haredi community who are innocent bystanders of the riots feel they are being unjustly penalized, their rabbis should speak out clearly and forcefully against the lunatic fringe who, besides behaving in a way totally contrary to Jewish law, are turning parts of the holy city into a war zone. I note that the police are using water cannons to disperse the rioters. Would it not be more effective if they used "skunk bombs," as did the IDF, which has been very successful in dispersing violent demonstrations? P. BRILL Jerusalem Not very kosher Sir, - If the kashrut of the Iowan Agriprocessors factory could be questioned because of the working conditions there, shouldn't the same apply to the Badatz kashrut certification, whose owners, the Eda Haredit, have been supporting violent, illegal actions? In New York, the J&J brand of dairy products is Satmar-Neturei Karta, which is part of the Eda Haredit. MOSHE DANN Jerusalem Talk about divisive Sir, - That our transport minister is investing his energy in something so divisive and non-productive as the elimination of Arabic place names hallowed by time and use seems to indicate an attempt to divert attention from his inability to do anything constructive, such as enforcing legislation to drastically curtail the horrific death toll on our roads ("'Yerushalayim'" or 'Jerusalem'"? July 14). J. PETROOK Herzliya Sir, - The primary purpose of a road sign is to inform drivers. The Hebraizing of road signs do not serve this purpose and are confusing to non-Hebrew speakers. Let's keep Hebrew Hebrew; English English; and Arabic, Arabic. Then we can understand one another. NEAL ROTHNER Hashmonaim