March 25, 2018: This says it all

The EU, Passover and Mr. Lauder.

By
March 24, 2018 22:21
Letters

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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This says it all

In “EU: There is no state of Palestine without Gaza” (March 22), EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said this week: “...we expect all Palestinian factions to... continue on the path of reconciliation, with courage and determination.”

Below that report is a photo accompanying the article “Gaza clean water project gets a boost.” It is captioned: “Palestinians burn an effigy yesterday depicting PA President Mahmoud Abbas, in Gaza City.”

That says it all, really.

JUDY MONTAGU
Jerusalem


We are sovereign

Regarding “Taiwan shadows China carrier after Xi threat” (International News, March 22), China’s military threat to Taiwan raises our concerns.

Beijing has kept sending military aircraft and vessels around Taiwan since its Communist Party Congress last year and claims that Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory. Yet Taiwan, whose formal name is the Republic of China, is a sovereignty country, so it is not under Beijing’s authority, and any military threat to the island is unjustified.

US President Donald Trump has just signed a law regarding Taiwan to approve visits by senior officials in both directions. It’s an encouraging sign. Hopefully, Israel will do the same.

PAUL KUOBOUG CHANG
Tel Aviv
The writer is the representative of Taiwan in Israel.


Thanks for asking


In “Preventing the next war” (Encountering Peace, March 22), Gershon Baskin asks us what we would do about the deprivations if we were Gazans. Well, here’s my answer.

I’d learn to read English to enable me to read perspectives online beyond the propaganda diet fed by my media. I’d likely discover for the first time that the Jews believe they originated in the land and have always considered it theirs. I’d probably learn that if my leaders were to merely recognize this fact, our misery could end very quickly.

I might also read about other historical parallels and emulate the White Rose Society’s wartime resistance to Nazism. Perhaps then I would furtively organize a resistance movement to Hamas’s leadership, one that would achieve our liberty and open the gates to prosperity by simply recognizing and accepting Israeli’s right to exist.

That’s how I’d end our self-imposed misery if I were a Gazan. Thank you, Gershon, for asking.

GERSHON DALIN
Modi’in


Lauder’s ‘facts’

Incensed. Insulted. Incredulous. I can’t decide which word best describes my reaction to Jewish-American leader Ronald S. Lauder’s “Grave threats to Israel as a Jewish democratic state” (Comment & Features, March 21).

Incredulous, because his assumptions seem so naïve for a top spokesman for world Jewry. His “fact,” for example, that current population trends make a two-state solution “the only path forward” conflicts with current data showing a decided upward trend in Jewish births and a decided downward trend in Arab births. And calling all Arabs living in the region “Palestinians” sounds as though he’s taking not only his “facts,” but also his terminology right out of a PLO handbook.

Insulted? Yes, that too, as in Mr. Lauder’s description of “blinkered Israeli policies” and in the same breath purporting that he is privy to inside information that the “senior Palestinian leaders” are ready to begin negotiations immediately. Hmmm. Might one of those “senior leaders” be the one who just called the US ambassador to Israel a “son of a dog?” Who’s blinkered here?

Finally, I am personally incensed by his making Israeli policy the scapegoat for “assimilation, alienation and a severe erosion of the global Jewish community’s affinity for the Jewish homeland.”

Mr. Lauder, you are right: There must be a change of course. But it must begin with world Jewry taking a heavy dose of self-examination, especially with regard to its predominantly secular younger generation and its values, in order to change the course of assimilation and disaffection. And, please, Mr. Lauder, realize that we Israelis are fighting not just for the survival of the Diaspora, but for our own survival, too.

DEBORAH ABRAMOWITZ
Jerusalem


Of Ronald Lauder’s analysis, one might ask certain questions:

• Where are these mysterious senior Palestinian leaders who are ready to begin negotiations?
• Do they recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people?
• Where would he like to place this Palestinian state – in the Jordan valley? In all of Judea and Samaria?
• Will the Palestinians cease or at least condemn terrorist attacks, or will they continue to idolize the terrorists and pay their families?
• Are they ready to give up what they call their right of return?
• Is Mr. Lauder unaware that anyone can pray at the Western Wall? All that is needed is respect for tradition.

I suggest that he deal with reality and not fantasy in his analysis of the “future of the nation” he loves.

S.R. SAMPSON
Rehovot

Regarding Ronald Lauder’s op-ed piece, I think there is a basic misunderstanding – nothing has changed, not in the Diaspora and not in Israel.

Unfortunately, assimilation and distancing from Israel in the Diaspora started long before the commotions at the Western Wall or the differences about conversion. The Pew studies and others bear this out, as do the empty synagogues of the non-Orthodox movements.

In Israel, as well, all is the same. Women didn’t intermingle with men at the Western Wall since it was liberated in 1967. The standards of conversion laid down by the Chief Rabbinate haven’t changed one iota since 1948. What has changed is the lack of tolerance by movements and leaders who consider themselves liberal and open-minded to respect the policies of a democratically elected Israeli government.

Mr. Lauder, who is an important Jewish leader, should use his influence to spread tolerance and support for our one Jewish state even if we disagree with various policies, just as we of mainstream Orthodoxy have always supported Israel even while disagreeing with certain policies.

YITZCHOK ELEFANT
Dimona
The writer is chief rabbi of Dimona.


Your article “Bennett: Don’t blame Israel for US Jews assimilating” (March 20) says: “Lauder reportedly has US President Donald Trump’s ear on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and was reported to have told the president a number of months ago that while the Palestinians are ‘desperate’ for a deal, Israel is the problem.”

Of course the Palestinians are desperate for a deal. They are desperate to find someone who would intervene on their behalf and force Israel to give them everything they ask for. They painted themselves into a corner by telling their people that they are just as extreme as Hamas and that the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, can actually deliver the goods.

If the leaders of the PA make any concessions at all to Israel, Hamas will wipe the floor with their heads. They can’t actually negotiate because they don’t have a mandate from their people to give up anything.

BARRY LEONARD WERNER
Netanya


Passover thoughts

With Passover approaching, some thoughts come to mind.

There have been a lot of struggles in the past few months in our world: shootings, school shootings, political uproar and unrest in the world. I hope that the violence, discrimination, hatred and struggles will “pass over” us all and we can have peace in this world.

AMY ROSENFELD
New York

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