November 21: Learn from them

As Goebbels put it, if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

Learn from them Sir, – David Weinberg (“Who’s destroying antiquities in Jerusalem?,” Observations, November 18) demonstrates how the Palestinians are much more adept at propaganda than Israel.
Even if their accusations are completely unfounded, they will get an international hearing, which will create an impression on the world that will not be completely erased even when they are totally discredited. As Goebbels put it, if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
Perhaps Israel should take a leaf from the Palestinians’ book and draw international attention to their improprieties, especially where they have some basis in fact. A blatant example cited by Weinberg is the Wakf’s activity on the Temple Mount, where it has destroyed relics from the First and Second Temple periods by the unsupervised building of a new mosque. This is, of course is intended to make it more difficult to challenge the Palestinian claim that the temples never existed.
Waiting until one has incontrovertible proof is not a sensible policy.
No laugh, that gas Sir, – Reading “An explosive mission” (Law and Order, November 18) reminded me of another danger to the public posed by gas: the use in toy shops of helium cylinders for inflating balloons.
These cylinders contain high pressure gas. The fixture on the head of the cylinder is made of non-ferrous metal, which lacks the strength of steel. If such a cylinder, which is tall and narrow, is knocked over, this fixture could hit an object and be broken, instantaneously – and explosively – releasing the energy used to compress the gas.
For this reason, safety regulations require that all such cylinders are secured. The regulations are universally disregarded in toy shops, creating the risk of fatal accidents.
Let us hope that the appropriate ministry will wake up to this danger and instruct the police to enforce compliance.
Serious charges Sir, – It is depressing to read the accusation in your first letter of November 18 (“Fighting for rights”), which concludes by saying the Palestinians trying to ride an Egged bus into Jerusalem were “fighting for the right not to ride the bus, but to blow it up!” This is a grave accusation. It is so grievous and far-fetched that even the riders’ comparison of themselves to US freedom riders is more realistic. If the writer had any evidence as to his claim, he should have told the police rather than a newspaper.
I don’t know which worse: The prevalence of frivolous but grave accusations or the fact that the Post, which can be a haven of serious thought, would print it – as the lead letter.
Can we all please get a lot more serious and try a lot harder to understand the other side? In truth, I don’t see any more effort at empathic reciprocal understanding coming out of our side than I do the other side.
JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts
It’s Yinglish Sir, – I am usually the last to rush to defend The Jerusalem Post’s meretricious deployment of American English, but I must take issue with the mamma loshen pedants who attacked the paper in the November 18 letters section (“Vey ist mir!”).
The article that employed ver was using cod-Yiddish, as spoken by millions of English-speakers around the world. Had the original contained the words Vere’s de mezuzah?, everyone would have known instantly that the person was speaking English mit a Yiddishe eggsent, no?
The Letters Editor notes: On warm days in her Brooklyn apartment, my Silesian-born grandmother would often say, Ofn der vindeh.
Balancing act
Sir, – Martin Sherman (“A nation betrayed?,” Into the Fray, November 18) cites a University of Haifa study showing that barely a third of the Israeli public has faith in the judicial system.
The selection process for appointing justices to Israel’s Supreme Court tells us why.
Justices are selected by a committee composed of nine members drawn from the Israeli cabinet (the minister of justice, who sits at its head, and another minister), the Supreme Court (the court president and two other justices), two members of Knesset and two representatives of the national bar association.
The political leanings of the two ministers depend upon the coalition, but of the two MKs, one is always chosen by the opposition.
The two justices who sit together with the court’s president are selected by the court itself. Since its justices are virtually all left-of-center, those chosen for the selection committee are almost certain to be so as well.
The two bar association representatives are elected by the association’s national council.
Since the association and the council have a distinct left-ofcenter majority, its representatives are almost certain to be left-of-center as well.
This means that even when there is a right-of-center government, there is generally a left-ofcenter majority on the selection committee. This not good for either democracy or public confidence in the impartiality of justice.
New York The writer is national president of the Zionist Organization of America
Obama’s suitability Sir, – I wish I could share Uri Savir’s enthusiasm for President Barack Obama as the American leader best suited to Israel’s quest for peace (“Obama 2012,” Savir’s Corner, November 18).
I recall, however, that it was Obama who provided the preconditions now demanded by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for negotiations with Israel – a freeze on construction in the West Bank (something that had never been demanded before). Obama then added that peace discussions must be centered on the 1967 lines (with so-called land swaps), and now this, too, is being demanded by Abbas.
I believe there is a strong likelihood that, should Obama be reelected, he will provide the Palestinians with yet further demands before they agree to talks.
Tel Mond
Sir, – Uri Savir demonstrates his clear bias by what he does not say about President Obama.
He characterizes Obama as “a liberal intellectual” while describing Republican candidates as “ultra-Conservatives.”
Many would call Obama an ultra-liberal leaning toward socialism. At the same time, Savir forgets that Mitt Romney, the GOP favorite, is a moderate whose main drawback in the eyes of some of his fellow party members is that he is not a true conservative.
Savir lauds Obama because “he stood by the Tahrir Square” youth. The outcome there is still uncertain, but in the critical moments of a nascent Iranian revolution – when demonstrators were literally begging for Obama’s support – the president was nowhere to be found.
Savir observes that “American presidents who facilitated peace breakthroughs in the region were generally Democrats, specifically Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.” Surely Savir is aware that, since leaving office, Carter has been among the most dishonest critics of Israel. More recently, Clinton exonerated Palestinian leaders from any responsibility for the absence of peace while indicting large elements of Israeli society.
Savir congratulates Obama on opting for the “diplomatic route of sanctions” to control Iran’s nuclear ambitions. He is silent on Obama’s inability to convince Russia and China to join in this effort.