No Iran deal yet
With regard to “Obama warns of ‘zero’ breakout time in 13 years for Iran without nuclear deal” (April 8), it’s hard to understand why anyone thinks a deal emerged from the P5+1 discussions with Iran. At best, the fact sheets published by both Iran and the US are merely position statements as of March 31, the arbitrary deadline for the talks.
There is clearly no meeting of the minds and no agreement on even the most basic issues.
Numerous commentators have published long lists of variances on critical issues, including the timing of sanctions relief, enrichment, inspections, disposition of the stockpile of uranium that has already been enriched, and the possible military dimensions of Iran’s program. Tehran recently stated that the moment the deal is signed, all sanctions will end and the most advanced centrifuges will start spinning – probably not what the allies had in mind.
The agreement does not address Iran’s sponsorship of terror, its development of ballistic missiles and its continuing determination to exterminate Israel, a UN-member country.
With its rapidly growing control of multiple capitals in the Middle East, how does Iran’s behavior not parallel that of Nazi Germany as it gobbled up Czechoslovakia, Austria and Poland? It’s like negotiating a plea-bargain with a criminal for jaywalking while ignoring his long record of murder and drug dealing.
The fact that Iran is celebrating and dancing in the street while the West scratches its collective head is not comforting.
Finally, US President Barack Obama’s statement to The New York Times that Iran will not achieve a bomb “on my watch” is not persuasive. His watch extends for only another 22 months. In the meantime, he has done little over the past six years to slow Iran’s progress, brags that he delayed any possible Israeli military action, and expects no change in Iran’s behavior, thus rendering absurd the fact that the “agreement” removes all restrictions after only 10 or 15 years.
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So much for a “historic” agreement.
In his recent National Public Radio interview, US President Barack Obama argued that a nuclear deal could help strengthen moderate elements in Iran.
“If they are shown to have delivered for their people, presumably it strengthens their hand vis-a-vis some of the hardliners inside of Iran,” Obama said (italics mine).
What incredible obfuscation and prevarication! If he really cared about moderates, the president could have been more effective by supporting Iran’s popular uprising protest the stolen 2009 election.
In Cairo that year, Obama touted his commitment to “governments that reflect the will of the people.” Now, the president who likes to say that “words matter” refuses to utter a word of support to the people of Iran. By that measure, the US should never have gotten behind Soviet dissidents because it would have interfered with nuclear arms control.
Meitar First things first
Regarding “US rabbi touts idea for Holocaust commemoration in Ramallah” (April 8), Rabbi Marc Schneier should first ask Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to ask the PA’s Ministry of Education to remove his PhD thesis from Palestinian schools, universities and libraries. He should also ask that Abbas appear on the official (Arabic language) Palestinian Authority TV to denounce that thesis – which says Zionists conspired with the Nazis to murder the Jews in World War II.
A copy of the thesis is in my office for perusal.
The writer is director of the Israel Resource News Agency.
Thoughts on purity
In reference to Jeremy Sharon’s “Religious services group seeks right for women to refuse attendant at public mikvaot” (April 8), I would like to add a few of my thoughts.
The role of the balanit (attendant) is to ensure that the dunking is done properly – that is, that the whole body, including all hair, has been covered by the water; that there are no visible chatzizot (barriers) to the immersing, like stray hairs that one cannot see by oneself; and basically that the conditions for immersion are present. She is also an instructor for those not fully knowledgeable in the Jewish laws of family purity.
If any particular balanit exceeds her role, perhaps the woman can request a different one, if available. However, in many places, they are trained to deal with those who are sensitive to being undressed in front of another woman, and are also good people to talk to. One coming to the mikve knows she has to get undressed, so if she has issues, she should realize that the mikve is generally a safe haven.
The attendant has no intent to insult, embarrass or make a woman feel uncomfortable. She wants the mitzva done properly (although she should inquire as to the woman’s personal customs – e.g., number of dunks).
I have been to mikvaot in Jerusalem, Ra’anana, Eilat and Mitzpe Yeriho, and while once encountering a balanit who was a bit gruff, I attributed it to the number of women who were waiting their turn. Otherwise, my experiences have been fine.
The basic definition of an observant Jew, as I have understood it, is one who keeps kosher, observes Shabbat and maintains family purity. These are what kept us strong and alive throughout the years in the Diaspora.
I applaud those women who strive to do the right thing by taking on the laws of family purity. May they be successful – and perhaps see the balanit as a facilitator rather than antagonist.BATYA BERLINGER
Jerusalem Property in Poland
“High time for Poland to confront its past” (Comment & Features, April 8) covers good points, namely that every Polish president since the liberation from Soviet domination has dealt with the question of restoring to Jewish individuals that Jewish private property that was confiscated by the Nazis and, later, by the Soviet Union.
A conclusion has not yet been attained. It must also be considered that in the many ensuing decades, maps have completely changed, and the old ones are not always available. Also, foreign governments were careless.
For instance, some of the real estate my own family owned has become part of a state forest.
Other land belongs to new farmers.
Where my house once stood is today a Catholic religious monument.
There are other questions that come up. Did Jews who left the Soviet Union because of anti-Semitism and persecution receive adequate restitution? There are people who left behind everything other than a suitcase. Russian President Vladimir Putin is still against returning even religious property that was torn from Jews during the revolution of 1917; that is almost 100 years ago.
Many Jews who lost their homes and more in Poland during World War II have died and left no heirs. Would there be an organization in Israel that is willing to take on this project? The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) was accused of defrauding survivors out of tens of millions of dollars.
When I was referred by the German government to contact the Claims Conference, I did not even submit an application.
In view of many unsolved claims against various European nations, it is not helpful to bash Poland, which today is the friendliest nation toward Israel and the Jewish people in Europe – if not in the whole world. It would be better to peacefully help a willing Polish government find a mutually satisfactory solution.HILLEL GOLDBERG
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