June 7: Treating the stranger

Instead of providing shelter until the time foreign workers can return to their homeland, one hears descriptions of “cancer” or advice to shoot.

Treating the stranger
Sir, – With regard to “Three injured in arson attack against foreign workers “ (June 5), people fleeing the killing fields of Africa are knocking on the door of the Jewish state. They are not those who want to chase us out, like the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas, or who want to erase us from the map, like Ahmadinejad.
But instead of providing shelter until the time they can return to their homeland, one hears descriptions of “cancer” or advice to shoot.
We, Jews, throughout the centuries, have been pursued, chased, enclosed in the ghetto or massacred. Can we not take to heart the plight of these refugees, like the Torah commands us to treat the stranger? Can we not demand from the rest of the world, the Human Rights Commission of the UN, the EU, the US, to provide the funds necessary to lodge, clad, feed and provide these people with jobs?
Apology undue
Sir, – A former top Pentagon official said last week in Tel Aviv that it was very important for “Israel to repair its relationship with Turkey” (“If US doesn’t apologize to Pakistan, Israel shouldn’t say sorry to Turkey, says FM” June 5). As far as the Obama administration is concerned, now is always the time for Israel to rise above something or other.
Yet I think Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is wrong in drawing an analogy between Israel apologizing to Turkey and America’s refusal to apologize to Pakistan for US forces having accidentally fired on two Pakistani border posts. That is their business and has no relation to what happened on the Mavi Marmara. Liberman is right, though, when he says that “sometimes even to best friends you must say ‘no.’” We fought for what was right, and the only apologies that should be forthcoming are from Turkey for allowing a ship to sail with terrorists on board. To America I would say, mind your own business and leave us to attend to ours.
Animal rights
Sir, – Regarding “Animal Welfare Law not being properly enforced by authorities, rights group charges” (June 5), it is disheartening to read that a culture valuing the laws of kashrut would treat the very creatures it depends upon so mercilessly.
Should the world think that our traditions and ethics are so easily disregarded? Please make this right for animals.
Give them the compassion we expect for ourselves as human beings.
JACK LEVY Monterey, California
Take on Tutu
Sir, – Once again we have Bishop Desmond Tutu hitting the headlines (“A Nobel laureate’s problems with a ‘peculiar people’ and Israel,” Comment & Features, June 5) and spewing forth his message of love.
This self-appointed God’s messenger could set his sights farther afield. I presume he has heard of the events in Syria or the treatment of the Copts in Egypt.
Sir, – The disease of anti-Semitism suffered by Desmond Tutu and his ilk is something that has bedeviled Christian theology almost since its inception.
The survival of the Jewish people and the emergence of Jewish sovereignty belies the notion that Christianity is the new Judaism. Only in recent decades has this fact emerged in some Christian thinking and the result is the seeming rapprochement with “those accursed” Jews.
Yet, there are people like Tutu who cling to the old hatreds, and no matter what political agenda Israel pursues they will criticize it simply because it is the Jewish State. It’s a malady we Israelis simply have to live with and not allow it to influence the pursuit of those policies that are best for the country and the Jewish people.
HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva
Protest the protest
Sir, – Every citizen must vehemently protest the protest by journalists (“Journalists protest decision to indict colleague from ‘Haaretz’ over documents leaked by Anat Kamm,” June 4). Anyone with a moral compass has to find it incomprehensible not to appreciate and respect Israel for the herculean efforts it makes every day to keep and protect, so that justice may rule.
Any Jew who does not understand what a privilege it is for us to have a homeland after so many years of persecution, or the sacrifices that have been made and the cost of lives, does not deserve the advantages this country offers. May I suggest they try out our neighboring countries, which, I’m certain, are anxiously waiting to have them promote their democratic policies.
Sir, – The Journalist Association is protesting about the indictment of reporter Uri Blau, who writes for Haaretz, for his part in obtaining the papers stolen by a soldier, Anat Kamm.
Kamm certainly committed a far worse crime, in my opinion, than did Blau. She betrayed her trust as a soldier and went out of her way to give secret information to a reporter. She was a thief yet received a sentence (four years) given only to a mild thief.
Blau received stolen merchandise, and while he did not make money from this, it is time journalists had a code of ethics, and it is time that people like Anat Kamm realize that betrayal of a country is a most serious crime.
Wrong revolt
Sir, – Susan Hattis Rolef, in a column inauspiciously headlined “The importance of history” (Comment & Features, June 4), derides Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for purportedly inapt historical comparisons while making worse of her own.
In it, she conflates the Maccabean and Bar-Kochba revolts and castigates “[a] people” that views “the Maccabean Revolt as a magnificent act of heroism, despite the fact that the revolt and the defiance led to over a million Jews in Eretz Yisrael being killed by the Romans, or dying from starvation, while the rest were banished from the country....”
The Maccabean Revolt was against the Greeks and led to two hundred years of independence.
It was primarily the Bar- Kochba Revolt against the Romans hundreds of years later that led to the events Rolef mentions.
Indeed, the Maccabean Revolt is rightly viewed as a magnificent act of heroism celebrated every Hanukka, whereas the Bar-Kochba revolt is generally viewed as an ill-advised failure, with no holidays to celebrate it.
Susan Hattis Rolef responds: I stand corrected – of course I meant Bar-Kochba and not the Maccabeans, and I thank the reader for pointing out my embarrassing error (a Freudian slip?). All that I said refers, of course, to Bar-Kochba and not Yehuda Hamaccabi. Having said that, there is no denying that Bar-Kochba is celebrated in Israel as a hero, even though his uprising led to a major catastrophe in Jewish history, and that is what I was referring to. I highly recommend the book written in 1982 by Yehoshafat Harkabi, The Bar Kokhba Syndrome: Risk and Realism in International Relations.
The late Harkabi was a major general in the IDF in the 1950s.
Wagner waste
Sir, – With all due respect to Grapevine (“A musical bone of contention,” June 1), the subject of Wagner in Israel is too important for a society note.
Although the High Court of Justice has confirmed that Wagner may not be played on Israeli radio, it is regrettable that the organizers of the Israel Wagner Society symposium saw fit (in order to avoid legal censure) to waste so much private money on this unworthy cause. Think how many musical scholarships for poor children could have been provided instead.
LOUIS GARB Jerusalem