Sir, – Seeing Naftali Bennett’s euphoric countenance on your
front pages so often (“Bayit Yehudi ‘rolling up sleeves’ to help prime minister
build coalition,” March 5), I’m awaiting his picture with the caption, “Why is
this man smiling?” We might soon know.
The current “negotiations” to form a new coalition remind me of a suggested
etymology of the word “politics.”
It was said to be derived from the
Greek poli, meaning many, and tic(k)s, which are bloodsucking
Many a true word is said in jest.
MARTIN D. STERN
Takes two to tango
Sir, – According to “Kerry meets with Abbas in
Saudi Arabia” (March 5), Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
threatened that if Israel doesn’t release prisoners and freeze construction in
the settlements, the Palestinians will refuse to sit down and talk to
What else is there to talk about if they get everything they want
without sitting down at the table? It takes two to tango – does Abbas honestly
think we haven’t any requests of our own for them? Negotiating with someone who
received his doctorate in Moscow on denial of the Holocaust is beyond realistic
for us, especially if the PA pals up with Hamas in Gaza, which threatens to
fight us to the end.
The Palestinians definitely underestimate our power
and intelligence. That is why there has not been a peace agreement for 65 years,
and it looks as if there never will be.
Sir, – J Street representative Mark Zivin (“Hear your
neighbors,” Letters, March 4) is obviously so enchanted by the plaintive words
of the Palestinians he met during the recent junket through Israel and Ramallah,
that he advises Josh Hasten to also listen to his neighbors. What chutzpah! Does
Zivin, from Illinois, really think that he understands real Palestinian
intentions based on a few sweet words spun to him in a briefing with Palestinian
leaders, and that he understands it better than Hasten, who lives his life here
and has his ear to the ground? May I advise Zivin and all American J Street
advocates to carefully listen to what the same Palestinian leadership is telling
its own people in Arabic, and to take that as the truth rather than be seduced
by what they hear in English.
If they do not understand Arabic, Itamar
Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch will be happy to provide them with an accurate
translation of everything Palestinian leaders are telling their own people at
official ceremonies and through their official media. I can assure Zivin that it
is not the message he heard in English.
Sir, – In “‘Time has come for Pollard to go free,’ says prime
minister” (March 5) you quote Binyamin Netanyahu as having said: “The time has
long since come....” That’s a far cry from your headline. There is a huge
difference between “the time has come” and “the time has long since
All of us (except, obviously, the US administration) agree that
President Barack Obama’s failure to even so much as acknowledge the numerous
pleas on Jonathan Pollard’s behalf belies the sincerity of his support for
America’s one and only staunch ally in this part of the world. (How’s that for a
gesture of courtesy to the people of Israel?) But being the people we are, we’ll
roll out the red carpet for the president when he comes.
While the US, UN
and EU keep on admonishing Israel about “disproportionate force,” don’t we want
to talk with Obama about “disproportionate injustice?”
FRANK J. VAN BERS
No big deal
Sir, – With regard to “Beauty and the bears” (Comment &
Features, March 5), what’s the big deal about Jews controlling Hollywood? It
only goes to prove that they must be doing something right.
Why is that
portion of the Academy Awards broadcast deemed anti-Semitic? So what if Jews
Nobody died, there doesn’t seem to be violence and it
looks like everyone is having a good time.
Let’s focus on more important
Yahad and the ZF
Sir, – I refer to
David Newman’s column “The Zionist Federation policy of exclusion” (Borderline
Views, March 5).
The Zionist Federation (ZF) has been in existence for
over 110 years. Its members represent a wide variety of views. Discussions are
animated, and democratic procedures are at the core of its being.
organization applying for membership is reviewed by the ZF’s Constitution
In the case of Yahad, the committee reported that the
application could not be recommended. Even so, the application was put forward
to the National Council for a vote, and by a clear majority was not
There is a right for applicants to reapply after six
Newman did not note that Herut UK went through the same
difficulty but made changes and was subsequently accepted. Was this omission
because Herut is a right-wing organization and that does not fit the script?
Democracy sometimes does not suit everyone’s views if they don’t get their
The chairman of the ZF has publicly extended his hand to Yahad to
discuss issues and try to reconcile them. Yahad should take up his
The writer is a member of the ZF
National Council and a former chairman of the ZF
Sir, – As a past executive and
honorary officer of the Zionist Federation, I fully agree with the decisions of
the present executive. Past executives would have made the same
I also noticed that a lot of the work of the Zionist Federation
was missing from David Newman’s column, such as the campaigns for missing IDF
soldiers, the Pollard campaign, anti-Semitism, community security, Jerusalem Day
celebrations and, the most important one, aliya, as a result of which many of us
and our families are living in and contributing to the State of
So please, Mr. Newman, don’t worry about the Zionist Federation.
It does not need your advice. But what I find worrying is the fact that people
like you, with your left-wing views, are lecturing in universities where some of
our children and grandchildren are studying or will be studying.
Sir, – I wish to offer my heartfelt thanks to
reader Julie Rosenzweig (“End Begin,” Letters, March 4) for a most professional
contribution to the debate over the proposed highway through Beit Safafa in
CORRECTION The reader’s letter “What
about Pollard?” (March 6) should refer to Michael D. Siegal, chairman of the
Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America, and not as stated.