Letters to the editor
Mess on the Metronit
In response to “Haifa’s new long buses make a less than stellar start” (Aug. 18)
I recently had the misfortune of using the new Metronit in Haifa - and what a mess it was. Passengers were promised buses every three minutes, but ended up waiting for more than 30, and when they finally did arrive, there just was no room for everyone. Some passengers had to change buses mid-journey because many of the current direct lines have been discontinued. Surely Egged will claim it was the first day and problems were to be expected.
I don’t disagree with that. But I do have to question the concept of the new buses: They travel along existing bus routes using special bus lanes. But two months ago, before the Metronit, regular buses used the same special bus lanes and travel times were considerably reduced.
Yet now the claim is that the Metronit lines reduce travel times. This has nothing to do with the buses and everything to do with the lanes. Egged could just as easily have used the bus lanes for regular buses and not wasted money on its fancy new buses. The service could have been a lot better.
Kibbutz Kfar Hamaccabi
Patriots don’t boycott
In response to “The Israeli patriot’s final refuge: boycott” (July 14)
Anyone calling for the boycott of his country is the opposite of a patriot, as Gideon Levy wrote in his opinion piece.
In Europe, the new anti-Semitism has reared its head again and again over the past 13 years. The French National Bureau Against Anti-Semitism in France has identified the phenomenon, its perpetrators and causes. And we can say that one of the causes of anti-Semitism is the Palestinian propaganda that incites hatred against Israel and has prompted anti-Jewish acts since September 2000. Even our president, François Hollande, has said that “anti-Semitism walks and grows under the mask of ‘anti-Zionism’.”
The boycott of Israel in all its forms is part of this propaganda. Since 2009, pro-Palestinian activists have visited French supermarkets and emptied the shelves of Israeli products. Those actions may not seem significant, but they have unfortunately led to anti-Jewish acts. One could say that the climax of this new anti-Semitic climate in France was the slaughter of six people in front of the Jewish school in Toulouse by Mohammed Merah.
The BDS movement that Levy admires also operates throughout France, but the boycott movement against Israel is a global one. In France, at least, the law punishes those who call for a boycott. Our association has won several law suits against Israel boycotters, but some of our worst opponents are Israelis who urge a boycott of their own country. Those boycott advocates don’t want to understand that their behavior endangers the Jewish community at large.
Indeed, Mr. Levy, I can confirm that anti-Semitism is terribly real. Your words, consciously or not, encourage those hostile actions. I can also confirm that we are unfortunately victims of anti-Semitism. We are not victimizing ourselves. We would hope that, in Israel of all places, people would have a more acute sense of responsibility and a better understanding that their words lead to action elsewhere.
The Knesset passed a law to prevent such abuses; it is high time to ratify it. Mr. Levy, you are no patriot, and you don’t realize the consequences of your words in the Diaspora.
President, French National Bureau Against Anti-Semitism