Harmful to Israel
For three important reasons, I find it very sad that “AIPAC defends endorsing those who didn’t certify elections” (March 20), which discusses AIPAC’s public letter “defending their decision to endorse 35 Congress Republicans who voted not to certify the 2020 elections.”
- These Congress Republicans are also using the big lie that Trump won the election to support attempts to prevent certain groups from voting and other efforts to undermine US democracy.
- All but a handful of Democratic Congress members strongly support Israel and voted to back funding for the Iron Dome, so if these 35 Republicans are defeated, it would not be harmful to Israel. It is important to note that this funding has been blocked for months by Republican Senator Rand Paul.
- AIPAC’s endorsements provide ammunition to antisemites who argue that US Jews favor benefits to Israel more than for the US, and this is harmful to American Jews as well as Israel.
In view of the above, AIPAC would be wise to return to its long time policy of not endorsing candidates.
RICHARD H. SCHWARTZShoresh
In relation to Jane Campion’s movie Power of the Dog, (“How Jane Campion is handling ‘Power of the Dog’ accolades, March 20”), the behavior of the main character played by Benedict Cumberbatch was despicable; he was insulting to his brother and his new bride. What was his problem? Gradually it dawned that he had a character fault that has been described as “toxic masculinity,” a form of overdeveloped maleness due to testosterone excess bordering on psychopathy and homosexuality.
Toxic masculinity brings to mind the current situation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It seems clear that President Vladimir Putin suffers from precisely this personality defect. You can see it in the way he swaggers down the Kremlin red carpet, with guards taller than himself opening the doors for him and the public waiting hushed for his words; you can see it in the image he likes to project half-naked in the outdoors showing how fit he is; and you can see it in his decisions and actions.
Who else but a male with excessive testosterone would invade a peaceful country because he supposedly fears NATO on his doorstep. Russian leaders have always been afraid of the West, mainly because they are so backward themselves. But the bombardment of cities, which his forces carried out in Grozny, in Aleppo and now in Mariupol, Kharkiv, Kyiv and all around Ukraine is a clear indication of a character defect that borders on megalomania and male conquest. If I can’t have you I must destroy you.
Such characters try to project an over-expressed maleness, yet in themselves they are perhaps insecure. This was the case with Adolf Hitler who was said to have been essentially asexual, but practiced exhibiting an image of power. Certainly by invading Ukraine and causing so much misery, death and destruction, Putin is exhibiting his drive for power. In time he must be stopped. What Russia needs is a female president, or at least a man who is normal.
PROF. JACK S. COHENBeersheba
A significant difference
The term “never again” has been invoked a number of times in recent days in trying to compare the events in Ukraine today with the Holocaust. Some examples are “War in Ukraine challenges Holocaust Survivors – again” and “Is ‘never again’ now? Ukraine war ignites recurring debate” (both on March 15), and “Russian invasion of Ukraine brings new trauma to Holocaust survivors” (March 16).
In the first, Michele Gold and Marian Lebor liken the heartbreaking images of fleeing refugees to those in the Holocaust.
However there is a significant difference. The refugees today are being greeted with open arms, food, shelter and clothing where needed, by many nations. During the Holocaust, Jews could barely find refuge and were turned back at every border crossing by armed guards who either shot them on the spot or sent them to concentration camps.
As early as 1938, when US president Roosevelt convened the Evian Conference to seek asylum for the suffering Jews in Germany, he was met with refusals across the board. In the same year, Switzerland requested that Germany stamp a “J” on Jewish passports just so they would be able to identify Jews who were seeking asylum in their country.
Even the United States subsequently refused to allow the landing of the St. Louis, carrying over 900 Jewish refugees, on its shores in 1939.
Thankfully the story is very different today, with the world accepting responsibility for refugees and of course, Israel providing a haven for Jews, neither of which was true during the Holocaust.
MARION REISSBeit Shemesh
Lamentable but legitimate
Your editorial (“Undiplomatic envoy,” March 18) chiding US Ambassador Thomas Nides for his rather undiplomatically-expressed opinions on the settlements and his ambiguous attitude toward the rewarding of Palestinian terrorists and murderers almost made it home safely. You neatly rounded third base but, alas, you unfortunately tagged yourself out before scoring the run.
While you properly called the ambassador out for his one-sided and reckless views of the Jewish municipalities residing in Judea and Samaria, you failed to ensure that the ambassador be made aware that those of us who live in these areas are neither squatters nor transients, but are bona fide and tax paying citizens of Israel. Saying “nu, nu, nu” is not enough unless you forcefully explain to Ambassador Nides – and by extension, President Biden – that Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel, Karnei Shomron and all the other settlements thriving on the other side of the so-called Green Line are essential and integral parts of Greater Israel, offensive and misleading characterizations will continue unabated. And this, mark my words, is no more than a small step to a malignant declaration that Israel is an apartheid state.
