With regard to “US Treasury Secretary Lew to Post Conference: We must never allow Iran to get nuclear weapons” (June 8), this was the second Jerusalem Post Conference I attended.
Again, the conference staff put together a program with interesting people offering a variety of viewpoints on the issues of the day.
Unfortunately, it was marred by the booing of some people who disagreed with some of the speakers. Most of the booing took place during the speech of Jacob Lew, who outlined President Barack Obama’s position on the deal with Iran.
I don’t agree with a lot of what Lew had to say, but he didn’t deserve to be booed.
I condemn the lack of derech eretz (good manners and consideration).
We should disagree agreeably.
BURT NUSBACHER West Hempstead, New York
Thanks to the Jerusalem Post Conference for clarifying any uncertainties as to what qualifies as legitimate heckling.
Left-wing heckling of rightwing speakers, whether sporadic or sufficient to silence the speaker, whether by individuals or by organized groups, warrants no criticism. Freedom of speech, after all, supersedes bad manners.
By contrast, when disgruntled members of an audience offer scattered heckling to certain speakers who appear liberal and left-wing, the hecklers are chastised, censured and castigated by the same supporters of free speech.
Left-wing, liberal hypocrisy knows no bounds.
BERYL RATZER Netanya
While scathing in your criticism of those who took offense at US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew’s defense of President Barack Obama, your June 8 editorial “Lew, Israel’s friend” went to great lengths to prove just how good a friend the treasury secretary really is.
Unfortunately, there is no pasting over just how malicious and one-sided Obama has been toward Israel throughout his tenure.
As people are judged by the company they keep, Lew should not have been surprised at the hostile reception.
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN, Mevaseret Zion
Contrary to what you wrote in your editorial, the audience at the Jerusalem Post Conference was not necessarily against Jack Lew but against the policies and oft-spoken words of US President Barack Obama.
It seems Obama is always placing the blame on Israel. I would ask just one question: Name one thing the Palestinians have ever done to give Israel confidence that they want to live in peace.
It is high time we took the offensive and stopped being diplomatically correct.
VEL WERBLOWSKY, Jerusalem
The PR front
When I saw the headline “Fire with fire” above a lengthy June 8 letter by Norman A. Bailey and Efraim A. Cohen about MK Nachman Shai’s June 5 opinion piece “Hasbara vs public diplomacy” (Observations, June 5), I thought I would be reading something new and dynamic. Alas not. It was the same, tired bleat about the “dissemination of the truth of what Israel stands for and is doing.”
The offering of education pre-supposes its willing acceptance.
Our enemies consider they know quite enough about us and do not need further instruction.
Certainly the truth should be told – not about us, but about them.
What is needed is a well funded, energetic NGO dedicated to amassing (and disseminating) information about the hypocrisy and lies spread by the bodies (scholastic, commercial, professional, etc.) that advocate the use of boycotts to undermine the state. Such an NGO could say and do things not permitted to politicians or exponents of political correctness.
Short of slander or libel against individuals, no holds should be barred.
OSCAR DAVIES, Jerusalem
In their letter, Norman A. Bailey and Efraim A. Cohen laid it all out clearly.
The wonderful independent groups fighting for Israel’s PR are not able to single-handedly put us in the fore of the battle, and the letter mentions why able diplomats and government officials have never been able to put us ahead. The issue was serious many years ago; today, the almost global results of our ineffective PR are obvious to all.
Cohen’s previous Jerusalem Post letters and op-eds have always been carefully thought out and worth reading. This letter shows not only his concern for the PR of our country, but a lucid and intelligent solution that would be money well spent.
Let’s get on with it, and let’s hear more from Efraim A. Cohen in your paper.
EVELYN ROSS, Herzliya
In “Hasbara vs public diplomacy,” Nachman Shai hit the nail on the head by stating what many activists, individuals and groups that our organization, CoHaV, comes into contact with have been saying for years, that “while the Foreign Ministry is busy working with other governments through diplomatic channels, every single Israeli citizen should be working as a unique individual to promote public diplomacy. We need to connect and communicate with other individuals and create a global network that can deal with the many public diplomacy challenges we’re facing.”
This is exactly what CoHaV, a coalition of public diplomacy groups (the word hasbara should be cast into the trash) has been trying to do by making contact with as many groups and individuals as possible to understand what they are doing and how their ideas can help other groups develop. What is equally important is for the Foreign Ministry to work more closely with these citizen- action groups so that all work toward an aim of common policy.
The activists in Israel probably comprise a quite minuscule segment of the population. It is vital to encourage the public at large to learn to communicate the country’s true face.
The development of the Ambassadors Online program at Haifa University, and the Young Ambassadors program at local schools, is aimed to provide a flow of activists who can counter the challenges of the anti-Israel campaigns.
STUART PALMER, Haifa
The writer is chairman of CoHaV.
Festival for all
The article “2 Arabs arrested at J’lem Light Festival” (News in Brief, June 5) caught my eye, as I had spent a lovely three hours there the night before.
Reporter Daniel K. Eisenbud described the festival as a place “where thousands of Jews take part in cultural and artistic events, and dance and sing....”
As I sat on my comfortable perch watching people for about an hour, what struck me was how many different kinds of people I saw and how many different languages I heard! This was not only a festival for Jews. It was a festival for Arabs, French, Italians, Chinese, Filipinos and so many other nationalities to take part in and enjoy.
Please don’t make it sound like the festival was an exclusive event.
SHELLY EICHEN, Efrat
No less important
Jeff Barak (“Where does Netanyahu stand on the defining foreign policy issues?” Reality Check, June 1) mentions Yuval Steinitz, identifying him as follows: “minister of national infrastructure, energy and water (yes, the longer the title, the less important the position)....”
Barak seems to assert that these areas of government are not important. I wonder how he would survive without water, gas and electricity, or perhaps he would like to return to the Stone Age! Why we have to be informed that he is a former editor-in-chief of the Post is irrelevant. We should be informed what Barak is doing currently so we can judge his comments accordingly, as he appears to have gone away from journalism into industry.
COLIN L. LECI, Jerusalem