Regarding “Outrageous claims” (December 22): In your editorial on Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, declaring that “Israel’s apartheid’’ was the most important human rights story of 2021, you named far worse brutalities of other countries that should have garnered a top spot. However, you omitted an atrocity that is so shocking and has received little news coverage.
The huge number of rapes and gang rapes in the current Ethiopia-Tigray war by both sides of the enemy’s women, particularly by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers, should have sparked marches by women (and men) across the globe. Instead, we had demonstrations denouncing Israel’s just war against Gaza in May on every continent except Antarctica. The height of hypocrisy occurred on May 27 when Eritrea voted with other violent regimes to establish a commission of inquiry on crimes perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians.
Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem are now considered a Bonnie and Clyde team. If one wants to vilify Israel, one cannot mention one organization without the other because both have publicized their “Apartheid Israel’’ reports.
Amotz Asa-El (“Event of the year,” December 24) condemns the January 6 Capitol riot and former president Donald Trump by manipulating the facts to match his predetermined conclusions.
He quotes Trump as having “called on the rioters ‘to walk down to the capitol.’” Here is what Trump really said: “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol Building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” Many thousands exercised this right guaranteed by the US Constitution. A small minority breached the Capitol.
Asa-El deplores Trump’s assertion “in front of the mob [actually, thousands of peaceful demonstrators], ‘we will never concede.’” He forgets that prior to the 2020 election Hillary Clinton urged then-candidate Joe Biden not to concede under any circumstances. Since her surprise 2016 defeat she has repeatedly characterized Trump as an “illegitimate president,” and constantly asserts that she was cheated out of her rightful victory. Stacey Abrams, darling of the Left, has yet to admit defeat in the 2016 Georgia gubernatorial election that she lost by over 50,000 votes.
Asa-El says January 6 was a coup-d’état because the rioters attempted to disrupt a joint session of Congress. The rioters, perhaps misguided, believed that the election had not been conducted consistent with state laws and the Constitution. They sought to restore those legal requirements. The Capitol riot lasted only a few hours; the one person killed in the Capitol was an unarmed woman shot by police.
Now consider the country-wide Antifa/BLM riots that lasted for several months, resulting in dozens of deaths, 2,000 injured police officers, and billions of dollars in damage. The leaders expressly stated that their goal was to tear down the existing governmental system and rebuild from scratch. They torched federal courts, police stations, and government buildings.
In all his criticism of January 6, Asa-El ignores two crucial questions: (1) Why were president Trump’s repeated offers of National Guard assistance prior to that date rebuffed by the police and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi? (2) All sides agree that federal agents were embedded in organizations later accused of fomenting the January 6 riot. How many were there, and did they help plan, incite, and even lead the violence?
While all political violence must be denounced, misleading quotes and lack of valid comparison and context can lead to libeling the former president, delegitimizing millions of voters, and a slide toward totalitarianism – all in the name of high morality.
EFRAIM COHENZichron Ya’acov
Medical clowns help healing
Allow me, if I may, to provide a subjective response to your article on medical clowns in Assuta Ashdod (“Can laughing really heal? Medical clowns at Assuta think so,” December 24).
Some years ago, after a rather nasty reaction to a chemotherapy session, I was rushed to the hospital and put into isolation for a week. I was not permitted to leave the room and only members of my immediate family were permitted to visit… sparingly. Needless to say, I was not in a particularly good frame of mind.
A few days later a medical clown, properly masked and gowned, peeked into my room carrying a balloon. I looked up from the newspaper I was reading and told him that he made a mistake and obviously came to the wrong room. Smiling, he approached my bed and asked me if I thought that adults did not need cheering up from time to time. Handing me the balloon he sat down and we chatted for a while. He took note of my accent and suggested we swap jokes – he’ll tell me one in Hebrew and I’ll tell him one in English. For me it was the best 10 minutes of the entire week.
Glancing at his watch he apologized and said that he had a few other stops to make, but he wanted me to know that things can always be worse and that I’m being well taken care of.
I learned later that one of my attending nurses recognized that I was somewhat down and thought that a visit from Yossi the Clown might do me some good. Boy, was she right, and truly earned the box of chocolates I got her in gratitude for her thoughtfulness.
