May 23, 2019: Mideast La La Land

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Building site accidents
Regarding “Safety first” (May 21), instead of relying on government to draft and enforce safety regulations, perhaps a better approach would be to impose strict civil liability on owners and contractors for death and injury resulting from falls, failure or collapse of scaffolding or cranes  (See, e.g., New York Labor Law section 240); as well as the failure to provide and enforce the use of safety equipment, (id. section 241), such as helmets and goggles and accidents involving untrained or underage employees. 
For good measure, plaintiffs’ attorneys would be entitled to their fees, as part of court costs.
Retired NY Attorney
Mideast La La Land
In “The wall-builders vs the bridge-builders” (May 19), we are enlightened about the progressive policies of the bridge-builders, former US president Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
By ignoring the atrocities in Syria, bridge-builder Obama sat idly by while hundreds of thousands were killed, millions were made homeless, millions more became refugees, and another million or more walked across the bridge he helped construct all the way to Europe.
On the other end, bridge-builder Merkel let in a million refugees with an ingrained antipathy to Western values and a disdain bordering on hatred of Christianity and, of course, the Jews.
What a fantastic triumph for both! I would encourage Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to follow this enlightened path and reach out to our brothers and sisters in the PA, who will undoubtedly reciprocate – even though they have been fed hatred of Jews and Israel in their mother’s milk.
I could go on, but the Tooth Fairy is at the door.

What to target in Iran

Regarding “US, Iran tensions mount as Tehran threatens enrichment” (May 10), Tehran has indeed increased its verbal targeting of the West with ultimatums and blackmail; US National Security Advisor John Bolton has said that any Iranian attack will be met with “unrelenting force.”
The probability of an armed conflict in the Arabian Gulf between Iran and America thus continues to grow. Nevertheless, it may not be too late to expand psychological warfare against Tehran hopefully to avoid hot war. President Reagan did this to great moral effect against the Soviet Union in 1983 when he declared it an “evil empire.”
If this fails, the question would be not whether to attack Iran upon its first physical provocation, but what to target there. First, surely Iran’s nuclear facilities and its air defenses, but otherwise, not its regular military. The latter is a guarantor for Iran’s survival as a unitary state. It, not the suppressed Persian street, is the best hope to free Iran from the Ayatollahs’ yoke.
The military and economic stranglehold on the country is held not by its regular military but by the regime’s Revolutionary Guards. Now that they have been officially declared a terrorist organization, it would make sense to strike it extensively and massively while leaving the rest of the country and its infrastructure intact.
Such an operational policy would hold the best chance for regime change in a country and for people long sacrificed on the altar of radical Shia expansionism.
Regarding “Bringing Iran to its knees” (May 17), the threatened curse of war must be cured with common sense and unrelenting strength – not by the God-given manipulative use of the black stuff and mineral wealth from extreme Middle East misguided militant evil theocracies to further their self-fulfilling ulterior motives and religious deadlines.
Let us recall that the ineffectual US secretary of state John Kerry was apparently inspired by the insipid British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, who hailed his appeasement agreement with Hitler stating with the infamous words “peace in our time” prior to World War II, which killed 50 million people worldwide. We already have vivid examples of how American citizens have been inhumanely treated when held in captivity by Iranian mullahs and their terrorist supporters.
US President Donald Trump and the National Security Administration must oppose these extreme religious militants with all means, including back-breaking sanctions and the use of force to hasten the regime’s economic demise.
If the standoff between US naval forces in the Persian Gulf and the blustering Iranian hierarchy teaches us nothing else, it is that appeasing a bully is only succumbing to blackmail.
Having learned well from US ex-president Barack Obama’s misguided ways, the bully aims to assault the dignity, trustworthiness, competence, and self-worth of the individual being bullied to derive personal gain as well as sadistic satisfaction, leaving the individual feeling guilty as well as responsible, confused and somewhat isolated. US President Donald Trump was quick to deduce that the path his predecessor furrowed was fraught with such humiliation and potential danger, hence the positive action of strength he has taken.
The situation is dangerous to an already problematic region and demands steadfastness.
Tel Aviv
Polish/Jewish property
Regarding “Polish PM: Restitution to Jews akin to posthumous Nazi victory” (May 20), the current bone of contention is Poland paying reparations to Jews for property taken from them by Nazis then taken by the communists. During the 50-year occupation starting in 1939, Poles had little to say about anything of consequence in their own land. 
This sort of wrangling does not give Poles a calming feeling. Poles & Jews have tolerated one another for centuries in Poland. The call for reparations needs to be placed at the feet of Germany, if anyone. The reparation issue opens up old wounds and ensures future strife. No one should seek to profit from the Holocaust.
As an Irish-Polish guy, I should receive reparations from England, Germany and Russia.
Rotterdam, NY

