October 7, 2019: Blood money

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Blood money
“Israeli, Palestinian Officials to Launch Talks on Tax Revenues Dispute” (October 6) essentially affirms that the Palestinian Authority, the administrative arm of the Palestine Liberation Organization, will continue to enforce the unprecedented and immoral PA ordinance that legislates automatic payment to incentivize and reward anyone who murders a Jew and to fund the killer’s family for life.
Where is the expression of outrage to the government of Israel and to donor nations and the demand to condition all funds to the PA on the cancellation of the PA law that promotes terrorism.
Director, Israel Resource News Agency
Playing into the hands of haters
Regarding “Caving to BDS” (October 6), who are these twits on the government payroll who spend their time handing out taxpayer-funded trips to Israel to random pop celebrities? Alongside normal tourism promotion advertising historical attractions and sandy beaches, we have what looks like a desperate attempt to lure people to come here by paying them to do it.
As a few minutes or rational thought would predict, a number of these unsuspecting celebrities who know nothing about the country but were roped in by our “clever” manipulation will certainly create embarrassment for Israel by apologizing for their visit after the anti-Israel backlash.
Wary of amateur psychologists
Yitz Greenberg (“Give Netanyahu the honorable retirement that Israel needs and he deserves,” October 2), a relative newcomer to the pages of The Jerusalem Post, has firmly established his identity as somewhere left of center-left. He strikes all the right chords for entry into that rarified sphere of intellectuals who know what’s best for us common folks.
Needless to say, I don’t agree with a word of what he believes, so I will suffice with a few comments. I, having been raised in America, am committed to the proposition that a man is considered innocent until proven guilty. Greenberg has condemned Netanyahu before he has had his day in court. Also, I am very wary of amateur psychologists – for example, “Exercise of power erodes his self control.” “Search for continual power overrides his principles and restraints.” How does Greenberg know?
He writes, “…he broke his word and repudiated a compromise at the Kotel deeply offending the non-Orthodox leaders of American Jewry.” What is so unacceptable to those leaders? Why can’t one single solitary place on earth bring all Jews together, standing before God in prayer? You are free to do what you wish in your temples and synagogues. Are religious and Masorti Jews in their millions who pray at the Kotel in traditional fashion so distasteful and objectionable that you can’t even tolerate them during the very rare times you come to pray?
Yitz, the Left that shouts “demokratya” from the rooftops, tramples it underfoot. Netanyahu has received more than 1.1 million votes. You did not. The will of the people must be respected.
Trump tropes
“Trump accuses Adam Schiff of fraud and treason, calls for his arrest” (JPost.com, October 3) calls for reflection about a US president calling for the arrest of a Jewish congressman for treason, using a possibly antisemitic trope: “shifty Schiff.”
US President Donald Trump has also appallingly called for Hillary Clinton to be sent to prison. These outbursts are what we might expect in some authoritarian states. Trump has also accused American Jews of “disloyalty,” another trope, and ridiculed former senator Al Franken as [sic]c“Frankenstien.” He encourages his followers at rallies to commit violence.
Meanwhile, the ADL reported in April that “antisemitic incidents remained at near-historic levels in 2018; assaults against Jews more than doubled.” Many synagogues in America have had to post armed guards during services.
He calls The New York Times, famously Jewish-owned, “failing,” though subscriptions are at a record high, and accuses it of being “an enemy of the people,” contrasting the “elite” with the “people,” still another trope. I don’t think Trump is personally an antisemite, yet he doesn’t like the “disloyal” and “elite” American Jewish community and I think his tropes flow naturally from the fringe far- and alt-right atmosphere he inhales every day.
Cambridge, MA
“Trump again seeks foreign help to investigate Bidens, calling on China” (October 4) incorrectly states that US President Donald Trump “survived a two-year federal probe that found Russia had intervened to help him win the White House in 2016.”
This is untrue. The investigation did not find collusion. Just as some people refuse to accept Trump’s election victory, they also refuse to accept that the costly and fruitless investigation ended with a whimper, in Trump’s favor. He didn’t survive; he won.
Lies are toxic. False information is dangerous.
No upside to violence
“Enough with the murder on Arab streets” (October 4) quotes Jafar Farah, director of the Haifa-based Mossawa Advocacy Center, as saying “Ultimately the state (of Israel) wants Arab violence. That way, Israeli-Arabs will not have the appetite to voice nationalistic aspirations.”
Never was there a sentence that more eloquently summarizes the distorted mentality and emotions of many of the Arabs living in Israel.
I see no way to deal with paranoid delusions of this nature – one can only cry out in despair. Perhaps Gershon Baskin, the JPost’s unofficial resident Arabist, can suggest a solution.
The tidal wave of violence in the Arab community in Israel is certainly not new, although it is increasing rapidly. Your editorial today calls for a stop, and places the burden of the responsibility on the police.
I believe many readers would agree that the Police force has a heavy task and it has had many successes despite poor pay and conditions, it has also been characterized over many years in too many cases by poor standards, rudeness, ineptitude, gratuitous violence against some sectors, corruption and negligence.
