Concerning “US Embassy expresses displeasure with NGO transparency bill” (January 12), why is Ambassador Dan Shapiro worried that the NGOs undermining Israel will have their names and those of the countries backing them made public? Is the United States one of them perhaps? Has the US secretly been undermining the legitimate government of Israel and its prime minister? Every country that has funded anti-Israel NGOs and has worked constantly to provoke dissent and the delegitimization of Israel should have its name made known to the public. Transparency must be a goal of modern man.
It is high time that the US used its ambassador to Israel to strengthen the ties between the two countries. That is what ambassadors do. They have no right to work against the stability of a country and its economic growth.
What is the State Department trying to achieve?
THELMA SUSSWEIN Jerusalem
Further to the unfounded opposition to the NGO transparency bill by the hostile Left, it is regrettable that various countries have seen fit to interfere in Israel’s attempt to secure democracy on a speck of land in a sea of anti-democratic, violent countries.
While the Muslim world is engulfed by fire and brimstone, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is introducing a protective bill by requiring all NGOs that receive foreign aid to declare the source. Only the radical Left is objecting. Why? To compare the policies of Israel to those of the US or other social democracies is totally inapplicable, as Israel is in a state of continuous war, even if currently low-key, with Hamas, Hezbollah and similar groups. It is obvious to any concerned citizen, therefore, that while the state has a duty to defend free speech, its first duty is to defend itself against those who wish to destroy it.
We must not follow the example of the Weimar Republic, but rather emulate, where appropriate, the behavior of western democracies in World War II.
BERNHARD LAZARUS Tel Aviv
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked does not want America to intervene in domestic Israeli affairs. But America already is – with millions of dollars every single day! The US gives Israel at least $3 billion annually. Rich American Jews and Evangelicals give unaccountable millions more (tax deductible in America), including to Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Talk about not intervening! A far-sighted Jewish/Palestinian/ Syrian/Judean once said: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Perhaps Shaked should reconsider her remarks.
JUDY BAMBERGER O’Connor, Australia
How can a transparency law be undemocratic? Nobody is silencing these NGOs or stopping their activities. All we want to know is who is funding them and whether there is something not quite kosher about the funding.
Why should I be worried about offending the EU or the US, which are trying very undemocratically to pay people to try and bring down a democratically elected government? This is unacceptable.
It is a strange democracy we live in, where what the Right says is incitement, but what the Left says is not.
FREYA BINENFELD Petah Tikva Letters about letters
In his letter vigorously attacking Ashkenazi prejudice (“‘Yekke’ racists,” January 12), reader J.J. Gross reveals quite a bit of his own prejudice.
It is a sad, angry, divisive letter proposing a dubious thesis regarding a strange, anti-Jewish, racist element among post-Zionist, pro-Palestinian journalists and activists who in his view include many “yekkes.”
He also reveals ignorance, lumping Oriental Jews with Sephardim, who are not necessarily darkskinned, just as Ashkenazim are not all light-skinned.
Gross manages to offend everyone in his angry outburst. If that was the purpose of his letter, he achieved his goal. It reminds one of violently demonstrating against violence.
MARIE HEILBERG Melbourne, Australia
Reader Shlomo Grafstein (“Bad influence,” Letters, January 11) slanders and abuses Reform Jews when he says “the authentic heritage of the Jewish people will be trampled upon by allowing Reform rabbis to enter the... IDF rabbinate.” Ironically, he substantiates the words of Rabbi Gilad Kariv concerning the divisiveness of Bayit Yehudi’s Orthodoxy.
Non-Orthodox Jews – who are the great majority of the Jewish people – reject with contempt such words. It is a great pity that a people facing so many challenges from outside chooses to indulge in this kind of futile, internecine backbiting.
Perhaps Mr. Grafstein and others would care to be our guests and see for themselves a vibrant and beautiful Jewish community, steeped in Jewish heritage but free from the cant and hypocrisy of sterile ritualism.
No, Mr. Grafstein, Judaism is not the monopoly of any one group, and it will continue to grow and develop in the future, just as it adapted and evolved in the past.
ANTHONY and JUDITH LUDER Rosh Pina The writers are founding members of Rosh Pina Pluralistic Community.Indyk’s claim
With regard to “Indyk’s preposterous lie about Netanyahu” (Right from Wrong, January 11), if Martin Indyk went to the trouble of fabricating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s words, why didn’t he concoct something worse? Probably, Netanyahu’s inappropriateness simply burned itself into Indyk’s sensibility; after all, his gaucheries are commonplace.
Netanyahu called 9/11 “very good” for Israel. His government made settlement expansion announcements during visits by the US vice president and secretary of state. At the UN, he drew a bomb cartoon that mocked his own case.
After Charlie Hebdo, he visited France against President François Hollande’s explicit wishes, and while there, pushed his way to the front for the cameras. He addressed the US Congress without the president’s invitation.
During the last election campaign, he said Israel’s Arabs were coming out to “vote in droves.”
After the awful shooting in Tel Aviv on January 1, his speech became so polarizing that even Mayor Ron Huldai condemned it.
The prime minister even claims to speak for all Jews.
Before his assassination, Yitzhak Rabin directly blamed the Likud for what he labeled “right-wing violence.” So after the assassination, and only three weeks after Rabin’s comment, why wouldn’t Netanyahu whisper something gauche to Indyk? Ruthie Blum’s barely-veiled comparison of a former US ambassador to Joseph Goebbels symbolizes fundamentally the Right’s unlimited lengths at demonization.
JAMES ADLER Cambridge, MassachusettsTruth being told
In “Israel’s Arabs: Israel’s interest” (Observations, January 8), Ilan Evyatar states that “no new Arab town or village has been built since the state was founded.”
Other than for the Negev Beduin, I do not think it has been necessary.
In July 1948, when our 7th Brigade entered Nazareth, it was a small town with a Christian majority. It has probably grown one-hundred-fold. The same applies to the Arab villages of the Lower Galilee, where I live.
At the end of March 1949, my diminished infantry company was poised to attack Kalkilya in an operation that was subsequently canceled. On observation, all we saw was a small, triangular village climbing up a hill. Look at it now! Yes, there is the problem of overcrowding, but it can be blamed on our coalitionist, socialist bureaucracy. This also applies to the Jewish population.
Traveling through Wadi Ara in the 1980s with a friend visiting from New York, his comment, when observing the large villas, was: “This is the population the BBC calls ‘the oppressed Arabs of the Galilee!’” Let the truth be told.
JOE WOOLF Ilaniya