Letters to the Editor June 15, 2022: Be strong

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Be strong

Having just read the article (“Labeling settler goods could harm ties, Israel tells Oslo,” June 12), it seems to me the blame rests on Israel for being too weak and afraid to declare Jewish sovereignty over its historic land, which would leave no doubt to rightful ownership. To allow others to assert that certain parts of the land belong to our enemies, is accepting that we are occupiers of another’s land, which could not be further from the truth. 

Israel is a powerful country that shares with the world its considerable talents in all spheres, even those with whom there are no diplomatic relations. Yet this is not enough to curb the ongoing condemnation and hatred that Israel is subjected to. The least of Israel’s worries should be the “ties” mentioned in the article of Palestinian-Israeli relations, the former’s interest being the destruction of Israel. We need to restore our faith and pride in who and what we are. 

EDITH OGNALLNetanya

Accept Abbas

It may or may not be true, as alleged by Ahmad Tibi (“The most powerful man in the Knesset?” June 10) that Mansour Abbas has received funding on paper that never reached the Arab-Israeli community because “[Ayelet] Shaked stops everything.” Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that many on the Right do find it hard to accept the presence of Abbas’ Ra’am party in the coalition.

Although Abbas had a distasteful past as an official in the Islamic Movement, in recent years he seems to have had a change of heart while also abandoning the Joint List and its obsession with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the detriment of working to better the lives of Arab-Israelis.

In a 2020 Knesset speech, Abbas said he had “empathy for the pain and suffering over the years of Holocaust survivors and the families of the murdered” adding, “I stand here to show solidarity with the Jewish people here and forever.” He condemned the burning of synagogues in Lod by rioters during Israel’s 2021 war with Hamas. Then, in December 2021, Abbas said that Israel is, and will always remain, a Jewish state – truly a remarkable thing for a prominent Arab-Israeli MK to declare.

What Abbas sought for his party’s full engagement with Israeli politics was a long-overdue investment in the quality of life of Arab-Israeli citizens, including improved infrastructure, education, and health care, as well as law enforcement efforts to reduce soaring crime rates. These objectives were endorsed by the coalition and signed into law with the passage of the budget last November. 

Abbas’ remarks since 2020 should have been welcomed by Jews across the political spectrum, and the programs budgeted for Arab-Israelis should have been fully implemented. The result could have been improved Jewish-Arab relations and the beginnings of a more meaningful Israeli political system.

Sadly, however, this opportunity has been missed and we remain bitterly divided, with an opposition seeking power at any cost, a Joint List that continues to take pride in its self-exclusion and anti-Zionism, and a government whose survival is constantly in doubt. How very sad for all of us.

BRUCE WARSHAVSKYModi’in

Jerusalem or Ramallah?

Your editorial “US diplomacy” (June 13) hits the nail on the head when it asks: “Why a US consulate for the Palestinians should be based in Jerusalem, and not, for example, in Ramallah..?”

The answer is simple: what is yours is mine and what’s mine is mine goes the Pirkei Avot saying. It is strange that the Biden Administration appears to agree.

BARRY LYNNEfrat

Deplorable politicians

As I read Herb Keinon’s analysis (“Israel is as divided today as it was when the government was sworn in,” June 13), I was constantly reminded of the Talmudic depiction of the Jewish people as “one nation like one man.”

How far we have fallen! We have totally failed to achieve a sense of “oneness.” Instead of acting like one man, we turn to rifts at every opportunity.

In answer to the age-old question: How low can you go?, our politicians, our nominal leaders, have seemingly answered: “I will go as low as need be to achieve my political goals.”

Truly, truly deplorable!

MICHAEL D. HIRSCHTzur Yitzhak

Just the facts

The report by David Brinn (“Former PMs and country on trial,” June 13) is factually incorrect. He states with regard to America that the nation is glued to the January 6th congressional hearings. In fact, the audience was rather low; most Americans know that the hearings are just Democratic propaganda – a feeble attempt to distract attention from Biden’s cratering ratings. 

Brinn then goes on to state that the hearings are about former president Donald Trump’s attempt to mastermind a bloody coup. In fact, Trump asked his audience to go to the Capitol building to demonstrate peacefully. Incidentally, those words were omitted from the tape read at the hearing. 

Finally, the “bloody” coup was to be perpetrated by a bunch of unarmed citizens! If Brinn wants to write an article castigating Trump, the most pro-Israel president ever to occupy the White House, then it should appear as an op-ed piece. News articles on the front page should be factual.

STEPHEN COHENMa’aleh Adumim

David Brinn replies: Nearly 19 million television viewers watched the first prime-time hearing of the House Select Committee probing the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Free speech

The Post’s June 12 editorial “Tough Talk” asks, “[A]t what point do we say as a society that even ideas we disagree with are legitimate?” This is a dangerous inversion of the concept of free speech.

The default position in a free society must be to assume that all opinions may be freely expressed, with the very limited exception of those that can be shown to threaten physical harm to others, so that they may be tested in the marketplace of ideas. Restricting speech is the precursor to restricting thought. The antidote to offensive speech is more speech.

In their wisdom, the framers of the US Constitution included in the very first Amendment of the Bill of Rights this admonition: “Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech.” They knew that freedom of expression is the bedrock on which progress, indeed all other freedoms, rests. 

More importantly, they understood that unpopular speech, painful though it may be, required this explicit protection. Popular ideas are in no danger of being censored, and need no special shield.

Jews should be especially concerned when members of the broader society arrogate to themselves the power to proscribe any thoughts they deem offensive. Consider the values, information, and beliefs we now take for granted that were banned as heretical when first uttered. 

The following commitment, mistakenly attributed to Voltaire (it was actually written by biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall at the beginning of the 20th century), is as powerful today as when it was first expressed: “I don’t agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” 

EFRAIM COHENZichron Yaakov

Lebanese skies

The short article “Study: Israeli jets overflew Lebanon some 22,000 times” (June 13) quotes alarming statistics regarding the numbers of fighter jets, reconnaissance planes, UAVs and missiles which flew over Lebanon for long periods during recent years.

It also quotes the “acute physiological effects of noise caused, including hypertension, sleep disturbance and more” and an “unprecedented violation of a population’s privacy by a foreign nation”.

On learning that the information derived from the research covering some 15 years, “has been used as advocacy for Amnesty International” and that hundreds of letters about Israeli violations were submitted to the UN Security Council, the whole object of collecting this data, namely to use it in the propaganda war against Israel, becomes clearer to Israelis,

The millions of people in the Western world who are almost totally ignorant about Israel, its neighbors, and Amnesty International, or are preconditioned to expect all kinds of crimes from Israel and the Jews, will learn the following from this article: that Israel has for 15 years been criminally harassing and causing tremendous emotional and other harm to the innocent population of Lebanon without any reason.

If a comment had been included in the article explaining briefly that these flights were all carried out for the sole purpose and in the framework of maintaining Israel’s defense against various Palestinian groups and the heavily armed terror organization Hezbollah in Lebanon, all intent on destroying Israel, a huge additional amount of unnecessary anti-Israel feeling in the world could have been avoided.

CHARLES SMITHShoresh