Regarding “Omar Barghouti: Israel enlisted Trump to ban me from America” (April 17), BDS founder Omar Barghouti knows – and hopes that your readers don’t know – that anti-BDS legislation doesn’t punish individual speech or political activity.
Anti-BDS legislation protects local and state governments that decide not to do business with those who engage in commercial discrimination against Israel.
It might surprise Barghouti to learn that economic boycotting of Israel is discrimination – not a US constitutional right.
Omar Barghouti has called for the destruction of Israel: “No Palestinian will ever accept a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.” That doesn’t accord with his reference to his rhetoric about a specious “common fight against oppression and racism in all its forms through our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”
Perhaps Barghouti assumes that ending with a “grab ‘em by their emotions” sentiment is always an effective way to control an interview.JULIA LUTCH
Davis, CalifroniaNow playing on Radio Hamas
Regarding “Hamas broadcasts to Israeli radios for two months uninterrupted” (April 16), our prime minister, who is in charge of our IDF, has lost all deterrence in fighting terrorists no matter where – Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon. Only three kilometers from our northern border, this radio station, which can broadcast recruitment and incitement deep into Israel, should have been put out of commission by guided middles or a raid by our special forces once it started broadcasting.
It is crazy that this matter is in the hands of the Communications Ministry. What are they going to do? Send letters pleading for the broadcasts to stop? For the terrorists, this is a win-win situation; they are broadcasting and laughing in our faces, most likely sending coded messages to the terrorists in our jails and as well as those living in Israel and Judea and Samaria.
Further neglect of this situation can result in grooming and motivating future terrorists.MURRAY JOSEPH
Kiryat MotzkinA different kind of unity government
The election results indicate two major developments: the decline of the Labor Party and the growth of the Likud Party.
Labor did not acknowledge that most people in Israel have lost faith in the peace process, as there is no partner for peace. Tzipi Livni was one of the last holdouts, completely detached from the political reality.
Her sudden firing was a last-ditch effort by Avi Gabbay to preserve “sanity” in his party, but it was too late; as a result, the party dropped to six MKs. To survive, Labor’s best option now is to join the Likud-led coalition.
In the opposition, Labor might find itself out of the Knesset entirely the next election, like Kadima, Shinui and other defunct parties. Since there is no peace process, its ideological gap with the Likud has narrowed. Likud can offer Labor one or two senior positions where they can prove their abilities to raise social standards and awareness. If successful, the party might survive and even regain strength in the next election. Otherwise, its role in history may end.
Likud’s main incentive in attracting Labor to its coalition is to send Avigdor Liberman into the opposition. He poses impossible demands, as though as if Yisrael Beytenu won this election. In the opposition, his demands will evaporate quickly and he will realize that he won only five seats.SHLOMO FELDMANN
Here’s to hoping that the latest threats by the haredi parties will serve as a wake-up call to the rest of Knesset as to the need for long-term structural change (“UTJ threatens elections if IDF draft law not changed,” April 19). There are several obvious repercussions arising from including the haredi parties in the ruling coalition; IDF service is but one.
The original exemption for 400 students has grown to tens of thousands today. Are they all high-caliber talmidei hahamim? Clearly not. The system has been abused over the decades; what was once acceptable is now objectively unmerited. Thankfully, the Supreme Court has ruled against the blanket draft exemption for haredim.
Haredi students who avoid IDF service in the IDF are financially subsidized, disincentivized from entering the workforce. Additionally, the Haredi education system limits students’ economic potential by eliminating “core curriculum” classes, leaving graduates of the system ill-prepared to meet the demands of today’s workforce.
The stranglehold that the haredi parties have over religious affairs leads to the bizarre situation that Jews in Israel don’t have freedom of religion. True change in all of these areas is hampered by the inclusion of the haredi parties in the coalition.MICHAEL LUSTIG
New YorkBurning issues
Regarding “Fire devastates Notre-Dame Cathedral” (April 16), while I sympathize with the French for their loss, TV news of that event showed intriguing views of a gold seven-branched menorah rescued from the fire in Paris, among other “rare treasures,” such as familiar-looking candlesticks.
Might this accidental disclosure indicate a necessity to fact-check the true origin of this menorah and a plethora of our similar “lost” treasures?ESTER ZEITLIN
Europe – both the geographical and conceptual sphere – has been presented with a unique, once-in-a-century opportunity.
Notre Dame Cathedral has burnt and will now be restored.
For nearly 1,000 years, this has been one of Europe’s foremost symbols of pseudo-art for used for vilification of Jews. Now, in its restoration, the opportunity exists to eliminate the filth of Synagoga and Ecclesia and other antisemitic pseudo-art.
Macron has promised that the work of restoration will begin immediately and that it will be complete in five years.
