June 23: Happy birthday, Mr. President!

With the whopping speaking fee of $500,000, I guess Clinton believes that “humanity begins at home.”

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
June 22, 2013 22:34
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Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

 
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Sir, – President Shimon Peres conferred the Presidential Medal on Bill Clinton last week – as kids we called this the “Mutual Admiration Society” (“Peres confers Presidential Medal of Distinction on Bill Clinton,” June 20).

As adults, we called it “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Peres hailed Clinton as “a servant of humanity.” With the whopping speaking fee of $500,000, I guess Clinton believes that “humanity begins at home.”

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AVIGDOR BONCHEK Jerusalem

Sir, – We, the Israelis, are proud of Shimon Peres, a president in perfect condition on his special 90th birthday, both mentally without an impediment and physically good because he can walk without a cane for support (“Paying tribute: Peres holds start-studded gala celebrating 90th birthday,” June 19).

The photograph on page one of The Jerusalem Post must be the best of the many taken of him last night. It is excellent as it shows the most important four people smiling at the celebration.

Not only was Peres a politician from the time of former prime minister David-Ben Gurion, he is also a statesman known abroad as a wise man and a credit to Israel, giving us a good name.

Whether it was in the Jerusalem International Convention Center or on television, it was a night to remember!



HILARY GATOFF Herzliya Pituah

Sir, – I thoroughly enjoyed the TV broadcast celebrating the 90th birthday of Shimon Peres.

The jury is still out when examining his overall record, but there is no doubt that he is an amazing man – physically, mentally and spiritually. He is also one of the world’s most loved and revered statesmen, as witnessed by the accolades and adulation pouring in not only by world leaders and celebrities, but by the common man as well.

However, this tribute was marred and cheapened by the many advertising breaks. Surely our Shimon deserves better.

Why could this celebration not have been broadcast on Channel 1, where it would not have been interrupted by this crass commercialism?

I. SRUL ZUNDER Ramat Hasharon

Sir, – Certainly Shimon Peres’s birthday celebration was a bit over the top, but for a 90-yearold statesman who is still going strong, I won’t begrudge him a little partying. I only wonder, when he actually turns 90 on his birthday in August, how he will manage to top this?

PRAYA VEINER Modi’in

Sir, – President Shimon Peres’s conference is certainly noteworthy (“Presidential Conference kicks off with party for president’s 90th birthday,” June 19).

However, what is the point of having so many foreigners participate in matters that concern Israel particularly? It is Israel, and Israel uniquely alone, which has to determine its own priorities and its destiny.

Words and ideas thrown around hastily by people who are going to leave Israel immediately after the conference can cause great damage. It would be much more relevant to seeing and understanding Israel for the conference guests to devote two days to intensive touring. They would benefit from knowing how Israel has to cope with the problems from North to South and eastwards from the Mediterranean Sea.

Let them be able to also see what is being done at our major universities in research and development, advancing the reading and writing skills of our elementary school students and how we are developing new biotechnology research.

The time has come for less talk and more on the ground practical knowledge. At his next conference, let Peres give an Israeli a prize for research that has made a difference! Meanwhile, happy birthday to President Peres! To live to age 90 with all faculties gung-ho is quite an achievement. I am glad that he received the blessing from his rebbe for long life.

TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem

Sir, – Shimon Peres is a “friend of superstars such as Barbra Streisand, Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Madonna,” as enumerated by the June 19 editorial (“President Peres,” Comment and Features).

What kind of friends? Do they swap acting tips? Does he fly over for bowling night? An article in The Jerusalem Post on the same day about Peres’s Facing Tomorrow Presidential Conference provides one telling detail: “Peres reminded De Niro that they had first met in a private home. Later, Peres had seen him again in Paris, ‘but you didn’t recognize me,’ said the president.”

So these seem to be basically friends for rhetorical purposes, who hope to lend one another popularity by chumming briefly on the rostrum. I think Peres gets the better of the deal, at least. On the streets of Israel you’ll see a hundred Madonna T-shirts and a few De Niros and Sharon Stones before you’ll see anyone in a Peres T-shirt.

MARK L. LEVINSON Herzliya

Sir, – The accolades for Shimon Peres emphasize his view of and belief in the future. Both your editorial (June 19) and Uri Savir’s column “Peres’s tomorrow” (June 14) make this very clear.

However, we are now 20 years after the Oslo Accords and have a chance to review Peres’s dreams of a new Middle East.

There is no mention of how he met unlawfully with the PLO, no mention of his comments to protesters “go back where you came from” nor “guns do not kill people, people kill people.”

There is no mention of his conflicts with his “old friend” Yitzhak Rabin, nor of his undermining as foreign minister, the foreign policy of prime minister Yitzhak Shamir.

Savir comments that Peres can “not be burdened by past history, prejudices or nostalgia...He is bored by the past.”

Well, the Jewish outlook on life is based on “zachor,” remembering our past. Jewish prayer books count six (some count 10), ideas or events that we must remember. And, of course, in the modern era we must remember the Holocaust.

Thousands of Israelis were either murdered or seriously injured as the result of the Oslo Accords. With the unfortunate benefit of 20 years of hindsight as opposed to foresight, Peres should return the Nobel Peace Prize and the money he received. He brought no peace.

Yes, he is well received and loved by international statesmen and luminaries. Yes, he is optimistic about peace with the Arabs. But at what cost? We all want peace. We pray for peace three times a day in our prayers.

But we must live in the real world, not a dream world.

Mr. Peres, happy birthday.

Live and be well, as we say, “ad me’a v’esrim,” until age 120.

AVRAHAM FRIEDMAN Modi’in Illit

Sir, – According to Uri Savir “Peres is bored by the past” (“Peres’s tomorrow,” Savir’s Corner, Observations, June 14).

If there is any one phrase which would describe the total philosophical viewpoint of the 90-year-old president of Israel, that is it.

To be honest, one is moved by Shimon Peres’s idealistic optimism in the face of a cruel world which never ceases to exhibit evil and the death of innocents. His words of hope and light are a constant source of amazement not only to warweary Israelis but to the entire world. But his record of self promotion and irresponsible, naive, thoughtless, activities in putting Israelis’ lives in danger must be recognized and condemned.

Poetry and pie in the sky dreams of “peace in our time” is not a motto with which we can identify.

The Oslo debacle was Peres’s Waterloo, and all the hoopla over his sagacity and wisdom will not change what Israel has suffered because of it. Our 90- year-young president may be bored by history and look only to the future. But one must be aghast at a self-absorbed nonelected politician who refuses to acknowledge his role in Israel’s current diplomatic and security disaster.

YITZCHAK BEN-SHMUEL Modi’in

Apology

'The Jerusalem Post' in its Friday print and electronic editions erroneously reported that one of the parties to the ongoing investigation of the chief rabbi is connected to ATZUM – Justice Works. That individual has absolutely no connection to ATZUM. We sincerely regret the error.

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