June 16: Quite understandable

Williams comments that the Jews were preceded by the Canaanites, but does not allow for the fact that there are no descendants of the Canaanites.

Quite understandable
Sir, – I take issue with Martin Williams on his statement that while Jews have a historical claim to Israel, it cannot be the only claim (“Impressions of a visiting editor from Johannesburg,” June 15).
Williams comments, correctly, that the Jews were preceded by the Canaanites, but he does not allow for the fact that there are no descendants of the Canaanites, and that the Palestinians have no original claim, despite their presenting the myth that they are the descendants. The Arab population of the area arose after the Roman defeats of the Jews, and reached large numbers after the rise of Islam.
He said, further, that he had met no one else who held his view. This is clearly understandable, as that view is incorrect.
    MYRA ZION
    Tel Mond
Listen to the kids
Sir, – Why is it that after 60+ years, both sides in the Israel-Arab conflict refuse to listen to logic?
Both sides have made mistakes. Israel needs to treat its own Arab population better, and the Arabs have to accept that Israel is not going to be wiped off the map. Israel cannot call every bit of criticism anti-Semitism.
Both sides think moderates or leftists who preach compromise are against them. We need to let go of the radical elements within us and embrace our common humanity – and really, actually work for peace in the Middle East.
It is hard to believe 14-year-old needs to say this.
    DANNY BUSH
    Brooklyn
Give him a break
Sir, – I couldn’t agree more with Chuck Freilich (“Prime Minister Ibib,” June 15). I just can’t decide whether Binyamin Netanyahu is a shlemazel or a shlemiel – or does it really matter?
Our prime minister’s actions the last few months has left some of us gasping. Did he really say that? Did he really do that? It doesn’t seem possible that a man who has been called brilliant by some Likudniks could act so stupidly, and yet many of his actions during the past few months certainly have turned out badly.
But let’s give him a break. Let’s hope the Terkel Committee’s findings are fully accepted.
    LEONARD ZURAKOV
    Netanya
Complaining doesn’t help...
Sir, – I agree wholeheartedly with Greer Fay Cashman (“Reclaiming the sidewalk,” June 14). Sidewalks are supposed to be for walkers, yet I, too, have noticed that bicyclists and motorcyclists are becoming more and more prominent there.
However, there is one thing she did not mention. In my neighborhood, Arnona, many cars park on the sidewalks. I have seen mothers with baby carriages and little children, and even people with disabilities who have to go on the street to get around these cars, with the possibility of being hit by a moving car.
I have complained to City Hall several times about cars parked on the sidewalk, but it has not done any good.
As Cashman said, “Maybe by force of law we’ll be able to reclaim the sidewalk.”
    HANNAH SONDHELM
    Jerusalem
...so make the pols walk...
Sir, – Cashman’s last paragraph says it all: “It’s time that our lawmakers started walking in clusters through city streets to experience the hazards that confront pedestrians daily, and then maybe, by force of law, we’ll be able to reclaim the sidewalk.”
Hoping that someone who has clout will take the above-mentioned initiative – and soon.
    HANNAH BRAMSON
    Haifa
...or become a cop!
Sir, – Kudos to Greer Fay Cashman on her excellent opinion piece.
As a volunteer traffic policeman in Bnei Brak, I never let one of these riders get away with driving on the sidewalk. I politely ask for a license and registration, and as I write out the ticket (which unfortunately is for only NIS 250 and two points), I inform him that the sidewalk belongs to pedestrians and he has no right to use it in order to avoid a traffic light or drive the wrong way on a one-way street.
If you can’t beat them, join them – I joined the volunteer police force and now can do something about it: I give ‘em a ticket (and no, we don’t get a percentage). I call on all readers who qualify to join in this very worthwhile undertaking. The life you save may be your own.
    NACHUM CHERNOFSKY
    Bnei Brak
What infringement?
Sir, – Poised to set records, a brilliant parody was recently pulled from YouTube (along with its numerous links) due to a copyright infringement claim (“YouTube removes ‘We Con the World’ video,” June 14).
The United States Supreme Court made clear its position in Campbell v Acuff-Rose Music that: (a) Section 107, which provides that the fair use of a copyrighted work... for purposes such as criticism [or] comment... is not an infringement....
This ruling – and here is the hypocrisy – was used in dismissing the case Bourne Co. brought against Fox in citing the anti-Semitic I Need a Jew as a parody (and not infringement) of When I Wish Upon a Star.
    W.H. OLLENDORF
    New Hartford, Connecticut
Sir, – It has became clear once again that the bias and active deligitimization of Israel is in full swing in all corners of the globe. Even a cursory check of YouTube produces thousands of parodied songs – many of which would fall under the same umbrella of “copyright infringement.”
It seems the song’s title refers to YouTube as well!
    RABBI ZE’EV M SHANDALOV
   Ma’ale Adumim
Different interpretations
Sir, – David Breakstone (“Zionism 2010: No longer weeping by the riversof Babylon,” June 14) reminds me of a response I received from a youngAmerican worshiper in shul on Yom Kippur. When I asked thecongregation, Do you really mean it when you pray “Bring us to Zion,Your city,” or when you shout out after Neila “Next year in Jerusalem,”this young man volunteered the following: We are talking aboutYerushalayim shel ma’ala, the “upper Jerusalem,” notthe city of today in Israel.
Unfortunately, Talmud branches off into two directions after thedestruction of ancient Jerusalem. On the one hand, there is a nostalgicyearning for the Temple and sacrifices, and exaltation of living inEretz Yisrael. But on the other, a series of rationalizations andconsolations sees advantages in exile, such as increasing the numbersof converts, and the service of the lips is taken as more than anadequate substitute for the bulls brought to the altar.
The young and the old, in America and other diasporas, even when theyare attached to Judaism, find it simple to interpret Zionism andJerusalem in idealistic, messianic terms rather than in terms ofactually coming to live in Zion and Jerusalem.
    JACOB CHINITZ
   Jerusalem
We worry, you sleep
Sir, – In the current anti-Israel climate that seems to have grippedthe world, David Horovitz’s article is timely (“Wilders hails Israelfor ‘fighting jihad,’ and warns ‘the West is next,’” June 9).
What could be more deserving than the acknowledgement of Israel’sself-sacrificing role as depicted in Geert Wilder’s assertion: “Ialways say that parents everywhere in the West sleep well at nightbecause parents in Israel lie awake at night – because their childrenare fighting jihad.”
How true!
    DR. RACHEL BIRATI
   Melbourne, Australia
Correction
In Efraim A. Cohen’s June 13 letter (“Proxies and the dirty work”), the final paragraph should read:
“The Gazans have in their power the ability to lift this militarycontrol. Unlike in other Arab countries, however, recognizing Israel’sright to exist would totally negate Hamas’s raison d’être –annihilation of the Jewish state.”