November 20, 2016: Surprising, refreshing

What a mixture of emotions I felt reading the items in your November 17 issue.

November 19, 2016 20:32

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Surprising, refreshing

What a mixture of emotions I felt reading the items in your November 17 issue.

I was pleasantly surprised by the pragmatic suggestion of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman as to dealing with the settlement issue (“Liberman: Partial building may be best approach in dealing with Trump”) to counterbalance the feeling of despair at the senseless and potentially damaging bills currently being debated in the Knesset regarding the Amona outpost and muezzin noise.

And how refreshing it was to read Gershon Baskin’s “Excuse me for asking” (Encountering Peace), and how one wishes that the country’s political leaders could see the realities staring them in the face.


Who’s to blame?

Michael Freund (“The Left and Israel’s ‘Deplorables,’” Fundamentally Freund, November 17) is right to condemn Isaac Herzog’s use of the word “virus” to denigrate the settler movement. But why does he ignore the unendingly vicious labeling of the Left as “traitorous Arab lovers” by members of the Israeli Right?

This is just one example of the terminology designed to delegitimize an entire section of the community. Freund himself uses “elitist” in just this way.

Such hatred has tainted the debate for years and ultimately led to violence and assassination. So is only the Left blameworthy?


Trump’s vow

In “Haunting Hillary” (Washington Watch, November 17), Douglas Bloomfield implies that Donald Trump’s vow to “toss” Hillary Clinton in jail was a politically motivated act intended to remove a potential opponent to his administration. Did Bloomfield ever consider that Trump, like many others (including yours truly), believes that Clinton is really guilty of criminal acts that were whitewashed by the Obama administration?

When James Comey, director of the FBI, stated he didn’t think that Clinton’s actions were intentional enough to warrant indictment, did he take into consideration that she was an attorney who could read, understand and comply with any agreement she signed, and therefore she was subject to a higher level of expectations regarding non-compliance? Is it possible that Comey found a convenient excuse allowing him to comply with the wishes of the president and attorney-general?

Trump’s stated intentions regarding appointing a special prosecutor indicate that while he feels Clinton is guilty, he wishes to avoid the appearance of a personal vendetta, something the Left has chosen to ignore.

Petah Tikva

Opining on whether Donald Trump will act on his campaign vow to jail Hillary Clinton, Douglas Bloomfield erroneously describes the president-elect as facing “a Hobson’s choice,” meaning he can either satisfy his most fervent backers by prosecuting his opponent or unite a deeply divided country by moving on.

What Bloomfield really means is that Trump is facing a dilemma, in a sense the opposite of Hobson’s choice.

The phrase dates back to Thomas Hobson (1544-1631), an English livery stable owner who is said to have offered customers the choice of taking either the horse in his stable nearest the door – i.e., the most rested animal – or none at all. Thus, Hobson’s choice really means no choice.


Double standard

There’s a clear double standard in reports, comments and analyses by journalists, commentators and pundits about President- elect Donald Trump.

No one can question his undiplomatic and brash style, repulsive to many but refreshing to just as many. Was Hillary Clinton less arrogant regarding her email fiasco, dealings with national security and the espionage law?

Trump chose as his top adviser Stephen Bannon, whom many have concluded is an antisemite. But leaked emails from Clinton campaign officials have shown considerable antipathy toward people of faith and certain ethnicities.

The media and Trump’s political opponents have avoided a discussion of the nuances of the president-elect’s proposed immigration policy, and have purposely portrayed it solely as a racial or human rights issue. I’m sure that if 20 million non-threatening Indians packed up and tried to move to the US, you would see all those liberals joining efforts to close the door.

Where’s the bigger threat to our democracy – a Trump administration or a monolithic news community that prevents a clear discussion of the issues, filters information and spins faster than a dreidel?


Latin versus English

Regarding “New ICC report takes Palestinians’ side” (November 17), the anti-Israel forces tie themselves in knots in their war against Israel in the UN, and now in the International Criminal Court.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has said regarding the annexation by Israel of east Jerusalem that the UN and the ICC regard this as a “violation of the jus cogens norm prohibiting the acquisition of territory by military force.” What she means is that when Israel liberated Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in the 1967 Six Day War, which was forced upon it by Egypt, Syria and Jordan, this was “acquisition of territory by military force.”

The 1947 United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 regarding the partition of Palestine was not binding, and it expired with the Arab invasion of Mandated Palestine in 1948. With the agreement of a ceasefire between Israel and Jordan, a line was drawn on the map. It was called the “Green Line” and was an armistice line, expressly not to be a final border.

So although the right of non- Jews to take whatever they want from Jews is inalienable, Jews are deemed to be in the wrong when they take their property back. In other words, Jordan’s acquisition “by military force” of Judea and Samaria, and part of Jerusalem, was not a “violation of the jus cogens norm prohibiting the acquisition of territory by military force,” but Israel’s liberation of this territory was.

Steven Schwebel, head of the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague, said in 1970: “Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has against the prior holder better title.” So who is right – Stephen Schwebel, head of the ICJ, or Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor for the ICC? It depends on whether you use a Latin dictionary or plain English.

Beit Shemesh

Lamenting El Al

With regard to “El Al labor dispute roils” (November 17), I wrote the following letter to the management of El Al:

I’ve heard that an El Al strike will in all probability occur within the next couple of weeks. My husband and I have a trip planned, awaiting the birth of out third-born Israeli grandchild. The possibility that we may miss a brit saddens us greatly.

In the last 20 years, we have flown El Al almost exclusively, spending at least $100,000 for ourselves and our families, and have been loyal Matmid [frequently flier club] members. The last few years, we have encountered flight delays, flight cancellations, mechanical problems and pilots not showing up to work, resulting in the use of leased planes. This only confirms your disloyalty to your customers.

I realize this email is meaningless and may not even be read, but I felt compelled to write it nonetheless. We realize that difficulties can happen with any airline, but we have purposefully only supported El Al even though the cost is always greater.

El Al has increasingly become unreliable and its cost is not justified.

Skokie, Illinois

Priority is given to letters that are brief and topical, and which bear the writer’s name and place of residence, as well as the name and date of the Post item being referred to. They may also be edited and shortened.

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