The first response of a weak and frightened government to its critics is to silence them rather than refute them (“Gov’t creates task force to deport BDS activists,” August 8).
Apart from the fact that killing the messenger never kills the message, the arguments become stronger unless you engage with the adherents, no matter how unpleasant the views of BDS. But more important, it is a dangerous breach of the principles of democracy for a government to silence its critics rather than answer them.
That is beginning of despotism.
Look at Turkey.
FABIAN ACKER London
Susan Hattis Rolef (“Netanyahu didn’t quite get his way with public broadcasting,” Think About It, August 8) mentions Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “insistence on serving as communications minister.”
Hers is not the first column or report to point this out. He is also minister for foreign affairs and holds other portfolios. What the prime minister is clearly telling us is that he regards all of these positions as part-time jobs. He may say otherwise, but actions speak louder than words.
Does anyone think prime minister and foreign minister are parttime jobs? By holding on to these portfolios, Netanyahu is saying he regards them as his personal playthings, to be dispensed at his pleasure if he so decides.
Our government is not the personal property of any prime minister.
If the incumbent cannot understand this fundamental principle of democracy, it’s time he went home.
MERVYN DOOBOV Jerusalem The writer is a retired senior policy adviser to the Australian government.
Cost of a Coke
Having read that Coca-Cola charges Israelis 86 percent above the average cost worldwide (“Is Coca-Cola price gouging drinks in Israel?” August 5), why should we pay NIS 4.90 a can when everyone else pays NIS 2.64 on average? Why are we taken for suckers? Why are we putting up with this? I am not a Coca-Cola drinker, but Israelis love their Coke. Would the public be brave enough to stop buying it and demand a fairer price? We must make a statement. The only way is to refrain from buying anything we feel is way overpriced – which isn’t always easy.
LINDA SILVERSTONE Herzliya Pituah
Trump vs. Clinton
You have got to be kidding. Did the person who wrote “No endorsements” (Editorial, August 5) even read what he or she wrote? The whole piece is about wonderful Hillary and the incompetent Trump.
Definitely, Donald Trump is different.
But he did not murder four Americans at Benghazi and lie like hell to the FBI.
Show me a pro-Trump cartoon anywhere in the Post for the past six months. Why have you not printed a whole page of letters from readers who are outraged about your pro-Clinton? At least Trump admits to his stupid mistakes and speeches. Hillary? Lie, lie and cover-up.
I will trust my life and this country to Donald J. Trump.
YONATON VORACEK Jerusalem
One of the many reasons I was upset upon reading your August 4 lead headline “Republicans launch effort to bring out Israeli vote for Trump” is that if Donald Trump becomes the next US president, we can kiss the possibility of averting a climate catastrophe goodbye.
While the leaders of 195 nations who met at the Paris climate change conference in December 2015 agreed that major steps must be started right away, Trump would immediately end any US role. While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Trump wants to weaken or abolish it. He is ignoring the views of 97 percent of climate experts, 99.8% of peer-reviewed articles in respected science journals, and science academies worldwide.
Those who consider that terrorism is a greater threat should consider that the Pentagon and other military leaders believe there is an increased potential for instability, terrorism and war as tens of millions of desperate refugees flee drought, wildfires, storms, flooding and other effects of climate change.
To leave a decent, livable world for future generations, it is essential that Trump be defeated.
RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ Shoresh
How does she know?
I read your article “Baroness Royall tackles root of ‘anti-Semitism virus’ in Oxford Labour Club” (August 4). The baroness raises two issues in her report that should not go unchallenged.
The first concerns anti-Zionism.
The baroness recognizes that anti-Zionism is used to disguise anti-Semitism, but she states that anti-Zionism is not, in itself, anti-Semitic. I strongly disagree.
We can divide anti-Zionists into two broad groups: Jews and non- Jews. There are Jews whose hostility to the idea of a Jewish state is based on personal experience that finds living in the Diaspora pleasant and nonthreatening. There are others who feel they have been deprived, either directly or indirectly, of due recognition by Israel.
Others find that living in Israel or accepting its customs interferes with their chosen life style.
We Jews can debate these matters among ourselves, but this is not an area in which non-Jews should be involved. People who are not Jewish should recognize that the relationship between Jews and non-Jews has been far from satisfactory, and it is conceit if someone who is not Jewish tries to tell us what is best for us. It reeks of the patronizing attitude of former colonial overlords.
The other issue concerns the popular trope that all governments can be criticized, including the government of Israel.
This trope is slovenly. It omits a crucial word: validity. Criticism that is ill-informed, distorted, based on ignorance or the type that descends to abuse does not meet that criterion.
ALBERT JACOB Beersheba
Just like the West End
I would like to add to the information given in Helen Kaye’s “Direct from London” (Arts & Entertainment, August 4) about the live-screening of The Audience, with Helen Mirren.
This is only one of several opportunities to see plays originally performed at the National in London. This first season has included Hamlet, The Audience and the comedy One Man, Two Guv’nors. Each play is given three or four performances at the Cinematheques in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Holon.
These are not simultaneous broadcasts, but rescreenings of the original performances, with all the immediacy of watching a live show plus the additional benefit of close-ups of the actors and sets.
VERA FREUDMANN Ra’anana
You’d be surprised If a person is hit by a car, chances are that the first responder will be from Hatzalah, a haredi volunteer organization. As a matter of fact, the Magen David Adom ambulance will likely have haredi volunteers as well.
If a person needs medical equipment, chances are he’ll borrow it from Yad Sarah, another haredi volunteer organization. If he needs food for his table, he might get it from Yad Eliezer or Yad Ezra V’Shulamit, or one of the other countless haredi volunteer organizations. In cases where medical attention is no longer a possibility, ZAKA will likely be involved.
People might also be surprised to find that among the volunteers in Hatzalah, Yad Sarah and many other haredi organizations, they will also find Arabs.
The reason for the surprise at any of this is that the Israeli media, with the exception of the rare article highlighting these groups, constantly slant news articles and headlines to display their prejudices against haredim while ignoring the insignificant factor called truth.
SHALOM BRODY Jerusalem