March 22: Danger to Democracy

B'tselem has decided it is the goal of the IDF to stop Jews living anywhere the organization feels is not Israel.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Danger to democracy Sir, - The most disturbing aspect of "Hundreds of Jewish students move into Hebron 'house of peace'" ( March 20) was B'tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli saying: "It is the role of the IDF to prevent the settlers from moving into the house even if it was legally acquired... Our... principle is... that there shouldn't be these pockets in Hebron." B'tselem has become a danger to democracy in Israel. With this publicly expressed attitude the organization has decided that the role of the IDF is to stop Jews living anywhere B'tselem feels is not Israel. It is worse than the EU, the UN and even the Arab League - which have not stated that the IDF's function is to forcibly remove Jews who settle the land of Israel. B'tselem is guilty of real incitement, and should be brought to court. TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem What am I missing? Sir, - The Knesset has a law on the books that makes racism a crime in Israel. I could never understand what that crime is. But any time a Jew says something nasty about the Arabs, who are our sworn enemies, the anti-racism law is brought out. In fact, a Jewish Knesset member who advocated subsidizing the emigration of Arabs was drummed out of the house. But haven't we witnessed Arab MKs advocating much worse regarding Jews and Israel? - most recently, "MK Sarsour calls on Muslims to liberate Jerusalem" (March 19). Others have gone to Syria and preached Israel's destruction on Arab television. Why haven't these Arab MKs been treated as was Meir Kahane some years ago? In a democracy we are all equal before the law, are we not? Shouldn't these MKs be expelled from the Knesset? Or am I missing something? CHAYIM SEIDEN Jerusalem Sorry, professor, you've got it wrong Sir, - South African Prof. John Dugard accuses Israel of "colonialism, apartheid and foreign occupation" ("Dugard may probe Israeli 'apartheid' in territories," March 16). On Israel's actions in the "West Bank" he wrote: "Can it seriously be denied that the purpose… is to establish and maintain domination of one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them?" Dugard has fought apartheid all his life, and his report is riddled with the prejudices and terminology born of his experiences. First, he refers to the Jews as a race, as did Nazi Germany, where Jews were declared an inferior race. Race is a genetic distinction, denoting people with shared ancestry and genetic traits, and you can't change it. Yet you can be a Jew without common ancestry; for example, by converting. Though no one could ever become black or Asian, blacks and Asians have become Jews. In condemning Israel for colonialism and foreign occupation Prof. Dugard betrays his ignorance. King Hussein of Jordan, during his illegal occupation 1949-1967 of what was previously known as Judea and Samaria, renamed it his "West Bank" to distinguish it from his "East Bank" kingdom. The name "Palestinian territories" is also a misnomer; those areas are in fact legally undistributed parts of the Mandate for Palestine. Finally, without the constant Arab attempts to eliminate Israel there would be no security measures or restrictions whatever. MEIR ABELSON Beit Shemesh They've named it Sir, - Further to "Naming the conflict" (March 19): For months already the religious press has been calling this past summer's war in Lebanon "The War Between the Straits" (bein hamitzarim). The Three Weeks of Calamity between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B'av are sad times historically for the Jewish people; and, indeed, in the summer it all started on the first day of that period, when our dear soldiers were kidnapped. The war ended in the sad month of Av. In the first reading from the Prophets during the three weeks we learn that the bad will come from the North. A word of encouragement, however: Our sages tell us that anyone who mourns during that period will merit seeing the rebuilding of Jerusalem. KALMAN FEDER Nof Ayalon Not so sensitive Sir, - I have always had the highest regard for the way The Jerusalem Post handles the many sensitive issues that are part of everyday existence here, and so was shocked by "She abandoned my son on the battlefield" (March 19). You took the anguished cry emanating from the torn soul of a bereaved parent and turned it into a damning attack on the brigade's doctor and its deputy commander, while the issue was under review, and without any context for the alleged abandonment. Why did you feel it necessary to mention that the doctor was Russian-born? MARK COHEN Ra'anana Johnston and Schalit Sir, - After hearing the BBC's deputy director-general, Mark Byford, interviewed March 21 on the Today program and reading that Alan Johnston's father has appealed for information one week after the BBC correspondent's kidnapping in the Gaza Strip, I note that Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh are among those who have called for Mr. Johnston's release, and that he is being described as a "friend of the Palestinian people." I was delighted to hear that the BBC has received assurances that its journalist is safe and hope he is freed, unharmed, very soon. However, the BBC, Mark Byford and Johnston himself do not appear to have given a thought to Gilad Schalit, missing for many, many months after being kidnapped. His frantic father has appealed on his son's behalf, but there have been no assurances that his son is safe. In fact, I heard the family wanted to send him some eyeglasses via the Red Cross, and even that was rejected. Had the BBC given as much help to Gilad Schalit and his parents as they are now giving to their reporter, and had it condemned all kidnapping for the evil crime it is, maybe Alan Johnston and his family would not now be in the same unhappy predicament. JANET CLIFFORD Northwood, Middlesex, UK Babies & bubbies Sir, - To Joel Stein's "Congrats on the baby" (March 20) I would add the wise statement of Winston Churchill: He said he likes children because they do not go around showing pictures of their grandparents. BRENDA GOLDREICH Jerusalem