Letters to the Editor April 20, 2022: Russian hypocrisy

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say

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

Russian hypocrisy

Regarding “Russia blasts Israel for voting against it at UN” (April 17), it is the epitome of hypocrisy!

Russia warned countries that a vote against it will be viewed as an “unfriendly gesture.”

“Neither the Foreign Ministry nor Lapid’s office had a response to Russia's statement.”

According to the UN Watch website, Russia’s voting record on Israel at the UN General Assembly (2015 to present) is: 0% for Israel, 85% against Israel (105 resolutions) and 15% abstentions (19 resolutions). 

Is that a friendly gesture to Israel? Would Israel even consider claiming that Russia voted against Israel all those times in order to divert attention from their occupation of Crimea? Can there be a more blatant example of a double standard?

Shame on Russia, but immeasurably more shame on our Foreign Ministry and Lapid for having no response!


US in danger

Hasam Ismaik lays bare, for the US, a harsh look at the reality that they are facing (“Look east, America, but first, look in the mirror,” April 17). 

China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are actively engaged in slaying the giant. As he so directly points out, “America is a hot mess.” And that encapsulates it all.

This well-thought-out, and provoking article should be mandatory reading for every single American – starting with President Joe Biden, his whole administration and all the self-appointed talking heads who mouth platitudes and empty ideas and positions.

The once-great nation which was a true beacon of democracy is fast becoming the Roman Empire of the modern era. I refer to the Roman Empire not in its ascendancy but rather during its decline and fall from grace.

The US would be well served by taking to heart the thesis presented by Ismaik, and to mark his words carefully. Unfortunately, the current administration is so bereft of minds capable of multitasking that I fear for their ability to recognize the dangers facing them, be proactive in dealing with the varied scenarios, and meet the dire challenges racing toward them.

As Ismaik points out, the clearly visible threats facing the US will not sit on the sideline until a change of administration; rather they will seek to take advantage of the lack of will displayed by the current administration and will seek to bring today’s Roman Empire to its knees.


Hasan Ismaik included oft-repeated erroneous assertions in his criticism of US actions. 

As a US diplomat, I was intimately involved in enforcing the UN sanctions regime against Iraq. I also served with the Coalition Provisional Authority and US Embassy in Iraq in 2004.

Unquestionably, Saddam attempted to obtain materials that could have been used to advance his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program. Had sanctions been lifted without proper verification and enforcement, there is no doubt that Saddam would have fully reconstituted the program. His repeated failure to cooperate with UN inspectors showed that effective verification was impossible. 

In 2003, David Kay, head of the UN’s Iraq Survey Group, reported the discovery of “dozens of WMD-related program activities” hidden from the UN. He later testified that Iraq was attempting to produce deadly ricin “right up to the end.” 

While Kay observed that Saddam had not yet produced large-scale stockpiles of WMD, the US military unit charged with searching for WMDs found clear evidence of chemical weapons testing. Unfortunately, additional discoveries of weapons programs following the war were not made public. 

While the outcome of the war is disappointing, I remain proud of America's efforts to bring safety and democracy to the Iraqi people suffering under Saddam's inhumane rule. As secretary of state Colin Powell told us during his visit to Baghdad: "You are here to help the Iraqi people because that's what it means to be an American." 

The tough sanctions regime imposed on Iraq demonstrates the futility of sanctions when there is a disconnect between the people’s suffering and their leaders’ political interests or lack of compassion. Nobody should believe that the weaker and more porous sanctions imposed on Russia will cause Vladimir Putin to reverse his barbaric invasion of Ukraine. 

EFRAIM COHENZichron Ya'acov

Not so sweet

We are aware Unilever is a major player in food and numerous consumer products that supplies many nations around the world, including some whose human rights are more than somewhat dubious.

However, surprise surprise, they have singled out Israel, giving critical support to no less than the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement ("Against Unilever’s war on the Jewish state," April 18).

I find it ironic that this company had, at one time, a progressive partner in Samuel van den Bergh, who was Jewish.

The sweet taste of ice cream is, unfortunately, with this antisemitic approach by a radical few, plainly leaving a very sour taste, and one that should be countered strongly at every opportunity.


What is Zionism?

I read with interest the article “Rethinking Zionism” by the chief rabbi of South Africa, Dr. Warren Goldstein (April 15). Unfortunately, I think Rabbi Goldstein is sorely missing the point by defining Zionism so narrowly. Zionism is much more than a solution to antisemitism; it's a movement working toward the rebirth of the Jewish nation in its historical land. 

Toward this aim, indeed, sometimes sacrifices are made. Sometimes these sacrifices take the form of lives, much to our sorrow. However, Jews living in the Land of Israel are part of the building of a historic dream, dreamt over generations – that of Jewish independence which is much more than just living a relatively safe life in a western democracy. 

In addition, I think that the very existence of the Jewish state has saved the lives of Jews worldwide. A simple study of the numbers since the establishment of the state shows that the amount of those killed due to antisemitism is a mere fraction of those killed in the same number of years prior to state's existence. 

My version of Zionism does indeed go hand-in-hand with tradition, the same tradition that originated in the exodus from Egypt but did not end at the foot of Mt. Sinai continuing into the Promised Land. It is the ultimate place where the Torah can be implemented, and the only place where prophecy can be received. May we all manage to witness the redemption soon in happiness and good health.


From strength

Regarding “Treading the Fine Line Between War and Peace,” (April 18): Israel must not behave like Jews did in the past, with a ghetto mentality.

At the UN, and at other forums, we must present the physical evidence of the violence being committed against Jewish worshippers walking back from their prayers, who are attacked by Islamic hoodlums.

We should not be condemned by Jordan, which with veiled threats hints at withdrawing their ambassador. We know that King Abdullah knows the truth, but if he is fearful of antagonizing his populace, let him know: you pull the ambassador, we pull our water agreements.

If President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey wants to end his warming of relations with Israel by allowing libelous canards against Israel, we should postpone any further rapprochement with Turkey, which urgently wants the return of the Israeli tourist.

As opposed to the days when Jews had to be meek and turn the other cheek, Israel must not allow Hamas nor Islamic leaders to store rocks and sticks in mosques to attack Jews, and then blame Israel and the Jews.

Ironically,it is the recent Abraham Accords, mediated by president Donald Trump and his team of David Friedman and Jared Kushner, which have given us the most stable alliance. Built on trust and not libels, as well as connections between the two peoples, Muslim and Jew, Arab and Israeli. 

Hopefully, the Middle East can build on that trust, as both sides know it is mutually beneficial to deal in realities and not rabble-rousing inflammatory propaganda.