September 12: Why no cooperation?

PA is lavished with USAID funds while proposals for coexistence initiatives for Jewish, Arab residents in Judea, Samaria are deemed unworthy?

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Why no cooperation?
Sir, — The juxtaposition of two unrelated news items in your September 9 issue (“‘Palestinians must step up sewage recycling’” and “Israeli academic affiliated with Samaria university reinstated to Berlin conference”) struck me as ironic.
The first concerns multiple pleas to the Palestinians by Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan to accept Israel’s assistance in the treatment of waste water. The second reports on the reinstatement Prof. Ronen Cohen, a recognized expert on modern Iran at the Ariel University Center (AUC), after having been banned from a Berlin academic conference by a Dr.Gunter Meyer due to the AUC’s so-called illegal location.
In June 2010, I participated in a meeting hosted jointly by AUC and the Samaria Regional Council to interest US government officials in hooking up Salfit, an Arab town, to the sophisticated sewage treatment plant in the city of Ariel – a win-win for all and a great way to build peace, literally from the underground up. Unfortunately, there was no indication then (or in my many meetings with US Consulate staff and State Department officials since) that projects of this nature are to be supported.
Why, I continue to ask them, is the PA lavished with USAID funds while proposals for laudable coexistence initiatives for the benefit of Jewish and Arab residents in Judea and Samaria are deemed unworthy? Perhaps there will come a day when the PA, Foggy Bottom and Dr. Meyer and others like him might be persuaded to explore with Israelis the advantages of inclusion over marginalization. I am sure AUC would be overjoyed to host just such a conference.
The writer is director of the Israel office of the Zionist Organization of America.
This is dhimmitude
Sir, – I could not agree more with what was said in “Turkish Tantrums” (Into the Fray, September 9).
Turkey’s treatment of Israel has little to do with Israel’s behavior and everything to do with Turkey’s aspirations for regional hegemony and its attitude toward non-Muslims.
Ankara’s absurd demand, that Israel give up the right to defend itself and the right to enforce an entirely legal blockade against a genocidal regime dedicated to its destruction, is a manifestation of the Muslim concept of dhimmitude.
Robert Spencer, author of The Myth of Islamic Tolerance, defines this as “the status that Islamic law, the Sharia, mandates for non-Muslims, primarily Jews and Christians” in which they are “free to practice their religion in a Sharia regime, but are made subject to a number of humiliating regulations designed to enforce the Quran’s command that they feel themselves subdued.”
The attitudes of Turkey, Egypt, the Palestinians and others toward Israel is what dhimmitude looks like.

Not just the US
Sir, – Michael Freund (“Hold the Saudis to account for 9/11,” Fundamentally Freund, September 8) writes: “The Taliban regime which harbored al-Qaida was swept out of power by the might of the American military.”
Freund dishonors all the other soldiers who did their duty while fighting the war on terror (we Canadians lost over 150). The blood of the other soldiers who fought and died in Afghanistan is worth not only the same as American blood, but is worth mentioning when the victory against our enemies is celebrated in print.
Let’s be fair to every soldier who gave his or her all. They stood up for us; let us stand up for them.
Tweed, Ontario
Highly misleading
Sir, – In response to “US colleges may be liable for ‘massive damages’ if they fail to prevent anti-Semitism on campus” (September 8), it’s incredibly unfortunate that a former student at Brandeis University experienced anti-Semitism and that he feels the school “ignores anti-Semitism and seeks to brush it under the rug.”
These words, however, are by no means an accurate portrayal of the current sentiment on campus. Brandeis has approximately 3,200 undergraduates, 1,500 of whom are Jewish. Given the proportion of Jewish students on campus, one can imagine that any instance of anti-Semitism would be taken quite seriously by both the administration and the student body.
Just last fall, when the Westboro Baptist Church assembled a hateful, anti-Semitic protest at the gates of our campus, the entire student body and administration joined together in an event opposing anti-Semitism and racism.
As a Jewish student on campus, I would certainly hope that no one reading the article forms the wrong impression of Jewish life at Brandeis. The quotation is taken out of context and is highly misleading.

Waltham, Massachusetts
Police, take notice
Sir, - Regarding “Mea She'arim ‘mafia’ harasses, vandalizes businesses” (September 8), Manny Samuels is a fellow Chicagoan.
We felt such anger that this should happen to his wonderful business and that the Sikrikim group should be allowed to continue to harass business owners.
Where are the police while all this is going on? How can they not get involved in this neighborhood? Are they afraid of the reactions of the haredim? Would they be afraid if this happened in other neighborhoods? True, the Sikrikim are the most extreme splinter sect associated with the haredim and they are no more than 60-100 people. But their thuggery should not be allowed to continue and the police must see to it that businesses in Mea She’arim are allowed to function in peace and quiet.


Look to Taiwan
Sir, – Regarding “Israel No. 22 in world competitiveness” (Business & Finance, September 8), I’m glad to know that your country rose two positions in the World Economic Forum’s 2011 Global Competitiveness Report.
Allow me to point out, too, that in the same report Taiwan maintained its position, at 13, although its overall score of 5.26 points was up 0.05 over last year.
Among Asia-Pacific economies, it was ranked No. 4, the same as last year and behind only Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.
Taiwan was ranked 9th for its capacity to innovate. The WEF report said it possesses “undeniable” innovation ability and that the country has fully developed into an innovation-driven economy.
Israel was ranked 6th for innovation, so I think Taiwan can learn from Israel.
A visa waiver arrangement between Israel and Taiwan came into effect on August 11. I strongly believe this will enhance the cooperation between Israel, a software power, and Taiwan, a manufacturing and hardware power, in the near future.
Tel Aviv

The writer is director of the Information Division at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office Wasted vote.
Sir, – I am wondering why I voted for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu again and what has happened to the Likud (“MKs call on Netanyahu to stop razing settlement homes,” September 6).
We need to build in all of historic Israel immediately, and when a Palestinian state is declared we need to annex all our land. Another terrorist state in our heartland is unthinkable.

Netanyahu says one thing to please the people and does the opposite to please the world. He no longer represents our needs.
Likud, get control of your prime minister or you will lose the support of the people and do irreparable harm to Israel!