Sir, – In their otherwise astute and informative “The greatest lie about geopolitics” (Comment & Features, December 14), Manfred Gerstenfeld and Jamie Berk make an error they share with our entire political spectrum – and one with fatal existential consequences.
The Israel-Palestine conflict is not merely deflecting world attention from the larger issues emanating from the Arab-Islamic world – it is the very spearhead of what is threatening global stability and Western civilization. A movement like Hamas is part and parcel of the amorphous amalgam of murderous Islamic organizations that seek to destroy any semblance of world order.
It is the genius of the Arabs and the stupidity of the Israelis that have made it possible for the West to see the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as a standalone issue that can be fixed if the two sides negotiate in good faith and make the necessary adjustments. This is worse than fantasy: It is suicide.
The moment such an agreement comes to pass – an unlikely event – the radical Islamists will take over not only Palestine but Jordan as well. When that happens, Jordan will overtake Palestine.
This will immediately render null and avoid any articles of non-belligerence the Palestinians sign, as they would now be subsumed by a UN-member state with its own military that never signed on to the agreements.
At this point, ISIS and Hamas will blend together to extend the caliphate, and Israel will be under 360-degree attack. Of course, Europe will be toast. But that is small solace.
Jerusalem Making it worse
Sir, – Yehoshua Oz suggests that giving the leader of the party receiving the most seats the first opportunity to form a coalition will “more directly put the decision of who will lead the country in the hands of the people, without divorcing the Knesset party selection from the selection of the prime minister,” thus leading to stable governments (“23 Knesset seats is not a victory,” Comment & Features, December 14).
Among the many problems with the current system is that, like all parliamentary systems, it conflates elections for the legislature with elections for the executive.
Unlike most, it ensures that lawmakers and Supreme Court judges (who have arrogated to themselves legislative responsibilities) are unaccountable to the people and consequently non-representative.
Oz’s proposal would exacerbate this situation. Instead, his organization should work toward a system in which lawmakers are beholden to voters, legal advisers remain just that, and judges don’t appoint their own successors.DANIEL FEIGELSON
He is who he is
Sir, – Gil Troy has a vast knowledge of history. Unfortunately, in “How Buji can beat Bibi” (Center Field, December 10), he confuses opinions with facts.
Troy writes how elections trigger fear and how “few want Netanyahu back.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. Bibi is strong as an ox politically and will probably make a larger, stronger coalition after the next election.
Troy then goes on to “tell” Herzog what he should say, whom he should model after, what his values should be, whom he has to mobilize, where he has to be tough and which past prime ministers he should study. In other words, he is saying Herzog should not be himself, but rather the Herzog people want him to be so that he can be elected prime minister.
Herzog is who he is. That is a fact. Who he should be is Troy’s opinion.
Jerusalem Preventing abuses
Sir, – Regarding “Choosing your funding sources carefully” (Comment & Features, November 26), we in Israel have a large number of organizations that rely on grants and handouts from philanthropists.
Frequently, money is promised from what seem reliable sources, so committees go ahead.
Only later is it discovered that tycoons want to change policies.
Suddenly, verbal agreements disappear along with databases and membership lists. Sorrowfully, I have seen this happen more than once to organizations here.
The government has in the past few years put restraints on those administrating not-for-profit organizations, but sadly there are not enough safeguards. Requirements have also been put in the path of donors. But the time has more than arrived to look at setting up legislation for both sides, safeguarding what we have before we lose even more organizations that provide vital services.
Without delay, a working committee must be set up to look into these matters.GLORIA MOUND
The writer is executive director of Casa Shalom–Institute for Marrano (Anusim) Studies Letters about letters
Sir, – After seeing reader Louis Garb’s “Political agenda” (Letters, December 14) and reader Yisrael Guttman’s “Slanted gossip” (Letters, December 4), it’s clear that people are suddenly finding fault with Greer Fay Cashman’s long-running Grapevine column.
Rather patronizingly, some advise her to go back to writing about fashion while others accuse her of having a political agenda.
Yet far from providing mere “gossip,” as is disparagingly suggested, Grapevine affords us a glimpse into a number of important events that are not reported in the dailies – such as the December 12 item about Israeli paralympic athletes.
Yes, Grapevine does often focus on diplomats, but they read the Post and enjoy the column.
Perhaps bias is in the eye of the beholder.MICHELLE MAZEL
The writer is the wife of a retired diplomat
Sir, – In his letter of December 4, reader Yisrael Guttman makes a very apt point about Grapevine.
If there’s one universal value crossing every political spectrum and moral code, it is that gossip for its own sake is worse than useless.
I’m not certain whether readers are made to feel envious and inadequate, but if they’re made to feel superior, that’s also of little consequence.
Of course, when the trivia is slanted against the Right it becomes disingenuous. We already have the news section of the newspaper to discover that our prime minister spent too much of our tax money on ice cream, so spare us from more sordid details.SHARON LINDENBAUM
Sir, – I’m simply incredulous at reader Toby Willig’s December 12 letter to the editor (“Laying the blame”).
While one might have differences of opinion regarding American policies, to characterize the United States as “completely evil” is beyond the pale. No other country on the planet contributes more to furthering (Judaic) values around the globe in terms of manpower and funding.
“The West has joined Muslim nations... to destroy Israel.” Excuse me? Again, you might find US President Barack Obama’s stance toward Prime Minister Netanyahu completely unfavorable, but inarguably the level of strategic cooperation between Israel and the US is at its greatest in history.
I’m almost willing to say the letters editor might have erred in publishing a letter so blatantly and clearly full of factual errors.STUART PILICHOWSKI
Sir, – The letter from reader Janna Reading (“Colossal joke,” December 10) blew my mind. Her message? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should not waste his time asking President Obama to pardon Jonathan Pollard since he knows it will be denied.
Shouldn’t this unconscionable and unbalanced wrong stick in the writer’s gut? I don’t believe there are many people left who would agree to let Pollard die in jail after 30 years for an equal crime.
That there are other factors requiring Netanyahu’s attention, such as violence brewing, budgets thinning, an ecological catastrophe, etc., goes without saying.
There is, however, no comparison to the terrible injustice meted out to Pollard, which I’m sure will be duly noted in future history books.NAOMI FEINSTEIN