Wheres and whats

January 9, 2016 21:50

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Wheres and whats

Neither Martin Indyk’s latest fabrication nor the prominence given it by the Israeli media (“PM denies Indyk claim about Rabin funeral comments,” January 7) should come as a surprise.

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Qatar obviously expects some return for the $14.8 million donated to the Brookings Institution, of which Indyk is vice president and director of the foreign policy program. According to Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, the Brookings Institution is funded to a large extent by Qatar, one of the world’s chief financiers of jihadist terror, which includes Hamas.

And the Israeli media? Anything to bash Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is good.

Who cares it it’s accurate as long as it gets a headline and maximum exposure? Indyk positively remembers what Bibi said about prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s death, and also where he said it, but when faced with a photograph proving him wrong about the where, he admits to a faulty memory. Why, then, should anyone believe the what?


Peace, political plans

As usual, Gershon Baskin (“There is no partner,” Encountering Peace, January 7) turns all the facts on their head, as in referring to “Israeli leadership that incites against Palestinians.”

For once, however, he has gotten something right: “No Palestinian leader will ever agree to let Israel control the external borders of the Palestinian state.”

So if “Palestine” is unwilling or unable to prevent Iranian or Islamic State forces from overrunning its areas and reaching within a few kilometers of Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion Airport (to say nothing of Jerusalem), should we be willing to accept that? I sometimes wonder whose side Baskin is on.


For many weeks, I have been reading Gershon Baskin’s columns with great interest. I have only one question: If he knows so well what has to be done, why does he not become active and join a party to his liking, or start his own? RUTH SCHUELER Jerusalem Distressing read How distressing to read from Rafi Dover’s letter to the editor (“UK Jewry and Israel,” January 6) that apparently J-Socs in the UK today are a place for all Jews, thus excluding pro-Israel advocacy as an activity. How is the increasing delegitimization of Israel at European universities and elsewhere in the EU something that should not be of utmost concern to all Jews? Rafi and his friends should be considering why it was necessary for Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and other UK rabbis visiting Syrian and other refugees in Greece to hide their Jewish identity by wearing baseball caps, and why, when US Jews recently volunteered to help at a Greek refugee camp, they were told they were unwelcome despite their protestations that they were not Israeli. He might realize that however much a Jew might try to disassociate himself from Israel, we are all tarred by the same brush.

That J-Soc members in the UK choose to remain silent in the face of discriminatory EC labeling regulations against produce from so-called Israeli settlements in the West Bank is of no credit to them, not least when these practices were originally adopted in the UK in 2009 under a Labor government, survived unopposed through the coalition government of 2010-2015, and continue under the current Tory government.


English for free

With regard to “University students can learn English for free” (January 6), I wish to protest the move by the Council for Higher Education to provide online courses for free to university students.

As I understand it, the courses will remove the obligation for colleges to provide these classes in face-to-face programs.

This move will put hundreds of experienced teachers out of work.

The council’s claim that it is helping students save money is correct; these courses are expensive, and the students get no credit for them. What I want to know, though, is why the universities and colleges are allowed to charge exorbitant prices for these courses, and why are no credits given for completing them successfully? In my opinion, the solution to this problem lies with the universities and colleges, not with transparent attempts to garner political support from the education minister.

As an English teacher both here and abroad for over 30 years, I feel I am qualified to say that online language courses, while cheaper and easier, are not as efficient or practical as learning a language in a classroom.

They can provide basic skills in grammar and writing, but they cannot replace the classroom for teaching language, as there is not even the minimal amount of exposure necessary for language learning.

In a classroom, students not only hear and read the language, they must speak and write in English as well. They engage in discussion, ask questions and respond. English is all around them.

I have taught the text used in the Advanced 1 video, “Learning from Asian Schools.” When someone didn’t understand something, another student was able to explain – in English.

It also had a cultural aspect, which generated lively discussion about the differences between Asian schools and Israeli schools, and Asian students and Israeli students.

There was real communication, an exchange of ideas and excitement about learning. You can’t find that kind of interaction online.

I feel it is the universities and colleges that should shoulder the responsibility for providing these courses – if not for free, then at greatly reduced prices.

They should also ensure that students get credit for their hard work. That way, English teachers will continue to be employed and the students will learn English well enough to be able to manage easily in the global job market that characterizes the 21st century.


Obama’s failures

Regarding “Obama, wiping tears, makes new push to tighten gun rules” (January 6), this hoopla about the tightening of gun controls is one of the biggest red herrings in American political life – ever. It is nothing more than an attempt to cover up the ruins and wreckage of the catastrophic foreign policy of the Obama administration.

The US president would like to be remembered as a hero who saved the lives of innocent people. But where at least 300 million guns are already in the hands of citizens, rules that are even tighter cannot make more than a minimal dent. So I guess the Obama administration will, in the end, be remembered as having been most harmful for American global interests and most dangerous for American allies.

Rishon Lezion

President Barack Obama cried about those in America who wantonly kill innocent people because they have guns and are able to use them. He is very anxious to instate stricter gun control laws. Yet he did not cry for enabling Iran to become the master killer nation of all times, enabling it to kill wantonly by giving terrorist groups in the Middle East all the money they want.

The Saudis have definitely been abandoned by the United States. Iran has threatened Saudi Arabia’s existence, and Obama has not said he will stand by Riyadh. If war breaks out between the Saudis and Iranians, we can only blame Obama’s world view. What principles remain for this administration? Israel must learn the lesson of never relying on any nation, and must stand alone while the nations of the world devour each other.


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