June 4: Cause for concern

A public that is misinformed about what is happening in this part of the world is easily persuaded to turn in unsavory directions.

letters 88 (photo credit: )
letters 88
(photo credit: )
Cause for concern Sir - Re "Israel to draw up action plan to deal with boycott threat" (June 3): If the way in which the British Union of Colleges and Universities has interpreted the facts of the Israel-Palestine conflict is any indication of how those institutions interpret facts in their academic research, such research must not only be of a low standard, but dishonest. This ought to be a major concern to the British government, which finances higher education in Britain. SYDNEY DAVIS Jerusalem British media lies... Sir, - I have occasion to spend sizable amounts of time in England every year, when it is my misfortune to have to follow the news on the BBC and other British channels. Britons are misinformed and misguided. I hear them on radio phone-ins and on TV audience participation programs. I read the letters in their newspapers and realize again and again that they simply do not know what they are talking about. A public that is misinformed about what is happening in this part of the world is easily persuaded to turn in unsavory directions. Thus when leftist unions see fit to dabble in politics and act on inaccurate and distorted news reporting, we in Israel end up being boycotted, divested from, sanctioned, bad-mouthed, accused and blamed for wrongs not committed. Britain's Foreign Office should be working to stop the damage being done to Israel by the irresponsible reporting of the British media ("Israel to draw up action plan to deal with boycott threat," June 3). MARION STONE Modi'in Sir, - Now that Britain is rapidly evolving to become the mandated territory of the Hamas Palestinians, and when Prince Harry has been crowned Caliph of Great Britain by the Grand Mufti of Canterbury, which of the British ayatollahs would best fit the role of Hamas High Commissioner to London? George Galloway, perhaps - or Ken Livingstone? ELLIOT KRETZMER Kfar Saba ...and the ripple effect Sir, - In response to the threatened UK academic boycott, Israeli universities should offer scholarships to British students and invite them to come here and study in an atmosphere of academic freedom and pluralism, alongside Muslims, Christians, Jews, white, black and Oriental, from all over the world. MOSHE SHWERGOLD Jerusalem Tell me how Sir, - David Horovitz's "The campaign to delegitimize Israel" (June 3) was beautifully composed and clearly argued. It is a sad state indeed. One phrase, however, caught my attention: "The Israeli public would throw out any government that did not immediately embrace [an Assad who offered peace]." It read as though in one simple stroke, Israelis could, at will, evict a leadership that didn't represent their interests. If this is so, why are we stuck with a government of hack politicians enjoying near-zero popularity, one in which important ministerial posts are handed out like prizes to the most loyal sycophants, regardless of ability or preparedness; a government that has repeatedly demonstrated its inability, or unwillingness, to protect Israel's citizens from persistent and fatal attacks, all amid accusations of shameful illegal acts and public immorality? Surely a government peopled by politicians who represent no one and nothing but their own self-interest and an ability to stay in power is due for eviction? So, please, could you provide step-by-step details of how this could be effected? I, for one, am more than ready to act. DEBBIE ABRAMOWITZ Jerusalem Lost Begins Sir, - Yehuda Avner's article about Menachem Begin ("The great emancipator," May 17) touched me emotionally because the world needs leaders such as Begin. He was the right man at the right time. My family was deeply touched by the Holocaust and lost many members, all in Poland. I cannot help but feel a great deal of sorrow when I realize how many future Menachem Begins we lost. SOL BLEIWEIS Highland Park, Illinois Prosperity's ahead Sir, - I wanted to express my support for Israel as God's country. Even though these are trying times in the Middle East, there will always be a time of prosperity because prayer exists in the land. This means that prayers can't fail; prayers lift up. So even though I'm across the Atlantic in the US, my heart connects with the people of Israel. JOSHUA SHEPHARD Metro Detroit Protection for all Sir, - The ministry does not go far enough in its current HIV policy recommendations ("'Health Ministry must formulate policy on HIV-positive doctors,'" May 31). I was medical counsel to Kimberly Bergalis, the first of six patients in the world documented to be infected with HIV from their dentist in Florida in 1990. There is a clear need for the Health Ministry to formulate a proactive policy for restricting all HIV-positive doctors as regards performing invasive procedures, in which there will always be a possibility of infected blood being transmitted to patients because of accidental cuts, scratches, abrasions or pinpricks. There should also be a ministry policy to prevent the transmission of HIV from HIV-infected patients to health care workers who are at risk through carrying out invasive procedures, where blood-to-blood transmission can occur. Protection for all can only be accomplished by universal HIV testing on everyone, a policy which was recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control for all adults last year; a policy not yet accepted in Israel. SANFORD F. KUVIN, M.D. The Kuvin Center for Infectious & Tropical Diseases Hebrew University Jerusalem Macabre or meritorious? Sir, - Re "Contestants to vie for kidney of terminally ill patient" (May 30): The idea of the Dutch reality "Big Donor Show" may appear macabre - but if it helps to raise public awareness of the dire need for organ donations it is justified. In Israel, since only 7 percent of the population has signed the ADI Organ Donation Card, approximately 100 people die each year waiting for an organ transplant. This situation need not be. JUDITH NUSBAUM Rishon Letzion Don't worry, be happy Sir, - In "The Jewish calendar is out of sync. Fix it" (May 21) Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg states: "As the tekufa of Nissan, or Spring, continues to progress ahead of the sun, by more than 11 hours a year, we shall find that in time it will approach nearer and nearer to the astronomical summer... It can be calculated that this will occur in about 640 years." This is factually incorrect. The tekufa of Shmuel (used for Birchat Hachama) drifts about 11 minutes (not 11 hours) per year from the equinox. The tekufa of Rav Ada, used to calculate Pessah, drifts even less. So the author's concern that there will be a problem in 640 years is not true. At 11 minutes a year, or less, Pessah and the tekufa of Nissan will remain in the spring for thousands and thousands of years to come. Moshiach will be here long before then. RABBI DOVID HEBER Baltimore