Fighting at any price
After reading, “Another view of the convoy” by Philip Berger, a Toronto physician (February 27), my takeaway is that he most likely never spoke to the truckers who upended their own lives, risking the greatest personal loss by comparisons to other Canadians who, undoubtedly, were inconvenienced. Many of them were arrested, lost their trucks, had their bank accounts frozen and were beaten up. Unlike Dr. Berger’s misinformed characterization, they didn’t do it to vilify and scorn health workers nor to injure Canada’s economy. They did it to send a message that vaccination by forced mandates is unconscionable and worth fighting against at any price.
Bodily autonomy remains one of our greatest freedoms – if not our greatest, and to have that taken away by being threatened with the loss of your livelihood is worth losing everything, because without it, we have nothing anyway. Doctors, of all people, should understand that medical intervention must be, first and foremost, personal choice. The truckers were willing to stand up for that ideal. I, for one, am grateful that they are a strong voice during a time where so many have forgotten that freedom comes with a price which the convoy participants were willing to pay. Let freedom ring!
COOKIE SCHWAEBER-ISSANBat Yam
It took me some minutes to absorb the unbelievable insolence, chutzpah, and total insensitivity of this man who has appointed an anti-Zionist, Jew-hating Arab woman to be the “representative” of our Jewish homeland in the eyes of the hundreds of millions of Chinese people, in front of whom she will stand and, instead of singing our national anthem, “Hatikvah,” will no doubt sing “Baladi Baladi.”
Has this man no shame? Can he not foresee the unfathomable damage which this woman can cause our country? It is the function and duty of our official representatives abroad to present and uphold our government’s policy, whatever it is. There is no way that this obnoxious person will do this.
I am totally ashamed, to the very essence of my being, that we have a Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, whose education terminated at high school and whose degree was earned on stage as a reality performer, who is unaware of the existence of huge tracts of human knowledge and learning, and, may God help us, may one day be our prime minister. May we be spared.
The kerfuffle about Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi is plain silly. First of all, if she does not support Israel as a Jewish state, that’s her prerogative. Her party does not agree with her.
Secondly, I absolutely understand the reluctance if not refusal of any non-Jew to sing “Hatikvah,” given its lyrics. They certainly appeal to me, since I have the ‘Jewish soul,’ but it’s easy to see why a non-Jew would be put off. What we need is an Arabic version of “Hatikvah,” much the same as Canada has two versions of “O Canada!” I could never sing the French version as I have no desire to “carry the Cross!”
It may interest you to know that in Ottawa, I remember Orthodox Jews who refused to sing the lyrics in “Hatikvah,” which speak of being “a free nation” as they maintained that the apikorsim in Israel meant this to mean – free from mitzvot. Instead, they sang, “to be a holy nation.”
The right thing to do
The quagmire currently holding up critical aid to the Jewish community in Ukraine is hardly unexpected (“Lack of alignment among Ukrainian Jews delays emergency funds,” February 25). Just about everything in that part of the world involves multiple levels of political interference and corruption; that a careful evaluation of where and how funds should be distributed needs to be undertaken goes without saying. The immediacy and urgency of war, though, will inevitably distort any reasonable and thorough evaluation. Exactly who will wind up suffering for this bureaucratic nightmare remains to be seen.
Even more surprising is that there appears to be an open-ended criterion as to who is eligible for the assistance. That it is being earmarked for the “Jewish community” is all well and good, but we’ve seen over the last twenty-something years that the Jewishness of those from the Former Soviet Union is not a cut and dried issue. Is meeting the qualifications for the Law of Return enough, or must recipients of the aid be certified as halachically kosher Jews? My flippancy notwithstanding, it’s not at all difficult to imagine hordes of Ukrainians – Jews and non-Jews alike – clamoring for much needed support, and not only from Israel.
Humanitarian aid will obviously go to those who need it most, and Israel will be among those nations providing medicine, food, clothing and whatever else is needed for survival. It makes no difference to Israel if a child in dire need is Jewish or not, or if a pregnant woman’s mother is not Jewish. And this despite loathsome accusations of apartheid from, among others, Amnesty International and Global Ministries, and the fact that the Jews have not always been treated with kindness by the Ukrainians. Although turning the other cheek is not a Jewish doctrine, sometimes it’s the right thing to do.
But the well-being of the Ukrainian Jewish community is, of course, at the top of the agenda, and whatever financial, material or human resources that are finally sent over and distributed will, first and foremost, be used to ensure that the Israelis who are stranded there or the Ukrainian Jews at risk or in danger find safety one way or another. Israel will do all it can to maintain a balanced approach in its public statements and actions, but even Putin will not question the validity of Israeli rescue operations.
Odd, isn’t it? Much of the world will go out of their way to condemn Israel with vicious lies and slander, but confidently know that in times of emergency, the blue and white teams are invariably among the first responders. The current travesty taking place in Ukraine will be no exception.
BARRY NEWMANGinot Shomron
‘Speak little, but do much’
The concluding paragraph of the editorial “War in Ukraine” (February 25) appropriately states that “[w]hile focusing on the safety of Israelis and the Jewish community in Ukraine, Israel should take a moral stand against the war. That is what is needed right now.”
