With regard to “UN calls on Israel to free Ahed Tamimi” (February 15), Tamimi is a teenager, a delinquent and a coward. She would not dare slap and punch a Palestinian cop. She would not assault an Israeli soldier without the cameras rolling.
She was coached by her parents and has become a Pallywood propagandist. In a situation where their leaders encourage vehicular and knife attacks on Jews, she would only pout and act out in front of the media.
Let’s remember, too, that Israel captured Judea and Samaria after Jordan attacked it. Jordan had illegally occupied the territory since 1949, forcing out all the Jews. It did not consider the Palestinian Arabs a distinct group, so it never created a state for them.
OttawaJust a partisan hack?
While I usually take little heed of liberals who suffer from what is widely recognized as Trump Derangement Syndrome, Douglas Bloomfield’s blaming of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for the debacle that is Syria (“Rex wrecks,” Washington Watch, February 15) is beyond the pale.
The die was cast in Syria in the summer of 2013, when Bloomfield’s lord and savior, then-president Barack Obama, completely abdicated US leadership in the Middle East and failed to either militarily confront Syrian leader Bashar Assad after acts of genocide or even fund the opposition, which at that time had a reasonable chance of deposing him. Instead, Obama let the chaos persist and grow until Russian President Vladimir Putin, sensing complete US weakness and disinterest, leapt into the void. The rest was foreseeable and inevitable, including the Assad- Iranian alliance.
By the time the Trump administration took the reigns, the cancer of Russian-Iranian involvement and control had metastasized, and as with many matters, President Donald Trump inherited a horrendous mess of half a million people slaughtered and an Iran funded by sanctions relief and oil money for use in funding Tehran’s number one goal: destroying Israel.
In short, Trump-Tillerson inherited the Obama-caused catastrophe, and short of a direct military confrontation between the US and Russia, there is little to be done because Russia holds all the high cards.
Could Tillerson and Trump be more supportive of Israel vis a vis Syria at this moment? Yes. But to charge Tillerson with the Obama-caused catastrophe and horrible state of Syrian affairs is beyond unreasonable.
I urge Mr. Bloomfield to move past his Trump hatred and analyze events more objectively, rationally and fairly. Otherwise, he is just a partisan hack.
Roslyn, New YorkWe should shift to vegan
As president emeritus of Jewish Veg (formerly Jewish Vegetarians of North America) and author of three editions of the book Judaism and Vegetarianism, I was pleased to see your February 14 article “Vegan diet reduces diabetes risk in heavy adults.”
This is just the latest example of the widespread research that has shown that well-balanced, nutritious vegan diets, with minor supplementation in some cases, can sharply reduce the risks of, and in some cases reverse, many life-threatening diseases.
Since there are now more Torah scholars and Jewish learning in Israel than ever before, I wonder, respectfully, why the strong inconsistencies between animal-based diets and fundamental Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people are being ignored.
Shifting toward animal-free diets is especially important today: While climate experts fear that we may soon reach an irreversible, disastrous tipping point, animal-based agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, more so than all the means of transportation combined, according to the 2006 UN Food and Agriculture report “Livestock’s Long Shadow.”
So to improve the health of Israelis and our imperiled planet, it is essential that we play our historically mandated role to be a “light unto the nations” and shift toward vegan diets.
RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ
I noticed several letters arguing against “Nobody should buy this occupation” (The Fifth Column, February 9). Each gave reasons against the argument that Israel “occupies” Judea and Samaria, but I was most disturbed (and still am) by Yonatan Gher’s claim that Israel is committing “atrocities” as part of its oversight of the disputed areas.
Security measures might or might not be too strict (many think them far too lax); nevertheless, I would like to state strongly that the editors should exercise greater oversight.
Recently, we learned that Syria killed more than 200 people in one of its latest attacks on rebellious towns – the total numbers add up to half a million. We recently concluded a war with Islamic State where thousands were murdered in brutal ways or were enslaved and raped. There are wars going on in Yemen, and the Turks just attacked the Kurds in Syria, killing both combatants and civilians.
In contrast, Israel takes extreme measures to limit the impact of its security measures that are required to protect its citizens from terrorism. These measure are neither cruel nor extremely wicked, and they are not done en masse.
Discussions and arguments are fine. False accusations are not. Considering the power of the printed word, I hope very much that greater editorial oversight will be taken.
EfratDemocrats and Israel
With regard to “Pence and Pew, present and future” (Column One January 26), the roots of growing apathy toward Israel in the US Democratic Party lie in three events from the 1990s: the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Oslo Agreement in 1993, and the 1994 Republican “Contract with America.”
The first of these deprived the Left of its ideal, and when Soviet archives were opened, this demonstrated that it had completely misunderstood the nature of “socialism” while the Right had understood it correctly. The second endorsed the Left’s ideas on how to bring peace with the Palestinians, but experience there demonstrated that the Left was wrong about this, too. The significance of the Republican “contract” is that it encompassed a set of ideas that, when adopted, actually worked.
These three, taken together, undermined the Left’s self-perception of being entitled to rule because it was more moral, more intelligent and better educated than the Right, and raised the specter of its becoming politically irrelevant.
Without any new ideas that would appeal to voters, the Democrats responded by adopting a strategy of catering to identity groups that could claim grievances – blacks, Latinos, feminists, LGBTQ and, under former president Barack Obama, Muslims.
This strategy works only as long as these grievances are maintained, which is why Democratic policies generally don’t solve the underlying problems: Doing so would lose them their voters.
These groups, and the party that embraced them, cannot tolerate evidence that they might have brought their grievances upon themselves, but any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would do exactly that: demonstrate that Palestinian suffering has been due to the bad decisions of Palestinian leaders.
The reason is simple: The best the Palestinians can achieve in any deal is exactly what they would have achieved had they settled in 1949. Support for BDS follows since only the delegitimization of Israel can prevent the emergence of evidence that the Left has been wrong about the Israel-Palestinian conflict as well.