September 18: Much wider slippage

President Barack Obama’s approval ratings have been falling across the board in all the traditional democratic quarters.

September 18, 2011 01:50

Letters 58. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)


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Much wider slippage

Sir, – To read “Obama slippage among Jews not just anecdotal” (Analysis, September 15), one might think that New York’s 9th congressional district – not to mention the US electorate as a whole – is composed entirely of Jews. The fact is that President Barack Obama’s approval ratings have been falling across the board in all the traditional democratic quarters, and the reason is not hard to discern.

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Obama was elected for two primary reasons: to fix the economy and get America out of its two wars. He has done neither, instead losing no time before kicking around Israel publicly, then running off to Saudi Arabia to bow down before a potentate who won’t let women drive cars.

Aside from squandering trillions of stimulus dollars on projects that were not remotely “shovel-ready” (as he termed it), Obama squandered his political capital among increasingly dismayed and disappointed Democrats no less than among Republicans, for whom these issues – Israel, the economy and the wars – are just as important.

The story from Queens is much bigger than the Jews.


Pitching constituents


Sir, – Finally, a member of Knesset has the foresight and aptitude to promote and educate Israeli citizens from a realistic democratic forum (“MK pitches ‘tent office’ to get close to public,” September 15), thus replicating the weekly “surgeries” that British MPs are duty-bound to attend in order to focus on the requirements demanded by their constituents.

It seems that Nino Abesadze of Kadima is on the right track, which hopefully will start the ball rolling to promote and endorse electoral form. Kol hakavod to her!


Leap year?

Sir, – In “Violence after Palestinians’ UN bid could last months, say IDF officials” (September 15), a senior defense figure is quoted as saying: “Everyone talks about September but it is not as if September 31 will come and everything will end.”

Students of the Bible know that Moses received extra time to fight the war against the Amalekites and Joshua received extra time to fight the war against the Gibeonites, so I’m gratified that the official has provided extra time for us to win the war that will start on September 20.

Miracles never cease.

The writer is a rabbi

No mention at all

Sir, – Very interesting. A protest in Jerusalem’s Paris Square concerning the eviction of 30 people living illegally in a Hebrew University dorm deserves a frontpage color photo (“Homeless again,” September 14).

Only a couple of days ago, in the same location, people from the Migron outpost were protesting the middle-of-thenight destruction of three homes that left many children homeless.

That protest did not even get a mention.


Not going away

Sir, – Your September 14 editorial (“The Labor primaries”) couldn’t have been more wrong.

You brushed over the importance of the party’s early days, when it was Israel. We may never get back to those good old days, but at least we’re trying and hoping.

The smarmy comments of the editorial are best forgotten. If Labor succeeds in getting us back to old times, we as a nation and a people will have a lot to be grateful for.

So let’s not write it off as just another small party. This is Labor, and it’s not going to go away.


That hating feeling

Sir, – Gershon Baskin claims that “an Israel reaching out to the Palestinians and willing to make peace with a Palestinian state based on the [pre-]1967 borders” will be welcomed throughout the region (“The view from Cairo,” Encountering Peace, September 13).

Even if many moderate secular Arabs are prepared to end hostilities on that basis, there will always be religious extremists who cannot bear to see Jews or Christians exercising sovereignty over any land in the Middle East or having equal rights. These extremists succeeded over the centuries in turning Christian majorities into tiny, oft-persecuted minorities.

Jews take note! These religious extremists will never reconcile themselves to a Jewish state. Let us pray for a peaceful, democratic and just Egypt, but not be naive!

Salford, UK

Sir, – According to Gershon Baskin, the pent-up hatred for Israel by the Egyptian people is based on a lack of peace with the Palestinians.

He constantly harps on this theme but never explains why the Egyptian army attempted to destroy Israel in 1948 and again in 1967 when there was no occupation. He also fails to explain the killing of innocent Israelis.

Baskin is very familiar with Turkey’s leaders, who he feels are not at all radical. Maybe he could explain their support of the IHH, Hamas in Gaza, and Ankara’s own war against the Kurds.

Petah Tikva

Sir, – For someone so well traveled in the Arab world, Gershon Baskin’s analysis of the negative attitude toward Israel reflects deep naivete.

Arab hatred toward us is not only in the streets – it is in intellectual circles as well, as shown in articles published in leading papers during the Mubarak years. It is a hatred of the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

I am afraid that this situation will not change for the better after the so-called Arab Spring.

The change lying ahead entails Islamism throughout the Arab world, which will threaten the continuation of Israel.

For the time being I think my safety is more enhanced by a concrete wall with Egypt than by the words of Baskin, who stresses the need for stronger bridges.


Heal thyself

Sir, – Before Rabbi Yosef Blau takes our religious Zionist education to task as being somehow responsible for the reckless actions of the “price tag” group (“‘Price tag’ – paying for our educational failures,” Comment & Features, September 13), I would like to remind him that it was his institution (Yeshiva University) that educated and trained Baruch Goldstein.

His column reminds me of the “blood libel” against Bar Ilan University after Yigal Amir murdered Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

I suggest that Blau spend more time reflecting on the failings of the Jewish student community in the US where he has chosen to live and work.


Same old Likud

Sir, – It might be true that Gilad Erdan “has it all” and is “young (turning 41 this month), handsome, savvy and charming” (“Telling the truth, eloquently,” Editor’s Notes, September 9). But that will not help us if he travels to the US and repeats the same tired mantras that have been heard (and rejected and scorned) for the past 44 years.

Yes, it is “important to stress first of all that Israel wants peace and educates for peace.” But what the world, including America, hears most clearly are the announcements that we are adding buildings and new inhabitants to the very areas most of the world believes would constitute a Palestinian state. The world has not and does not hear in those acts a desire for peace.

What may seem to Erdan and his Likud colleagues as “big concessions and compromises” are drowned out by our continued expansion in Judea and Samaria.

Whatever he claims, there is nothing new.

Moshav Aminadav

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