Letters to the Editor

Guilt by association

In response to "Apartheid, by any other name," November 11

Gideon Levy's article is based entirely on the most blatant logical fallacy, "guilt by association."

It reminds us of that brilliant BBC sitcom "Yes, Prime Minister" in which Sir Humphrey Appleby spoofed this type of illogic by saying "All dogs have four legs. My cat has four legs. Therefore my cat is a dog."

The arguments quoted by Levy are equally fallacious. For example, his argument is absurd that because the Boers in South Africa and the Zionists in Israel based their right to the respective lands on divine decree, Israel practices apartheid in the West Bank.

The article's historical statements are as inaccurate as its purported logical arguments. Levy's statement that Israel and the Boers conquered territory (South West Africa ) in violation of international law is untrue. Israel's War of Independence and the Six-Day War were undoubtedly legal defensive wars.

South Africa did not conquer SWA in 1910. It was a German colony since 1884. During World War I, SWA was taken by South African forces acting on behalf of Britain. After the war it was declared a League of Nations Mandated territory with South Africa responsible for administration.

The statement "The violence of the African National Congress and the Palestine Liberation Organization, respectively, was reactive" cannot remain unchallenged. The PLO was not reactive. It was founded in 1964 before there was an occupation or settlements to react to. Its declared objective was to destroy Israel within its internationally recognized 1948 borders by armed struggle as the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase.

Maurice Ostroff


Fact-checking the fact checker

In response to "Bennett gets his kingdoms wrong; Maoz his empires, November 12

Chaim Levinson writes that Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett was wrong when he said Israel was the only country where "judges appoint judges." But then, as a good journalist, Levinson notes that in Spain, for example, judges are appointed by a committee in which over half are chosen by parliament, thus creating a balanced system. "Only in Israel do judges control appointments to the Supreme Court," Levinson concludes, which seems to prove Bennett correct.

Moshe Dann


Grossman's call to action

In response to "A Time to Speak," November 6

I believe that since the day Emile Zola wrote "J'Accuse!" there cannot have been a more profound piece of literary journalism than David Grossman's article, or a more stirring call to action. If only it could have a similar effect on the history of our time.

Sara Livny-Schacter


In praise of architect David Reznick

I was shocked and saddened by David Reznick's obituary that appeared on November 6. In a word, he deserved much more praise.

I met David and Rachel shortly after they left the kibbutz. We became good friends and partners in about 1953. Our first project was to build some 60 houses for the members of the Americans and Canadians Association in Jerusalem. Despite a very low budget, the buildings were very successful except for one thing. We never imagined that one day each family would probably own one car, let alone two. Parking design was not a success.

David went into partnership with architect Heinz Rau; they built many fine buildings together. David's influence on Israeli architecture over the years has been very strong. Many of the best architects today worked in his office or were students of his. There is no other architect in Israel who designed buildings with terraces as an integral part of Jerusalem's slopes as did David Reznick.

Two examples are the Mormon Center and the Hyatt Hotel. David was asked to design the Holyland development, and I am sure he would have made a building of the hill and not on the hill. He was asked to stop designing and was paid off, as the gentlemen in charge knew he would never agree to anything that wasn't exactly according to the rules. His integrity was absolute.

He richly deserved his Israel Prize and much more respect than he was granted in your distinguished newspaper.

Maurice Segal