Letters to the Editor May 1, 2019: A sign of the ‘Times’

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

By
May 1, 2019 04:26
New York Times cartoon depicting Netanyahu as a guide dog with Trump

New York Times cartoon depicting Netanyahu as a guide dog with Trump. (photo credit: THE NEW YORK TIMES)

Alms for the rich

Regarding “Palestinians on verge of financial collapse” (April 30), it is not surprising that the world’s greatest kleptocracy is crying that it is short of cash. 
 
Billions of dollars flow into the PA year after year from donor nations around the world, but there is precious little information on where it actually goes. Evidence of widespread corruption is rife; billions of dollars disappear. Yasser Arafat, for example, was judged one of the wealthiest people in the world, leaving more than $1.3 billion to his wife and daughter – and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and other top officials in the PA elite have followed suit, raking in six-figure salaries and amassing vast personal fortunes. 
 
Since Oslo, the PA has received a staggering quarter of a trillion dollars in financial aid from the US and other Western countries – the highest per capita assistance in the world. Where has it all gone – other than to incentivize and reward murderers and demonize Israel? 
 
The nations of the world should finally demand transparency and accountability from the PA before paying out even another penny to subsidize the lifestyles of the corrupt.
 
MEIR LEVI
Jerusalem


A sign of the ‘Times’
 
Regarding “Flood of condemnations at ‘NYT’ for antisemitic cartoon” (April 29), the blatantly antisemitic and anti-Israel cartoon that ran in The New York Times leaves one to wonder how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will respond. 
 
The time has come to learn from the example of prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, who chose an effective way to respond to an unusually blatant anti-Israel feature on a major American TV network that ran in June, 1987, on the 20th anniversary of the Six Day War. 
 
Shamir, in consultation with his creative press attaché, Avi Pazner, simply told that network that Israel would no longer give them access to interviews, press conferences or vital information. 
 
Within 48 hours, the corporate vice president of that network rushed to Israel and asked for a chance to produce less-biased coverage. 
 
Shamir did not remove their press credentials; he acted in a much more threatening manner. He removed their access. 
Imagine what would happen if the Israeli government were to cut access to the Times until the proponents of that cartoon were removed. 
 
It would work, because what the Times wants is access. 
 
DAVID BEDEIN
Director, Israel Resource News Agency
Center for Near East Policy Research
Reporter Seth Frantzman asks how such obvious antisemitism could have passed check after check. 
 
I have a cynical answer that is probably the correct one. 
 
For the past two years, the editorial atmosphere at The New York Times has been so obsessively anti-Trump that columnists and reporters have learned that no matter what the subject, the material must somehow be given an anti-Trump component. So when a cartoon comes along portraying President Donald J. Trump as blind and led by a foreign country, it is exactly the sort of thing that the editors favor. After all, the kippa on Trump’s head is very small and the Star of David on Netanyahu’s neck is there for purposes of identity only. 
 
If mainline Jewish American agencies find it awkward to defend Israel, they should at least rise in defense of their incumbent president. Yes, this errant cartoon is in more than one sense, a sign of the times.
 
IRIS SANDRA SPERO
Jerusalem


Once again have we have been belittled by a New York Times “apology,” this time over a sickening cartoon that it “erroneously” published. We have been insulted by apologies like this before, that fall far short of mending the harm inflicted. They merely serve to make antisemites feel better about having embarrassed themselves by revealing their prejudice. After the ritual apology, the evil expressed in their work still lives in their heart and they go home at night believing in the justness of their view.  
 
The paper called it “an error of judgment” to publish it. Does that mean that not publishing it would have made it okay for people running the most “authoritative” newspaper in the world to harbor the views expressed in the cartoon? Six million Jews were murdered because of views such as expressed in the Times, and Jewish lives continue to be negatively impacted every day.
 
FRANK J. VAN BERS
Kfar Saba


I don’t see the New York Times cartoon as antisemitic. I found it confronting, discomforting and I squirmed: hallmarks of an effective political cartoon.
 
A blue Magen David represents the Israeli flag to me; a political – not religious – symbol. To me, the Netanyahu-faced dog wearing the star represents the state, the prime minister, the government, its policies; a clear political statement: An Israeli (not Jewish) dog, not a religious insult.
 
The fat, blind American president using the dog mirrors my political understanding, that Israel’s prime minister influences – guides – America’s Middle East policies. As in the cartoon, I believe the president is blind (ignorant?) and requires guidance in all things Israel. The yarmulke represents the president’s kowtowing to the religious influence within the Netanyahu government and the PM’s insincere compromise to keep his job.
 
It’s easy to conclude that any cartoon with a Magen David is antisemitic, to reject it out of hand as religious hatred. It’s harder to accept it as anti-Israeli, challenging government policies of both America and Israel, and face the issues highlighted. 
 
I don’t believe the Times published something antisemitic; it’s not their style. I embrace this cartoon that demonstrates one picture replaces a thousand disquieting words characterizing the Israeli-American political relationship.
 