Now we shall see if Europe has “grown up” or if they still retain their historical barbarism and Judeo-phobia.MORDECHAI BEN-MENACHEM
Kiryat Hayovel, Jerusalem
With all the sorrow about the loss of works of art in the Notre-Dame cathedral, we mustn’t forget our own history. We are enjoined not to forget the murderous “Amalek,” who tried to destroy us.
That specific cathedral was a rallying point for Crusades and pogroms. For example, 24 wagon loads of the Talmud were burned near there in 1244. When Passover and Easter came within days of each other, Christians murderously attacked us for being “Christ killers.” This behavior is continuing to this very moment, such as with the ancient Passion Play that still takes place in Poland.
In ninth grade, I saw a smudge on the forehead of a girl and told her that her face was dirty. She said it was “Ash Wednesday” and she just got her ashes from the priest in the local cathedral. “What for?” I asked her. “In memory of the time that the Jews killed Christ.” I had chills running down my back when she showed me the “proof” in her catechism book that all Catholic children had to memorize.
In the 1960s, an educated woman asked me if she could feel my head to see if I had horns. She had never seen a Jew in her life.
So, yes, I am sorry that the world lost some lovely artwork. However, the Catholic Church has a lot to be sorry for in the 2,000 years of persecution that they incited and still incite in some places around the world to this very day, but we must not forget our history.THELMA JACOBSON
Petah TikvaTheft of our narrative
Nabil Sha’ath, international affairs adviser to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, calls the Trump peace plan a “deal of shame,” but whatever it turns out to be, it cannot be good for Israel, as the Jewish state should never have come up for negotiation (“PA turns to Russia to bypass US deal,” April 17). According to Sha’ath, they are “facing an international conspiracy that produced the Balfour Declaration and the ‘occupation of their country’ and the ‘deal of shame’ wants to extract Jerusalem from their hearts, minds and reality.”
Huh? Their country? Very strange, because Islam did not appear on the scene until 2,200 years after Judaism! And as for Jerusalem, when Jordan illegally occupied it for 19 years, who heard an Arab call it their capital or even spoke of an Arab people with rights to another State? The Jewish capital was treated with no reverence – only humiliation and destruction. Arabs to this day face Mecca when praying, with their behinds facing Jerusalem.
However, they said something we would do well to copy. “Our people will not sell their lands and Jerusalem and rights in return for American money.” Sadly, we have sold our souls in return for American money and desperation for acceptance. We should never have allowed and accepted the theft of our narrative. Abbas is a terrorist who denies us any rights to any part of our land and continues incitement towards our destruction. Where is our pride?YENTEL JACOBS
Where was the need to establish a Palestinian state between 1948 and 1967 when Egypt and Jordan-occupied Gaza and Judea and Samaria (the West Bank)?
There was none, because the Arab League knew that half the population was recent immigrants from neighboring countries, mostly Egypt and Syria. The people we now call Palestinians, we then called Arabs. Before 1948, the only people called Palestinians were the Jews.
The Palestinian issue is still not settled because the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has found it convenient to keep their brothers in subservient positions, in refugee camps and on UN welfare rather than integrate them into their societies. Israel took in ¾ of the 900,000 Jews who fled Arab countries and Iran. After all these years, it is time the Muslim world showed compassion for their own and stopped using these destitute people as an excuse to promote hatred against Israel and Jews.
The Arab-Israeli conflict will be solved when UN resolutions allowing border modification are accepted and when the OIC realizes that millions of Arab “refugees” and their descendants will not be allowed to flood into Israel.
Hopefully, the soon-to-be-released American peace proposal will contain enough for all sides to sincerely sit down together and negotiate a modus vivendi.LEN BENNETT
OttawaPeace, not surrender
In “Jews are on the wrong side of the West’s culture wars” (March 29), Melanie Phillips missed hitting the nail fairly and squarely on the head by just one word.
That word is “Islam.” Islam is not the equivalent of “shalom.” For the individual true believer, it is channeling the submission of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his only begotten firstborn son Ishmael at Mecca. (Anything you heard about Isaac and Mount Moria must be more lies from the Zionists. Could a billion Muslims and the UN be wrong?)
Switching from the individual jihadi to the peace-loving uma (nation) of the Islamic totalitarian caliphate-to-be, submission (Islam) is what kafir infidels must do to keep their heads on their shoulders.
A heavy dhimmi tax ( A ‘dhimmi’ is a person living in a region overrun by Muslim conquest who was accorded a protected status and allowed to retain his or her original faith), must be paid by non-believers. Back when there were thousands of barely-tolerated Jews in Arab lands, the chief rabbi, at an annual ceremony, would have to have his face slapped by the leading imam, and the “filthy” Jew would pay a handsome ransom for the pleasure.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines Islam as as’aslama – to resign oneself, to surrender. The proto-Semitic root SLM, as seen in the Babylonian Talmud (Sukkah 42a) – is understood as “surrender.” I think I’ll stick with shalom – wholesome peace.RABBI LEONARD E. BOOK, PHD
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