UK Labor pains
If members of Hamas and Hezbollah, both organizations advocating the elimination of Israel, are friends of British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (“Cameron: Corbyn can’t fight anti-Semitism with ‘friends’ like Hamas and Hezbollah,” May 5), is it any wonder that anti-Semitism is rife in the party? While criticism of the Israeli government is legitimate in any democratic society, this does not mean it should be open season for wild allegations of ethnic cleansing, the harvesting of body organs or other classic anti-Semitic blood libels heard in the UK in recent years. The extreme language has gone unchecked, fed by a widely irresponsible media in the UK, contributing to the near-daily revelations of yet another UK Labor politician’s grotesque anti-Semitic language.
What the chattering classes in the UK must make of it in private would surely be sufficient for many ears to burn.
Your May 2 editorial “Corbyn’s challenge” was right is stating that we should not put much hope on anything changing quickly due to his investigation of anti-Semitism in the party.
PETER SIMPSON Jerusalem
In “Three more British Labor members suspended for anti-Israel statements” (May 3), you report that MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) advised that his party’s ties with its UK counterpart be cut. This is bad advice.
There are many non-Jewish members of the UK Labor Party who are members of Parliament, local councilors or ordinary party members who are not anti-Semitic and with whom ties should be maintained.
There are many Jewish members at these levels who should be supported in combating any anti-Semitism within the party.
There is also a need in these circumstances to maintain inter-party ties for the very purpose of combating this anti-Semitism. Anything else would be unhelpful and bad politics.
MICHAEL BRUNERT Modi’in
As far back as 1982, while living in England, I sensed a whiff of what was awaiting us British Jews, so I took myself and family and relocated to Israel, which I strongly believed – as I do now – held the only real safe and prosperous future for all Jews.
Thirty-four years down the line, the black clouds of anti-Semitism indeed are darkening the streets of Britain. I would suggest to my UK brothers and sisters to adopt the advice set out so nicely in that popular tune from the 1930s: “Grab your coat and grab your hat, leave your worries on the door mat. Life can be so sweet on the sunny side of the street!”
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion Sounding the alarm
Your May 5 editorial “Shaked’s injustice,” appearing on Holocaust Remembrance Day, should sound an alarm for the silent majority, in which I include myself. If not heeded, it could destroy Israel.
As a youth in Atlanta, Georgia, we lived with the county- unit system that made it possible for a few citizens of southern Georgia to consistently outvote the counties with the largest populations. The great legal figure, Morris Abram, in his years as a Georgia attorney, took the case to the Supreme Court, and the system was ruled unconstitutional.
Sadly, what I see is Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s own county-unit system, in which a minority of the population in the territories will be able to negate our justice system and make most of Israel’s population slaves of the Right.
DAVID GEFFEN Jerusalem
You say in your editorial: “Shaked’s interpretation of the separation of powers to mean that the government can do as it wants, independent of the Knesset and the High Court, is a dangerous corruption of what we like to refer to as the only democracy in the middle east.” In fact, there are two quite different models of democratic government.
In one, the republican form, such as that used in the United States, there are elaborate mechanisms to provide for appropriate checks and balances among the branches of government. In the second, the parliamentary model, such as in Britain and Canada, parliament is supreme. The top court tends to rule on constitutional matters, and the executive is integrally linked to the legislative branch. The head of the party elected to rule by the people becomes prime minister.
Israel’s method of governance is the parliamentary model, designed in no small measure along the lines of that in the UK.
Regrettably, many, if not most,Israelis tend not to appreciate that both systems are valid and longstanding forms of democratic government, and that it is not at all clear which is superior. As a result, it is often assumed, incorrectly, that the Israeli model is republican, which has led to all sorts of misunderstandings in discussions of public policy.
Therefore, whatever its merits or demerits, to conclude that Shaked’s initiative violates the separation of powers and therefore is incompatible with democracy is not warranted.
HARVEY LITHWICK Meitar Get thee out
Meyer Habib (“Dear French President Hollande, don’t support UNESCO decision,” Comment & Features, May 4) feels that “France should really be ashamed of the April 16th vote” by the UN group. Furthermore, Habib knows that the president of France is a “real and loyal friend of Israel and of the Jewish people [who is] committed to historical truth.” He thereby finds it impossible to believe that Hollande gave his “personal approval to this infamous vote....”
Excuse me? The cold, hard fact is that actions speak louder than words, and France voted in favor of this anti-Israel and anti-Jewish farce. There is no way the leader of the French nation did not know; perhaps he even had a direct hand in instructing his UN representatives how to vote. Regardless of all of Hollande’s public condemnations of anti-Semitism and lofty words of praise and love for French Jewry, the UNESCO vote shows the sad and stark truth as to what France really thinks of Israel and Jewish historical connections to this land.
How long will Habib and so many other European Jews refuse to accept a frightening, in-your-face reality that has overcome virtually all of Europe and crept into almost every level and sphere of European society? This reality is that the State of Israel should cease to exist, and Jews are simply not welcome.
The one clear message coming from the UNESCO vote and other recent European manifestations of blatant anti-Semitism is that no matter how much Habib and others wish to be in denial or use euphemisms, it is time for Jews to “get thee out” of a very hostile Europe and come to Israel to be part and parcel of the shaping and determination of Jewish history and destiny in our national, religious and eternal homeland.
GERSHON HARRIS Hatzor Haglilit Golan logic
With regard to “UN rejects Israeli jurisdiction on Golan as ‘null and void’” (April 27), if the international community contends that the Golan Heights belong to Syria because it was part of the French Mandate, then the area at the time called Palestine, including what is now called Jordan, which was designated as the “Jewish national home,” belongs to the Jewish people as part of the British Mandate.
Since, moreover, the political entity once known as Syria no longer exists, it cannot claim to be the rightful and legal owner of any territory – especially that over which it exercises no control.
MOSHE DANN Jerusalem