Letters to the editor February 23 2022: Excellent relations

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Your interview with MK Bezalel Smotrich (““Here’s the deal: I’m not a racist,’” February 18) contained the false statement from him that the Board of Deputies of British Jews boycotted Israeli Ambassador Hotovely for months after she arrived in the UK on September 30, 2020.

The fact is that the president of the Board, Marie van der Zyl, met with the ambassador on October 19, 2020 in what was Hotovely’s first meeting with a communal organization leader. We have continued to engage with the ambassador and her team ever since and enjoy excellent relations with them all.

One wonders what his motivation might be for making up such a false story.


Chief Executive 

Board of Deputies of British Jews

Wrong reason

I welcome the appointment of the four new justices to the Israeli Supreme Court and hope and pray that they will do their job honestly, fairly and wisely (“First Arab Muslim appointed to Supreme Court,” February 22).

Although I am pleased that there are, among the four, two women and one Muslim Arab, I am in no way happy that these factors were a part of the selection process. Judges are to be appointed on only one single criterion – merit. 

Their worthiness, worldliness, legal knowledge, experience and wisdom are the factors which are to be considered when determining the scale of merit. It is of no importance, indeed it is irrelevant, that they are women, men, Arabs, Jews, Right or Left, religious or secular; if they come out on top of the merit scale, they deserve to be appointed. And if all four are women, or Arabs, so be it. The system of holding a place open for a ”token” woman, or a “token” Muslim or a “token” haredi, is anachronistic. We have outgrown this archaic, artificial selection process.

Let us hope that in spite of what we read of the recent deliberations of the selection committee, the result will be a meritocratic panel of Supreme Court justices.



Trump’s truth

I find it astonishing that “Trump’s Truth Social app launches on Apple” (February 22), since former president Trump made 30,573 false or misleading statements during his four years as president, including 502 on November 2, 2020, the day before Election Day, according to The Washington Post fact checker.

In addition, Trump and many other Republican politicians continue to support the big lie that Trump won the 2020 election “by a landslide,” despite the facts that (1) all of the pre-election polls, including those conducted by Fox News, showed Joe Biden with major leads, (2) that Republican claims of fraud were denied by 60 US judges, including many appointed by Trump and several times by the US Supreme Court, with its 6-3 conservative majority, and (3) that Republicans did well in the 2020 congressional elections.

Based on that big lie, Republican state legislators are doing all they can to prevent certain groups from voting in the future and taking other steps that threaten US democracy.

It is significant that the Hebrew word for truth, emet, has the first, middle, and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, perhaps indicating the importance of truth on all occasions.



Don’t sacrifice our ally

A final request of United States President Joseph Biden before the Vienna discussions conclude (“Lapid: Any sane person must oppose IRGC ban reversal in new Iran deal,” February 22): Do not sacrifice our loyal ally, Israel to appease Iran, a nation that since its 1979 revolution has not proven itself to be anything other than an enemy to America.

As the Vienna discussions, entailing Iran’s insatiable demands for unrestricted nuclear capabilities, as well as total sanction relief, draw to a conclusion, one frank observation to keep in mind is that Iran commands, but never concedes. It lacks respect for both Israel and the United States. This is most apparent when chants of “Death to Israel’’ and “Death to America’’ can be heard.

Iran lacks any willingness to openly debate its suspected destabilizing operations with President Biden or Secretary of State Antony Blinken. They include allegations of: (1) proxy based terrorism, (2) human rights abuses, (3) divisive militia patronage and (4) stockpiled and ready to employ ballistic missile threats from within Lebanon, on Israel’s northern border, and its less sophisticated, yet still deadly offensive rockets based from within Gaza, on Israel’s southern border. Each individually articulates sinister motives, and together this constitutes a realistic threat promoting war.

President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken in conjunction with their Vienna counterparts could have (should have) levied reasonable demands of Iran of their own including relinquishing possession of the excess enriched nuclear material, that exceeded the JCPOA agreed-upon limitations, to a neutral storage overseer. This, in conjunction with a separate legitimate demand for external oversight of Iran’s expanding missile stockpiles. Together, this would bolster the credibility of the US promise to Israel, “The United States will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.”

To assure the Vienna participating nations that the concluding terms provide for Israel’s well-being, there must be validated clarification of Iran’s intentions regarding its relatively recent infrastructure development within Syria, Iraq, Gaza, Judea and Samaria, its application for the notorious proxy agents Hezbollah in Lebanon, Houthi movement in Yemen, and militias in Iraq and Syria, and ramifications relating to the Palestinian Authority Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza. Do they each serve as anything other than an accretive agent to eventually challenge Israel’s existence?

President Biden, in essence, the welfare of our planet may rest in large part on you, without deviance, adhering to your sworn oath of office. It is imperative that you protect our great American nation and its long standing constitution from all enemies foreign or domestic. Are you up to this task?


Indian Creek, Illinois

Trying times

I read your story about Larry Garbuz (“New York’s ‘Patient Zero’ talks about COVID-19 and recovery,” February 22) with much interest. Larry and his wife Adina are good friends of our daughter Jill and her husband Bruce Schanzer, with whom we stay when visiting the United States.

I recall quite well the impact the onset of COVID had on conditions in their synagogue, the Young Israel of New Rochelle. To say that the situation was topsy-turvy would be an understatement.

All that aside, that Larry is still with us, thank God, is reason enough to believe that God has been looking out for him since day one of his ordeal. May Larry continue to be blessed by God watching out for him in these trying times.