No Declaration of Independence contradiction

Regarding “The Declaration of Independence contradiction” (May 15), the whole basis of Uri Pilichowski’s argument seems to me flawed. He suggests that the assertion in the first section that the Jewish people have the right to be masters of their own fate is somehow at odds with the reference later in the document to the Holocaust and the need to establish a refuge for Jewish survivors.
Pilichowski quotes this section from the Declaration, but proceeds to ignore what it says in black and white, namely: “The catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people – the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe – was another (my italics) clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness” In short, the Declaration asserts that in addition to the historic persecutions inflicted on stateless and scattered Jews – by no means masters of their own fate – the Holocaust provides another justification for the establishment of the State of Israel.
The writer sees a contradiction where none exists.
Ramat Beit Shemesh
There is no contradiction in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. The section that describes the historical associations of the Jewish people with the land was necessary because those who issued the Declaration were not natives of the land and the world had forgotten Jewish history. The later section, which refers to the dire need of the locked-out Jewish refugees for an open door, was designed to explain the urgency of the declaration of statehood. However, from neither of these sections is anything to be inferred as to the reason, cause or the purpose of the establishment of the State.
To debate the Israeli Palestinian conflict in terms of “rights,” human or national, terms which have no settled meaning and are used simply as slogans, is intellectually and practically fruitless.
The existence of a democratic society in fruitful interaction with the land and seeking peace with its neighbors needs no justification. During the 100-year process of the Jewish people’s return to the land, there have been no premeditated immoral actions.
In “The Declaration of Independence contradiction” (May 15, 2019) Uri Pilichowski asserts that Israel’s Declaration of Independence was intended solely to establish that “[l]ike any nation, Israel has a right to all of its land.” Rejecting as a “grave mistake” the notion that Israel’s purpose includes providing a safe haven for Jews, he resorts to an intellectually dishonest rhetorical fallacy. He asks what “the reason for the establishment of the state” is, as if there could only be one reason. By using the singular, “reason,” rather than the plural, “reasons,” he dangerously dehumanizes our state and excludes people – both singular (individual Jews) and plural (the Jewish people) – from consideration, while focusing exclusively on property.
Our history proves he is wrong. Israel has grown from fewer than one million people in 1948 to over nine million strong today, principally by providing a home for Jews from Argentina, Bukhara, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Former Soviet Union, India, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Mexico, Morocco, and so many more lands. The ingathering of our people is surely a central purpose of our state. Despite Pilichowski’s dismissive attitude, Israel is about both our people and our homeland.
Pilichowski’s second fallacy is his reference to “all” of Israel’s land. Of course, as the Declaration of Independence proclaims, the Jewish people has rightfully re-established itself “in their ancient homeland.” But that says nothing about what the territorial extent of that homeland was at any point in time, including today. Even under ancient governance, the extent of Jewish jurisdiction in the Land of Israel waxed and waned.
Pilichowski has distorted our foundational Declaration of Independence and our history in an attempt to justify his radical, overly simplistic, and expansionist view. Yet he is silent about the millions living in the West Bank who are not Jewish but nevertheless, created in the image of God, possess human rights. We should not endorse his exclusion of them from consideration, nor pretend that the Declaration of Independence asserted a right to governance over them.
A large number of liberals and many of our High Court Justices maintain that as a democratic state, Israel is not allowed to restrict anyone in his personal choices.
Obviously, this philosophy does not apply to matters like ethics and morality. And with regard to our identity as Jews, a vast majority would certainly agree that the idea of democratic freedom cannot be applied to our mesora (religious tradition) either. Could one imagine in Israel a law to limit circumcision in some form or changing the official day of rest to Sunday in order to conform to the rest of the world?
And how could we turn on our tradition of Torah of 3,000 years, and for which we suffered 2,000 years of murderous persecution, in order to be a secular state, disconnected from its Jewish roots, so as to be considered a truly “democratic state?”
Basically, democratic freedom evolved in Greece to protect the individual from overreach by government and the power of dictators, and in this respect there need not be a conflict between democratic freedom and Jewish tradition.