April 14, 2017: Art of the possible

Politics is the art of the possible.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Art of the possible
With regard to “Tillerson carries call to Moscow to abandon Assad” (April 12), US President Donald Trump likes deals, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is upset with Trump because the US attacked Putin’s proxy, Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Mollifying Putin and doing a deal with him to get rid of Assad will require giving Putin something he wants. How about giving him Crimea? Acknowledge the fact that Crimea is now part of Russia, since no one is going to get it back from him. Putin might be prepared to make a deal if all he has to do is leave the rest of eastern Ukraine and give up Assad.
This is a deal that both he and Trump might like. Politics is the art of the possible.
Bad headlines
The headline of your Globes article “Kahlon doubles disability pensions” (Business & Finance, April 13) does not properly represent the text. Let me quote from the second sentence: “The allocation will increase disability pensions by 50%.” The sixth sentence elaborates that this will not be an immediate 50% bump; rather, the increase will be phased in over four to five years.
When most of us took math, we learned that to double something means to increase it by 100%, not 50%. So, which is it? Is Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon doubling these pensions, per the headline, or is he increasing them by half, per the text?
This is not the only recent Jerusalem Post math gaffe. A recent letter to the editor represented a ratio as equaling approximately 0.25% when it should have been approximately 2.5%.
These two instances illustrate a phenomenon I have noted during many decades of regular newspaper reading: Journalists are mathematically challenged, even by basic arithmetic.
The letters editor responds: The headline and text of the business article were provided by Globes, and the faulty percentage was provided by the reader who wrote the letter – although this does not let Jerusalem Post editors off the hook for checking the math. This responsibility is as clear as 2+2=5.
The headline “Sephardi chief rabbi endorses cigarettes on Passover” (April 12) was totally misleading.
In the body of the article, we read that Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef says a person should not start to smoke, and “if one doesn’t smoke, one will get ‘1000 blessings.’” However, in response to a question posed to him, the rabbi ruled that a person who is addicted to tobacco does not need to look for a kosher-for-Passover label on cigarette packages, for cigarettes are not hametz.
This ruling is in no way an endorsement of cigarettes. Endorsement means support or approval. But hey, why pass up a chance to bash a rabbi with a misleading headline?



Bad sub-head
With regard to “Attack first, strategize later” (April 12), those who read the full article easily see that White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not say what you badly summarize in your sub-headline: “Even Hitler didn’t drop gas on his own people.”
That sub-headline is as ridiculous as it is offensive.
Germany did gas its own citizens, just like Syria did. German Jews were proud German citizens and were the first Nazi victims.