Tzur Yitzhak

Absolutely corrupt

Regarding “Russian forces near Ukraine starting to ‘uncoil,’ US warns,” (February 20), we in western nations may feel Putin didn’t need to publicly test a Russian non-nuclear-armed hypersonic missile, since he surely must know the West won’t launch a first nuclear strike. But how can he, or we, know for sure whether that’s true?

Although Ronald Reagan may have been correct in his observation that “of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the US was too strong,” I have long wondered what may have historically come to fruition had the US remained the sole possessor of atomic weaponry. There’s a presumptive, and perhaps even arrogant, concept of American governance as somehow, unless physically provoked, being morally/ethically above using nuclear weapons internationally.

After president Harry S. Truman relieved general Douglas MacArthur as commander of the forces warring with North Korea – for the latter’s public remarks about how he would/could use dozens of atomic bombs to promptly end the war – Americans’ approval rating of the president dropped to 23 percent. It is still a record-breaking low, even lower than the worst approval-rating points of the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson.

 Had it not been for the formidable international pressure on Truman (and perhaps his personal morality) to relieve MacArthur as commander, I wonder, would Truman eventually have succumbed to domestic political pressure to allow MacArthur’s command to continue? After all, absolute power can corrupt absolutely.​FRANK STERLE JR.

White Rock, British Columbia

History repeating itself

This decision by President Putin to recognize the breakaway states in eastern Ukraine (“Putin recognizes independence of Ukraine rebel regions,” February 22) shows us once and for all, if it was ever needed, the true colors of this ex-KGB intelligence officer. During his televised rambling address he reverted to type by demonizing the West and made less than veiled suggestion that NATO should revert to pre-1997 borders.

This message will no doubt send great fear to the likes of Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Czech Republic, Belarus etc., as well as possibly even Poland.

As we have previously seen, the use of sanctions will not deter Putin as his diatribe spelled out his view that Russia felt gravely slighted, and gave the impression we shouldn’t be surprised if in future he makes moves that return many of these aforementioned independent eastern states under the umbrella of a reinvented USSR.

The situation presenting itself is that Russia under Putin might well start to move stealthily to occupy these territories he believes should now return under their sphere of complete influence. The question to western leaders is, now that Putin has played his joker, what will they actually do, as they see history repeating itself and its current dangers are very clear and present.


Tel Aviv

Two views on two states

I do not share Micah Halpern’s enthusiasm for Speaker Pelosi’s support of the “two-state solution” (“The real reason for Pelosi’s visit,” February 22). The problem is that Israel and Palestinian leaders have differing positions on what the “two states” will be.

Israel envisions “two states for two peoples” – a Palestinian state co-existing, peacefully, with the nation-state of the Jews. Members of minority groups would have full civil rights in their country of residence (as non-Jews already have full equal rights in Israel). The implementation of this vision necessitates that the Palestine refugees (UNRWA designation) be rehabilitated in the future Palestinian state or in other Muslim states willing to give them citizenship.

Palestinian leaders, in contrast, view two states as a Palestinian state from which all Jews have been banished and a Muslim-majority Israel which has fulfilled the Arab promise to the Palestine refugees (that Israel would give them the homes they claim their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents... lost when Arab leaders went to war to rid Palestine of its Jews). Had the Arab leaders, instead, helped the Arabs of Palestine prepare for self-rule, the first-ever-to-exist Arab State of Palestine could have been born alongside renascent Israel in 1948 without a single drop of blood having been spilled.

But the past is past. The Palestine refugees have grown up in societies that honor and reward people for killing Jews. Israel cannot accept 5,500,000 people who’ve been fed Jew-hatred for generations. Jews would be second-class citizens in a Muslim-majority Israel if they were tolerated at all.



Loathsome entity

Regarding “Ireland’s anti-Israel’s obsession” (February 18), in the final scene of the 1942 film Casablanca, there is the famous line by actor Humphrey Bogart, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.’’ Alas, powerful forces, ranging from antisemitism, hatred of Israel spread by anti-Zionist Jews, and perception of Israel as a Goliath against Palestinian “freedom fighters’’ and failure to combat this mendacity have worked to destroy the remarkable bond between the Irish and Jews.

While Menachem Begin, leader of the paramilitary Irgun fought against the British who ruled Palestine, he regarded the Irish War of Independence as a role model; the IRA, in turn, valued Begin’s book The Revolt as a handbook of guerrilla combat against their own British oppressors. While the Irish statesman Conor Cruise O’Brien was a friend of Israel, Irish-American senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan steadfastly defended the Jewish state.

Two of the bestselling novels of the Jewish-American Leon Uris were Exodus, published in 1958, on the founding of Israel, and Trinity, published in 1976, on the Irish fight for freedom. Similarly, the Irish-American Thomas Cahill wrote well-received books How the Irish Saved Civilization in 1995, followed by The Gifts of the Jews in 1998. The four iconic Irish writers are James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats and Samuel Beckett. The Jewish-American Richard Ellmann wrote award-winning biographies of the first two, books of the third, and Jewish-American Alan Schneider was the foremost director of Beckett’s plays.

Just as the Irish fail to appreciate this, they ignore the barbaric terrorism of Palestinians. Ronit Lentin, an Israeli expatriate living in Ireland, now a retired academic, with a few other Irish Jews, has played an important role in portraying Israel as a loathsome entity.