September 15: Stop kidding ourselves

For now and the foreseeable future it’s time to see Erdogan and his ilk for what they are.

Breaking news (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Breaking news
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Stop kidding ourselves
Sir, – The sub-headline regarding the Turkish prime minister’s visit to Egypt (“Erdogan in Cairo to solidify status as new head of Muslim world,” September 13) adds that according to Israeli officials his harsh remarks and muscle flexing are aimed “as much at Cyprus as at Israel.”
When will we take Erdogan’s vitriolic and hateful words at face value and stop trying to find some sort of solace or hidden message intended for others? What more do we need to hear? He literally attacks Israel in the most venomous but clear language every day, no matter where he is.
He has instituted real sanctions and continues to up the ante for any kind of reconciliation, making it very clear that even an apology at this point is far from sufficient. Most recently he had the audacity to call our boarding of the flotilla an act of war that Turkey, in its infinite patience and good-will, decided to let go by without action on its part.
Turkey may be important as a strategic ally, but for now and the foreseeable future it’s time to see Erdogan and his ilk for what they are: a revived and dangerous Muslim leadership trying to take over the Middle East, if not the entire Muslim world.
Hatzor Haglilit
Turning in his grave
Sir, – I have never felt so ashamed of being Israeli or more disillusioned about our democracy than when I read “The worst day in a Beduin’s life” (September 13). Our government shows itself completely removed from the notion of working for and with the population, in one swoop discrediting the whole Zionist enterprise.
David Ben-Gurion must be turning in his grave.
These modern leaders seem to think they know what is good for us, but this is so paternalistic, so oppressive and so stupid that it begs the question of what these self-styled aristocrats understand at all.
Our hope needs to be with the media and with popular resistance to prevent this disgrace and quickly return dignity, justice and true representation to the Jewish state, its land and its inhabitants.
Political capital
Sir, – I’m not sure which counter-options the unnamed Israeli officials are being so secretive about in Herb Keinon’s recent update concerning the Palestinian statehood bid (“Israel has little hope PA statehood bid will be stopped,” September 12). But one option I have not heard discussed is challenging the UN to take a consistent stand regarding the status of Jerusalem.
What if Israel were to ask the UN to exclude east Jerusalem from the resolution, thereby maintaining the world body’s 64-year policy of not recognizing any claims to the city as per the international zone envisaged in the 1947 Partition Plan? For the sake of balance, the resolution could include recognition of west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and east Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital if the UN is so intent on moving away from the internationalization model.
With such an equitable request, I’d say there’s an excellent chance the UN would agree to implementing a balanced policy vis a vis Jerusalem’s status. The ball would then be squarely in the Palestinian court: They would have to either accept embassies moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem while east Jerusalem remains “occupied” or have their aspirations in east Jerusalem dashed. This pill would be so bitter that the PA leadership might well withdraw the entire statehood proposal altogether.
There’s no need for secret options. Using this simple and forthright strategy, Israel can make serious political capital out of the Palestinian statehood bid – quite literally, in fact!
Russia still Russia
Sir, – Human rights organizations have spoken out faintly about the massacres taking place in Syria, but at least they’ve spoken out. And although it’s been in dulcet tones, the United Nations has also spoken out.
However, that great upholder of Syria’s status quo has not (“Russia resists tougher sanctions as UN says Syria has killed 2,600,” September 13).
How can Moscow, which supposedly has moved from Communism to “democracy,” not speak out against the killing of innocent men, women and children? This shows the world that under any guise, Russia remains Russia, and is not to be trusted by the Western world because it will always stand against true democracy and human rights.
The Syrian people deserve the end of the rulership of Bashar Assad, and the West and Arab nations seem to be too afraid to stand up for their human rights.
Boteach on God
Sir, – Although I had some misgivings on certain points made by Shmuley Boteach (“Was God at Ground Zero?,” No Holds Barred, September 12), I also find it difficult to accept the contention made in some readers’ letters (“Whereabouts of God,” September 13) that we, God’s highest creation, have no right to express any doubts about what transpires on earth, as God considers that to be willful disobedience of His commandment.
If I remember correctly, somewhere it’s written that God also gave us free will, the ability to think for ourselves. In order for us to be able implement free will, He implanted within us a number of emotions including (if we are good humans) pity and sensitivity, the capability of suffering personal pain and sorrow, and a reasonably large brain with which to think and question what we don’t understand but would like to know.
Therefore I ask: What earthly or heavenly answer could there be for the Holocaust? It’s bad enough when someone says it happened so that God could bring us back home from the Diaspora, but if someone says it’s because we sinned in His sight, I get so riled up that I have to hold my hands behind my back so as not to lash out!
Kiryat Ono
Sir, – Shmuley Boteach has been known to push the edge, but in this case his is classic Jewish theology. (See the Book of Job.) The honest talmudic consensus is that God created the world to follow natural law and for man to have free will.
This is not to say there are no miracles. I believe the Six Day War was a miracle, as was Entebbe. But we cannot question when the wicked prosper, for the reward for good deeds does not take place in this world.
There has been a great antiintellectual fraud perpetrated on the Orthodox community by teachers who reduce Jewish thought and theology to the level of children’s stories. We believe in God, but the very word “belief” implies doubt.
We cannot prove God as we can a mathematical theory. To attempt to do so makes a mockery of Him.
The writer is a rabbi
Sir, – With reference to Daniel Abelman’s letter in response to Shmuley Boteach’s column, if almighty God has a master plan, He is nothing more than a consummate puppeteer playing out His preconceived scenarios – and that makes us, well, his puppets.
Has anyone ever bothered to think how an entity could have any interest whatsoever in watching a scenario he orchestrated and planned to the smallest detail unfold? I, a mere mortal, would be bored out of my mind if, before I even began creating the universe, I knew what was going to happen and when I was going to interfere to correct something.
There can be no master plan.
It’s inconceivable than any almighty being would have any interest in watching his own movie simply play out.