Flag removal not trivial
Emily Schrader writes (“Criticism of Biden is political,” July 19) that the removal of the Israeli flag from President Joe Biden’s limousine prior to his visit to east Jerusalem is a trivial issue.
There is no greater symbol of sovereignty than the display of a country’s flag.
Regarding the display of the American flag, there were no greater moments of displaying sovereignty than that of Union troops fighting in the Civil War with their colors leading the way. Nor the most famous picture of World War II than the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima.
Had the limousine displayed only two American flags on the vehicle for the entire stay, which would be unheard of, then perhaps the display of the flag might have been a small, but not trivial, issue.
But to remove the Israeli flag from the limousine was an insult to the host country.
And that is not a trivial issue.
High-ranking politicians and generals are frequently threatening the Iran regime with military actions, targeting the nuclear arsenals of Iran (“Kohavi warns Israel might be required to act against Iran,” July 18).
In my opinion, such declarations of threat are counterproductive. Military silence and secrecy are prerogatives for any successful military operation. Two such historic events are worthwhile to remember:
When on June 5, 1967 the Israel Air Force attacked all airfields in Egypt Jordan and Syria simultaneously, it was a total success, destroying almost the whole enemy air force in the first three hours of the war. This airstrike was preceded by Israel’s deception policy, of not going to war until all diplomatic efforts have been exhausted.
Moshe Dayan was appointed defense minister, and a few days before war broke out, he assured in a press conference, that Israel was trying to negotiate a diplomatic solution to the conflict. At the same hour, the cabinet has already taken the secret decision, authorizing the army to go to war against its enemies.
The second example is the Israel Air Force operation against the nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981, when six or eight Israeli aircraft bombers destroyed this reactor into ashes. Apart from a handful of high-ranking Israeli politicians and generals, no one in Israel knew about this top secret operation, which turned out to be a total success.
Only few hours after the operation was completed, prime minister Menachem Begin went on air, and informed the world that the nuclear Iranian reactor was destroyed, saving Israel and the world from a potential nuclear inferno.
Conclusion: Silence and secrecy are preconditions to any far-reaching military operation. Too much talk reduces our credibility.
The Jerusalem Post reports that “last year Iran’s intelligence minister said Western pressure could push Tehran to seek nuclear weapons, the development of which [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei banned in a fatwa, or religious decree, in the early 2000s.”
Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) noted on April 6, 2015, that “such a fatwa has never been issued, and to this day no one has been able to show it.” CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis), has pointed out that in a November 27, 2013 column, “the Washington Post’s own Fact Checker warned ‘US officials should be careful about saying the fatwa prohibits the development of nuclear weapons, as that is not especially clear anymore.’”
[This is] not especially clear, because Iran has not issued and published such a fatwa. What various Iranian leaders and spokesmen have done is periodically make ambivalent remarks intended to deflect international attention from their country’s long-standing drive for a nuclear weapons capability.
No government nor group can provide a single scrap of verifiable evidence as to who fired the shot that killed Shireen Abu Akleh (“Rashida Tlaib urges Biden to get names of IDF troops from Abu Akleh shooting,” July 10).
This is being misused by Tlaib to malignantly attack Israel and ignore the fact that the State Department and US Security Coordinator maintain there is no indication the death of Abu Akleh was intentional but instead was the result of tragic circumstances.
Tlaib did not ask that President Biden obtain the names of Palestinians present, along with that of their commanding officer, even though it is equally likely that they bear responsibility for Abu Akleh’s death.
Curiously, Tlaib never called for the US State Department and FBI to conduct a criminal investigation into the pay-to-slay death of Taylor Force, who was also an American citizen killed in Israel. Might that be because his murderer was a Palestinian who stabbed him to death while Mr. Force was walking in Tel Aviv?
Apparently Tlaib’s concern for murders of Americans in Israel vanishes if the perpetrator can be clearly identified as Palestinian and the victim is not Palestinian.
Justice for Lanner
In your July 20 editorial “Israel is no haven for sex criminals,” it stated that “It is true that Lanner served his time in prison and should be able to get on with his life...” This is a serious and harmful misunderstanding. Lanner was convicted and served time for abusing a single victim out of at least dozens over a period of 25 years. People should not be under the false impression that justice has been done. It should also be noted that Lanner is now a co-defendant, along with the Orthodox Union (OU) and the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY), in a civil suit brought by five of his alleged victims.
No, Lanner has not “served his time” and it’s perfidious that he’s even allowed to freely and anonymously roam our streets. He should be immediately deported so he can be properly monitored and hopefully answer for more of his crimes.
Gershon Baskin (“The road to normalization,” July 21) demonstrates his lack of knowledge of history. How many times does he have to be told that the statement “Israel to withdraw from all Arab territory occupied in 1967, including Arab Jerusalem” is incorrect and unfeasible?
