David Brinn is to be congratulated for his sober analysis of US Vice President Mike Pence’s speech to the Knesset (“A friend in need,” January 23).
While the current government and its many followers are ecstatic about having a friend who has nothing but praise for everything Israel does – or does not do – Mr. Brinn correctly warns us that a friend like this “only reinforce[s] the feeling that Israel doesn’t have to make any choice at all.” That is exactly what the Netanyahu government stands for and there is a price that will have to be paid: Where there is no vision, the people perish.
We need vision to lead us out of a situation in which we rule over another people. Even if there is no solution available at this moment, there must be a will to work toward one that is just and results in a Jewish, democratic Israel. Pence’s speech did not allude to that. On the contrary, he only encouraged those who want the situation to stay the way it is and then to deteriorate so that there can be no solution and no peace.
This kind of thinking reflects the ideals of Christian Evangelicals. Indeed, it seems as if Evangelism has become the official face of Israel. We should not forget that its vision is not simply one of support for Israel as one state in the entire area, but of a second coming of the messiah whom all Jews will recognize, leading to the final messianic apocalypse. Is that what we really want? Yes, all of us are happy that Jerusalem has been recognized as our capital. But this should not make us blind to reality and the need to dedicate ourselves to finding a solution that provides us with both peace and security. As Mr. Brinn puts it so wisely, “real friends are those who help you make hard choices.”REUVEN HAMMER
David Brinn is unfairly sarcastic. I was also in attendance and heard a different speech altogether.
He states that the Knesset speech was “everything someone hoping for no change... could hope for.” Did he expect Vice President Mike Pence to kneel down and, hand over heart, pledge to fight for handing over land to the Palestinians? Wasn’t it obvious that he would underscore his boss’s strategy? The two-state solution has been dead for years.
Even in Ramallah they know this (though not yet in Brussels).
Had the vice president been an orator like Winston Churchill, would the Arab MKs’ disruption have been any different? Would they have listened attentively? Of course not.
And contrary to Mr. Brinn’s assertion, all four speakers spoke about engagement with the Arabs, not just his undisguised favorite, opposition leader Isaac Herzog (although Herzog dwelled on it as if yearning for the days of the Barak-Arafat Camp David shindig).DAVID GOLDBERG
To read Herb Keinon’s “The vice president’s speech: What was in it and what was not” (Analysis, January 23) and, immediately below it, Gil Hoffman’s analysis “Ssshh! Pence’s visit doesn’t really matter” is a study in contrasts.
Mr. Hoffman focuses on minimizing the importance of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit because he seems to dislike anything connected to the Trump administration. Mr. Keinon, on the other hand, presents a substantial analysis of Pence’s Knesset speech, which I found very worthwhile.NINA SPIRO
I was truly taken aback by what I consider foolishness on the part of Gil Hoffman when he compares the visit of the vice president of the United States to the visit of comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
Even with President Donald Trump’s clean bill of health, Vice President Mike Pence is just one heartbeat away from becoming the most powerful man in the world. I would go as far as to say that Mr. Hoffman owes him an apology.
Mr. Pence’s job on this trip was to make it clear where America stands on its relationship with Israel.
He did this admirably. We should embrace him and thank him for the support he has shown us.
Attacking him while he was still a guest of the Israeli government was disgraceful.PAUL BERMAN
Gil Hoffman wrote absolutely nothing that was helpful, insightful or informative. Downplaying the significance of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit was contrariness for the sake of contrariness and should not have gone under the rubric of analysis.
Obviously, we were not privy to all the conversations between Pence and Israeli officials. Neither was Mr. Hoffman, I presume. What is said in private can be a more accurate expression of the truth than public speeches and declarations.
There does seem to have been an important, albeit corrective, statement by Vice President Pence concerning the timing of the relocation of the US Embassy after conflicting statements from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump. Mr. Pence’s assurances calmed the rumors – or, should I say, fake-news mills – at least for a millisecond.
The “regularity” of the visit may, in fact, have been the vice president’s message. After the long, caustic relationship fostered by former president Barack Obama and vice president Joe Biden, Trump wants to cement his administration’s friendship with Israel like no US president before him. What makes Pence’s “not earthshaking” visit unique is that it confirms Trump’s commitment to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, a clear message to the Palestinians, the Arab world and their obsequious European lackeys.
That is putting the visit into proportion.GABE GOLDBERG
I was dismayed by Gil Hoffman’s “analysis.”
The opening line equates Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to that of a comedian appearing in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago in a “show about nothing.”
Two paragraphs later, “putting the vice president’s visit in proportion,” Mr. Hoffman writes: “Pence is not actually in charge of anything.”
I find this show of ingratitude to a world leader representing the current administration of Israel’s greatest ally to be rude, inappropriate and unhelpful.KENNY KODISH
I think that Gil Hoffman deserves to have an analysis done on his analysis. To say that his analysis is totally lacking in any meaningful content is to be kind. It is also worth mentioning that The Jerusalem Post
should be ashamed that it deemed it necessary to present its readers with such a meandering piece of tripe.
Hoffman’s rambling failed to connect any of the dots he was trying to highlight and was a waste of paper and ink. All I can say to him is Ssshh! It’s better to be quiet when you have nothing worthwhile to contribute!
Herb Keinon’s and Gil Hoffman’s analyses show opposing views. But on closer reading, it is Mr. Hoffman who is spot on: The Pence visit was much ado about nothing.
Vice President Mike Pence said nothing we haven’t already heard from his boss and others, and what he didn’t say can be parsed to death.
But a reading of both analyses makes it clear that his speech was strictly a Dr. Feelgood message slickly delivered to an audience already expecting to hear it.
President Donald Trump continues to play his Israel card more to satisfy the 40 million Evangelicals who voted for him rather than the few million Jews who, for the most part, did not. Pence’s visit should be viewed in that perspective – nothing other than shallowness and ceremony. It really didn’t matter.GERALD FLANZBAUM