June 25: Poor to abysmal

In my opinion, MK Avigdor Liberman restricted himself too greatly when he concentrated on “our region” (“The unsuccessful history of peacekeeping in our region,” Observations, June 21).

June 24, 2013 21:08

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

Poor to abysmal

Sir, – In my opinion, MK Avigdor Liberman restricted himself too greatly when he concentrated on “our region” (“The unsuccessful history of peacekeeping in our region,” Observations, June 21).

The record of the UN’s peacekeeping forces around the world ranges from poor to abysmal.

The UN’s record of saving lives in South Sudan, Liberia and Darfur and in the Abyei area of Sudan is abysmal. In Mali, the French have acted on their own to counteract Muslim fanatics, not relying on the UN’s MINUSMA. The lack of action in during the massacres in Rwanda is something that will reflect poorly on the UN for a long time.

UNMIK in Kosovo has done little to protect non-Muslims (mostly Serbs) in the area. The UN’s record in Afghanistan is not stellar by any means. Its observer group in India and Pakistan is almost unknown and deservedly so. Border clashes between those countries have totally ignored the UN presence.

The only UN action that might be considered successful (if one is very generous in one’s definition) was the police action in Korea, and that was the direct result of the behavior of the United States before, during and after. South Korea has continued to exist, but “peace” is not exactly a word that applies to the Korean peninsula.

Former prime minister David Ben-Gurion’s saying “uhm, shmum” [uhm is the Hebrew pronunciation of the UN] was very apt.


Open migration

Sir, – I found the story of the chiffchaff very interesting (“Common chiffchaff makes rare southern journey to nest in Israel,” June 20).

The birds are obviously taking advantage of the new open skies policy.


Gender equality

Sir, – The Rabbinical Council of America must no longer assert that 50% of the Jewish population is incapable of carrying out the the duties of a rabbi (“For women graduates of Rabbi Avi Weiss’s NY academy, ordination comes with controversy,” June 20).

Rabbi Avi Weiss, who for decades has fought for the Jewish people, leads the way for gender equality and the potential contribution of thousands to Torah learning and tending to the needs of congregations. Would that all members of the RCA were as wise and sensitive as Weiss.


Taught to hate

Sir, – I was horrified, dismayed and just plain angry to hear about the idea of having a drawing contest depicting haredi soldiers as “hardakim” – which implies weak mindedness or insects – in cartoons, and giving prizes for the best ones (“Danon calls for action on haredi campaign against soldiers,” June 20).

How long ago was it that the Nazis had drawings of Jews with big noses and fat bellies posted in cartoon-like forms? How can they encourage such hatred when the Arab school children have books teaching them that we are the enemy – and that means ALL of us.

I well remember the song from the South Pacific musical that said “you’ve gotta be taught to hate, you’ve gotta be carefully taught.”

It never made the charts, but it sadly resonates, even today.


Intellectually dishonest

Sir, – People like Dr. Ira Helfand and organizations like International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War are naïve at best and intellectually dishonest at worst (“Nuclear expert: Israeli warheads are a threat to its own security,” June 20).

All the non-proliferation agreements and monitoring measures have proven themselves woefully inept at preventing those intent upon developing nuclear capability for evil purposes, despite economic sanctions and political pressure.

Some nuclear programs were only discovered accidentally, as when the Libyan regime attempted to acquire nuclear triggers.

Disarmament proponents such as Global Zero speak in terms of global disarmament, yet their flashy, Hollywood-star-spiked propaganda campaigns are typically directed towards the West. It is a one-sided affair.

Israel today is the only nation that is regularly and openly threatened with annihilation by nuclear weapons. Yet Helfand addresses our Knesset. It is so easy to find a receptive audience in democratic Israel. Ours is not a culture of martyrdom and adoration of the latest ballistic missile.

Were Dr. Helfand and his sort honest, they would take their message to the University of Tehran or persistently protest in Pyongyang.

Too dangerous? Might cost them their lives? They’re never shy about asking Israel to risk its existence.


In the noose

Sir, – Congratulations to the brave Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich who had belatedly the guts to expose the well-known corrupt, extortionist union leadership activities of the Ashdod ports (“On the waterfront,” Editorial, June 20).

This type of immoral, monopolistic activity by these thugs should be wiped out by our community like an infectious germ.

These gangsters and hoodlums are no different to criminals that rip our money out of our pockets without compunction.

Where has the Histadrut been all of these years – asleep? I feel sorry for Yacimovich who now has her neck in the noose for telling the truth.

JACK DAVIS Jerusalem

A noble end

Sir, – The article in The Jerusalem Post titled “On the road to recovering Spain’s Jewish roots” (June 19) has a glaring mistake.

Contrary to what the article says, King Juan Carlos did not apologize for the Spanish Inquisition in 1992. Maybe the reporter confused the Inquisition with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, which took place on March 31, 1492 – 500 years before.

On March 31, 1992, I covered – for several American Jewish publications – a ceremony at the Bet Yaakov Synagogue in Madrid to commemorate the expulsion. The ceremony was presided over by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia, with former Israeli president Haim Herzog and rabbis from several countries in attendance.

The king never apologized for the Inquisition, or the expulsion, in his speech that day. Nor did he say, as the article states, that “the expulsion of the Jews was the worst mistake Spain ever made.”

In his speech, a copy of which I have, the King did say that “we have lived times of deep respect for liberties and also times of intolerance and persecution for political, ideological religious reasons.

What matters is not the reckoning of our mistakes or accomplishments, but the will to project and analyze the past in function of the future [and] to work together in pursuit of a noble end.”


Destroy from within

Sir, – Balad MK Jamal Zahalka has surely won the “can you top this chutzpah award” (“Balad pushes bill to make Israeli Arabs and autonomous minority,” June 18).

His suggestion that Israeli Arabs be officially designated an autonomous minority with full rights to determine their attachment to the Palestinians and the Arab world is a blatant attempt to eventually cause the downfall of the Jewish state. Which “international law” allows citizens of a country to teach allegiance to their country by referring to Israeli independence as nakba, a catastrophe? That which the Palestinians have been unable to do militarily and politically in the United Nations, they are now attempting to destroy from within.

Zahalka states that Arab children do not know what they are doing here. If that is indeed the prevailing opinion in the Israeli Arab communities, perhaps I don’t either.

SARA SMITH Jerusalem

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