Sunday, October 11, 2020

Letters to TLS Published and Not Published

This one was published:

Michael Moore (LETTERS,  October 2) impugns Israel that it practices a policy of exclusion in denying Arabs who reside in Jerusalem the right to vote in "general elections". He then further casts an aspersion in suggesting that situation is the same form of discrimination Jews faced elsewhere.


As "permanent residents", the category they fall in, while they cannot vote in national elections, they surely can in local elections. In the overwhelming cases, it is the free choice of Arabs of the pre-1967 municipal borders not to vote or even apply for full citizenship so as not to be viewed as "traitors" to the cause of "Palestine". In addition, there are many tens of thousands of Jews who, for reasons of their own, also have chosen not to become citizens, accepting a permanent residency status.



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This one was not:

Sara Fredman (September 18) errs in writing "Judaism does not have ritualized confession". Every week day, except for the Shabbat and Holidays, a ritually observant Jew will recite a form of confession the text of which is fixed, called Tachanun in Hebrew. The chest is lightly beaten and at one point, one sits down, lowers one's head on his arm and recites several relevant verses from Psalms. True, unlike Catholics, there is no priest to confide in nor forgiveness formula. As on Yom Kippur, the enumeration of sins is in the plural.

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And while we are at it, this one was from 2017 but did not make it in:

In his review of Daniel Heller's "Jabotinsky's Children", Colin Shindler writes of the relationship between the Betar youth movement and its leader, the Revisionist Party's Vladimir Zeev Jabotinsky, that "when he realized that Betar’s accelerating radicalization was out of control he began to respond to the “fashishtlekh” (little fascists). Given the static situation in Palestine and the darkening of Europe’s skies in the 1930s, Jabotinsky’s attempt to row back from maximalism failed, and was ignored by his followers" ("Learn to shoot", TLS, Nov, 7). 

On the eve of World War II, the number of members of Betar world-wide on six continents and more than 20 countries approached 80,000-90,000. Basing myself on 50 years of study and reviewing dozens of books based on documented research as well as personal reminisces and the literature and periodicals of the times, those who identified themselves as fascists perhaps numbered ten, including one intellectual who publicly back-tracked. Never was a fascist ideal or construct promoted in Betar.  Radicalization is not fascism. At the most, as Toby Lichtig wrote in the April 29, 2016 issue of TLS, there may have been "arguably 'fascist'...elements".

Maximalism, I would stress, was less a social, political and economic program and more a simple frame-of-mind which sought to gain and achieve the fullest possible Zionist goals as recognized by the League of Nations and formulated and conceived by generations of Jews. To mix or confound the two, by ideological rivals or scholars, must be avoided.

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