I’m not, by the way, at all impressed that Mr. Nides is Jewish. If anything, that he cut his diplomatic teeth in the Obama State Department – which was not particularly friendly or amenable to the security well-being of Israel – is somewhat troubling. It would not surprise me a bit to learn that Secretary of State Blinken advised the ambassador to play down his Jewishness in the interest of projecting an aura of neutrality. And for the current administration, supporting Palestinian causes at Israel’s expense is, for all practical purposes, neutrality at its best.
Odd that your editorial took no issue with Nides’s use of the word “haters” while discussing the pay-for-slay issue. It’s telling, I think, that he used that word rather than terrorists or murderers, suggesting that he believes those who target Israelis or Israeli targets are expressing a lamentable but legitimate political opinion. I’m sure he would have preferred to use guerrillas or rebels rather than haters, but figured it was more prudent to let discretion be the better part of valor.
It’s fair to say that the days of a proudly pro-Israel US ambassador are behind us, and that Bennett/Lapid will have some gut-wrenching periods in the months to come. How successful Mr. Nides will be in convincing Israeli officials to halt additional building within the settlements remains to be seen. The fact that he’s even trying, though, is worrying enough.
BARRY NEWMANGinot Shomron
Thomas Nides is the United States of America’s ambassador to Israel. As such, he represents the policies of President Biden. In the editorial headlined “Undiplomatic envoy,” Nides is quoted as stating the present American policy of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian situation. This policy has been the policy of President Biden for decades and is not new. What is new is his statement that the American role “is to make sure that people do not do stupid things.” Bearing this remark in mind, I think it is worthwhile to look at some of the recent things that America has done.
According to a report by Brown University, America has spent $8 trillion on wars since 9/11. The report excludes the cost of the Vietnam War that occurred before 9/11. What has America achieved by spending so much blood and treasure?
Let’s start soon after 9/11 occurred. President Bush decided to invade Iraq on the alleged assumption that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and had supported al-Qaeda which had carried out the attack on America. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found, and no link with al-Qaeda was ever established.
By 2011 president Gaddafi had disarmed his nuclear program. Nevertheless, president Obama stated that Gaddafi had to go. Gaddafi was forced to flee and was found hiding in a ditch. He was immediately executed by his captors. The date was October 20, 2011. Since that date Libya has experienced a civil war that continues to this day. Large quantities of arms found in warehouses in Libya are now causing havoc in the hands of Islamic groups in Somalia, Mali and other parts of Africa.
In addition to this unexpected outcome, the main message from the downfall of Gaddafi is that giving up on your nuclear arsenal leads to your downfall. North Korea and other countries have taken note of this precedent.
Obama also warned President Assad that using chemical weapons against his own people was a red line, that if crossed, would have serious consequences. Assad ignored the warning and continued to use chemical weapons. What did president Obama do? He ordered the withdrawal of most of the American armed forces from Syria. This was the beginning of the end of American deterrence in the world.
The result so far is that half a million Syrians have been killed, and millions have become refugees that have flooded into Turkey and Europe. In place of American leadership, Russia, Iran and Turkey have all moved into Syria and President Assad is still in power.
There is however one deal that will have even more serious strategic consequences than all of the above. President Biden seems determined to conclude a deal with Iran. All reports from the meetings in Vienna confirm the capitulation of America to almost all the demands of the Iranians.
It seems certain that American sanctions will be lifted, and that Iran will have a huge infusion of financial resources that will allow it to finance additional mayhem throughout the Middle East. Iran has built huge underground facilities to secretly advance its nuclear program.
America is closing its eyes to all the deception of Iran’s nuclear program. America seems prepared to accept that Iran will build an atomic arsenal provided that it does so only at some date in the future. No matter the consequences, America wants a deal with Iran.
So please, Ambassador Nides, try to ensure that America’s role “is to make sure that people do not do stupid things.” A good place to start is America itself.
By taking sides, the US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides is abusing the privilege FHB “ family hold back” afforded him by his hosts.
Of course his attitude to the subject of Israel and the Palestinians has history and we were fully aware of his biased approach prior to his appointment. Forewarned should normally have meant forearmed especially when his appointment was given the green light by the progressives in the Democrat Party and finally confirmed by his leader President Biden.
We must certainly be aware with eyes wide open at present that America might have your back up to a certain point, then you are on our own. Therefore it is imperative to be perfectly clear where they stand on issues that affect us critically.
Thomas Nides uses diplomatic speech to preach his undiplomatic approach to issues on the ground. Therefore as is the case whenever a foreign ambassador treads a path that causes issues as a guest, the Foreign Ministry should call in the ambassador to express at least the concerns of the host.
STEPHEN VISHNICKTel Aviv