October 21: Changing approach

It is horrifying to understand the added dimension of the violation of the sacrosanct by the use of electronic voyeurism in a case of filming women preparing for the ritual bath.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Changing approach
Sir, – It is horrifying to understand the added dimension of the violation of the sacrosanct by the use of electronic voyeurism in a case of filming women preparing for the ritual bath (“DC rabbi pleads not guilty to voyeurism,” October 17). However, it is important to note that following the arrest of Rabbi Barry Freundel, both the Keshet Israel Georgetown Synagogue and the Rabbinical Council of America responded immediately in suspending his activities, including his role as one of the chief conversion rabbis of the United States.
Seventeen years ago I attempted to unify a communal response in insisting that an individual with a persistent voyeuristic history, then working as an internist, receive extensive rehabilitation and professional monitoring.
As a result I was shunned, costing me several cherished relationships. The majority of people do not accept the medical fact that voyeurism is a compulsion that unless treated by early adolescence will last a lifetime.
It requires suspension of activities and/or serious therapeutic intervention.
The response of the board of the Keshet Israel Synagogue and the RCA denote progress in Jewish communal understanding and appreciation of responding to the seriousness of voyeurism as a criminal act within the community.
Commons vote
Sir, – In claiming that the historic British parliamentary vote on Palestinian statehood will not affect next May’s election (“Nothing has really changed in UK – except it has,” Analysis, October 17), reporter Jerry Lewis got it backward.
Yes, “most politicians focus their attention on keeping their place in Parliament” and “few MPs will be interested in fighting for causes abroad when matters on the domestic agenda are far more likely to win them crucial votes.” But their successful vote in favor of a Palestinian state will surely garner plenty of extra support from the UK’s Muslim community.
Sir, – The vote in the British parliament (“PA calls on UK gov’t to follow parliament’s lead and recognize Palestinian state,” October 15) is distressing but hardly surprising.
The upsurge of international opprobrium directed at Israel is a product of the Oslo Accords.
Once the idea was conceded that creating peace was chiefly a matter of addressing the lack of Palestinian statehood and not addressing the lack of Palestinian reconciliation to Israel’s existence, the deck was stacked against Israel.
Western governments ended up accepting the logic implicit in dealing with the PA – that the Palestinians must be seeking just ends like statehood alongside Israel, not Israel’s elimination, and that concessions from Israel were therefore the key to peace.
As long as we comport ourselves to the falsehood that Palestinian statelessness is the root of the problem we can expect the world to largely take the view not that the Palestinians won’t accept peace with a Jewish state of Israel, but that Israel has not offered enough; that anti-Israel boycotts and divestment campaigns will become commonplace; that anti-Semitic activity will rise; and that parliaments like Britain’s will debate recognizing “Palestine” as if that were the heart of the matter.
New York
The writer is national president of the Zionist Organization of America.
Sir, – The results of the recent vote in Britain’s House of Commons point directly to the failure of BICOM.
The organization was formed in February 2001 by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the UJIA to counter the pro-Palestinian propaganda of the second intifada.
It emerged because of the disastrous failure of the group known as the Emergency Co-ordinating Group to counter anti-Israel media coverage, its staffers being novices in dealing with the media.
BICOM’s task was to counter slanted coverage on a professional level. However, it did not recruit to its ranks well-honed, experienced advocates for Israel’s cause and in the 13 years since its inception has failed to get its message across, leading to the debacle of the parliamentary resolution.
Clearly, BICOM should be disbanded.
Let the well-honed grassroots advocates for Israel take over once more.
The writer is past executive director Likud-Herut GB
Sir, – If the Palestinians were to achieve statehood before making peace, it stands to reason that the new state of Palestine would remain at war with Israel. Nothing would change – except that they could use their status to demand compliance with resolutions whose implementation was contingent on a peaceful agreement while offering nothing in return.
Right now, each side has something to trade for peace: The Palestinians have violence and Israel has control of the disputed territories. Forcibly ending the dispute over the territory does nothing to stem the violence.
It encourages it.
Statehood is more than recognition or a piece of paper – you should have to act like a state before you’re recognized as one.
To date the Palestinian leadership has been less than stately in its behavior. This is less about recognizing Palestine than it is about disavowing Israel.
Europe is scared to death of terrorism and the terrorists use this conflict as justification for their own thirst to conquer territory and oppress their people.
But giving in to demands doesn’t lead to peace. It just leads to more demands.
New York
Take heed
Sir – With regard to Isi Leibler’s “Is the status quo relating to the disputed territories sustainable?” (Candidly Speaking, October 15), I couldn’t have said it better myself! I wish the delusional Left and Right would read this column and take heed.
Gan Yavne
Far from over
Sir, – Judy Siegel’s excellent “Horton’s ‘Lancet’ editorial after visit to Israel receives mixed reviews” (October 13) reports on a vicious anti-Israel attack in the world’s leading medical journal.
“Open letter to the people of Gaza” was written by five pro-Palestinian doctors who failed to disclose their conflicts of interest. Yet The Lancet ‘s editor, Richard Horton, and its publisher, Elsevier, have ignored all attempts to have the article retracted or dissociate from its allegations accusing Israel of war crimes and child genocide.
Dr. Horton was subsequently invited to Israel by Rambam Medical Center to observe its humanitarian work. In a speech in Haifa he said he regretted the controversy the letter had caused. However, he has not offered to retract or dissociate himself from its contents. Elsevier has taken the same position.
This letter can still be sourced on The Lancet home page. Siegel’s article notes this matter is far from concluded. A www. change.org petition has been initiated by Prof. Daniel Drucker (Canada) and others, including Prof. Steve Kahn and Prof. John Buse (USA). Over 1,300 overseas and Israeli scientists have signed in the first few days.
We fear our expression of serious concern may be muted by the view of some Israeli colleagues that Dr. Horton turned a circle on his radical views on Israel, so giving him an “escape” route. The offer to publish articles from Israel does not balance the impact of the disgusting allegations of war crimes by Israel or the reinforcing of anti-Semitic behavior internationally.
This is of concern to us because of our love for Israel and the need for integrity in the scientific publishing process.
Melbourne, Australia
The writer is a professor of medicine at Monash University and received an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University this year.