June 26: Drop the slogans

After 20 centuries, we finally have a leader who defies the traditional image of the court Jew.

Drop the slogans
Sir, – I have never been so encouraged by an article as I was by “Israel served as ‘main course’ at EU dinner, official says” (June 23).
After 20 centuries, we finally have a leader who defies the traditional image of the court Jew.
The time has come for Israel to drop the peace and democracy slogans. Applied to the Muslim world they are oxymorons.
The 1967 border we accept is on the Jordan River. Muslims who seek to replace our law with Shari’a are guests but not citizens.
Israel complied with UN Resolution 242 when it returned the Sinai, which was 90 percent of the land the Arabs lost in 1967.
The rest was forfeited to Israel.
Spending and scurrying
Sir, – Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i says Israel has never been better prepared for an all-out war that could see thousands of missiles and rockets, some with chemical warheads, fired into the country – killing hundreds of Israelis, wounding over 20,000 and causing hundreds of thousands to be evacuated from their homes (“Israel trains for worse-case scenario,” June 23).
This is supposed to make us feel safe? How pathetic. Our government is accepting dead and wounded Israelis as a given by continuing to take a reactive and not proactive position.
Israel saw and ignored for years the buildup of our enemies so that today we are spending billions of dollars on defense – and scurrying into shelters. Our enemies know well enough that our government is so afraid of condemnation that they can rest assured that apart from the odd sortie, they can attack at will.
There should be outrage over this, not complacency.
Flip sides of Bob
Sir, – All the talk about Bob Dylan not addressing the audience in Tel Aviv is nonsense (“Dylan – Still a work in progress,” Arts & Entertainment, June 22).
For the record: Bob spent 90 minutes addressing the audience with his songs. Bob talked, and intimately.
With one exception, I never heard Bob address the audience in the two dozen shows I attended over 37 years on three continents.
Here in the holy land he played Highway 61 Revisited: “Oh God said to Abraham, kill me a son....” Isn’t that addressing them in Israel?
Sir, – A word to David Brinn following his morning-after report of the concert (“Dylan shines in Ramat Gan,” June 21): “Crackled with energy? Strong vocal form? Depth of character?” What show were you at, David? Certainly not the one I attended! The Dylan I saw was in horrendous voice, hurried, unresponsive and completely unconcerned that more than 20,000 fans had come to experience a legend.
Many left halfway through his set, shaking their heads at us old-timers, wondering if the praise they’d heard us heap upon old Bob for decades was a fairy-tale or “artificially induced.”
The best part of the night may have been when the giant screens went blank, mimicking our lack of interest as we waited in vain for the thrill that never came.
Sir, – If you watch the many high-quality videos of the concert circulating on the Internet, you will see that Dylan put on a superb show with clear, coherent vocals.
Still, the poor sound quality for anyone except those sitting on the pitch was absolutely unacceptable.
Anyone spending over NIS 250 on a ticket should be assured a clear listening experience. The promoters should offer refunds.
Regarding the video screens, it is actually a rarity for Dylan to allow projectors at his concerts, so fans in the back rows should consider themselves lucky. And for the first time in approximately 20 years, Dylan played the same setlist two shows in a row, with 15 songs from 11 different albums! It’s a shame Dylan did not acknowledge the audience, as it would have been a nice gesture.
But this was definitely not atypical for him. Let’s hope he comes back to Israel soon.
Sir, – In his review of the Dylan concert, David Brinn wrote “...Dylan introduced to the world that a ‘good’ voice isn’t a requirement to make great music.”
If someone had asked me, I would have said it was Louis Armstrong, somewhere around 1925.
FRED CASDEN Ma’aleh Adumim
David Brinn responds: The varied reactions to the Bob Dylan concert show that he is still ruffling feathers 46 years after going electric.
Shame on Obama
Sir, – What a shame that Jonathan Pollard was denied permission to attend his father’s funeral (Morris Pollard laid to rest without Jonathan in attendance, June 21). Worse yet, despite the pleas from so many Israeli and American leaders, President Obama didn’t even respond, one way or another.
He just ignored them, like he’s been doing for Jonathan’s release all these years.
Shame on you, President Obama!
Sir, – It is not enough that US governments have excessively punished Jonathan Pollard. Now President Obama had to punish his father. He just couldn’t let this dying man hold his son one more time.
Morris Pollard was no ordinary man. He served humanity and his country with distinction. An internationally recognized scientist, he published more than 300 scientific articles, was a student of disease mechanisms for 40 years and was awarded a commendation medal and three presidential citations for work on exotic viruses and typhus during WWII. He earned some respect.
Obama awarded him death without a freed son or a last visit.
Congratulations, Mr. President, you have shown yourself to be without decency, sympathy or gratitude.
Sir, – President Obama recently addressed a very important group of donors to his campaign, and he reiterated the statement that they love to hear: The bonds between the United States and Israel are unshakeable.
That is a very general statement.
This would have been the time for President Obama to state that Jonathan Pollard could attend his father’s funeral and would receive a pardon after serving 25 years in prison.
The Jewish saying that to save one human life is to save a whole world is particularly true in the case of Jonathan Pollard.
President Obama failed to make the moral and correct decision.
Sir, – The cold-blooded attitude of the Obama administration to the world-wide requests to let Pollard attend his father's funeral shows us where Obama’s real concerns are.
I have no doubt that had such a request been made by a Muslim, the response would have been immediate and positive.
After all, Obama showed his love and devotion to Islam both in his Cairo speech and in his “obeisance” to the Saudi king.
As a Christian, he chose to attend for many years a church where he heard anti-Semitic and anti-Israel diatribes very similar to what he would have heard in a mosque. He even defended the pastor.
Isn’t it about time we removed our blinkers and faced the facts as they are, and not as we would like them to be?
More than capable
Sir, – We wish to congratulate Steve Linde on being named editor- in-chief-designate. David Horovitz will be a hard act to follow, but we are sure Linde is more than capable of achieving success.