Letters to the Editor July 3, 2022: Enormous difference

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Enormous difference

In “An American Jew confronts July 4, 1942” (July 1), Rabbi Kavon correctly articulates the response of American Jewry to the Holocaust on July 4, 1942. On the whole, American Jewry failed miserably in its reaction to the slaughter of European Jewry. There are several reasons for this huge failure, all of which has been well researched by Rafael Medoff and others. The learned rabbi did not mention the biggest reason for this colossal failure, and that is the fact that Diaspora Jews always live in fear of what non-Jews might say or do.

There is an enormous difference between July 4, 1942 and July 4, 1976. On the latter date, the IDF embarked on a mission to save Jews being held hostage in Entebbe. Despite the enormous risk, the Jews of Israel were willing to take that risk in order to save and preserve Jewish life. On the other hand, there are few American Jews willing to send their children in harm’s way to defend the Jewish people, and that is the greatest difference between 1942 and 1976.


Petah Tikva

Violence and hooliganism

Regarding the editorial “Kotel deal now” (July 3), I fail to see the connection between the Kotel deal and the horrendous, vicious, violent scenes which played out at the Kotel last Thursday, and which are in fact ongoing. The Egalitarian Kotel is constantly violated by ultra-Orthodox protesters, who often bring mechitzot there and disrupt services, and the Kotel itself is witness to these scenes on a monthly basis.

Even if the Kotel deal is agreed on by the cabinet now, it will be a long time before it is implemented, during which time the violence, hooliganism, busing in of ulpana girls to shout and scream, tearing up of siddurim, the use of loudspeakers to drown out prayer – all these attempts to disrupt both Women of the Wall services and services at the Egalitarian Kotel – will continue.

And even after it is implemented, who will guarantee that the same scenes will not play out over and over again?

Why do the police not act when violent acts are perpetrated? Why are worshipers not protected? What kind of education are these ultra-Orthodox girls and youths receiving, that they believe it is their religious duty to behave like this?

The problem of ultra-Orthodox behavior at both the Kotel and the Egalitarian Kotel needs to be addressed regardless of the fate of the Kotel deal.



Self-congratulatory claims

Regarding “Ben & Jerry’s: Israel boycott intact, local brand not part of company” (July 1): Unilever’s self-congratulatory claims that it rejects the BDS movement and that it is proud of its purveyance in Israel of its other brands ring hollow. 

The Internet Archive memorializes many specific occasions between November 16, 2020  and November 13, 2021, and many others in between, where the “Brands” page of Unilever’s Internet website did not include Israel among the countries listed on the drop-down menu of countries where Unilever brands are marketed.

Unilever’s Israel affiliate has existed since 2000, and Unilever’s predecessors were marketing their goods in Israel even during the British Mandate era. It is quite preposterous to suggest that a company whose brands in Israel include Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Telma cereals, Knorr soup mixes and Rexona deodorant would inadvertently omit Israel from its listing of countries in which its products are purveyed.

Unilever still has some explaining to do.


Petah Tikva

‘The art of compromise’

Although I have been a constant supporter of the Right and of the Likud, and until recently of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, I would like to express my appreciation of former prime minister Naftali Bennett and of current new Prime Minister Yair Lapid (“Lapid enters Prime Minister’s Office,” July 1).

I know it was difficult for them to compromise on their basic positions: Bennett on the far Right and Lapid in the Center. Nevertheless they were prepared to compromise and did so in order to form a government coalition that would otherwise have left Israel lacking any form of direction and remaining in a stalemate.

It was German chancellor Otto von Bismarck who said “politics is the art of the possible,” from which the phrase “politics is the art of compromise” has derived. In other words, the practice of politics cannot always attain the goals desired, but must be tempered by the need to compromise in order to attain that which is possible.

I applaud these two Israeli patriots, Bennett and Lapid in being able to hold together a fragile coalition based on the art of compromise, in order to attain the political goals that were possible under the circumstances. I also applaud those who joined them in this endeavor, both from the Left and from the Arab community, particularly Mansour Abbas of the Ra’am party. 

The fact that Bennett kept his word and resigned in favor of his alternate prime minister Lapid, and that Bennett has announced that he will resign from politics, rather than continue to seek power, shows a degree of humility that I wish many others among our politicians would emulate. Unfortunately the former leaders, Netanyahu in Israel and Trump in the US, to the detriment of their legacies, have shown no such humility, and have continued striving for power at the expense of the interests of their countries and their peoples.

As President Putin in Russia has shown, the pursuit of power for its own sake is both corrosive and dangerous. 



