Letters to the Editor: Trump’s wall

We can thank the jihadists for turning European comity upside down, from a utopia to a dystopia.

January 29, 2017 21:26

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Trump’s wall

There is one blaring omission from Amotz Asa-El’s “The great wall of Donald” (Front Lines, January 27): what it was that turned the West’s “era of good feeling” into pessimistic protectionism. It’s the same that former US president Barack Obama omitted: radical Islamic jihadism.

When President Donald Trump gets bids from Israeli fence contractors, he might choose to build a “smart fence” for the most part, not a 30-meter concrete barrier. In any case, the wall will not be an iconic landmark or an obstacle for legal immigration, but it will be more than a nuisance for illegals.

We can thank the jihadists for turning European comity upside down, from a utopia to a dystopia.

President Trump is the first American leader to acknowledge – and hopefully combat – the West’s sworn enemy, the jihadists.

Alfei Menashe

I am astounded that Mexicans, apparently including leaders of the Mexican Jewish community, are condemning the new Trump administration for planning to wall off the US-Mexico border.

Anyone who has visited Mexico over the past 30 years knows that every Mexican of means – including politicians, community spokespeople and, no doubt, leaders of the Mexican Jewish community – all live behind three- or four-meter fortified walls, typically crowned with cemented-in broken glass and barbed wire. Those who are truly well off hire 24-hour security guards to supplement their walls.

The stated purpose of these walls is to prevent unauthorized Mexicans and others from entering the owner’s property. One would think the Mexican ruling class would be sympathetic to those in the US who wish to wall-off US property to prevent unauthorized Mexicans and others from entering.

Woodside, California

Embassy in Jerusalem

The caterwauling about the dire consequences of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem (“Erekat: We’ll counter Jerusalem embassy move,” January 27) is the height of hypocrisy. If Israel annexes major Jewish towns that make up 2% of the disputed territories, or the US builds a new embassy on a lot in Jerusalem it purchased in the 1990s, nothing will change.

If the new Trump administration treats all sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict equally and has the same expectation for both Arabs and Jews, he might effect a calmer environment in the short term.


Yudith Oppenheimer writes in “America’s embassy in Jerusalem – only as a city of peace” (Comment & Features, January 26) that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem “would violate international law.”

While this is a politically correct statement frequently made by politicians and those supporting their view, I have never seen any court decision supporting this opinion.

On the contrary. In 2013, the French Court of Appeals in Versailles clearly ruled that Israel’s presence and Jewish settlements beyond the pre-1967 lines are not illegal and do not violate the Geneva Convention’s prohibition against an occupying power transferring its civilian population into the territory it occupies.

It should also be remembered that those lines are the 1949 armistice lines, where the armies stopped at the end of Israel’s War of Independence. The armistice agreements specifically stated that the lines were not to be considered international borders. Furthermore, this condition was inserted at the demand of the Arabs, who made it clear that they would not sign without this condition.

While we are privileged to live in a democratic country where all opinions can be made without fear, it is important to get facts correct and not be blinded by erroneous assertions that can become accepted as fact by their frequent repetition.


Tough to explain

In his discourse, Reuven Ben-Shalom (“The tragedy of scientific ignorance,” Observations, January 27) makes some good points, but avoids the real problem.

To take science into account on a “personal and organizational level” these days is no easy task – perhaps far beyond the capabilities of most. I remember trying to explain to my two brothers (both very distinguished professors of political science in top Canadian universities) the mathematical meaning of derivatives and integrals, but they couldn’t quite grasp it – just like my understanding of Kant’s philosophies is surely naïve.

To understand science these days, you have to grasp highly mathematical constructs – quantum mechanics, gray matter, entropy of black holes, theories of climate change, etc. And it’s getting worse all the time: These days, two physical scientists from different areas of expertise can barely understand the language of the other unless they expend enormous energy in the attempt.

Understanding “science” is quickly becoming the prerogative of 0.01% of the population, a mental inequality that dwarfs the social and financial inequalities of our times.

The writer is an emeritus professor of physics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Erdan’s priorities

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan says his first priority is to completely back up his troops (“Erdan defends police actions in Umm al-Hiran demolition operation,” January 26). This, then, is presumably ahead of any concern he might have of justice being served.

That being the case, and due to the many questions arising from this affair, it is hard to imagine that an internal investigation can be fairly carried out. An external, objective investigation is the only way to deal with the Beduin community’s concerns.


Seeing red

I continue to see red after trying to analyze Shmuley Boteach’s psychological examination of his religious compatriots (“Schizophrenic America,” No Holds Barred, January 24). Perhaps his narcissistic self-examination (he comes from a divorced home) could be extenuating, but not for me.

I would hate to be patronized by Boteach at his Shabbat table, and I find it very difficult to digest the fact that he found President Donald Trump’s inauguration inspirational and patriotic. Trump wants to “make America great again.”

What a laugh! America is great because truly patriotic democratic citizens rigorously practice their rights, and this has inspired the world for generations.

People like the insincere rabbi who don’t get what dignity and democracy are all about blunt the sincere efforts of people like the Democrats – who are behaving magnificently after a grossly unfair electoral process. Maybe he should put himself on the couch a little longer to examine what he meant when criticizing women who were grossly offended by Trump’s “lewd depictions of the female anatomy” and why the female marchers’ excessive indignation left him so “cold.”

Boteach is a gifted writer, but he has lost his spiritual compass. He should make every effort to realign himself with common human dignity, or his followers will soon find him irrelevant.


Time to apologize

I just watched a documentary on Channel 1 about the vessel Exodus and its unbelievable story of Jews, survivors of the Holocaust, and how they were mistreated by the British government, from foreign minister Ernest Bevin down to individual British soldiers, forcefully removing these refugees from the ship into Germany and housing them in terrible conditions in abandoned concentration camps.

Seventy years later, it is almost the last chance for the British government, through the queen, to repent, to ask forgiveness for the unnecessary torture of these Jews while there are some who are still alive. And while they are about it, they can apologize for all the other Jewish refugees they imprisoned in Atlit and Cyprus.


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