March 21: End the pretending

Mahmoud Habbash’s claim that the Palestinian Authority is working to stop incitement against Jews is not credible.

End the pretending
Sir, – Regarding “PA religious affairs minister condemns Itamar murders, denies incitement” (March 18), Mahmoud Habbash’s claim that the Palestinian Authority is working to stop incitement against Jews is not credible. In fact, the opposite is happening.
According to Palestine Media Watch, Habbash has taught repeatedly that the conflict with Israel is not territorial, but in accordance with Islamic law: “Allah has preordained for us the Ribat [Muslim fortification] on this blessed land.
We are committed to it by Allah’s command. Let no one be mistaken or under the illusion that Ribat is a choice and nothing more. It is a commandment.”
Habbash has also preached that conflict over all of Israel is cited in the Koran: “The catastrophe, in truth, did not begin in 1948, but began perhaps in 1917 with the cursed [Balfour] Declaration, which gave a promise to those who did not deserve it.... This conflict is explicit in the Koran and our obligation with regard to it is clarified by the Koran.”
In short, the PA, like Hamas, is telling its people that Islam does not allow for reconciliation with Israel.
Let’s stop pretending.
Play in fortissimo...
Sir, – Herb Keinon’s statement that “it is better to do things in a lower key, more modestly and humbly, and just let the facts or the events speak for themselves” (“A case of over-messaging,” Diplomacy, March 18) is a plan of action that has not served Israel well. In fact, being silent has over the years hurt Israel more than it has helped.
One of the main concerns with Israel’s PR is that it has kept too many relevant and path-shifting facts low key without wide distribution.
Defending the lives of its citizens and forewarning the world of actions that are being taken to threaten its very existence require that Israel shout from the rooftops.
It is interesting that when I read of the recent tragedy at Itamar in The Jerusalem Post, not one of my friends or associates had heard. Yelling to the world about this would not have been propaganda, and certainly was deserving of what Keinon calls “playing at fortissimo.”
It has always been the lot of the Jew to be quiet, low key, and not to rock the boat, hoping things will get better. How fortunate we are that Israel has a voice it is proud to use and, hopefully, will continue to use to shout out loud.
Sir, – Does Herb Keinon really think it would make any difference if a news conference were efficiently run? Does he think that being polite makes any difference? Since when have Middle Eastern leaders outside Israel respected anything but brute power? It is long overdue for our news media in Israel to stop feeding the vultures.
SONIA GOLDSMITH Netanya the ‘Post,’ too
Sir, – “IDF delivers Palestinian baby at settlement” (March 18), a marvelous story about a 19-yearold IDF paramedic assisting a young Palestinian woman giving birth in a taxi outside the settlement where the grieving Fogel family lives, was buried at the bottom of Page 5. What a divinelysent contribution to Israel’s hasbara campaign it would have been had it appeared on the front page.
DAN VOGEL Jerusalem
Sir, – Regarding “US raps Israel for settlement approval after Itamar murders” (March 15), I myself am deeply concerned that a whole family, a mother, father and three children, was wiped out by savages affiliated with the PA – this paragon of virtue, which names streets and buildings after terrorists who murder innocent people, including children, and insists that Palestine be judenrein.
To the US and other interfering parties, I rebuke you for your shameless interference in the lives of the Jewish people living in their historic and legal land while making no effort to curtail the incitement and hatred emanating daily from those to whom you would have us surrender our land.
I also rebuke the prime minister of the State of Israel for failing to stand up for the rights of the Jewish people. I rebuke him for informing the US of his decision to build a few hundred housing units before telling his own people. And I rebuke him for failing to see that every concession he makes brings us closer to losing any legitimacy to our own land.
I close in disgust.
Start meddling
Sir, – Statistics show that only 28 percent of American Jews define themselves as Zionists. Steve Hoffman, former president of the United Jewish Communities, declares: “I don’t know that I’m prepared to say that Israel is the center of the Jewish people” (“Do American Jews still like Israel?,” Comment & Features, March 10).
This sums it up nicely.
The Israeli government supports haredi parties, which control the Interior Ministry, the Chief Rabbinate and the rabbinical courts. These parties have declared Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and secular Jews in Israel and abroad as inauthentic Jews, as spiritual lepers – but not one American Jewish organization has challenged this canard or backed up its challenge with action.
If Israel refuses to recognize the authenticity of these Jews, American Jewry should pinpoint its gifts to recipients in Israel, stop contributing to the UJA, and even disassociate itself from Israel until this country changes course. This is the only way to drive home the message to the Israeli government and public, which regard American Jewry as their milking cow.
No Purimshpiel
Sir, – With Purim in mind, may I, a new oleh, proffer the following tips to Israeli drivers: 1. Do not signal if you are pulling out or turning – it only confuses other drivers. In particular, do not signal if you are approaching a junction and turning right, as this would show other road users where you are going.
2. When entering a limitedaccess highway, make sure you drive directly into the fast lane. Filtering over, one lane after another, is much too safe. Besides, it’s for sissies.
3. Always overtake on the inside lane, especially if the fast lane is blocked by other vehicles already traveling at speeds well in excess of the speed limit.
4. When putting luggage or babies in rear seats, make sure you do it from the road side, and not the pavement side. At the same time, leave the rear door open as widely and for as long as possible.
5. Take your cellphone calls immediately. Most phones will tell you if you have a missed call, but that’s only for people whose calls are not as urgent as yours.
6. Smokers can improve on Tip 5 by holding the phone in one hand while the other holds a cigarette outside the side window. Passive smoking is no more of a problem than the carnage that can result when neither hand is on the wheel.
7. If you cannot find a space to park, do not worry. Double parking, especially on narrow streets, is okay. Otherwise, use zebra crossings or parking spaces for the disabled, or any place that obstructs the view or passage of other drivers.
8. Pedestrians are fair game at all times. They should remain on the sidewalks along with the bicycle and motor cycle riders.
9. Remember at all times that safety rules are solely for other drivers.
It is only careful drivers who are killed on the roads, which doesn’t really matter so long as you get to where you are going ahead of everyone else.