Two or three of my grandparents (depending upon whether Crimea is reckoned as Ukrainian or Russian territory) emigrated from the Ukraine to the United States shortly before deadly pogroms occurred in each of the respective cities from whence they came.
One of Putin’s pretexts for initiating the invasion of the Ukraine is that the Ukrainians have never been adequately held to account for the complicity of Ukrainian military, police, government officials, and other elites in the atrocities committed by the Nazis. Though Putin certainly has other ulterior motives, such a pretext is not without justification in light of hundreds of years of Ukrainian history, and in light of the public monuments to vicious antisemitic Ukrainian “heroes,” some of which have only recently been erected and dedicated.
The current belligerency in the Ukraine is not Israel’s war. In propounding their “moral stand,” Israeli leaders must be mindful that neither Putin nor the Ukrainian populace at large will be deterred by lectures on morality. Accordingly, Israel’s best “moral stand” strategy would be to assert, in a low profile manner, its economic interests, while providing humanitarian assistance to civilians, primarily but not exclusively to the Jews of the Ukraine.
Rabbi Shammai’s admonition in Pirkei Avot to “speak little, but do much” is well-advised.
KALMAN H. RYESKYPetah Tikva
Stuck in limbo
Riyad Mansour is mistaken (“PA: Calling out apartheid isn’t antisemitism, it’s reality,” February 24). It is the Palestinians who are practicing apartheid – against the “Palestine refugees.” Arab nations rejected the 1947 Partition Plan and resorted to violence, hoping to drive the Zionists out of the Jews’ ancestral homeland. Arab-initiated violence resulted in two populations of refugees. Between 400,000 and 700,00 Arabs fled Palestine in the 1940s and 1,000,000 Mizrahi Jews were subsequently thrust from their homes in the Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa.
Some of the Jews went to the US or France, but Israel absorbed 800,000 of them. Their descendants comprise the majority of Israel’s current Jewish population. Every position in Israeli governance except prime minister has been filled, at one time or another, by someone with roots in the Mizrahi communities.
In contrast, the Arab League told Arab nations to deny citizenship to the Arabs who’d fled and to their descendants. Although no more than 30,000 of the original refugees are still alive, UNRWA has 5,500,000 Palestine refugees on its rolls. UNRWA is a UN agency which deals exclusively with the Palestine refugees; it has not resettled a single person. UNHCR, which deals with all other refugee populations, worldwide, considers five years to be an extended stay in a refugee camp.
But five generations of Palestine refugees are stuck in limbo, with the Arab League, and now Palestinian leaders, insisting that the only resolution for the problem is that Israel give the “refugees” the homes they claim their forebears lost generations ago. Israel cannot accept so many “refugees” who’ve been raised in societies that honor and reward people for murdering Jews. The claim of a “Right of Return” for the Palestine refugees would turn Israel into a Muslim-majority state, where Jews are unlikely to be tolerated at all. The Palestinian Authority’s demand that its future state will be “Jew-free” is a further example of apartheid.
TOBY F. BLOCKAtlanta
I am outraged by the antic of PA Ambassador Riyad Mansour. He seems to use any occasion to libel Israel. In this case it’s the UNSC’s monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One might ask why there is a monthly meeting on this issue, but not one on the myriad of atrocities being committed around the globe.
Mansour wants an outcry against Israel. What does he think decades of flagrant antisemitic UN declarations have been? What does he think Soros and the Ford and Rockefeller Brothers foundations have been doing, flooding Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and B’Tselem with money to write outlandish reports on Israel, reports which have been rejected by most western nations?
There is a concerted campaign to delegitimize Israel, promoted by the alliance of Islamists and an academia that has sucked in billions of dollars from Muslim rulers. Even a cursory study of life in the Middle East and North Africa will prove Israel is the only country in the region where minorities, Jews, Christians, Muslims, women and gays can pursue their dreams in peace and safety.
Peace is a myth
Imagine being given a precious jewel and throwing it away. That’s what we have done with our historic Jewish land delivered as promised by God to build and settle for the Jewish people alone (“Can Israel swap a Palestinian state for a Palestinian entity,” February 23). The answer to that idiotic question should be a resounding no. Not in any form whatsoever. Only we have provenance over this land and any deviation can and has brought us to a point where we question our rights to keep the land Jewish.
We euphorically accepted the Abraham Accords while accepting the condition that we don’t declare sovereignty of our land and accept the two-state solution which is always the Arab goal as it is with the gentile countries we call friends. Never has a people been so persecuted and hated, despised by all as the Jews have been yet, rather than shed the strong Diaspora mentality, we nurture it and beg our enemies to make peace, making concessions that no sane country would contemplate. Is it not obvious by now that peace is a myth and another method toward our destruction. Hamas orders Israel and Israel obliges, offering 10,000 more work permits to our enemies, enabling them to work among us.
This we are told is to calm tensions. Hamas has said it eventually expects 30,000 more work permits and what Hamas wants Hamas gets. Israel has now made it patently clear that there is no concession, no humiliation or groveling to the terrorists that is too much in order to keep others happy, and also in the hope that Hamas will agree to a truce no matter how false it so obviously is. The precious jewel has been to all intents and purposes abandoned.