March 11: Learning difficulties

In short, the liberal mind-set has remained the same. Only the "good guys" have changed.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Learning difficulties Sir, - I fully concur with most of Barry Rubin's points in "Fear and gullibility as weapons" (March 10). At the same time, though, he seemed to be implying that "radical forces" in the Middle East are shrewder than most Western democratic societies, and here I disagree. It is not so much that radical groups are shrewd but that most of the "enlightened, liberal and intellectual" Western elite tend to automatically consider the "underdogs" morally superior, and therefore their cause, a priori, to be just. These are most of the same people who told us that communism was "the way of the future," that if Southeast Asia was abandoned a "people's paradise" would emerge, and that the Berlin Wall was built to protect the East Europeans from "imperialist aggression." In short, the liberal mind-set has remained the same. Only the "good guys" have changed. Some people never learn. STUART KATSOFF Tel Aviv Black day Sir, - Further to "An assault on the heart of Zionism" (March 7): I went to J. Pollard Square this past Friday to see and possibly confront the pro-Palestinian Women in Black group only a few hours after the killings at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva. I thought maybe they would give it a rest for a day. I was astonished to see that not only were they there with the usual "End the Occupation" and "Get out of Gaza" signs, but when shown newspaper photos of the bloody yeshiva massacre, many responded with smiles and V-for-victory gestures. There were a few other yeshiva kids and religious Israelis besides myself there, and I was informed - and saw myself - that at least half of these men and women in black are European non-Jews or non-Israelis driven by bus to the square each Friday from east Jerusalem by a Palestinian bus driver. They park in front of the Kings Hotel. JOHN E. VORACEK Jerusalem Bad decision... Sir, - In justifying its decision to allow the family of the terrorist who shot dead eight yeshiva students to mourn their son, Avi Dichter's aide said there was no law against mourning, just against displaying Hamas or Hizbullah flags. This may be technically true, but it is a narrow ruling, to our detriment. The flags are the symptom of Arab hatred, but mourning a murderer is the disease we officially sanction in our own country. Likewise, targeting Hamas rocket crews shooting missiles at our cities is treating the symptom; to treat the disease we need to kill Hamas leaders and close down schools and mosques where hatred is grown ("Terrorist's family can mourn him 'just like the Goldsteins,' Dichter aide says," March 9). BARRY LYNN Efrat ...not at all Sir, - Jordan tore down the mourning tent erected by family members of the terrorist, while Israel, quite rightly, permitted his parents to mourn the loss of their son. They are not terrorists, and are entitled to mourn in their own way. The body should also be returned for burial ("Amman forbids public mourning of Mercaz Harav killer," March 9). JUDY GOLDIN Kiryat Ono Arabs' grief is real... Sir, - I share Danny Yatom's grief over the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva tragedy. I study in a similar yeshiva. However, the measures proposed by the MK would give a victory to terrorism ("Yatom: East Jerusalem residents' freedom of movement is a threat," March 9). I know from personal experience that most east Jerusalem Arabs are not at all like the terrorists, just as nearly all settlers are not at all like the late Baruch Goldstein. The grief of Arabs over civilian deaths and injuries in Gaza is real and understandable, especially since even Western media seem to have gone out of their way to omit the context in which the deaths and injuries occurred, specifically the Hamas rocket attacks. In a real sense, the yeshiva students are also victims of the Hamas attacks, with the media distortions accessories to the crime. DAVID LLOYD KLEPPER Jerusalem ...but their knowledge is weak Sir, - The terrorist's uncle praised his nephew for "an heroic operation against an extremist Zionist college that calls for killing Palestinians." We here know the fallacy of that comment. But it makes me question what non-Jews think happens inside a yeshiva. It might be helpful if our yeshivot helped organize visits by "others," under appropriate supervision and with proper translators, to dispel such misinformation and straighten out skewed beliefs. HELEN KRIEGSFELD Jerusalem It's the occupation Sir, - All this trouble - killings on both sides for the last 40 years - what has it achieved? There will never be any peace. It doesn't matter what US president comes or goes, the only way toward peace is that all land occupied since '67 be given back to the rightful owners. Believe me, that is the view of all the Muslims. All the terrorism stems from that problem alone, so open your eyes or the problem will worsen and carry on for hundreds of years, with grievances and spilled blood on both sides. MOHAMMED KHAN Birmingham, UK Lesson in state-building Sir, - Jeffrey Marlowe from Leeds, UK, got it right (Letters, March 10). The best response to terrorist atrocities is to establish another settlement, build another neighborhood, erect another school. Demolishing the perpetrator's house or deporting his family is counterproductive. Let them watch as we rebuild and reclaim where they have torn down and destroyed: a grove of trees planted around every crater a Kassam made; a scholarship, a home, a caravan, in the name of every bombing victim. EVA KATZ Jerusalem Israeli-Yiddisher superhero Sir, - Re "From Superman to Sabraman" (March 6) about the Jewish comics museum in Amsterdam, I welcomed the mention of Israel's great superhero, Sabraman, a comic series which I launched almost 30 years ago. I named him Sabraman as an amalgam of Sabra and Abraham; also launched was the career of today's leading Israeli comic artist, Uri Fink, whom I discovered and promoted. Both Uri and I would dearly like to bring back this wonderful Israeli-Yiddisher superhero to delight a new generation of comic book lovers. A Sabraman theme song is currently in preparation for YouTube, and Sabraman has personally assured me that he is ready and able to serve his country and people once more in their hour of need. DAVID HERMAN Jerusalem