The local US vote

Sir, – Concerning “iVoteIsrael: 80,000 US Israelis voted” (News in Brief, November 2), the iVoteIsrael people behind the poll claim that 85 percent of Israeli-Americans voted for Republican Mitt Romney.

First of all, most Israeli Americans who voted for President Barack Obama and Democratic Party candidates used the veteran “Vote from Abroad” website for absentee ballots and had no need for the services of iVoteIsrael.

This is not surprising since the majority of the iVoteIsrael polling stations were located in areas like Jerusalem and Gush Etzion, where most Israeli-Americans are from the national-religious or ultra-Orthodox community.

Not a single polling station was located in the close to 20 kibbutzim that have large American populations and where people undoubtedly voted for Democrats.

As for the op-ed by Bryna Franklin (“Why I’m switching to Romney from the Obama camp this election,” Comment & Features, October 30), which appeared next to my own op-ed (“Why Obama”), she says in a video being circulated by the Republican Jewish Coalition that “the majority of American Israelis who voted for Romney have been Democrats their whole life.”

This is clearly not an accurate statement. The majority of those who voted for Romney belong to the minority of American Jews in the national-religious and ultra-Orthodox communities, many of them living today in settlements, who have always voted Republican.

HILLEL SCHENKER

Tel Aviv

The writer is acting chair of Democrats Abroad – Israel

The better candidate

Sir, – Prof. Alan Dershowitz, in proposing that US President Barack Obama deserves a second term (“The case for Obama’s reelection,” Observations, November 2), displays the same illusions as the president.

In foreign policy the Obama administration encouraged the demonstrations in Egypt that resulted in the rise of radical elements like the dangerous Muslim Brotherhood, funder of Hamas. Obama misled Americans that the Brotherhood was not to be feared.

Also disproved was the contention that the death of Osama bin Laden weakened al-Qaida and thus terrorism. The vicious attack in Benghazi and the massacre of four Americans was carried out by one of the many worldwide al-Qaida affiliates that espouse the same ideology – the destruction of Western civilization and the establishment of a worldwide caliphate and global Shari’a law, which Dershowitz and Obama – both lawyers – should know is incompatible with the US Constitution.

Dershowitz’s endorsement of Obama does not change the reality of the American president’s foreign policy failures. It makes us doubt Dershowitz’s own judgment.

CHANA GIVON
Jerusalem

Sir, – According to Alon Pinkas (“President Obama, a friend,” Observations, November 2), Israelis should just say nothing about the absurd Obama policies of promoting the Muslim Brotherhood and appeasing Iran.

Israelis should just wait until the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt attacks Israel in order to “liberate” Jerusalem, or the Mahdi-seeking Twelvers in Iran nuke us, whichever comes first.

The statement that Obama “has been a reliable friend of Israel” is an explicit lie by anyone who has a basic understanding of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, or a misguided statement by an uninformed person.

I do not know which of the two descriptives covers Pinkas, but it is scary if we had either a dishonest or uniformed person in our foreign service.

MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC
Beersheba

Sir, – At last! A voice of respect and reason says it like it is, a wise and realistic assessment from Alon Pinkas.

Pinkas’s words say so clearly the thoughts I have had for a long while. Recognizing the policies of both candidates and acknowledging that Israel should not be a critical issue in the votes of the Americans, he closes with: “This is for Americans to decide, and for us, uncharacteristically, to shut up for once.”

Let’s play it cool for a change and stop pushing ourselves onto every American agenda.

MYRA LEVIN
Ashkelon

Sir, – Sarah Honig (“How Obama saves Israel,” Another Tack, November 2) declares that the US president’s “attitude to troublesome little Israel is chillingly like [Neville] Chamberlain’s was vis-à-vis the unfortunate Czechs.” She then goes on to show what seem to be particularly cogent parallels between the British prime minister’s treatment of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and Obama’s treatment of Israel in 2012, clearly emphasizing the Obama administration’s willingness to “sacrifice” Israel for the sake of making the rest of the world happy and quiet.

But the problem is not Obama and in fact goes much, much deeper. On October 4, 2001, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon made world headlines by saying the following:

“We are currently in the midst of a complex and difficult diplomatic campaign. I turn to the Western democracies, first and foremost the leader of the free world, the United States. Do not repeat the dreadful mistake of 1938, when the enlightened democracies of Europe decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for the sake of a temporary, convenient solution. Don’t try to appease the Arabs at our expense. We will not accept this. Israel will not be Czechoslovakia. Israel will fight terror.”

These statements were directed at none other than our “dear friend,” President George W.

Bush, in an almost identical context as today, since Sharon was reacting to heavy US pressure to negotiate with the Palestinians and criticism of the “expansion of settlements” despite a recent series of horrible terrorist attacks on Israelis.

GERSHON HARRIS
Hatzor Haglilit

What Balfour meant

Sir, – I agree with Michael Freund (“Happy Balfour Day!,” Fundamentally Freund, November 1) that the Balfour Declaration is a document worthy of celebration.

But I’m wary of attaching too much significance to it.

True, it is more than “ancient history,” but our actual ancient history in the Land of Israel trumps it. All around us we see Arab nations, conjured up by the British and French, and validated by the United Nations, now tearing themselves apart.

If our government eventually decides to give some land to the Palestinians (I hope not), it will be a gift to them and not the “return” of territory that belonged to them.

STEVE KRAMER
Alfei Menashe

Sir, – Perhaps the wine with which you celebrate Balfour Day is clouding your memory. Don’t you remember that the Balfour Declaration also said something about the rights of “the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine?” If anyone is besmirching Israel it is The Jerusalem Post with this arrogant rant.

ELIZABETH MORLEY
Aberystwyth, UK

Sir, – If your correspondent chooses to treat the Balfour Declaration as if it were handed down on Sinai, then it’s only appropriate to apply some Rashi-style exegesis to the cunningly worded text.

The British government “view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people....” The preposition “in” was quite deliberate and was intended to preclude Jewish claims to all the land of mandated Palestine, thereby, for example, legitimizing the creation of Transjordan.

I make this technical point not to discount the effect of Arab rejectionism on the current situation or to belittle Israel’s impeccable case for a secure Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital, but as a warning not to be too clever by half when the opposition holds some trump cards.

RAYMOND CANNON
Netanya

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