On the wrong team?
Regarding “Hamas, PFLP terrorists hold senior posts in BDS groups” (February 4), most BDS activists are too obsessed with their hatred of Israel and Jews to care much about accuracy, context and fairness when it comes to demonizing “Zionists.”
Still, perhaps the realization that they are standing shoulder to shoulder with a collection of notorious murderers and terrorists will cause some of the more naive BDSers to question their beliefs and rethink their activity in the group.
Blown out of proportion
Regarding “52% of public and 10% of Likud say PM should quit if indicted” (February 5), it doesn’t take a genius to know that Laborites want him to leave and Likudniks want him to stay. When the poll shows 89% of Labor voters think he should resign, but only 10% of Likud voters do so, it shows that Labor supporters have found a useful stick to hit him with, while Likudniks exhibit their distrust of the Israeli legal system.
This reveals much about what people think of the legal system. In this case, Labor finds it useful to agree with indicting him, but I’m sure that if it were a Labor leader, then the numbers would be reversed.
In this crazy world where political correctness has replaced sanity, every violation of someone’s PC code is considered a major crime. What used to be everyday conversations are now construed as being racist, abusive or conspiratorial – often when not intended.
If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks with newspaper owners, so what? Politicians have always talked to them. If he believes that Israel needs more submarines, good for him, so do I! OK, so he’s not accused of being involved with the submarine affair, but mud sticks, and he’s been found guilty by association by those who want him out of office.
Netanyahu often claims that the media are prejudiced against him. Of course they are, just as many lawyers are also prejudiced against him. As the expression goes, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”
This is a legal nothingness blown out of proportion for political purposes.
Here’s the trouble with generals in politics (“These elections should be about victory,” February 4). Uzi Dayan sees the world in purely military terms, black and white, winners and losers, victory and defeat.
So do the other generals offering themselves to Israeli voters. But look at the record. Every time a general leaps from the military into the prime minister’s chair, he fails. Why? First, because the military is not politics. Second, because the world is not the black-white, win-lose, victory-defeat entity that generals deal with.
Ignoring the political and economic disasters that would accompany his all-out war on Israel’s enemies, as Dayan does, shows how little he understands about how the world works. He sees all of Israel’s problems as nails – and his only tool is a hammer.
It’s time for Israel’s electorate to find leaders that will address their real problems, which are domestic. Israel’s enemies, including Iran, know the devastation they would invite by attacking Israel. Any prime minister would act accordingly.
So why vote on the basis of military concepts? Why seek out generals as political leaders? We need leaders who have tools other than hammers.
A second glance at Gantz
In “The Likud’s reaction to Gantz” (February 4), Susan Hattis Rolef wrote, “Arik Sharon’s disengagement from Gaza... might or might not have been the right thing to do from an historical/political perspective, but was undoubtedly a traumatic experience for the settlers of Gush Katif, who were forced out of their homes.”
The only people who had a “traumatic experience” from this action, in her stated opinion, were the “settlers” of Gush Katif. What about the residents of the towns, kibbutzim and moshavim bordering Gaza who are always aware of where the nearest shelter is and whose days and nights are filled with the dread of a Red Alert? How about the children being raised in that environment, for whom any day that doesn’t include time in a shelter is a good day. PTSD is rampant in that area and costs the Israeli economy a lot to treat.
I urge people who still think the disengagement might have been the right thing to do after the experience of the past 13+ years to recognize reality, even when it doesn’t conform with their preconceived notions.
HAIM SHALOM SNYDER
There are times when falsehoods and exaggerations by Susan Hattis Rolef simply may not go unrefuted. To list a few:
1) “The policy… is tearing Israeli society apart” Really? Yet Israelis, when polled, continually are among the most satisfied (even happy) citizens in the world
2) “Delegitimizes anyone who holds liberal or social democratic positions.” Criticism is not delegitimization, unless of course one is of the opinion that he/she is above criticism.
3) Delegitimization of an “Arab citizen who refuses to accept the Zionist narrative?” To object to funding of lies and distortions of “the Zionist narrative” would appear to me to be a legitimate action on the part of any government. It seems to me that the “Zionist narrative” she refers to, might actually be the heart and soul of Israel’s being.
Space limits preclude additional analyses. Please, op-ed writers, while expressing your opinions, at least stick to the facts.
Highlighting the good
I always endeavor to help make Israel look its best to my local and foreign acquaintances.
I sent a link to “We’ve never encountered a situation like this” (February 1) to many of my friends here and abroad.
It describes the aid effort sent – only by Israel – to Brazil following an accidental rupture of a dam followed by a river of muddy slurry that so far has killed 99 with 250 missing.
