More on Kerry...

Sir, – Michelle Bachmann’s “Is the Obama administration condoning sanctions and boycotts against Israel?” (Comment & Features, February 13) provides ample reason for those who spoke out against the comments US Secretary of State John Kerry made regarding boycotts while placing almost all blame for failed negotiations on Israel.

Have we heard Secretary Kerry make any demands of the Palestinians? Has he even hinted at any negative results they might incur if they continue with their outrageous demands and incitement? The answers are self-evident.

When will the Left stop living in its dream world and read the history of our nation? Its actions and words just encourage the Palestinians and Secretary Kerry to demand more and more from us.

VEL WERBLOWSKY
Jerusalem

Sir, – The points Gil Troy makes in “Harried Kerry: Can we talk peace without demonization, bullying and sideshows?” (Center Field, February 12) are well taken, but do not alter the facts.

Had the media, in general, offered Israel equal time to that bestowed on the Palestinians, perhaps the debate would assume a different tenor.

Troy’s initial remarks neatly summarize Israel’s choices, although his language is inappropriate.

According to international law, Israel’s decision to “keep all the territories” would not constitute a lack of ethics. As for “trust,” the degree to which the Palestinians have proved untrustworthy would require a comprehensive article.

ALEX ROSE
Ashkelon

Sir, – Jerusalem Post readers and commentators alike are puzzled by John Kerry’s seemingly anti-Semitic/anti-Zionist attitude, his intense pressuring of Israel to enter into a peace agreement with the intractable Palestinians, and his threats of BDS if Israel doesn’t comply with his desires.

There is another aspect of this puzzle that no one has mentioned, and that is Kerry’s aspirations to succeed Barack Obama as president.

Is it possible that Kerry’s presidential ambition is driving him to demand peace from Israel at the expense of its survival? As secretary of state, he needs to distinguish himself in the area of international relations, and Israel is the only country in the Middle East (or anywhere else, for that matter) that gives him the opportunity to meddle under the guise of friendship.

His main opponent to winning the Democratic Party nomination for president is former secretary of state Hilary Clinton. If Kerry can persuade Israel to enter into any kind of peace agreement, he will have the upper hand over Clinton, who did not accomplish anything.

If Israel doesn’t allow itself to get sidetracked with emotional issues such as anti-Semitism and boycotts, and remains rational, it will be able to stand firm.

ELISHEVA BORENSON
Jerusalem

...and Obama

Sir, – With regard to “Former Senate intel head slams Pollard life sentence” (February 13), the question is not whether US President Barack Obama is an anti-Semite, but why he is so hard-hearted. He is determined to keep Jonathan Pollard in prison because he feels that this way he can make sure that Israel will make further concessions to the Palestinians.

James Woolsey, a former head of the CIA, and now David Durenberger, who headed the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence when Pollard was convicted, have come out and urged an immediate pardon.

Neither can understand why Pollard is still in prison. People who are not involved in the intrigues of politics cannot understand either.

What makes Obama tick? What does he care about? Is he like the Tin Man, without a heart? This is the time for him to act like a human being and free Jonathan Pollard, and not wait for Israel to pay the political price.

BATYA KOENIGSBERG
Jerusalem

The cost of health

Sir, – As more and more information is published, it seems like with many crises in Israel, the government and all parties concerned were aware that the Hadassah Medical Organization was approaching a “super crisis” but avoided doing anything because it would require more funding from the Treasury (“Hadassah hospitals stay on emergency schedule as staff demands more pay,” February 13).

In an endeavor to keep health costs down, the Treasury exerts massive pressure on our health funds, keeping them in constant deficits that force them to press for uneconomically low rates from hospitals, which in turn creates deficits for them. This process also contributes to abnormally long waiting times for hospital services while the hospitals and health funds disagree over rates.

One hears constantly that our health funds are in financial difficulty, and rumors are constantly circulating about the likelihood that one or more could fail. When the full Hadassah story is told we no doubt will hear that they were pressured to sell services “below reasonable cost.” Keep selling below cost for a few years and a nice, fat deficit arises! There was a time when Jerusalem appeared to have more hospital facilities than were required, but it is obvious that today, after massive population growth, it requires all the facilities it has. It needs those provided by Hadassah, as well as the educational, research and many other services they provide.

DAVID GOSHEN
Kiryat Ono

Fischer’s the man


Sir, – In commenting on Stanley Fischer’s tenure as governor of the Bank of Israel, Gilad Alper (“Stan’s not your man,” Comment & Features, February 12) brings selective evidence and blames Fischer for the costs associated with certain policy decisions, yet apparently attributes the benefits of those same policies to some kind of economic miracle.

Alper criticizes the Bank of Israel’s easy monetary policies for contributing to an expansion of credit, yet he conveniently ignores the fact that those same policies helped reduce upward pressure on the value of the shekel relative to the major world currencies (which, by the way, were in a free-fall at the time), thereby contributing to the country’s export boom. The Bank of Israel’s policy of accumulating foreign reserves was one of the most important factors that helped defend the economy from the contagious effects of the global economic and financial meltdown.

Although Fischer often spoke about the risks associated with the bank’s policies, including the possibility of fueling a real estate bubble, these risks were swamped by other, more immediate economic and national security concerns.

In addition to steering the Israeli economy through the greatest global economic storm since the Great Depression, as BoI governor Fischer designed and implemented some of the most important institutional reforms since the country’s own economic and financial crisis in the late 1980s (which, by the way, he also helped resolve). He shepherded the Bank of Israel Law through the Knesset, and also resolved long-simmering personnel disputes he inherited.

HOWARD ROSEN
Washington

The writer was an economist in the Research Department of the Bank of Israel, and a research associate at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a public policy research center where Stanley Fischer serves on the board of directors.

Cricket, indeed


Sir, – I enjoyed immensely Dovi Paltiel’s piece on the forthcoming series in South Africa between the Australian and South African cricket teams (“Proteas poised to break out at home in alluring Australia three-Test clash,” Sports, February 12). It was well written and enjoyable to read. His analysis of the teams and individual players was impeccable.

Please keep up Dovi’s writing. I look forward to his next article.

Go Aussies!

SHAYA STERN
Beit Shemesh

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