May 20, 2019: Eurovision provocations

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
 Eurovision provocations
Regarding “Madonna, Iceland, include Palestinian flags at Eurovision” (, May 19), in respect of the breach of the rules the following actions should take place:
• Madonna should be held responsible for the misdemeanor of her troupe and part or all of her fee should be withheld.
• Iceland should be banned from performing again at any future Eurovision.
I won’t hold my breath for the above to happen, as Israel and protests appear to go hand in hand these days and seem to be par for the course. Even where songs are promoted to produce harmony, goodwill cannot mask the ugliness of political prejudice.
Tel Aviv
Location, location, location

“What’s the big deal with the Western Wall”? (May 15) represents a well-stated view of the genuine passion that Anat Hoffman and her colleagues hold for the Western Wall of the Temple Mount.
Question: Is it appropriate to organize political demonstrations at the Western Wall, which transform the site each Rosh Hodesh to a place of friction instead of the introspective place that the Western Wall of the Temple Mount is supposed to convey? 
Perhaps Anat Hoffman would consider moving the venue of the monthly demonstration to the sidewalk opposite the rabbinate, where policy matters relating to the Western Wall are decided.
Director, Israel Resource News Agency
Center for Near East Policy Research
Contemplating relocation

In “Maybe our future is not here” (May 15), Gershon Baskin reports that he has traveled to Rwanda to learn about the reconciliation there after the Hutu tribe hacked one million Tutsis to death. He is eager to extrapolate his education in Rwanda to Israel today. 
Baskin is quite sure that if the police were not there, the 100 or so “right wing” demonstrators at the 14th annual Israel-Palestinian Memorial Day event in Tel Aviv would have killed some people from his side of the lines. See the similarity to Rwanda? Only the machetes are missing. He goes on to claim that the “right wing” would easily kill those who don’t share his beliefs. And then to be sure that the reader cannot come away uninformed as to the real situation, he is convinced that the hatred that led to the mass killings in Rwanda could develop in Israel as well. 
Baskin is right on one statement – many of his readers will be very happy to bid him farewell. Perhaps he should emigrate to Rwanda, which is now the cleanest country in Africa and the Hutu now deeply love the Tutsi. My only fear is that The Jerusalem Post will continue to publish his claptrap from abroad.

Will you remain here?

In “PM: Coalition MKs demanding too much” (May 16), Lahav Harkov quotes MK Yisrael Eichler: “Liberman’s Russian constituents need to make a living, transportation and health services. Why does he need the residents of Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh to enlist in the IDF?” 
The same question could be asked of Moshe Rabbeinu (not that I am comparing the two), when he said to the tribe of Reuven: “Will your brothers go to war and you remain here?” (Numbers 32:6). One might have thought that the tribe of Reuven should have been exempt, since it also had to fight the nearby warring nations in Trans-Jordan (1 Chron. 5:6-10) without any help from the other tribes. Nevertheless, Moshe understood that it was their duty to defend the mainland as well as their own inheritance. 
Bnei Brak is not participating in the defense of the nation, nor do I recall the last time that Bnei Brak itself was attacked by enemies and recruited an army to defend itself.
Observers? No, thanks
In “Absent a political track, the Gaza ceasefire will fail” (May 19), Daoud Kuttab complains of a lack of robust, on-the-ground observation team in “Palestine” to ensure compliance and more importantly, a serious political track to address what caused the eruption of the violence in the first place. 
When we allowed such an “observation” team for years in Hebron, they supported our enemies. They were tolerated for far too long before their recent termination and in any case, the reason for the violence is that the violators are terrorists occupying Jewish Land, handed to them on a silver platter by weak Israeli leadership. 
Kuttab refers to the Jewish “settlers” as militant while calling the actual aggressors/terrorists “local Palestinians.” According to Kuttab, there were three days of hundreds of Israeli air raids and “Palestinian” rockets. The truth is somewhat different. In a span of less than 48 hours, Hamas and Islamic Jihad (PIJ) launched nearly 700 rockets toward Israel. Israel naturally responded. 
The violence, according to Kuttab, “once again points out the absolute need for a major political solution that takes into consideration Palestinian aspiration and desire to live in peace.” Their “aspiration to live in peace” so far has been the commitment to destroy Israel – including ongoing media incitement and hate being taught in their schools. 
This is the historic Jewish homeland of the Jewish people to which it was always God’s intention to return us. We are now here to stay.
A Pence for your thoughts
It is a constant source of amazement to me that otherwise intelligent people look for any possible excuse to put down US President Donald Trump, the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House, who has reinvigorated the American economy, brought down unemployment and wants to renegotiate the disastrous Iranian nuclear deal.
Without any evidence, Douglas Bloomfield suggests (“Will Trump dump Pence?” May 14) that Trump may be trying to dump Vice President Mike Pence. Bloomfield says, “Pence has shamelessly prostituted himself to stay in Trump’s favor, which is the kind of loyalty this president demands.” I don’t recall Bloomfield writing a few years ago that Vice President Biden was shamelessly prostituting himself to stay in Barack Obama’s favour when Biden betrayed his lifelong support for Israel by helping Obama with the Iran nuclear deal, an existential threat to Israel, and when he pressurized the Israeli government on its West Bank and Jerusalem policies.
Every president decides on his running mate based on who is most likely to get him the votes to be re-elected; so will Trump. But after a recent medal-awarding ceremony, a questioner from the floor asked Trump whether Pence will be his running mate for the next election. Trump smiled and said, “Yes, I want him, but I haven’t yet asked him.” Then he turned to Pence and asked him, to which Pence said, “Yes.” 
This public exchange was so natural and friendly that it is unlikely that Trump will change course, but even if he does, this does not diminish the achievements of Pence, who has often spoken up for Israel and who of course supports his boss – as every vice president is expected to do.
Beit Shemesh
Tlaib fantasy vs. reality
Regarding “Tlaib turns history on its head with ‘safe haven’ comment” (May 13), the facts belie US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s assertion that her ancestors sacrificed to provide a safe haven for Jews. Here is Tlaib’s ancestors actually did.
Prior to WWII, ongoing Arab violence against the Jewish community peaked in 1920, 1921, 1929, 1933-6 and 1938. The 1939 White Paper was issued to appease Arabs and obtain an end to their violence, which complicated Britain’s exercise of its Mandatory power. The White Paper emerged from the St. James Conference, during which Palestinian Arabs refused to sit at the table and negotiate with the Jewish delegation. The White Paper (issued three months after Kristallnacht) reduced Jewish immigration into the Mandate area to a trickle, trapping Jews and sentencing them to the Nazi onslaught. 
The tragedy and horrific persecution of Jews in Europe and worldwide resulted directly from common goals discussed by the mufti of Jerusalem and Adolf Hitler. The full German record of their 1941 meeting states that Mufti al-Husseini asked Hitler to declare publicly that Germany favored “the elimination of the Jewish national home” in Palestine.
Arab violence against Palestinian Jews after WWII escalated. In an October 1947 interview in Akhbar al-Yom, Arab League secretary-general Azzam Pasha said: “...this will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.” On May 15, 1948, Tlaib’s ancestors and their allies launched the war against Israel. 
Clearly, Tlaib’s ancestors were not engaged in the creation of “a safe haven for Jews” before, during or after WWII. Quite the contrary.
Davis, CA

