March 28: Lost in translation

Once again, we find ourselves poorly served by the electronic media, which is seemingly intent on not letting viewers decide for themselves.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Lost in translation Sir, - I was interested in listening to or viewing the live broadcast of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's press conference on Tuesday morning. I tried tuning in to Reshet Bet or Army Radio, but in both instances I was put off by the Hebrew translation drowning out her words. I understand Hebrew, but found it hard to follow both Rice's words and those being spoken over them by the translators. I tried TV's Channel 1 (the taxpayer-funded state outlet), but that was showing children's programing. Channels 2 and 10 both showed some of the Rice news conference - not all of it - and, again, the voiceovers made it equally hard to discern the content. But my real beef is with Channel 99 - supposedly Israel's C-SPAN - which was carrying some warmed-over academic discussion. All the station needed to do was place a camera, microphone and engineer at Rice's press conference. If they have no budget for that... well, they might as well close down. Unbelievably, neither CNN, Sky or the BBC saw fit to carry Rice's news conference live. There was no need to translate as most Israelis, members of the press and diplomatic corps interested in what Rice had to say understand English. Once again, we find ourselves poorly served by the electronic media, which is seemingly intent on not letting viewers decide for themselves. YECHIEL METZGER Jerusalem This 'new' is old Sir, - Re "Israel, US disagree on new ME approach" (March 26): I was amused to read of an exciting "new" approach to the woes of the Middle East. The current suggestions seem to call for giving the Arabs more land and power in exchange for a flurry of new broken promises, with a concurrent downpour of increased and more lethal terrorist murder sprees. I am therefore forced to conclude that there is really nothing new about this repackaged plan for more failed appeasement. DAVID B. GREENBERG New York Courage, MJR! Sir, - Re "Condi gets it right" (March 27): Were MJ Rosenberg to read Caroline Glick's adjoining factual "An embrace of jihadist 'peace,'" he might muster the courage to reassess his comparing the Palestinians to the Chinese; our age-old settlement in Hebron by "extremists"; and the consistent refusal of our opponents to implement previously-signed agreements. ESTER ZEITLIN Jerusalem Progressive Jews in Orthodox eyes Sir, - I fear your columnist Avi Shafran isn't being entirely fair or even honest in his description of Orthodox Jewish opinions and attitudes regarding the Reform and Conservative - that is, the so-called progressive Jewish - movements ("Fiendish fables about Orthodox Jews," March 27). The Orthodox movements have for decades vehemently and categorically denied the legitimacy and validity of Reform and Conservative. While it is true that they have never denied the Jewishness of these progressive movements' members if they had a Jewish mother (provided she too was recognized as Jewish by them), the Orthodox have bitterly and, indeed, vulgarly denied as legitimately Jewish just about everything else about them - their rituals, their rabbis, their divorces, their converts, their philosophies and their interpretation of Halacha. It is hardly surprising that the young woman Rabbi Shafran tried to convince otherwise couldn't take him seriously. I am Orthodox, and while I take serious issue with some of the progressive Jewish movements' positions, I am often ashamed and bewildered by the contemptuous expressions used by my religious leaders to describe these movements and our fellow Jews who adhere to them. Sometimes I think these people believe they sit at the right hand of God and enjoy some sort of Divine dispensation to criticize other Jews in any way they like. Well, they don't. KENNETH BESIG Kiryat Arba Religion won't rule Sir, - In "Perception and Identity" (March 13) Barry Rubin wrote: "There are hard-line elements that want to take Turkey, step by step, down a road that would undo the revolution of Kemal Ataturk, turning Turkey into a somewhat moderate version of Iran." This overlooks the role of the Turkish army vis-a-vis any radical change in Turkey's secular society. As an ex-citizen of Turkey I assure you that the Turkish army - now acting behind the scenes - as the defender of Ataturk's reforms will never permit Turkey to be turned into even a moderate version of Iran. In other words: Religion will never rule the Turkish secular republic. HAYIM ASHBELL Petah Tikva Absurd to stop living Sir, - As a woman with breast cancer I'd like to respectfully disagree with Shmuley Boteach's opposition to the Edwards' continuation of their campaign for the White House ("Putting family first," March 26). Most people facing life-threatening diseases want to pursue life and normalcy if at all possible, for as long as possible. No one, healthy or otherwise, knows what faces him or her around the next turn in the road. We do know, however, and with certainty, that we all face death. It is therefore absurd to stop living. The Edwards family are providing the world with a powerful and wonderful message: Continue living. Continue your pursuits. I applaud John for his devotion to Elizabeth, and I applaud Elizabeth for knowing that her life is best lived normally, for as long as possible. It would be a dreadful message to their children and to all those with serious diseases if the couple stopped their lives and ended their dreams and aspirations. Her cancer will progress, or not, whether she is actively involved in the campaign, or not. I wish her a refua shlema and applaud her husband, who has probably earned a vote from this American citizen. ROSANNE SKOPP Herzliya Seder with a family Sir, - One of the most important, yet most neglected, aspects of the Pessah seder is the mitzva of welcoming people who genuinely do not have a place for the seder into your home. Every year, people come to Israel for Pessah hoping for the opportunity to celebrate the seder with a family in Israel - yet they do not know how to find families prepared to host them. This year our agency is initiating a "Last-Minute Seder Hospitality Desk," which will operate until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday evening, April 1. Families who would like to welcome guests are invited to register; also people who would like to be hosted. Our phone number is (02) 530-0125. Our secretary will operate the phone on Sunday; an answering machine will take messages Friday and Saturday. DAVID BEDEIN Israel Resource News Agency Jerusalem Nostalgia, and more Sir, - "It serves you right / You so-and-so / Why weren't you born an Eskimo - / Get used to it..." These words were sung to a catchy tune in a 1941 cabaret show staged in a Canadian internment camp that held mostly Jewish refugees, including myself. We had been shipped there from England as suspected spies after the fall of France. There were some great talents in that camp - I still hum some of the tunes I heard there as a young boy. "Nearly forgotten music finds new life" (March 27) rang a bell in the ears of this octogenerian, and it is good that nearly forgotten works from this period should live again. ERNIE MEYER Jerusalem