July 18: No value at all

For the Palestinians to have their own state recognized by the UN, they surely would have to come into compliance with Article 2, which means not only recognition of Israel’s right to exist, but respecting that right.

July 17, 2011 22:55

letters. (photo credit: JP)

No value at all

Sir, – While I don’t wish to get ahead of the outcome of the vote (“US rejects Arab League’s ‘diplomatic offensive’ on Palestinian UN statehood bid,” July 15), there is a problem here.

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Article 2 of the United Nations Charter explicitly demands that its member states respect the sovereignty of all other member states. In other words, for the Palestinians to have their own state recognized by the UN, they surely would have to come into compliance with Article 2, which means not only recognition of Israel’s right to exist, but respecting that right.

As to the more-than 115 member states that, as things stand today, would vote in favor of Palestinian statehood, they, too, would be in violation of the charter, to which they are signatories.

Does all of this mean what I think it means, namely that the UN Charter isn’t worth the paper it was written on?

Moshav Tzofit

Sir, – Would it not be an interesting exercise in diplomacy if, in order to induce some states to think twice about supporting a resolution to the UN General Assembly for the recognition of a Palestinian state, similar resolutions were introduced calling for the simultaneous recognition of an independent Tibet, Kashmir, Corsica, Chechnya, etc.? Perhaps even more thought-provoking, for Turkey, Syria, Armenia, Iraq and Iran at least, would be recognition of an independent Kurdistan, as proposed by the 1920 Treaty of Sevres, which formally ended the First World War between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies.


Penalize non-patriotism

Sir, – I would like to take exception to your editorial opposing a mandatory pledge to the flag and the singing of our national anthem (“Respecting Hatikva, July 15). As a new immigrant who was raised in the United States, I can say that being required to pledge allegiance and sing the national anthem does instill patriotism.

The problem with the pledge in the US was the insertion of “one nation under God” in the 1950s. The US is predominantly Christian, and those reciting it were referring to Jesus. There were no exceptions to the requirement to recite the pledge and sing the anthem.

We are the nation of the Jewish people reborn. Our enemies teach their children to hate us from the maternity room on, as the learned professor from Haifa sarcastically accuses the bill’s authors of trying to do.

It is bad enough that Israeli Arabs who benefit from our kindness won’t be required to sing or pledge. I don’t know what a “post-Zionist” (whatever that is) or a religious anti- Israel citizen would object to, but if they won’t allow their children to be patriotic, there should be a penalty.

Tel Aviv

Re-education needed

Sir, – Regarding “The brouhaha over the boycott bill” (Politics, July 15), there is none so blind as those who will not see.

This adage holds up well in view of the constant barrage of talk we hear about the two-state solution being a wonderful way to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Objective facts point out that the Palestinians in no way want a two-state solution or peace with Israelis. Stanley Greenberg, a well-known American pollster, found that hatred of Israel lies very deep in the Palestinian psyche and in no way can there be peace.

Over 66 percent of the Palestinians he polled were against the two-state solution. They wanted one state, which should be Palestinian. All the cajoling of the Palestinian leadership by Western nations has achieved nothing.

We must start with the truth.

The Palestinian leadership cannot bring anything to the peace table because it has never prepared its people for a peaceful solution.

If President Barack Obama and the leaders of other Western nations hope to achieve a peaceful solution to the problems of the Palestinian people, they must recognize that education, education and more education is the only answer.

A whole new generation of Palestinians has to be re-educated under a new leadership.

We cannot fathom the depth of hatred in the so-called peace process, so we run around in the same old circles.

Let us wait until the Palestinians are re-educated and then talk.


Distorted thinking

Sir, – Opposition leader Tzipi Livni has the right to oppose the recent anti-boycott bill and call it undemocratic. But at the same time, she and her Kadima party punish two MKs for not voting against the bill because, evidently, the MKs’ conscience didn’t permit them to do so (“Kadima disciplinary body punishes ‘rebel’ MKs for not voting against ‘boycott’ law,” July 14).

Is this democracy? Undemocratic “party discipline” overrules voting as one’s conscience dictates, yet Livni does this in the name of preserving Israel as a democracy.

How distorted can a politician’s thinking get?


Limits to freedom

Sir, – With reference to “Do not desecrate the image of God” (Comment & Features, July 13), I suggest the following considerations on the subject of free speech.

Freedom of speech is not absolute, just as freedoms of the press, assembly, etc., are not absolute. Values of safety, law and order override them. The classic case is the prohibition of shouting fire in a crowded theater.

Other examples include laws against libel, incitement, making threats against the lives of national leaders, fraudulent advertising, contempt of court, and even Robert’s Rules of Order.

The rabbis who approve of Torat Hamelech are claiming the rights of free speech and religion – which they would never grant to their opposition if they were in power.

The separation of religion and state does not mean sharing authority. Either religion rules over state, as in Muslim theocracies, or state rules over religion, as in the US, where freedom of religion does not allow Christian Scientists to withhold medical treatment from their children.


Prepare for delays

Sir, – As one who is infuriated when kept waiting by family or friends, I was intrigued by Judy Montagu’s column “Time-bomb for the tardy” (In My Own Write, July 13).

There is one reason for lateness that Montagu did not list, and that is the cursedness of inanimate objects. For example, the recalcitrant contact lens that refuses to be inserted or, worse still, falls on the floor and vanishes just before one leaves the house. The dirty mark that suddenly appears on the newly laundered blouse one had planned to wear, necessitating a change of outfit. The necklace that refuses to be fastened or the sudden disappearance of the piece of paper bearing the directions to one’s venue that was in your hand 10 minutes previously.

These things must happen to us all at some time, so I guess the moral is to assume that some hindrance is bound to occur before an appointment and to allow enough time to cope with it.


CORRECTIONS MK Nissim Ze’ev called MK Haneen Zoabi a “Jezebel,” and not as reported in “I authorized boycott bill, PM tells critics,” (July 14).

In “Comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable” (Editor's Notes, July 15), Hillel should have been quoted as saying “What is hateful to you, do not do unto others,” and not as represented.

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