JUDY BAMBERGER
O’Connor, Australia


Unkosher sects
 
People often wonder why we Orthodox Jews cannot accept Reform and Conservative Judaism as legitimate sects. “Separating biblical mythology from biblical history” by Joshua Davidson (April 25) is a prime example of why not.
 
In his article, the writer (sorry, I cannot call him a rabbi) unequivocally denies the entire basis of our existence as a religion and a people. He denies the divinity of the Torah. His superficial reading of the texts does not take into account the Oral Law, or the explanations of the Written Law which were, and still are, handed down from teacher to student. 
 
The Exodus from Egypt, the miracles performed by God to show His omnipotence, the Revelation at Sinai, where all Jewish souls witnessed the giving of the Ten Commandments – these are the foundation of our nationhood and responsibilities in this world. By denying them, Davidson reduces our claim to the Land of Israel to pure political propaganda.
 
Am Yisrael (the people of Israel); Torat Yisrael (the eternal Torah dictated to Moses) and Eretz Yisrael, our homeland – these are pillars of Judaism. Davidson dismisses all three, as did the original Reform Movement platform.
 
We cannot accept the validity of his views. His status as a Jew is not denied, as long as his mother was Jewish or he converted according to Halacha, but his views in this article are anathema to Orthodox Judaism.
 
BATYA BERLINGER
Jerusalem


Fine-tune the wording
 
“Palestinian revamp” (April 28) says that the Palestinian Authority is “today facing a financial crisis resulting from Israel’s decision to withhold tax revenues.” 
 
But, as you note, Israel is withholding only the amount paid to terrorists (or their families). 
 
It is, rather, PA President Mahmoud Abbas who has created the crisis because he is refusing to accept any tax revenue at all. 
 
If the PA collapses, it will be the fault of the Palestinian leadership – the same leadership that has refused all offers of peace that would truly bring benefits to all.
 
BARRY LYNN
Efrat


Our role in stopping the hate
 
Regarding the upsurge in antisemitism (“Stop the hate,” April 29), the Israeli government is partly responsible by allowing Arab propaganda to flood the media entirely unchallenged. 
 
For example, Ramallah is part of Arab-occupied Israel. There is no such place as the “West Bank.” There is only Judea and Samaria. Say so, Israel. 
 
The 1920 San Remo agreement declared that Palestine is to be created solely as the Jewish National Home. The Arabs were given no governmental rights at all. This agreement was ratified by the League of Nations in 1922. Further, Article 80 of the UN Covenants says quite clearly that the UN will have no power to overturn or alter the terms of any international agreement previously ratified by the League of Nations.
 
This means all UN decisions relating to the Jewish Homeland of Palestine (now known as Israel) are illegal and dead letters in international law. Say so loudly, Israel. This current “Palestine” is a fiction invented in 1969 by The Arab League for political purposes. Proof of this: UN Resolution 242 (1967) makes no mention of “Palestine” because it had not yet been invented by Yasser Arafat and the Arab League. There is no Palestine. There is only Israel.
 
At San Remo, the legal frontiers of the Palestine, now known as Israel, were supposed to encompass an area that includes Jordan. So Jordan is part of the land of Palestine now called Israel. If the so-called “Palestinian Arabs” were to move a few miles to Jordan, they would be in legal “Palestine.” In other words, the two-state solution already exists. 
 
We must stop letting Arab propagandists create a climate that is a prime cause of the upsurge of antisemitism around the world. 

DAVID LEE
Jerusalem


Fine people on both sides
 
I was disappointed in the sloppy reporting of US President Donald Trump’s Charlottesville remarks in “Antisemitism and the altered state of the Jews” (April 29).
 
The article gave the impression that Trump’s words “very fine people on both sides” were referring to neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Having read the transcript and listened to the tape of the event, it is clear that Trump was referring to the demonstrators for and against removing the Confederate statue of Gen. Robert E Lee. I am surprised that the writer bought into the left Democratic Party propaganda.
 
Trump has done much for Israel and has stood by the Jewish people; he deserves better.
 
RABBI MOSHE STERN
Ramat Beit Shemesh


Pathetic satellite
 
Regarding “Don’t wait for Trump: Build four Samaria settlements” (April 29), when will we ever do anything that is right for ourselves without consulting with and getting the approval of so-called friends? We behave like a pathetic satellite of the “mighty” USA.
Bringing Trump into our affairs over which he should have no say is an insult to our sovereignty. As Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said, “We should be on the offensive, not the defensive.” 
 
Regarding “Palestinians on verge of financial collapse” (30 April), that should be the best news of all, a blessing for our people and country in that it would be one less enemy in our midst. But it is the last thing that Netanyahu wants; he has supported PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his terrorist organization for years in order to avoid this “catastrophe.”
 
When Abbas says, “In the end Israel will return our money in our way and not in its way,” he knows who he is dealing with – an Israeli prime minister calling himself Mr. Security who apologized for placing security appliances on the Temple Mount because of the killing of two policemen by Arabs and agreed to their immediate removal because Abbas threatened that no Arab would go back on the Mount until their demands were met.  
 
What a tapestry of misery we weave for ourselves.
 
EDITH OGNALL
Netanya


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