November 15: Disquieting disparity

A kidnapped Venezuelan athlete is located 50 hours later and rescued, but it takes five years and a 1,000 terrorists to free an Israeli soldier.

Disquieting disparity
Sir, – A Venezuelan athlete, after being kidnapped, is located 50 hours later and rescued after a 15-minute gunfight with his captors (“Ramos rescued, returned safe and sound in Venezuela,” Sports, November 13). Meanwhile, after an Israeli soldier is kidnapped, it takes five years and the release of more than 1,000 terrorists to free him.
There is something terribly wrong with this picture.
A rosy picture
Sir, – Gwynne Dyer paints a rosy picture of Iran and its intentions that does not match with the observable facts (“Here we go again?” Comment & Features, November 13).
Iran is far more of a theocracy than a democracy, with harsh capital punishments for what we in the West would not even consider crimes. Any pretension of democracy in the country was stripped away two years ago when the regime stole the last election and violently crushed those who protested.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated calls for the destruction of the State of Israel are not the words of Dyer’s vaunted rational leaders, and the recent plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in the American capital – an act of war by any other name – does not speak well at all for Iran’s rationality.
And lest we forget, Iran has been waging a proxy war against the United States in Iraq, is a major backer of Hamas and Hezbollah – terrorist organizations sworn to Israel’s destruction – and continues to support the Assad regime as it massacres the Syrian people.
I would trust any western politician, even Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and French President Nicholas Sarkozy, over the fanatical leaders of Iran.
Sir, – In arguing against military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Gwynne Dyer repeats the canard that the US and “its more gullible allies” attacked Iraq only because of erroneous intelligence assessments that Saddam Hussein was attempting to produce weapons of mass destruction.
As a US diplomat, I was intimately involved in enforcing the sanctions regime against Iraq. Unquestionably, Saddam attempted to obtain materials that could have been used to advance his WMD program. Had sanctions been lifted, there is no doubt that Saddam would have moved forward with the program.
After Saddam was removed from power, the head of the UN’s Iraq Survey Group, David Kay, reported the discovery of “dozens of WMD-related program activities” hidden from the UN.
Contrary to Dyer’s assertion that “no weapons were found,” Kay observed only that Saddam had not produced large-scale stockpiles of WMD.
Iran is following a similar pattern. There is little doubt that it will attempt to produce nuclear weapons if other nations ignore the danger. Dyer mistakenly suggests that the only reason for Iran to develop a nuclear capability would be to deter other nations from attacking it. But mere possession of such weapons would have substantial offensive value. It would change the balance of power in the Middle East, set off a nuclear arms race in the region, and embolden Iran’s client terror organizations – Hamas and Hezbollah. All of this could have a devastating impact on Israel.
EFRAIM A. COHEN Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – I don't expect to agree with every opinion article published in the Post, nor would I want to subscribe to a paper that didn’t challenge my political concepts. But to publish Mr. Dyer’s ridiculous article is too much. He says that Iran is “a lot more rational than their Western counterparts” but fails to mention Iran’s genocidal threats against Israel and its bankrolling of worldwide terror. The logical place for Dyer's column is Haaretz. The Post’s decision to suspend Dyer’s column in 1997 was correct.
STEVE KRAMER Alfei Menashe
Shame on victim blamer
Sir – While I in no way condone women who come to work dressed in an inappropriate manner, I think Ms. Posner has sorely missed the boat (“Katsav going to jail,” Letters, November 13).
Saying that these women are basically to blame for any assault on their person due to the way they dress leads one to the following conclusions: One should not have a new car, lest the thief be tempted to steal it. One should not own jewelry, lest the burglar break in and take it.
The list could go on and on. But blaming the victim is as old as the Bible and certainly does not belong in the conversations of 2011.
ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – The idea that rape is the result of women dressing provocatively went out while I was in primary school many years ago. The “real offenders” are not the women.
The belief that men cannot control their “natural reactions” degrades men to an inferior status in which they are subject only to their emotions and desires, and not to their ability to think.
R.M. KIEL Tel Aviv
Sir, – Ruth Posner makes a number of valid points concerning women’s attire in her letter, but attributes a degree of ingenuousness to their choices that need to be addressed in regard to their attire.
It is little wonder that approximately 60 percent of the 63 tractates of the Talmud are concerned with Dinei Nashim [Women’s Laws].
While accepting that women are today emancipated to a degree unimagined in the days the Talmud was written, by the same token, they may be held responsible for the affect their attire or lack of it has on others.
Moshe Katsav, though a sophisticated individual, was born into a society which both honored and cherished women, but also perceived them to be chattels at their disposal. In that it sometimes doesn’t take two to tango, he was always accountable for his decisions, and should behave in the same controlled manner as millions of his fellow countrymen do on a daily basis.
Sir, – I have never seen a more blatant example of “blame the victim” than in Ruth Posner’s letter. When I read it, I thought for a moment it was written in Saudi Arabia where women are completely hidden and deprived of their rights as human beings so as not to tempt men.
To say that women should be arrested for improper attire is saying if you do not clothe yourself according to Shari’a or haredi standards you are “asking for it.”
Perhaps people can dictate their own modesty codes in cloistered enclaves, but to demand, under threat of arrest, adherence to “a respectable dress code” is ludicrous. Men who sexually harass or rape women are seeking power not sex. Particularly in the halls of government men who have achieved lofty status should strive to demonstrate to the world the high moral character of our tradition, which precludes lying, embezzling, and sexually debasing women.
A serious injustice
Sir, – The actions of our current Chief Rabbinate are an embarrassment (“Has the Chief Rabbinate outlived its usefulness?” Shlomo Riskin, November 13).
Where does one find more rabbis, enlightened like Shlomo Riskin and Aryeh Levin, who act in the spirit of rabbis like Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook or Isaac Herzog and for whom a soldier’s risking his life for Israel is more important than wearing a kippa?
Of course the problem is rooted in the political makeup of our government which has to bow to special interest groups. Until our government will have the courage to change to a system of elected MKs and officials responsible to the people and not to political parties, this injustice will unfortunately continue.