Several of the foreign recipients of my email wrote back that this was the first time they had heard about this action by Israel. I am not surprised. Many of the major news outlets in Europe, Asia, Africa and even in the US are overtly or covertly antisemitic. They take every opportunity to demonize Israel for any possible cause, while ignoring the many cases where Israel, on its own, sends rescue teams to places like Mexico, Haiti, The Philippines, Japan, Turkey, Nepal or helps our war-ravaged neighbors, such as on the Syrian border.
Israel, one of the most advanced nations in science, technology, in the medical sciences, agriculture, water recycling, etc., still lives by Biblical and rabbinic commandments to be a light unto the nations, to repair and heal the world (tikkun olam).
We and our government should all make every possible effort to show to the rest of the world what Israel can and does do. Perhaps one day the world will thank us.
Ire at the Irish
“Ireland’s obsessional hatred” (February 1) is a poorly researched attempt to further disrupt Irish/Israeli relations. Unbalanced, with no attempt at fair play, the article is full of inaccuracies.
Melanie Phillips trots out the simplistic notion that Northern Irish Protestants are pro-Israel and Catholic Nationalists are anti-Israel. She supports this by the 1904 boycott of Jewish business in Limerick, but never mentions that this was condemned by Irish leaders lay and clerical. The priest who organized the boycott was banished to an island in the Pacific Ocean.
Her next attack is on the late taoiseach/ prime minister Eamon de Valera, but she never mentions that he was one of the first leaders to visit his friend president Chaim Herzog in Israel in 1951 and that a de Valera forest was planted near Nazareth in recognition of his support for Ireland’s Jews in the 1937 Irish Constitution.
Phillips lets her arrogant Brexit mask slip with her reference to Ireland’s relations with the EU and even questions Ireland’s understanding of an independent nation.
Zionism and Irish nationalism have a long connection. Many Jews played a key role in the fight for Irish Independence, such as Bob Briscoe and Michael Noyek; also, Zionists took inspiration from Irish Republicans when up against the British Empire.
Phillips would be better employed in trying to find a way forward to resolve our present difficulties.
Alan Shatter (Ireland’s misguided ‘settlers bill,’ January 29) rightly excoriated the despicable Economic Activity (occupied territories) Bill recently passed by Ireland’s Lower House.
Though intended, in practice, to focus laser-like solely on Israel, the expansive language of that legislation raises an intriguing, ironic, question. Doesn’t the Republic of Ireland consider Northern Ireland to be UK “occupied territory” one day to be united with Dublin? Certainly, many of the biggest backers of that law, as Shatter instructively points out, have a long history of believing just that.
If so, importation of “goods” or “services” originating in the six northern counties of Ulster, ought be proscribed and, as per that law, severely punished. Of course, that won’t happen, but those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
RICHARD D. WILKINS
Don’t have a cow
Regarding “Obesity, climate change and hunger must be fought as one” February 3, a vegan (or nearly vegan) diet can help with these issues and many more.
Because of the huge amounts of methane (a very potent greenhouse gas) emitted by cows and other farmed animals, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock agriculture emits more greenhouse gases, in CO2 equivalents, than all the cars, planes, ships, and all other means of transportation worldwide combined.
While about 10% of the world’s people chronically suffer from hunger, over a third of the grain produced worldwide is used to fatten up livestock.
Plant-based diets can help in weight loss because meat and other animal products are high in fat. Each gram of fat has nine calories, while each gram of protein or carbohydrates has only four calories. In addition to reducing obesity, climate change, and hunger, shifts to plant-based diets would reduce energy and water consumption, help end the current epidemic of life-threatening diseases afflicting Jews and others and be far more consistent with basic Jewish teachings.
A vegan-style diet contributes to a healthier, slimmer you and a more compassionate and environmentally sustainable planet.
The editorial “Decisions despite elections” (February 3) addresses the decision of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to make his recommendation on a possible indictment of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. As noted, this will be an announcement of intent only, and that the final decision would occur after a yearlong hearing.
The editorial suggests, based on a projected announcement date of February 21, that this would be enough time for Netanyahu to defend himself before the voting public by the April 9 election. How can this be? He is surely allowed to properly defend himself in accordance with Israel’s well-regarded rule of law, but what is suggested does not stop him being judged by the constant drizzle of leaks, does not allow for proper presentation of evidence, nor allow for cross-examination of witnesses. If he were to be exonerated at the ballot box, would this mean that a formal judicial process would no longer be needed? Of course not.
Israel’s legal process does not include trial by jury, to my mind a good thing. I remember well the horrors of serving on a jury trial in Canada, and can understand the wisdom of decisions being made only by highly trained judges. What is suggested is more like a referendum by the voting public over a period of less than seven weeks, with information being leaked out by various actors through the unfriendly filter of the press. What a travesty.
Welcome home, brothers
Regarding “First 83 of 1,000 approved Ethiopian olim arrive” (February 5), I would like to extend the warmest greeting to our newest citizens, who will enrich our country in so many ways. Here’s wishing you a wonderful new life here and a speedy reunion with all those you love.