The “Arab territory” was reoccupied from the Jordanians. Before that, it was Israeli territory.
If, as Baskin claims, the territory was “occupied,” when did the Palestinians get sovereignty? Was it from the Ottomans, or the League of Nations, which gave the Jews sovereignty under the British Mandate?
Baskin has not commented that when Jordanians occupied Jewish land, every single Jew was evicted, Jewish property was given to Arabs, who had just begun calling themselves Palestinians.
It is funny that he does not see this as ethnic cleansing, but if Israel did not recognize its Arab citizens and if it destroyed mosques, he would have plenty to say.
In 1967, all Israel did was regain what rightly belonged to the country.
“Arab land” is defined as Arabia, and not any local area. Israelis are not allowed to enter, but this is not apartheid - of course. Jews cannot enter Area A or Area B either. So what sort of two-state solution would this be? If Baskin’s plan is ever implemented, he better put his affairs in order, as the past Jordanian approach is likely to be repeated.
No, Mr. Netanyahu. In the parliamentary tradition followed by mature democracies, the head of a department resigns when there has been an error in his/her department. If the error is larger, the minister resigns, even if he/she was not personally involved – that is what it means to be given the responsibility of heading a department or a ministry. You choose your people, and if they prove inadequate, you accept that you didn’t choose well, not that you didn’t watch them every minute.
When the biggest civil disaster in modern Israel’s history occurs, the person at the very top has to accept responsibility and resign.
Excuses such as “you can’t expect me to know every detail of everything that is happening” are not acceptable.
Mr. Netanyahu, it is time for you to accept our gratitude for everything you have done, and now step aside. Every day you continue to lead a party and run for office continues to offend our parliament and our democracy.
In the UK, Boris Johnson, the best prime minister the UK has had for at least a whole generation, has had to resign for far less.
Mr. Netanyahu, it’s time for you to go.
Ophir Falk states (“Putting Netanyahu back in office can save Israel’s democracy,” July 22) that “a lacuna in Israel’s unwritten constitution” enabled the formation of the Lapid-Bennett government. He is wrong.
Israel is a parliamentary democracy where the representatives, i.e., MKs, are voted in by the public and the MKs choose by a vote of confidence who should become prime minister. In fact, if the leader of the largest party were automatically prime minister, then in 2009 Tzipi Livni would have become prime minister, not the writer’s politician of choice. Be careful what you wish for.
If the writer is really concerned about fixing a legal lacuna, how about fixing the lacuna that allows someone who has been indicted to serve as prime minister while simultaneously not allowing someone similarly indicted to serve as an ordinary minister?
Yaakov Katz in “Time to take Abraham Accords to the Palestinians,” (July 22) writes that the “Palestinian issue... is a conflict that Israel needs to solve.”
At first glance, these words serve simply to irritate the reader (myself) and to impugn past peace proposal efforts by successive Israel governments to do just that. And, that is exactly what they do.
Yet, sometimes, one has to read beyond the headlines to see a glimpse of a good idea. One could imagine (so sang John Lennon) that a much greater involvement of a more powerful business class tied to international norms and regulations might just make a difference in the power struggle between those who see our conflict as a zero-sum game and those who see a potential win-win for all.
After all, who has the money often has influence and “what to lose.”
Perhaps the Europeans should consider changing their funding priorities!
Kudos to Julia Robbins on her efforts to educate young Jews how to protect Israel against slander and antisemitism in disguised form (“Help young Jews defend Israel,” July 21). Robbins proposes the “clash and weighing” approach in which both sides of the argument are presented and discussed.
I’ll go one aggressive step further. When pro-Palestinian activists, Jews or otherwise, protest Israel’s discrimination and apartheid (the latter a vile lie) against Arabs and Israel’s other minorities – the answer should compare Israel with the discrimination against the blacks in the southern US even today, or Mexicans in the slums of mutated Los Angeles. Israel will come out much better.
How come the percentage of Arabs (as a fraction of the population) studying for higher degrees in Israeli universities is higher than the percentage of blacks in NY or the percentage of Mexicans in Los Angeles, or Hispanics in Miami? Who cares if the statistics are true or not – if everybody can lie, distort and slander, why shouldn’t we?
When the pro-Palestinian Jewish activists protest against the checkpoints that inconvenience many innocent Palestinians – how is that any different from the border control points between Canada and the US, where innocent Canadians and Americans can be held up for hours. Are there Canadian terrorists attempting to enter the US and blow everybody up, or vice versa?
It’s all part of the new forms of antisemitism, in the guise of anti-Israel. The really sad part is that the so-called “smart, young, progressive Jews” are so easily brainwashed, prove the opposite, and betray their brethren.