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A departure-time flight board displays various cancellations at Ben Gurion International airport in Tel Aviv on July 22, 2014. (SIEGFRIED MODOLA/REUTERS)
A departure-time flight board displays various cancellations at Ben Gurion International airport in Tel Aviv on July 22, 2014. (SIEGFRIED MODOLA/REUTERS)


July 24: (No) flights to Israel – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

(No) flights to Israel

Re Ottawa Opts Not To Ban Flights To Israel (July 23): I am indignant at the obsession of our government in its support of Israel, to the extent of putting Canadians at risk. The United States did the right thing by grounding its flights to Israel and choosing to protect American lives over making a political decision.

Judy Hedayat, Calgary


It’s a good thing Air Canada has more sense than our government (Air Canada, Airlines Worldwide Cancel Flights To Tel Aviv For Second Straight Day – online, July 23). Air Canada decided – before Flight MH17 was shot down – not to fly over the Donetsk region. There is precedent for its caution.

Hélène Pelletier, Montreal


Last March, when I was a co-leader of the Path of Abraham multifaith mission to Israel and Palestine, we met with Dore Gold, a former ambassador of Israel to the United Nations. That day, missiles had been fired from Gaza into southern Israel.

Mr. Gold, discussing the strategic perspective that governed the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, told the group of Muslims, Christians and Jews the long-term security of Israel was threatened by the possibility of rockets being directed at Ben Gurion airport by organized or individual terrorists. Defending against that possibility determined some of Israel’s concerns for a demilitarized Palestine.

Last week, when Flight MH17 was blown up over Ukraine, I thought of his remarks. No nation can afford to have its airspace threatened and face the cancellation of civilian flights. Air travel is one of the lifelines of our global village and economy.

It is understandable that those who are responsible for air safety would be concerned about potential acts of terror. Nonetheless, when the FAA suspended U.S. flights to Israel and Air Canada followed suit, it gave those who threaten normal civilian life a symbolic victory. Separatists in Ukraine and the Hamas leadership were each celebrating the paralysis of daily life.

Baruch Frydman-Kohl, senior rabbi, Beth Tzedec Congregation, Toronto


Don’t pick on Pen

It’s interesting, to say the least, that the Canada Revenue Agency can find the time and resources to audit a small charity that has on occasion been openly critical of the Harper government’s policies (Pen Canada Receives Support Amid Political Audit – July 23).

This at a time when, according to a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the government has been deficient in undertaking measures to prevent money laundering. A toxic mixture of Orwell, Kafka and the Marx Brothers?

Colin Read, London, Ont.


Average Canadians are less concerned about Pen Canada’s possibly sending out too many political e-mails than they are about wealthy Canadians trying to hide their money in Liechtenstein. That charities are pursued with such zeal only displays the fundamentally paranoid and bullying character of the Harper government.

Grant Andrew Dzuba, Ottawa


About that slogan …

Re Target Presses Suppliers For Savings (Report on Business, July 23): Target, No. 36 on the Fortune 500 list (2013) of the largest corporations in the United States with some $3-billion in net income, is having difficulty operating profitably north of the border. Their solution to cover their retailing incompetence in Canada is to charge their suppliers a 2 per cent surcharge for the privilege of doing business with them.

If manufacturers are unable to gain value for this additional “investment” with Target, they will either become less profitable themselves or alternatively be forced to pass on this extra cost of doing business through increased prices. This ultimately results in higher retail prices for consumers, which is unacceptable.

Perhaps Target’s marketing slogan, at least for their suppliers, should be changed from “expect more, pay less” to “expect less, pay more.”

Scott Follett, Calgary


Canada’s ranking

Re: Canada Lags Global Leaders In Energy Efficiency (July 17): The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) report determined that Canada improved its energy efficiency ranking drastically – more than 30 per cent over the past two years.

Canada has now surpassed the United States, Australia and Brazil in the ranking of energy efficiency of the world’s major economies.

The International Energy Agency ranks Canada second in energy efficiency improvement. Measures our government introduced in 2011 are on track to reduce the energy bills of consumers and businesses by $1-billion in 2016.

You report that “Canada is one of the worst performers when it comes to vehicle miles travelled per person.” The reality is that Canadians must travel longer distances than individuals in other countries. Germany, the highest-ranked country in the ACEEE analysis, is only 19 per cent larger than the riding I represent in the House of Commons. To drive from one end of Germany to the other is about the same distance as driving from Toronto to Montreal or Fredericton to Halifax.

Greg Rickford, federal Minister of Natural Resources


The term ‘Nazi’

Re A Moment In Time: July 22, 1933: You state that Wiley Post, who circled the world in 1931 with navigator Harold Gatty in just under nine days, smashed the 21-day record of the “Nazi” dirigible Graf Zeppelin. Hitler and the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, so it is incorrect to refer to the Graf Zeppelin as a “Nazi” dirigible, at least in 1931. The correct description would be “German” dirigible.

Referring to anything as “Nazi” is so insulting and negative, I would caution your writers to refrain from using the term except in situations where Nazi Party ideology, rather than German national interests, are involved. For instance, the Holocaust was clearly a product of perverted “Nazi” ideology.

Garth M. Evans, Vancouver


Shaking their heads

Re Will MH17 Help Bring Putin Down? (July 23): Comparing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (fighting the Mujahideen who, with American support, led to the Taliban and al-Qaeda) with the Russian takeover of Crimea, supported by the majority of the local Russian-speaking population, is the zenith of misguided nonsense.

Tony Fernandes, Edmonton


Canadians shouldn’t be shaking their heads too much about the fact the Russians have been believing all the Kremlin li(n)es in the media over the years, including the incredible Putinspin about the shooting down of Flight MH17. I’m guessing those messages have all been part of Russia’s Economic Action Plan.

Michael Farrell, Oakville, Ont.


Re Seeing Through Putin (letters, July 23): If Stephen Harper were alone in a forest, would he still be wrong?

M.J. Smart, Toronto

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