Letters to the Editor: January 29

We cannot blame only our prime minister for overblown, shaky, rattling and rolling relations with somewhat lame-duck foreign administrations.

January 28, 2015 22:12

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Contentious invitation

Sir, – The variety of opinions in “Readers, local and foreign, react to congressional speech flap” (Letters, January 27) indicates the danger of going steady with just one fickle friend. To survive we must be as close as possible to, inter alia, China, Japan, India and the Benelux group, as well as to South American and African nations. I daresay to include Germany.

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We cannot blame only our prime minister for overblown, shaky, rattling and rolling relations with somewhat lame-duck foreign administrations. We must prioritize diversity now, or it could be never.


Sir, – In your editorial of January 26 (“Netanyahu’s speech”), you aptly state that the prime minister’s proposed speech to a joint session of the US Congress, at its invitation, might nonetheless make Israel “a divisive partisan wedge issue in Washington.”

Indeed, perception is also part of reality. After having baited the White House and even some commentators on the conservative Fox News Channel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could well now shift the debate from the messenger back to the message: forceful opposition to White House confectioning of a disastrous agreement with Iran that would allow Tehran to further enhance its nuclear weapons capability rather than roll back its efforts.

As someone with 30 years of hands-on experience with American foreign relations, it is clear to me that foreign policy is not essentially based on the chemistry between leaders, but on national interests.

The threat to Israel and the world is so great now that any Israeli leader should be prepared to “go to the mat” over the issue. In fact, the prime minister has already placed a first check on the White House while strengthening the countervailing balance of Congress, irrespective of where Netanyahu speaks during his March trip to Washington.

Let all the naysayers tell the peoples of America and Israel whether and exactly how they themselves would propose to act against a dangerous international agreement in progress.


The writer is a retired US foreign service officer.

Sir, – I have always worried about Israel’s security and prayed that its leaders would exercise wisdom and good judgment in helping to protect Jews both here and worldwide. Recently, though, I have been worrying most about the threat Israel faces from within – i.e., from the lack of good judgment of its leaders, who now seem to focus more on their own political survival.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an extremely smart man and a very savvy politician.

Yet he has, in effect, poked a stick in the eye of US President Barack Obama, not only creating security risks (remember who provided Israel with the tools for Iron Dome), but threatening the loyalty of American Jews to Israel.

His action is further an affront to all Americans, whether liberal or conservative, who can now point to the Jewish state as being the country that, notwithstanding US support over the years, has humiliated the revered office of president, regardless of who currently sits in that position.

If Prime Minister Netanyahu is truly more concerned with the safety and security of the Israeli people, he will acknowledge that he made an awful error in judgment and reverse his decision.

Furthermore, I hope he learns that poking sticks in the eyes of leaders worldwide only serves to strengthen the hand of anti-Semites.


Sir, – Deeply miffed, President Obama announced he could not meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to the closeness of the Knesset elections. Now he seems to have jumped into those elections with both feet.

The foreign-funded “One Voice” campaign reportedly has just flown a five-man team of political operatives to Israel, including Jeremy Bird, national field director of Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. The team’s “Anybody but Bibi” message surely represents rather a gross, impermissible interference in Israeli politics.

The 19th-century American president Grover Cleveland ran his first successful campaign under the slogan “We love him for the enemies he has made.”

Such sentiment is likely to resonate far more deeply with the Israeli electorate.

Syracuse, New York

Sir, – I am not a great fan of President Barack Obama, but the tawdry behavior of your prime minister has prompted me to begin a national campaign urging all Democratic congressmen and congresswomen to boycott his speech. Let him speak to a half-empty chamber!

Arlington, Virginia

Sir, – Should Prime Minister Netanyahu and his congressional hosts find a graceful way out of this impasse, we must hope that in his appearance at the AIPAC conference in March he can reinforce the urgency of maintaining a robust policy of sanctions to prevent the nightmare of a nuclear Iran in place of the Obama administration’s feckless policy of accommodation.

Regardless of one’s view with respect to our forthcoming elections, I believe all Israelis should despair at the manner in which leaders on the Left, led by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni (and a compliant media) have, in their zeal to unseat Netanyahu, sought to blame him for a pre-election stunt at the expense of Israel’s relations with its most important ally.

In their fulminations and avowals that they are motivated by patriotic fervor, they might wish to consider that many in the electorate will be reminded of Samuel Johnson’s admonition that all too often patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.


Bedtime for claims

Sir, – With regard to “Report: Construction of Temple Mount footbridge exacerbated tensions” (January 23), the Temple Mount should never have been allowed to become contested, as it is Judaism’s holiest site. Remember, Islam appeared some 2,200 years after Judaism. Suddenly everything belongs to them? Israel need not accept the Temple Mount as a central and sacred place for Muslims. This is the Jewish land that belongs to the Jewish people. Nor does it need to accept that Arabs are entitled to a state within our land. We are talking about a Palestinian people that came into being only after 1967 as a purely political ploy. I think it is time to put to bed once and for all those ridiculous claims to our land and sites.

The best remembrance for Auschwitz’s liberation would be declaring full sovereignty over our land, with full control over the Temple Mount and all other holy sites. All the blabber at the memorials does not impress me one bit.


Superb performances

Sir, – Bravo to the Post for publishing two splendid reviews of recent concerts by the world class Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ury Eppstein’s January 19 review of the all-Shostakovich concert provided us with a vivid description of a wonderful musical event. And Gilad Friedman’s appreciative review of January 26 was equally praiseworthy.

(I only wish Friedman had mentioned that the pianist’s “revealing” red gown was not appropriate concert apparel. The talented young pianist should be advised that most people come to concerts to hear good music and not to ogle bare skin.) It is to be hoped that this series of excellent reviews marks the beginning of a new trend in your Arts & Entertainment section, one that will devote equal space to news of the marvelous classical musicians and superb performances of classical music that we are privileged to hear.


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