Bibi and Congress
Sir, – With regard to “Democrats in Congress suggest postponing Netanyahu’s address” (January 30), the Democrats believe they have a fundamental right to win every national election. Consequently, they don’t surrender their leadership well. They don’t play well with others. They want control, so they will try anything to undermine the Republican leadership. Plus, they’re afraid of their own president.
If Republicans kowtow and change the date of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech, they will have effectively surrendered their leadership.
Republicans, take courage! Keep the date! DAVID CHRISTIAN
Dorr Township, Michigan
Sir, – I get that many people have snarky comments about US President Barack Obama. But what neither Speaker of the House John Boehner nor those who cannot manage to think beyond their distaste for Obama understand is the truly unprecedented step Boehner has taken by joining with the leader of a foreign nation against his own president.
Boehner might have scored some points for his party and for his preferred policy option vis à vis the Iranian nuclear negotiations. But considering that he has failed to accomplish anything of note during his speakership, I can only wonder how it must feel to have his legacy be the effort to disgrace a president in an effort to bolster the political chances of a foreign leader.
Presidents come and go. However, respect for the office of the presidency, particularly on the part of the man who is second in the line of succession, should not.
Sir, – The suspense leading up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of US Congress rivals the best political thrillers.
This is Netanyahu’s opportunity to show his mettle. Will he at the last minute diplomatically withdraw the Republican invitation, which at least might rewind the hands of time and bring him back to, at best, being simply disliked by President Barack Obama? Or will he in fact address Congress and give the speech of his life? If it’s the latter, he will not only make the case for sanctions against Iran. (That’s easy.) He will somehow offer platitudes of respect and reverence for President Obama and the democracy of the United States of America, thus returning him to the good graces of the Democrats and the masses of Americans who feel their leader was disrespected.STUART PILICHOWSKI
Sir, – “The insider’s guide for the politically perplexed” (Politics, January 30) was very helpful. What I found most ingenious was the way Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni used mathematical properties with their political machinations. It seems that when you take two negative Zionist entities and combine them, somehow you get a positive Zionist entity. Amazing feat! BENNY LAST
Sir, – Thank you for the election interview with Tzipi Livni, a wannabe prime minister (“A consistent vision,” Politics, January 23). It raised some interesting issues regarding this “consistency.”
Livni claims that despite all the party-hopping over the past few elections, “I never changed my ideology.” Really? Does this mean that Labor Party leader and fellow Zionist Union member Isaac Herzog has become a Revisionist? If not, it would mean that she has become a socialist, which I do not think is her background or the policy the supported when she entered politics.
Livni claims that Abbas was a terrorist but is one no longer. Could it be because he realized that at his age he might not be able to manage all those virgins, so instead became merely an instigator? He now honors jihadists “only” by naming public spaces in their honor and paying pensions to their families, and after failed terrorists are released he pays them a very nice pension. So he himself is not a terrorist? Livni is willing to divide Jerusalem, something that seems to go against the general consensus.
So are we likely at the following election to see her with Meretz? She also claims that it is most important to ensure the Jewishness of Israel, yet is willing to desecrate the one symbol that Jews have given their lives for. I refer, of course, to Shabbat.
Is this what Livni’s parents fought for? It would be nice to hear her answer, but I am not holding my breath.MENACHEM DAYAGI
Sir, – One of the purposes of an election is to enable voters to change the government, if they wish to. This purpose is not well served by the advocacy of proportional representation.
In proportional representation, the vote is for political parties, not for individual MKs.
The outcome is usually a small shift in emphasis between Center-Left and Center-Right, so there is a slight shuffling of portfolios. After a time, the electorate gets desperate over this inertia and starts to move to the extremes, as we now see happening across Europe, especially in Greece.
The British system enables the electorate to vote for one party or another and give its leader a clear mandate. It is a process that citizens are used to. It serves them well. The result of proportional representation in the UK for the European Parliament is that almost no one knows or cares who their MEP is.
Our system, with its myriad of tiny, single-issue parties, is hardly better. People in this country cannot seek redress from an MK because there is no representative to whom they might appeal. They don’t even have a say as to who can be chosen for the list of the party for which they vote.
What kind of representation is that, I ask you? STANLEY COHEN
Sir, – As part of the tribute to Ephraim Kishon by Barry Davis (“Having the last laugh,” Arts & Entertainment, January 18), I want to contribute a story about Kishon.
Thirty years ago, I performed in a production of his play Ketubah as part of the English Speaking Drama Group (which later became TACT, or Tel Aviv Community Theater) at Tel Aviv’s ZOA House. I was always a fan of Kishon’s work, so I was thrilled to be in this production, playing the part of Rose, the flirtatious neighbor.
We were all excited to hear that Kishon was actually going to come to see the production.
And he did! After the show he came up to me. He shook my hand and said: “I have directed this play many times, with many different actresses, in many different places – and you are very good. You are a very good comedienne.”
So Kishon did have a laugh from the show. I never forgot his kind words. Thank you, Ephraim Kishon.
Sir, – Why, when all Jews have targets on their backs, does the Israeli government not let people have guns based on where they live? East Jerusalem Arabs can go into any neighborhood or area and kill at will.
Ze’ev Jabotinsky said it right when he stated: “It is better to have a gun and never need it, than need a gun and not have it.”
This war with extremist ideals of Islam is a war without end. Israel should be a nation of armed citizens ready to defend themselves against any threat. These citizens, by the way, include law-abiding Arabs who love Israel.FRED CROWN-TAMIR
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