I do indeed appreciate the value medical clowns have in pediatric wards, and the support they provide both to frightened children as well as to apprehensive parents cannot be undervalued. So, in answer to your question, can laughing really heal, it’s safe to say, I think, that even though medical clowns do not hold the scalpel or administer medication, they most certainly aid in the healing process, for children of all ages.
BARRY NEWMANGinot Shomron
America – act like a superpower
Dan Perry writes (“A liberal non-progressive wish list for 2022,” December 24) that it was a mistake for president Trump to pull out of the nuclear treaty with Iran, and that President Biden rightly wants to restore it. Firstly, the Iran deal was not a treaty. The US Constitution requires that treaties need US Senate approval. President Barack Obama knew that the deal with Iran would never be passed by the Republican majority of the Senate. The agreement with Iran known as the JCPOA deal was a presidential agreement that could be legally canceled by any future president. Secondly, there seems little point in trying to go back to a deal that has been so obviously violated by the Iranians.
The real problem was not Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA deal. The real problem is the Iranian regime’s fanatical desire to destroy Israel coupled with president Obama’s belief that Iran’s nuclear program could be deterred by diplomacy. It was and still is a recipe designed to ensure a disastrous result.
When the Iran deal was agreed upon in 2015, America was aware of multiple occasions in which Iran had blatantly lied about its nuclear program. America was aware of Iran’s non-compliance of the Non-Proliferation Treaty that Iran had agreed to. America was aware of the fact that Pakistan scientist A.Q. Khan had supplied Iran with the blueprints for P-2 centrifuges needed for a nuclear arsenal. America was aware of the existence of the previously undeclared nuclear facilities at the Natanz and the Fordow enrichment complexes.
America was aware of the heavy water plant at Arak. America was aware of Russian help in constructing the Bushehr-1 nuclear plant. America was aware of the International Atomic Energy Agency report that Iran was attempting to procure dual-use equipment and materials relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. America was aware that Iran had refused to grant access to the Parchin military complex where Iran had conducted experiments relevant to the development of nuclear weapons. America was aware that Iran was in flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1696 and 1737 that demanded that Iran suspend enrichment activities and had placed sanctions on Iran. America was aware that Iran was a serial liar about the peaceful purposes of its nuclear program.
Despite all of the above, president Obama believed that diplomacy was the best way of delaying Iran’s nuclear arsenal and that once sanctions were removed Iran would become a responsible member of the international community of peaceful nations. The JCPOA deal was set in motion.
As part of the Iran deal, president Obama immediately approved the transfer of $1.7 billion of previously frozen Iranian money. Of this amount $400 million worth of Euros, Swiss francs and other currencies was immediately flown to Iran in cash. Sanctions were lifted and money from oil sales flowed into Iran. Iran had the money to do what it wanted to do. Iran never had any intentions of keeping to the deal.
Iran began to systematically exploit ambiguities in the agreement and to delay inspections and fool the IAEA. The bottom line is that Iran has continued its pursuit of acquiring a nuclear arsenal and has exceeded all limitations that it agreed to.
Iran has continued its pursuit of a Shi’ite crescent extending from Iran to Lebanon. It has established terrorist entities in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Gaza, all of which have brought disastrous results for the citizens of these areas. In retrospect it seems that Obama was either totally naïve, or he had some other ulterior motive in agreeing to the JCPOA deal.
A precedent for the answer to Iran’s nuclear program can be found in Israeli actions in the past. In 1981 Israel destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, and in 2007 it did the same to the almost completed nuclear facility in Syria. Rather than being the catalysts for war, the airstrikes prevented both Iraq and Syria from attacking Israel. The airstrikes succeeded in preventing a future nuclear war. Israel did not go to the UN to try to get an agreement to delay these countries from obtaining nuclear weapons. Israel acted. It destroyed the possibility of either country having the capacity to be an existential threat to Israel or any other country.
America should use the Israeli precedent in dealing with Iran. America has the capacity to end Iran’s nuclear program. It will send the strongest possible message to America’s enemies. It does not require any American boots on the ground. It is time for America to reassert its superpower status. America needs to permanently remove the nuclear option for Iran to carry out its stated aim of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” Returning to the JCPOA should not be an option. The real question is does President Biden have the will to do what is necessary?