March 15: What's the difference?

History is now repeating itself, so why should Mahmoud Abbas and his friends in Hamastan listen to Baskin’s “peace in our time”?

By
March 14, 2015 21:26
Letters

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

What’s the difference?

I would like Gershon Baskin (“A cautious peace, but peace nevertheless,” Encountering Peace, March 12) to tell me the difference between today’s Europe and the outpourings from Nazi Germany 80 years ago. Additionally, he should show me the differences between Neville Chamberlain’s Munich and Barak Obama’s overtures to Iran today.

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In 1938, the price of peace was half of Czechoslovakia, and when it was swallowed, democracy was dead and World War II began. History is now repeating itself, so why should Mahmoud Abbas and his friends in Hamastan listen to Baskin’s “peace in our time”?

KALMAN BOOKMAN

Jerusalem

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Tortuous ‘endorsements’


Douglas Bloomfield (“Netanyahu retreats on Palestinian state,” Washington Watch, March 12) maintains that five prime ministers (Ehud Olmert, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin) endorsed the two-state “solution.”

Sharon came to power as a Palestinian- state opponent. He later recanted, fearing the dovish legal establishment might file criminal charges against him for illegal funds. Olmert, too, came up through the Likud, in which a Palestinian state was considered heresy.

Barak entered politics via the Labor Party, whose platform at the time opposed Palestinian statehood.

Of Peres, Yossi Beilin once wrote that he was “strongly opposed to a Palestinian state.”

But Rabin never endorsed a twostate “solution.” He opposed it.

Recall his “less than a state” speech and his “I oppose creation of a Palestinian state” interview with Time Magazine.

As a distinguished American-Jewish analyst, it is Mr. Bloomfield’s duty to question his powerful country’s unsupportable appetite for Palestinian statehood, which over the years has resulted a disastrous absconding of traditional prime ministerial common sense – rectified, in part, by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

SUSIE DYM
Rehovot

All figured out

I read with great interest “Party polls find Likud slipping” (March 11) and noted that the pollsters failed to take into account the current volatility of the Israeli electorate.

Support for the Joint (Arab) List is, I think, being under-reported.

Many households in the Arab sector lack land lines and are very cautious about answering surveys on cell phones, thinking they might be providing information to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

Another party being under-estimated is Yesh Atid. Disillusioned Likud voters are rapidly switching to that party, especially those with economic problems common to all but the very rich.

Bearing the above facts in mind, the Joint List will almost certainly poll 15 mandates, while Yesh Atid will almost certainly reach 15, given its current rise in the polls and the lack of an economic platform from the Likud.

The four extra seats for Yesh Atid and the Joint List have to come from somewhere. United Torah Judaism will possibly lose a mandate due to votes for the new haredi women’s party Ubezchutan, which will not gain a seat. In all likelihood, the redistributed seating will come from the hybrid Yahad party led by Eli Yishai, which also will fail to pass the threshold.

Given the above, I predict the following: Zionist Union – 27; Likud – 20; Yesh Atid – 15; Joint List –15; Bayit Yehudi – 13; Kulanu – 9; UTJ – 6; Shas – 6; Meretz – 5; and Yisrael Beytenu – 4. A likely coalition will comprise the Zionist Union, Yesh Atid, Kulanu, Shas and Meretz, for a total of 62 seats, with anti-Likud backing from the 15 seats of the Joint List.

The above synopsis is not based on wishful thinking. I have many, many years of market research, including being voted marketing Man of the Year in South Africa shortly before making aliya.

SYDNEY CHASKALSON
Modi’in

What goes around

US Rep. Tom Cotton’s statement – that if the Senate does not ratify an agreement with Iran, it would not be a treaty but an executive agreement that could be revoked or modified by a future president or Congress – is correct (“Democrats fume over ‘unprecedented’ Republican senators’ letter to Iran,” March 11). It also reflects a reality with which we in Israel have had bitter experience.

Remember the Bush-Sharon letters of April 2004, prior to the Gaza withdrawal? Only four years later, the Obama administration totally dismissed them. Similarly, as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton denied there ever was such an agreement.

Why should the current president and vice president expect a future administration to honor a similar agreement with Iran?

JAN SOKOLOVSKY
Jerusalem

Record holder

US Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement calling on the government of Iran to “work cooperatively on the investigation into the disappearance of Robert Levinson, who disappeared from Kish Island in 2007” (“Kerry calls for return of Levinson, long missing in Iran,” March 10).

In his statement, Kerry says Levinson is “one of the longest-held American citizens in history and that he has spent more than 2,900 days separated from those who love him.” Someone should remind him that the current record holder is Jonathan Pollard, with upwards of 10,000 days.

SYDNEY L. KASTEN

Jerusalem

Engaging youth

I was inspired by the experience of Birthrighters as described by Aviva Klompas (“A letter to my Birthright alumni,” Comment & Features, March 10) and what for so many was their first exposure to Israel and Zionism. Unfortunately, they can represent only a minuscule percentage of the Jewish population of the US that is hardly confronted with Zionist organizations and youth movements.

Assimilation, intermarriage and home comforts are responsible for this.

During my youth in Britain, immediately after the war, Zionist youth movements were very strong in inculcating a renaissance up to and after the establishment of the State of Israel. Habonim, Bnei Akiva and Hashomer Hatza’ir were the predominant movements, but there also existed Torah Ve’avoda, Federation of Zionist Youth (FZY), Bachad and, later, Dror. All still exist. Many of their members were active in bringing refugees to Palestine and establishing kibbutzim in the face of British Mandatory opposition.

In contrast, American Jewry was not active in setting up these youth bastions of Zionism. Today, they (and Israel) are paying the price.

In light of British Jewry’s experience, the only way to go is to focus on Jewish and Zionist education for youth, and to lead them away from assimilation and toward strong ties with Judaism and Israel.

EDWIN HOFFENBERG
Haifa

Shows through

Susan Hattis Rolef’s extreme personal dislike of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed through in every paragraph of “Reflections on Netanyahu’s Washington speeches” (Think About It, March 9). It was sheer personal bile.

She describes the prime minister or quotes others as describing him as having a “Masada complex” and undertaking “high-risk gambling.” She accuses him of “arrogance,” “pretentiousness,” “megalomaniacal conduct” and being “inclined to twist the facts,” and calls him “manipulative” and “misleading.”

This sort of abusive writing is usually seen in political rags on the extreme fringes of politics.

Incidentally, who cares about the rifles issued to soldiers in the 1960s? ALLAN LEIBLER Jerusalem In the free-wheeling culture of Israeli political discourse, one should perhaps not be put off by the relentless assaults on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s stewardship, his policies and even his personal life. However, what future generations will not be able to overlook – or forgive – is how his political opponents and their willing media accomplices have, in their unbridled zeal to unseat him, gravely weakened his dire and eloquent warnings of the threat a nuclear Iran poses.

For shame!

JACK E. FRIEDMAN

Jerusalem


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