February 4: Lost compass
The moral compass that was the UN’s byword has been lost.
OVERVIEW OF the Human Rights Council at the UNHRC Photo: Reuters
Sir, – Regarding “UNHRC: Israel may be sent to ICC over
settlements” (February 1), how ironic that some of the most despotic regimes the
world has known since World War II, such as Syria and Iran, are given license to
continue their monstrous activities against their own people, and no actions are
Shame is too weak and ineffectual a word to describe
There should be more anger and disgust voiced over this double
Once again the UN and its related agencies prove they are
morally and ethically bankrupt.
But this is no surprise
The moral compass that was the UN’s byword has been
Sir, – Sarah Honig
(“Netanyahu’s coattail effect,” Another Tack, February 1) accuses Naftali
Bennett of having waged a slick and deceptive campaign to woo national-religious
voters away from the Likud and into Bayit Yehudi.
That’s a rather
simplistic explanation. I’m sure she has heard of the “beaten-wife syndrome,”
whereby the abusive husband maintains control over his spouse by alternating the
physical torment with gift-giving, soothing promises of better behavior and
stark reminders that she has nowhere else to go.
For three and a half
decades religious Zionism has played the beaten wife. In most of the elections
since 1977 we have given a plurality, and even an outright majority, to the
Meanwhile, the Likud has initiated, abetted or tolerated: the
expulsion from Gush Katif; the isolation of the Jewish community of Hebron; the
closing of Arutz Sheva; the hostile rule of Ehud Barak over the Jewish
settlements; an ongoing freeze on Jewish building over the so-called Green Line;
the haredi takeover of the rabbinate; and the haredi sabotaging of religious-
Zionist efforts to expand the conversion process and empower women denied a
religious divorce by their husbands.
We nevertheless stayed with the
Likud because the leftist bloc offered no reasonable alternative, while the
religious- Zionist political scene outside the Likud was fragmented and
impotent. And after each “beating” at the hands of the Likud we believed the
promises with which it soothed us.
Not any more. This time we united
behind Naftali Bennett and with our votes gave notice to the Likud that
religious Zionism is determined to be a respected partner in the leadership of
Sir, – No matter what side of
the American political spectrum one roots for (and Caroline B. Glick has
made it abundantly clear that she is no fan of President Barack Obama),
categorizing Obama with the likes of those who present an outright threat to
Israel is misleading, to say the least (“Where is Israel headed?,” Column One,
Are genocidal regimes with nuclear ambitions and
anti-Semitic neighbors comparable to an American president who has given
support, both financially and symbolically, toward Israeli defense and security?
Sir, – Liat Collins took about 1,500
words to dismiss modern Brits based largely on two among the UK’s more-than 50
million opinions (“No offense, but...,” My Word, February 1).
Parliament this past November, 17 MPs expressed support for Israel, citing many
compliments, such as the 300 daily aid trucks going into Gaza even while rockets
headed northward overhead. Sunday Times authorities denounced Gerald
London Times editor Daniel Finkelstein, in his moving personal
article, denounced MP David Ward’s words. Indeed, last week at least one of
several relevant Times articles was so understanding of Israel’s predicament
that it was circulated throughout the Foreign Office. And Tim Montgomerie’s
Times column frequently warms Israel-loving hearts with its refreshingly coined
phrases highlighting the reality of this “most besieged country in the
The racism of two individuals does not constitute the attitude of
the country that Collins deemed “such a good place to leave” any more than Noam
Chomsky characterizes the Israel he condemns from afar.
Sir, – While the Gerald Scarfe cartoon in The Sunday Times the
previous weekend was disgusting, it was still a far cry from Liat Collins’s
claim that anti-Semitism in Britain has turned “more sinister,” and Caroline B.
Glick’s proclamation on her website that British Jews “are targeted by massive
That Collins found UK society more culturally diverse
than it had been 30 years before does not mean that the diverse communities
cannot live together harmoniously, which in fact they do. Britain has a
commendable history of saving Jews, including 10,000 refugees of the
Kindertransport in 1938-39, and Jews in Britain today have equal opportunity to
advance in any field of their choice. (Take, for instance, the current leader of
the Labor Party.) Criticism of Israel’s actions and policies is not equivalent
to anti- Semitism. Real anti-Semitism could be found in central Europe in the
1930s and 1940s. And if Glick abides by her announcement that she will never
return to Britain, I doubt she will be sorely missed.
Sir, – Our Law of Return would allow Washington pundit Douglas M.
Bloomfield to live here. So it is insulting that, from afar, he thinks we are
“intransigent and stalling peace,” and can falsely accuse us and our reelected
leader of being the bad guys who need to be “convinced” by “critical and
impatient” outsiders (“High hopes and low expectations,” Washington Watch,
Bloomfield and such experts repeatedly insult me, my
friends, family and country by disrespecting the majority’s voice. Nothing good
can come from his mean attacks on us.
Sir, – Reader Albert Jacob’s defense of the Israeli system of
proportional representation as somehow being superior to the single-member
pluralistic system of election used in Britain (“Ward’s comments,’ Letters,
January 29) takes no account of the resulting fragmentation of Israeli political
parties into tribal interest groups that make the formation of governments the
regular nightmare it has become.
Although I am of the long-held belief
that representative government is best achieved through proportionately elected
electoral systems, the fatal weakness of the list system employed in Israel
remains its inability to allow electors a choice between candidates within each
The result is evidenced by the loss of potential Likud voters who
could not stomach Yisrael Beytenu’s Avigdor Liberman and his associates, the
patent incompatibility evidenced between the leader and rank and file Labor
Knesset members, and the creation by Tzipi Livni of her own party, which stands
for what we know not.
Simply raising the threshold for election to the
Knesset will not solve the problem of unstable, indecisive governments in
Israeli electors would be best served by a system that gives them
the opportunity to vote for the candidate who most closely shares their concept
of how Israel should conduct government policy for the foreseeable
The name of the writer of the
first letter that appeared under “That cartoon” (February 3) was misspelled
through an editorial error. It should be Yonatan Zlotnikovich.