A thorough reform of the police is overdue, but the article lacked an essential balancing factor in relation to Arab violence. One must accept that there is a deep-seated malaise in Arab, specifically Moslem Arab, culture and society. It is marked not only by violence, but by dishonesty, widespread gun use, crime, dreadful driving and a general macho approach that enforces excessive female “modesty” and suppresses women while the males are free to behave, too often, in an anti-social or intolerant manner.
All this is not an attempt to generalize or stain an entire community, but to avoid these issues and place the emphasis on the police alone is a strategy destined to fail.
Rosh Pina
There are the same laws for all Israeli citizens. The problem lies not only in enforcing the law but about the Arab community accepting the laws of the land.
This is where their leaders come into the picture. Arabs are killing Arabs. Why? Do they lack respect for one another? Why are honor killings not outlawed by their own community? Why is shooting guns at a wedding ceremony tolerated? Where are shooters in the Arab community buying these guns and bullets?
The Arab community is suspicious of the police. They do not cooperate with them and any law enforcement is viewed as racial discrimination. They don’t cooperate with the police and then go on strike against police inaction. Amazing!
Petah Tikva
The end is near
The harbingers of death, doom, despair, destruction and depression are with us again (October 3). Douglas Bloomfield maintains that Trump and his political base will have devastating consequences for American democracy. The Jewish community faces the new year with anxiety about their future. Gershon Baskin states that the Arab citizens of Israel have been delegitimized, marginalized and discriminated against systematically since the birth of the state and that we are not truly a democratic state. Nigel Savage states that the end is near unless we stop driving our cars, stop flying on planes, stop eating meat. Otherwise as in Jonah’s prophecies, the city of Nineveh (read the world) will be destroyed. We must all do environmental “teshuva” to avert the evil decree.
I remember some months ago when the Nation State Law was passed, the harbingers of Israeli racial injustice (both Arabs and Jews) prophesied that very soon Arabs would be shuttled to the back of the buses in disgrace. The media is full of the writings of alienated prophets who can do nothing but criticize and warn of perceived injustices and impending doom.
Downgrading religion
Regarding “The good news” (October 4), a French diplomat once described Israel as a “shitty little country.” This is the dream of Amotz Asa-el and MK Avigdor Liberman (with his new proposed laws) in eliminating the basic religious framework of the country.
This will make it uninteresting to the Orthodox, haredi and even Christian fundamentalists. As another country with unequal rights for its religious Jews and also non-Jewish minorities, the “enlightened world will continue to disfavor Israel and the bi-national state will become in reality since basic Jewish identity will become irrelevant.
Not a Labour of love
Regarding “Jewish Labour MP faces no confidence vote on Yom Kippur” (October 4), one is mentally transported back to the dark times of Germany in 1938.
There seem to be several articles almost daily carrying disturbing news of antisemitic incidents in many parts of the world. This latest article concerns the de-selection of Louise Ellman, a UK Jewish Labour MP of many years standing and impeccable record. The debate and vote are scheduled for Yom Kippur night and the case bears the hallmarks of bullying tactics that were frequently employed by the Nazis of that period.
These instances are becoming more frequent and devious, but no less potent in the antisemitic message they convey. Those who do not learn from history indeed seem doomed to repeat it.
Tel Aviv
Don’t bury our heads in the sand
I can more than sympathize with the family of Ronnie Peterson in their quest to find a cemetery for his burial “Blues musician Ronnie Peterson finally buried in Catholic cemetery in Jaffa” (October 4). In my capacity as absorption director for Hatzor Haglilit, I faced the same terrible experience as Peterson’s family in trying to find places to bury non-Jewish immigrants from the former USSR who settled in Hatzor, and this despite the fact that they were citizens of Israel and by law, are entitled to a burial plot free of charge in their official place of residence.
The catch is, that in practical terms, in all Jewish cities, towns and settlements, cemeteries are for Jews only, since obviously no one could anticipate the massive influx of non-Jewish immigrants entitled to Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return that has occurred over the past 30 years. Fortunately, after 20 years of my and our municipal and religious councils’ efforts, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and National Insurance approved and funded a cemetery section for non-Jewish Hatzor residents. But until then, in more than one case, families were forced to pay thousands of shekels for a burial plot in a different city, and not always in close proximity to Hatzor.
Others, out of desperation when all my efforts were unsuccessful in finding anything closer, chose one of the three official civil cemeteries, despite the tremendous distance from Hatzor. Nili Peterson’s frustration and anger are absolutely justified, and regardless of religion or nationality, all Israeli citizens deserve the same basic human right of a timely and dignified burial in, or in close proximity to, their hometowns. This is a relevant and painful issue, and the least local authorities and religious councils can do is to show more sensitivity and respect to their non-Jewish residents by urgently dealing with this problem.
Absorption Director, Hatzor Haglilit
Hot topic
Kol hakavod for publishing “5780: The year of environmental teshuva,” (October 5) by Nigel Savage, CEO of Hazon, the largest Jewish environmental organization in the US.
His article is extremely timely – when climate experts are increasingly warning that we may have only a few years to make “unprecedented changes” in order to have a chance to avert a climate catastrophe, and there seem to be almost daily reports of severe, sometimes record-breaking, heat waves, wildfires, storms, floods, and other climate events.
Please continue to use your excellent reporters, commentators and editors to make readers increasingly aware of the urgency of making averting a climate catastrophe a central focus in all aspects of life today.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island