March 24: About ties...

Perhaps it is time for the West to change and understand what is really going on in this part of the world .

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
About ties... Sir, - Jeff Barak devoted the first chunk of "Tied in knots" (March 23) to complaining about Avigdor Lieberman's appearance. Has he not realized that in London today, for example, it is perfectly acceptable for senior people in the City to appear in public without a tie? Rather than worry about Lieberman's dress, the West should reflect on the EU's funding of a PA education which foments hatred of Israel and the West, and the blindness of the EU to the consequences of its actions. Perhaps it is time for the West to change and understand what is really going on in this part of the world - and perhaps Lieberman is the guy to get that message across as previous Israeli foreign ministers, Tzipi Livni included, have failed. PETER SIMPSON Jerusalem Sir, - Hitler and Brezhnev wore their ties properly done up, and so did the Duke of Windsor, who even has a tie knot named after him. So what? Having dealt with Lieberman's sartorial sense, Barak then progressed to his "racism." One need not be a racist to distrust or even dislike Arabs, given Arab attempts for over 100 years to cast us into the sea. In this context, it is possible to regard Lieberman's views as realism. On a personal note, I have found that shirts that otherwise fit strangle when the top button is fastened. So perhaps Lieberman's crime lies in not being a stock size. I suppose Jeff Barak would find even that reprehensible. MERVYN DOOBOV Jerusalem ...and footwear Sir, - Of more concern are the shoes that any foreign minister of Israel might wear. How firmly are they planted on the ground to withstand the pressure, no matter how tremendous, from East, West, North and South? Oh and, by the way, the American euphemism for lynching is "a necktie party." MIRIAM L. GAVARIN Jerusalem When compromise is simply a sellout Sir, - Caroline Glick praises the leader of the National Union party - "the one politician who has been outspoken in opposing the mass release of terrorists" - and points out that the party has been right "on just about every major strategic issue they have championed." However, she faults the NU for not being able "to recognize that politics is the art of compromise." She explains that "in part because he remembers that it was the National Union which brought down his government 10 years ago, Netanyahu began his coalition-building talks with Kadima." With all due respect, it would be foolhardy and irresponsible for the NU to compromise and thereby facilitate a continuation of the Left's failed policy, this time watered-down due to Likud influence, when the Likud could be the one to "compromise" and terminate the Left's failed policies. Why should the Likud, a large party, do what a small party has been suggesting for years? Because the NU has indeed been right "on just about every major strategic issue they have championed." In short, I'm with the NU on this one. We need a strong, uncompromising rejection of the Left's failed policies; and if Netanyahu is not willing to provide this, better to stand by and let reality defeat the Left yet again until Netanyahu, or someone else, is willing to stand up to it - without compromise ("Israel's balance of delusion," March 17). SUSIE DYM Rehovot 'What me want is what counts' Sir, - We were told that both Barak and Netanyahu have shed their "me-first-ism." But Netanyahu's intensive wooing of Ehud Barak into the coalition shows their "reformation" to be false. Both men are fiercely, singledmindedly, going against their respective party members' wishes, no matter what that will do to their own parties - as long as Barak and Netanyahu get what they personally want ("PM slams Barak-Netanyahu alliance," March 23). AVIGDOR BONCHEK Jerusalem Revolutionary idea... Sir, - In case some may have trouble with your reader's counterintuitive contention that releasing all terrorists from Israeli jails "could signal a new era of peace, understanding and cooperation," our authorities might prepare the public for this new era by releasing all petty criminals from jail, followed by violent murderers. Freeing the criminally insane could, in addition,"generate unprecedented amounts of goodwill." Eventually, perhaps, the average person on the street (or at home, behind locked doors) will become receptive to the "farsighted and visionary" gamble involved in releasing those who oppose our right to exist, and whose capture interrupted, for example, their plans to strap themselves with explosives and head for buses and malls to blow up men, women and children ("Let's free all," Letters, March 23). YONATAN SILVER Jerusalem Sir, - Maybe this reader intended his letter to be published on April 1? HANNA ZLOTNICK Jerusalem ...whose time has come? Sir, - Re "Failed [Haifa] attack points to inexperienced terrorists" (March 23): If, as your correspondent suggests, we released a few hundred experienced and seasoned terrorists, this problem would not recur. LARRY WACHSMAN Jerusalem It's life in jail that really hurts Sir, - In "Another view of the death penalty" (March 19), replying to David Benkof's "Jews and the death penalty" (March 12), Dudley Sharp asks: "Why does Benkof believe that life in prison without parole is a better option than the death penalty"? In my view, society feels that the correct punishment for people who commit murder should be very severe. And what more severe form of punishment is there than being imprisoned for one's whole life? When a person is executed, even though some consider that inhumane, the suffering is short-lived, with no time to reflect on crimes committed or a future that has been lost. HYLA BERKOWITZ Jerusalem Enabling life Sir, - We donated our daughter Alisa's organs after her death in a suicide bombing at Kfar Darom in 1995. The decision to do so was was rare in Israel at that time. The permissibility of organ donation is accepted across the Jewish spectrum, but the numbers of donors who have signed cards is still woefully low. Thus the public signing of donor cards by IDF leaders and a pledge to educate soldiers about donation is welcome. Much work must still be done in Israel, but this is a great step in the right direction ("Officers promote organ donations," photo, March 23). STEPHEN FLATOW West Orange, NJ He's earned my respect Sir, - I'm a 62-year-old American Jew and for most of my adult life I have not been a fan of Rupert Murdoch. He has always appeared to be a bully - not an atypical attitude for a wealthy and powerful man. However, after being honored on March 4 with the National Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee and delivering such a heartfelt speech, he has earned my respect and admiration. Thank you for publishing it ("I am not Jewish but..." March 19). STEVE BLACK Temecula, California