March 8: Butt out, please

What right has the US, or any other country, to tell another state or government to exclude or include a party into its administration?

Butt out, please
Sir, – “US should push exclusion of Muslim Brothers from Cairo gov’t, congressman tells ‘Post’” (March 6) is real chutzpah.
What right has the US, or for that matter any other country, to tell another state or government to exclude or include a party into its administration? Why does the US not look after its own affairs before meddling in other countries’ business? Has it not enough troubles of its own? From our point of view it would be good to exclude the Muslim Brotherhood from the Egyptian government, but we certainly cannot demand it any more than other countries can demand from Israel to exclude a political party such as Kach or Meretz.
Sell-out explains it
Sir, – The revelation that the prestigious London School of Economics accepted millions of pounds from Libya and sold a PhD to Muammar Gaddafi’s son explains much about the anti- Semitism and vilification of Israel that pervades so many universities in Britain, America and Canada (“London School of Economics head resigns over Libya link,” March 6).
By accepting bribes from oilrich Arab countries, these universities are selling their souls and abusing the concept of open intellectual discussion and education.
Instead of students coming from these countries to learn and be instilled with democratic principals, it is the universities that are absorbing anti-democratic principals.
Beit Shemesh
Frequent reminders
Sir, – Ruth Schueler’s list of bicyclists’ misdemeanors on our roads (“Helmets, or not,” Letters, March 6) calls to mind a road safety hazard of a different kind that is very prevalent in Israel: the dearth of roadside postings of the speed limit.
You can travel for miles and miles along our roads and highways without seeing a sign telling drivers how fast they are legally permitted to travel. This stands in stark contrast to the practice in the US, where the driver is reminded at quite frequent intervals of the legal speed limit.
In a country like ours, where we constantly bewail the high rate of road accidents, this is a serious shortcoming. True, a more systematic posting of such signs would not provide an ironclad guarantee that drivers refrain from speeding, but it would surely serve as a warning and a reminder. At the very least, it would help the well-intentioned and law-abiding driver (and we do still have a fair number of these in Israel!) to keep within the legal limit.
People keep talking about “Israeli drivers.” Well, clearly it’s not always the driver who is to blame. It’s high time our Transportation Ministry took this important matter in hand and did something about it.
Naïve noses
Sir, – Your article on the participation of West Bank farmers in the recent International Agricultural Exhibition in Tel Aviv made for interesting reading (“Palestinian farmers show wares, eye innovations at TA agro-fair,” March 4).
You refer several times to the fact that the representatives came from the PA. However, you should be aware that one of the exhibitors (Sinokrot Global Group) had a very colorful brochure in which it recorded its farms and offices as being in the Jordan Valley in Palestine.
Of course, there is no state of Palestine, but this brochure, seen by numerous participants from all over the world, conveyed this false impression.
Moreover, as the future of permanent jurisdiction over the Jordan Valley, which is now in Area C, meaning under Israeli control, will need to be resolved in peace talks, its description as being in Palestine is deceitful.
The organizers of this exhibition should be ashamed of this subtle but blatant politicizing being carried out under their obviously naïve noses.
Tel Mond
Double-dipping docs
Sir, – I always read and appreciate Asher Meir’s column Ethics@Work, but I must take issue with his surprising assessment of the degree of criminality inherent in the situation of a health fund doctor taking “money under the table” to enable faster or preferential service (“Payment for services is not bribery,” March 4).
It is against the law, corrupt, a breach of contract and economically discriminatory. An oncologist who benefits monetarily by taking advantage of the plight of desperate people fighting a difficult and time-sensitive disease is ethically very much out of line.
Please do not condone this as a fee for service. It is over and above the actual fee for service and puts a terrible burden on families that must come up with large sums of cash in order to go to the head of the line to possibly prolong a life.
And what about those who cannot come up with cash and have to live with the guilt of not being able to finance the speediest and best services for their loved ones?
Sir, – Asher Meir’s arguments do not fit the facts, and his defense of the doctor is not correct.
A professional who works privately can charge for his services, whether a doctor, a lawyer or a columnist. Dr. Fiegler is an “employee” of Ichilov Hospital.
For him to charge extra is a violation his job description and also immoral, as he is paid by his employer for his medical services.
The doctor could also be called a professional under contract to the hospital and thus be obliged to treat patients the hospital admits, with any payments to him being made by that hospital.
If the doctor wants his patients to pay him directly, he can go into private practice, just like a lawyer, accountant, consultant – and columnist.
Hatzor Haglilit
Everyone benefits
Sir, – The Post’s Editor’s Notes is a must-read item, and the latest one was, as usual, right on the mark (“Okay, so there goes the neighborhood. Now what are we going to do about it?,” March 4).
However, there was one sentence that struck a wrong note. Discussing the desirability for the West to create economic opportunities in Arab countries, David Horovitz wrote: “Not, heaven forbid, to exploit underemployed work forces for Western profit, but rather to....”
Twenty years ago, the Far East (Japan excepted) was a swamp of underemployed work forces. The amazing growth we have witnessed there was not driven by altruistic foreign aid but by companies in the West, most noticeably Wal-Mart, which exploited these masses for huge profits by buying cheap clothes, toys and what have-you, and selling them to Western consumers.
The wages and conditions in these factories in China, Vietnam, India and Indonesia were appalling by Western standards, and still are – however, not as appalling as the alternative, which is semi-starvation and back-breaking labor as subsistence farmers.
The profit motive will generate a thousand times more improvement in the quality of life in Arab countries as would the application of economic aid, which in failed states inevitably enriches a few kleptocrats, leaving the masses unchanged.
The nature of the help the West should give is to encourage the establishment of conditions under which entrepreneurs will be able to exploit cheap Arab labor to produce goods that the West is willing to pay for. As labor rates inevitably rise in the Far East, an opportunity exists for countries like Egypt to manufacture the low-tech items we now import from China. The one necessary condition is a stable political system and a free and fair market in which an entrepreneur can exploit opportunities without fear of being robbed of his profits.
Ma’aleh Adumim