Shot in the arm – response

Two letters voiced reasonable concerns, but they are based on incorrect inferences. In “A Shot in the Arm,” (May 15), the writer asks why any vaccinated person should be worried about contracting a contagious disease from an unvaccinated person. She also writes that “it does not make sense to me” that we need these vaccines to be healthy, preferring to rely on our immune system to fight disease. 
In response, one should note that vaccinated people can catch communicable diseases, and our immune systems are best at fighting diseases after first exposure (which is the purpose of vaccines). Without the first exposure, the immune system is unable to protect the body from dangerous and even deadly diseases. Moreover, many more children (and even adults) have been saved by vaccination compared to those possibly harmed by them (and the study linking vaccination to autism was soundly debunked). 
In “Overreacting to terror,” the author suggests that the vast majority of people who run and hide from missile attacks will remain unharmed. This depends on the number of missiles that fall within any particular area and the blast radius. Missiles do land and they do at times kill. More missiles kill more people. 
We don’t wear seat belts because we expect to crash, nor do we buy insurance because we expect to suffer a loss. We do so because on the whole, seeking protection and buying insurance protects lives and provides funds to mitigate against large financial losses.
What we think makes sense and what we justify on our personal experience is often not what will protect us in the long run from the ravages of diseases or the scourge of attacks. 
Lecturer, Hebrew University Dept. of Earth Sciences

On your marker, get set, go

You report (May 14) that Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, “won’t enter a coalition without a guarantee that a law banning DNA testing by the rabbinical courts will be passed.”
As you point out, “Genetic markers on [mitochondrial] DNA can be traced back many generations to determine a person’s maternal ancestors with a high degree of certainty… [which] can be used as proof that an individual is of Jewish ancestry… [since] 40% of all Ashkenazi Jews are descended from just four Jewish women. [It] cannot be used to revoke Jewish status, however, since some 60%… are not descended from [them]”.
I cannot help thinking that Liberman has let his hatred of the rabbinate take precedence over the well-being of his followers, who have everything to gain and nothing to lose from this procedure.

Salford, England

Where’s the beef?

As a vegan, I was pleased to read “Impossible Foods raises $300 million with investors eager for a bite of meatless burgers” (May 14) the latest indication of a trend toward veganism in Israel and worldwide. 
The article indicated that the vegan “Impossible Burger” “is sold at more than 7,000 restaurants worldwide, including White Castle, Qdoba and Red Castle, as well as Disney theme parks, and that “fast-food chain Burger King has said it will launch the ‘Impossible Whopper,’ which uses Impossible Foods’ plant-based patties, nationwide after a successful trial at limited locations.”
This makes me wonder why so many Israelis continue to eat meat, since its production and consumption contribute significantly to climate change and other environmental threats to humanity and to an epidemic of life-threatening diseases, is very wasteful of land, energy, water, and other resources, and involves the massive mistreatment of animals who suffer throughout their lives, all of which are inconsistent with basic Jewish values.
Kosher Iftar feast in Hebron
Regarding to “Eyeing Trump, Palestinians and settlers celebrate a kosher Iftar feast in Hebron” (May 15), it is clear to see that when people are interested in peaceful, neighborly relations, they can work things out. If the people in charge of the PA, starting with Yasser Arafat and continuing with his successors, were truly interested in peace, all that they would need to do is to adapt the approach of Ashraf Jabari, and look for ways to cooperate. Further, they would also look for ways to encourage investment in the areas under their control so that their people would be able to have gainful employment and be able to feel that they have a future.
I’m afraid that until the PA learns from Ashraf Jabari, there is no hope of the Jews and PA Arabs being able to live together peacefully.

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