What’s Biden want?
US Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to arrive in Israel today. What is his purpose in coming now? Will he speak out for Israelis and tell the Palestinians that they will cause World War III? I am sure that this will not be his message. Perhaps he will propose a gateway or peace park with new kinds of relationships between Ramallah and Beit El to herald a “new era.” However, our reality leaves the purpose of his visit suspect to thoughts that he’ll pressure Israel once again to further President Barack Obama’s dream of two states here in this small Land of Israel.
This is totally unrealistic, and at this time it could only be a land of Iranian penetration. I pray that Mr. Biden comes with a different message than the one I fear. TOBY WILLIG
Jerusalem A democracy’s duty
With regard to “Suspending democracy” (Editorial, March 6), it is more than disconcerting that your views totally ignore the reality and uniqueness of Israel’s position.
The tiny country parented by the unanimous support of the League of Nations in 1922, and a two-thirds majority of the United Nations in 1947, has been under constant attack by many of its neighbors. Not a single one of these neighbors is a real democracy, rather the reverse – there is little or no freedom of speech, equality of sexes, freedom of religion or political dissent there.
By attacking us, our enemies – both external and internal – are attacking democracy itself .
We must compare ourselves with the US and UK as they were in times of war, because our enemies will try again to destroy us if they feel they have a chance of success. We must follow the advice of Abraham Lincoln, who stated in 1859: “Those who deny freedom to others do not deserve it for themselves.” And the advice of Marcus Tullius Cicero from over 2,000 years ago: “A Nation cannot survive treason from within. The traitor moves within the gates freely. His sly whispers, rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.”
Our authorities have a right – factually, a duty – to exclude from the halls of power, whether elected or otherwise, those who by word or deed support enemies who are intent upon our destruction. A democracy’s first duty is to defend itself against those who wish to destroy it. BERNHARD LAZARUS
Tel Aviv SodaStream fizz
My sincere thanks to Sherwin Pomerantz for his clearly expressed (and perfectly headlined) “SodaStream: Case study in Middle East insanity” (Comment & Features, March 6), and to The Jerusalem Post for its March 4 editorial “Message in a bottle.” Thanks also to Daniel Birnbaum and SodaStream for their fight against the Prime Minister’s Office and all those civil servants for their inhuman and, in fact, utterly stupid refusal to renew the work permits of 74 Palestinian employees.
I thought I was going insane with frustration at what Israel has been doing to itself.
SodaStream has been a shining example of coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians, giving its employees absolutely excellent and equal conditions of work and pay, and building up a spirit of respect and cooperation in a way that can only be for the utmost good of all Israelis and Palestinians.
For the Prime Minister’s Office to hide behind its decision as being simply technical in nature, and to carry out the policy of maintaining a strict quota of some 60,000 Palestinians to work in Israel, ignores the fact that these are not Palestinians who are applying for first-time entry, but tried and trusted people who have proved themselves and cannot in any way be accused of being a danger to the country.
Expelling them is not only a callous and inhumane blow to them and their families – it reinforces the Palestinian view of us as a racist and dominant occupying authority. It will certainly damage our image enormously.
Instead of applauding what SodaStream has been doing for that image, we are castigating and treating it as though it is doing wrong and in some way helping the BDS campaign. In actual fact, it is the government that is hurting us, and I believe it is being utterly stupid in doing so.
I wish we could have a lot more SodaStreams and people like Daniel Birnbaum. HARRY BRODIE
I have been speaking to Jewish friends in the United States over how they see the SodaStream situation. Almost to a person, they think it shows yet again the fumbling, ineffective responses taken by the Israeli government in the face of the delegitimization of this country.
The government had the perfect opportunity for positive public relations, showing that it valued Palestinian economic opportunities and outreach by an Israeli business. And it blew it over just 74 jobs – which would not make a dent in the thousands of Palestinian work permits already in force.
And in the name of what? National security? Jobs for Israelis? It all rings hollow. And embarrassing.
When is this bureaucracy going to use the brains in its head instead of the foot in its mouth? JAN GAINES
Employment for Beduin in the Negev or other Israeli Arabs is an example of Israel giving opportunities to its own minorities, and belies the apartheid myth.
Nothing is accomplished by employing tens of thousands of Palestinians who resent us as employers and have never exerted any influence on their leadership to arrive at a solution that would give a better future to all. They resent working for Israelis and wait for the opportunity to take it all for their own.
Modi’in Winning points
I read with great interest Dov Lipman’s “How Israel will win the public diplomacy war” (Observations, March 4). However, he missed two very important points.
The Arab/Palestinian narrative is very simple. They say that the Jews have taken their land. Our usual answer is (in a nutshell) that we are prepared to compromise, but our security must be maintained. This answer puts us immediately on the defensive, and millions of people in Europe and America believe the Arab narrative.
The first point we must make is that it is written in the Bible that God gave us this very small country. We had a kingdom here for hundreds of years, 1,500 years before the birth of Islam. The Bible is still the most widely published book, and these facts can easily be checked. The world is waiting for us to make this statement. If we don’t say it, nobody will say it for us.
The second point is the Balfour Declaration. It was subsequently endorsed by the League of Nations. It became international law. Fifty-one countries approved the recommendation.
These two points should be mentioned on every possible occasion. We have both the Bible and international law to prove our right to this land, and for some reason, our government is afraid to say these things. It’s about time we turned the tables.
We are actually the only people who have legal rights to this land. Somehow these points are regarded as right-wing extremism. I believe that these points, together with Lipman’s article, could bring us good diplomacy. ZVI HENRY FRANK