Serving the narrative

The news article “‘Trump oblivious that Jan. 6 rioters were armed, tried to hijack limo’” (June 29) describes former aide Cassidy Hutchinson testifying that then-president Donald Trump tried to grab the steering wheel from two Secret Service agents tasked with protecting him. What’s missing from the article is that Ms. Hutchinson didn’t actually witness this herself, but heard about it third hand.

Such hearsay evidence would not be allowed in any court in the land, and witness cross-examination would also be permitted. The two agents involved both say it didn’t happen, and are prepared to testify to this at the House select committee. Somehow their offer has not been taken up, presumably since this does not serve the narrative being woven by the Dems’ partisan investigation, designed only to deter Trump from ever running again.

If the Post is going to get into details of American politics, then it needs to give respect to its readers by giving a more balanced accounting of events.



Deeply emotional issue

Emily Schrader (“A call for respectful dialogue,” June 28) writes persuasively about dangerously overheated rhetoric in response to hot button issues. Regarding abortion rights, it is essential to understand the underpinnings of the recent US Supreme Court decision. 

Roe v. Wade did not grant unlimited access to abortion. Rather than provide unrestricted abortion rights, Roe found that the state has legitimate interests in protecting both the pregnant woman’s health and the potentiality of human life. These interests change at various stages of the woman’s pregnancy. A woman’s right to choose may be paramount during the first trimester, while a state’s interests and therefore its ability to regulate abortions become much stronger as pregnancy progresses.

Over the past 49 years many legal scholars criticized Roe. Some asserted that it created out of whole cloth a constitutional right to abortion where none existed. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a liberal icon and outspoken abortion rights advocate, observed, “Roe halted a political process [i.e., open debate and compromise at the state level] that was moving in a reform direction, and thereby prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue.”

The recent decision did not make abortions illegal across America. The court simply restored to states the authority to decide this deeply emotional issue. Legislatures in liberal states may decide to allow broad abortion access, while conservative states may be more restrictive.

The court did something almost unheard of in government: It determined that it did not have the power to make law on this issue. The people’s elected representatives are given primacy over the pronouncements of nine unelected lawyers in black robes.

The reaction to this decision is alarming. Even before the final decision was handed down, leading Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer had warned any judge who makes the wrong decision, “You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price.” President Biden has yet to condemn the assassination attempt against a conservative justice.

Biden once opposed abortion rights, but now calls the court’s decision, “a realization of an extreme ideology.” Democratic members of Congress say the court is “illegitimate.” They want to change its structure in order to bend it to their will. These developments are especially troubling coming from the same people who charge that anyone who questions the outcome of the 2020 election is an insurrectionist and potential domestic terrorist.

As Schrader correctly concludes, “A healthy society cannot continue if it has no faith in its own democratic institutions.” 


Zichron Ya’acov

Irresponsible behavior

In “Why Israel needs Netanyahu” (June 30), Walter Bingham makes many true statements, but his interpretation of some of them is faulty. He makes the presumption that what was done re: the Arab Israelis by the current government wasn’t actually necessary or desirable. Actually, it was overdo based on the neglect of that community by previous governments, including those in which Benjamin Netanyahu was a member, whether prime minister or in any other position.

He also states that “Netanyahu has demonstrated on several occasions that he has the ability to convince the international community of the danger of a nuclear Iran.” Since the JCPOA was signed during his tenure as prime minister, I believe that to be at least an overstatement.

Perhaps the Netanyahu of 10 years ago is needed by Israel, but that isn’t going to happen. If we get him, it will be the version that opposed any legislation proposed by the government without regard as to whether it was in the best interest of the citizens of the State of Israel or in agreement with his own party platform. Such irresponsible behavior cannot be rewarded by the people he took an oath to serve.


Petah Tikva

Thinks only of himself

In regard to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s article “Jewish pride makes Netanyahu indispensable” (June 28): I enjoy reading your “No Holds Barred” column, and in regard to this specific one I do agree with what you wrote, but in regard to Bibi again becoming our prime minister I disagree wholeheartedly.

Why? He has caused so many internal disagreements over the past four years, causing us - the citizens of Israel - to go to the polls now for the fifth time.  

In the Knesset he has made his party and allies vote against bills he knows are correct and should have been passed. I am not getting into his trial, which will continue for years to come, regardless if he is or is not prime minister. 

I made aliyah over 50 years ago, lived on kibbutz, volunteered for the IDF, served in a combat unit, and in the reserves, as well. (Yes, I am one of the suckers to do reserve duty, but proud to do it.)

I have worked, am now retired, I married, raised a family, I’m politically on the Right. Though I can only observe from afar, I can see that Netanyahu has changed.

He is no longer in the company of Lincoln, Churchill and Truman’s “The buck stops here,” but instead a person who thinks only of himself.

I have made this letter longer than I had intended, but the situation is what it is.


Kiryat Motzkin