October 30: Naked untruth

The Dead Sea is a stunning location worthy of that title by its beauty alone. We don’t need the 1,200 nude Israelis to make this point.

Sir, – Regarding “Democracy uncovered” (October 27), all I can say is that if 1,200 Israelis lying nude in the Dead Sea is democracy, then your idea of what democracy means is much different from mine. (And for Spencer Tunick’s photograph to make the front page of The Jerusalem Post, all I can say is that there must be nothing else going on in the world.) Tunick is quoted as saying that the world now has a new image of Israel as an open and vibrant democracy. I can think of many other reasons the world should consider Israel a vibrant democracy.
Also, I can think of more worthwhile reasons for the Dead Sea to be considered in the competition for the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It’s a stunning location worthy of that title by its beauty alone.
We don’t need the 1,200 nude Israelis to make this point.
“Democracy uncovered,” indeed!
Sir, – Your front-page photo of mass nudity at the Dead Sea reminds me of the best definition of “art” I’ve ever heard: Art is anything you can get away with.
Stone Suspect apology
Sir, – Deborah Orr said she’s sorry (“‘Guardian’ columnist apologizes for ‘anti-Semitic slur,’” October 27). But according to her subsequent comments she still doesn’t get it.
Her remark – “Many hundreds of thousands were compelled to move off the land so that Israel could be created” is further proof of her continuing anti-Semitic libels. It was the Jews of Arabs lands who were compelled to move.
Historic documents show that the Arab refugee problem was caused by orders given by the Arab High Command and Arab governments.
This was confirmed by no less than Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in March 1976 in the official journal of the PLO (Falastin el-Thawra), where he wrote: “The Arab states succeeded in scattering the Palestinian people and destroying their unity.”
Orr should get off her “hate Israel” vitriol, be a responsible journalist and check her facts before putting pen to paper.
BARRY SHAW Netanya The writer is author of Israel – Reclaiming the Narrative
Sir, – I wonder if people like Deborah Orr, of which there are many, really believe what they say – or do they just want protect themselves from the people they support? Does she really think that Israel made the prisoner swap because our lives are more important than those of terrorists who killed hundreds of our people? Israel values life because that is who we are.
Orr is not helping these people, and one day she might be able to put her money where her mouth is when the terrorists come to her.
Every time she feels sorry for these people, she should remember the innocent people whose lives were taken by these fanatics.
Why not the Iranian?
Sir, – Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, his wife and some aides will not go to Geneva for a United Nations meeting.
Reason: Western countries have imposed travel sanctions on Mugabe and his government for rights abuses and vote rigging (“Mugabe denied visa, cancels trip to UN,” October 27).
Why is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, permitted into the US to attend UN meetings? His rantings and his government’s policies are no less egregious than those of Mugabe.
Evidently, Ahmadinejad hasn’t been sanctioned.
It is also puzzling why Israel hasn’t brought Ahmadinejad up for sanctions at the UN. His repeated incitement against us is in violation of Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Alfei Menashe
Positive values
Sir, – Many of us living here and holding both American and Israeli citizenship can share Eli Groner’s angst at having to revoke his US citizenship in order to serve there in an Israeli government position (“A statement of American values,” Comment & Features, October 27). It is to his credit that he has decided to do so.
We all share in Groner’s appreciation of the American values of tolerance, justice and fair play (although the Jonathan Pollard case puts those values to a severe test). It is important that we American-Israelis imbue this society with these values and merge them with our ancient Jewish values and national characteristics.
Ganei Tikva
Bring back the shine
Sir, – I applaud Michael Weinberg for his op-ed piece “Jerusalem of (tarnished) gold” (October 27) regarding the neglect of the city we love so much.
Our mayor wishes to make Jerusalem a major tourist venue, but our visitors are appalled by its slovenliness. And those of us living here feel like we are living in a slum. It doesn’t have to be like this.
While residents are certainly responsible in large part, the initiatives and changes must first come from the government. We as citizens must find a way to convince our officials of the need and the benefits.
Minding our business
Sir, – Amir Peretz’s skewed reality would be funny if it were not that some might take him seriously (“Peretz: Free Barghouti to help PA,” October 26).
If Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas cannot gain the confidence of his own organization, why would anyone in his right mind suggest that we release a multiple murderer to strengthen Abbas’s position? It is our business to strengthen our own position and keep our citizens safe.
Peretz’s comment that Israel “can take advantage of the deal [for soldier Gilad Schalit] to free 550 additional prisoners” has got to be a warning that this man has no business being in a place where he can say: “I represent the people of Israel.”
The one sensible thing Peretz said in his reported comments is that the public can express itself in the voting booth. His own party has got to do so and boot him out of any position of power.
One-shot deal
Sir, – Political scientist Samuel Huntington was most probably right when he “argued that Tunisia was a prime candidate for democracy” (“Democracy in Tunisia,” Editorial, October 26).
What he did not realize was that Islam and democracy can coexist only for one election, similar to most African “democracies,” where the first democratic election gives each citizen one vote, after which a dictatorship takes over.
Islamic parties are well versed in the strategy that you win the first democratic election and then introduce Shari’a, which requires that all government laws be backed by the Koran, after which control is established for eternity (with the help of paramilitary forces) and suppression and the persecution of people of minority faiths commences.
Iran is a good example.
Kiryat Ono
Compassion and cruelty
Sir, – Letter-writer Sydney Hass (“Brace yourselves,” October 26) writes that Israel should be credited for the humanitarian aspect of releasing so many prisoners despite the clear security risk.
We need to be clear at least with ourselves: This was no humanitarian act. Releasing unrepentant murderers of our people can only be defined as immoral, not only because of the considerable security risk but because of the message it sends to the world.
As our rabbis have taught us, he who has compassion on the cruel will ultimately become cruel to the compassionate. I think we have witnessed the truth in that saying.