June 25: Irrational angst

No one should be surprised that your totally reasonable editorial "Pride in the capital" provoked bigoted responses.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Irrational angst Sir, - No one should be surprised that your totally reasonable editorial "Pride in the capital" (June 23) provoked bigoted responses. But why print them? ("Pride, yes. Parade, no," Letters, June 24.) The LGBT community has one of the highest suicide rates, and barely any allies. Is it really necessary to let outsiders publicly vent their gall on this vulnerable group? Your correspondent wrote: "The 'Pride' parade is not a celebration of life; more like a formula for its demise," asking "Why exactly are they parading?" Maybe it's to protest the vilifying they face, and to hearten closet LGBTs still too weak to stand up for themselves. In the Netherlands there are also plenty of people with strong negative feelings about this group, but there they are too ashamed to reveal their venom because they know decent people don't talk about others like that, and that their angst is not rational. M.M. VAN ZUIDEN Jerusalem Home of one's own Sir, - Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni deserves a rebuke for stating "The demand of the Palestinians for a home of their own is the very thing that makes our demand for a Jewish homeland legitimate" ("Livni warns Israel on short path to anarchy," June 23). This makes no sense. The demand of the Basques in Spain and the Kurds in Iraq for a state has nothing to do with the existence of Spain and Iraq as legitimate states. Likewise, what Palestinians demand or don't demand has no bearing on the Jewish people's legal, historical and religious right to statehood. Israel has been a legitimate state for 60 years since the overwhelming UN vote. Moreover, unlike the Basques and the Kurds, the Palestinians don't simply want their own, 22nd Arab state. They want to destroy the Jewish state. MORTON A. KLEIN Zionist Organization of America New York Oslo nostalgia Sir, - MJ Rosenberg's " Cease-fire: no small thing" (June 24), was invaluable. In his analysis of the necessary demands from each side, Israel "enjoyed" 36 lines of admonition (90% percent), Hamas four (10%). What more do we need to show the mind-set of your Oslo dinosaurs and their knee-jerk apportioning of blame and expectation? "No small thing," indeed. LOUIS GARB Jerusalem Jewish Voice for Peace Sir, - As a longstanding member of Jewish Voice for Peace now living in Israel, I took strong exception to the characterization of JVP in Jon Haber's "A divestment fiasco" (June 22). JVP takes seriously Rabbi Simon ben Gamliel's admonition that "On three things the world stands: on justice, on truth and on peace." We therefore work tirelessly against the occupation, against anti-Semitism, and for a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Your op-ed writer may disagree with JVP's politics, but he does a disservice by dismissing an organization that represents a large, and growing, segment of the American Jewish population. We have 10 active chapters throughout the US, a subscription mailing list of 20,000, and we recently won, with other human rights groups, a meeting with the CEO of Caterpillar, after five years of shareholder activism against military use of Caterpillar bulldozers in the occupied Palestine territories. Please debate us on the merits of our arguments, but don't use the "nascent McCarthyism" that criticism of Israel=anti-Semitism. REBECCA VILKOMERSON Tel Aviv Broad and narrow Sir, - Jeff Barak's "Save us from Shas's narrow interests" (June 24) almost had it right. But his solution is too narrow. For too many decades the major parties have been willing to use the ultra-Orthodox, non-Zionist parties as the way to achieve and maintain a majority government. And then we all pay for it. Far too often these parties have separated themselves from the Israeli mainstream - except when it comes to the allocation of funds. While rejecting many of the responsibilities of citizenship, they seem to be first on line at the public trough. And Shas's current demands are just one of many examples. With elections coming, the major parties must make a commitment to not destroy the fabric of our nation by giving in to these coalition-forming demands. Surely the vast majority of us can find a political home in some party that agrees from the first day of the campaign that it will not bow to haredi blackmail regarding IDF service, or overly subsidized 12-children families, or conversions, or anything else that cannot be tolerated by a modern, but traditional, Jewish state. STEPHEN J. KOHN Ra'anana Summer camp... Sir, - "IDF chief rabbi begins process to determine if Goldwasser, Regev are dead" (June 24) had the statement "Since that time (July 2006) there has been no sign of life from them." Yet Judy Montagu wrote, the same day, that in February, Samir Kuntar wrote a letter to a Lebanese newspaper, that was published! ("Why Samir Kuntar mustn't go home"). Where's the logic in giving prisoners like this killer the privileges of a summer camp, while from Hizbullah no news about our captives has been forthcoming? GORDON BLOCH Ra'anana ...for terrorists Sir, - A cease-fire with Hamas without Gilad Schalit is nothing less than criminal. An agreement with Hizbullah to free the terrorist Samir Kuntar when the government does not even know if the Israeli captives are alive is beyond comprehension. I see Israel at its lowest point ("A government held hostage by its lack of a hostage negotiating policy," Calev Ben-David, June 23). STEVE GURE Coconut Creek, Florida This 'rabbi' is treif Sir, - I often write to Readers' Letters because even when my letter is not printed, I find the exercise of putting my feelings and opinions on paper (or computer) has a cathartic effect. One of the few times words don't suffice, however, is the case of so-called Rabbi Elior Chen, currently in jail awaiting his possible extradition to Israel. This man's unspeakable, unfathomable crimes, his sadistic torture of two innocent toddlers needs no repeating. All I will say is that he has lost his right to be called a human being, let alone a Jew - let alone a rabbi! - and, I dare say, his right to demand kosher food in his cell ("Suspected ringleader in abuse case opposing extradition from Brazil," June 23). NAOMI FEINSTEIN Givat Ada