November 12: No sense at all

Ehud Olmert used the Yitzhak Rabin memorial to viciously stigmatize the entire right-wing community.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
No sense at all Sir - This year, when the actual date of the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht coincided with the Hebrew date of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, one would have prayed and hoped that our leaders would have shown some sense of history by realizing how incitement and finger pointing at a particular group can bring about hate and destruction ("Barak remarks at Rabin memorial on Jewish violence are inciteful, Yishai says," November 10). Unfortunately, it was not to be and the most inflammatory remarks were made by none other than our Defense Minister, Ehud Barak. It reminded me of a quote from Ethics of the Fathers that says: "Wise men be careful with your statements for your students might make the wrong interpretation." EMANUEL FISCHER Jerusalem Sir, - In the Knesset memorial for Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, similar to other Kadima ministers this week, used this opportunity in the spotlight to viciously stigmatize the entire right-wing community ("Olmert: We must cede parts of Jerusalem," November 10). In his speech, Olmert stated that Palestinians have been harvesting olives "for hundreds of years, in places where their personal and family homes have stood." Does this sound like the prime minister of the state of Israel, or a PLO propagandist claiming the "Palestinians" have lived in Israel for generations? JOSH HASTEN Jerusalem Sir, - Caroline Glick's article, "From Tel Aviv to Teheran, with love," (November 11) gives several quotes from Ehud Barak's speech at the Rabin memorial ceremony, including comments from the defense minister that called right-wing activists "cancers," and "threats to democracy, and like an evil that should be uprooted from within us. I wonder, why isn't Barak arrested for incitement? It appears that one man's incitement is another man's freedom of speech, depending which side of the political spectrum you are on. MAURICE STEINHART Jerusalem Wondering Sir, - On the anniversary of the Kristallnacht marking the onset of the Holocaust in Germany, I can't help but wonder where the spirit for human rights and social justice is in Israel, when Palestinians are treated like second class citizens ("The sound of silence," November 6). Where is the outrage for what is going on in your own backyard? It wasn't right in Germany and it's not right in Israel today. P. RANNEY Millersville, Maryland Mormon mumbo-jumbo Sir, - I cannot understand why Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, should get so worked up over the Mormon church's practice of posthumous baptism by proxy ("Holocaust Victims' representatives cut off talks with Mormons," November 11). As a Jew, I might be amused by such nonsensical practices, but I certainly do not consider they have any real effect. Perhaps, Mr. Michel should concentrate on more important issues and leave the Mormons to their childish mumbo-jumbo if that keeps them happy and distracts them from the irritating practice of evangelizing living Jews. MARTIN D. STERN Salford, England Striking sooner or later Sir, - Contrary to comments made in the article "Might Israel strike at Iran before Obama takes over?" (November 7), I believe Israel's cabinet has already made an in principle decision to attack Iran's nuclear installations, should all other means - diplomatic or economic sanctions - fail. I believe there is agreement on this issue among Livni, Olmert, Barak, Mofaz, Netanyahu, and others. I do not believe that "notifying the leaders of the major political parties in advance" could overcome the problem of Olmert's "lame-duck" administration. And I do not claim that a date has already been chosen. As to advanced Russian anti-aircraft systems, Iran will reportedly receive these early in 2009, which perhaps is a further reason for a strike before January 20, 2009. In the weeks following my New York Times article, the Bush administration raised obstacles to an Israeli attack by denying it certain weapons (new air-refuelling tankers and additional bunker-buster bombs) and refusing permission to overfly Iraq - which may well lead to a postponement of the projected attack. BENNY MORRIS Li'On Give him a break Sir, - It was most disturbing to read of another offensive attack against a haredi candidate for mayor based not on his qualifications, but on his being haredi ("The Porush Choice, Letters, November 10). P. Berman in his letter joins a number of recent attempts to demonize Meir Porush by accusing him of "a narrow interpretation of the Torah and of cronyism," two offenses that seem rather widespread, but somehow only in the case of Porush, undoubtedly interfere with his sound judgment. The cheaply weighted theoretical situation that Berman proposed seems to assure us that he knows who Porush would give the job to if it were between an unqualified Heredi and a very qualified short-skirted, tabooed woman. Here is one for Berman posing as Solomon! An impeccably dressed haredi with graduate degrees from both Harvard and MIT is competing with a highly attractive, dumb blonde with no qualifications for a top-level position. Tell me, who would get the job most everywhere else in Israel? ZEV CHAMUDOT Petah Tikva Say it like it is Sir, - In the article "Fundamentally Michael Freund: Anti-Semitism in Israel," (November 4), Freund talks about calling a number of recent incidents what they really are: Arab Anti-Semitism and not simply political/civil disorder. The fact is, that the entire Arab-Israeli battle has its origins dating from the 1930s with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and his personal relationship with Hitler and great admiration for the dictator. We remain today in the middle of that same fight where Israel continues to have to fend off Arab attempts at the Final Solution - simply a continuation of Hitler's plan. If only Freund's voice were able to travel slightly more to the Left, today's young Jews may be able to ask their mothers and fathers if these attacks seem as frightening today as they did 70 years ago? HOWARD WOLLE Toronto Only gestures Sir, - It is all very well for Egypt to keep the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza shut, but as 99 percent of the economy in Gaza seems to be coming through the tunnels from Egypt anyway - and not just rockets - Hamas will be feeling no pain as a result. ("Mubarak 'feels betrayed' by Hamas," November 8). In other words, Mubarak is yet again indulging in gesture politics. PETER SIMPSON Jerusalem CORRECTION The photo accompanying the article "When good men did nothing" (November 9) was inappropriate as it did not refer to Kristallnacht. We apologize for the error.