Letters to the Editor, September 21, 2022: Multiple criteria

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, would like to respond to the opinion piece titled “Groups tied to terror: UN agency accepted $50 million from Union of Good” (August 24), which contained inaccuracies about UNHCR and our relation to certain donors in the Middle East.

Terrorism and human rights are simply irreconcilable. Claims that our organization has accepted donations from charities based in Qatar with links to terrorism are baseless. We do not partner with organizations with links to any criminal or terrorist activities.

First and foremost, UNHCR has never had any engagement with the “Union of Good,” an organization referenced in the article and that we understand has not been in existence for many years.

UNHCR applies the strictest level of scrutiny to the sources of its funding from the private sector, including foundations, corporates and private philanthropists. A UN system-wide due diligence process is applied before establishing any form of partnership. This process screens potential donors across multiple criteria, including UN Security Council sanctions lists. Both the entity and the leadership of these entities are reviewed closely.

This is the case for our partnerships with the Qatar Charity and the Eid Charity, which have benefited millions of vulnerable people over many years, including in Myanmar, Somalia, Syria, Bangladesh, Jordan and Lebanon.

We regret that UNHCR was not contacted prior to publishing these inaccuracies. We remain ready to work with The Jerusalem Post to ensure an accurate representation of our work.

DOMINIQUE HYDE

Director, Dept. of External Relations, UNHCR

Ultimate respect

Regarding “Iran president Raisi expresses doubt that Holocaust happened” (September 20): Why in the world would an interviewer ask a known Holocaust denier whether six million Jews were killed other than wishing to illicit an answer that promotes controversy and ups its ratings?

In choosing Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (aka the Butcher of Iran), the US program 60 Minutes was already courting nothing less than outrageous comments from this antisemite, whose negative and blasphemous views easily morph into anti-Israel rhetoric.

Many countries already have such laws, and more must follow in making Holocaust denial a criminal offense, and it would be prudent for all media to act in a similar manner by making negativity on the subject a no-go area.

Yes, the Holocaust must be viewed and commented on in a way that shows the ultimate respect for those who perished under the heinous Nazi regime, as well as those who survived.

All other discussion on this matter must be treated as illegitimate. When denial is being megaphoned, it is for no other reason than to reduce the Holocaust to just a footnote in World War II history.

STEPHEN VISHNICK

Tel Aviv

Perfect world

Regarding “Never again withdraw from Judea and Samaria” (September 18): In a perfect world I would agree with Itamar Marcus. Samaria and Judea belong to the Jews. But this is not a perfect world. Israel’s protector, the US, will never approve it, nor will the EU. The UN is a foregone conclusion. 

Israel is simply unable to deal with being opposed by the world’s power structure, and besides, there are millions of Arabs living in these lands who deserve to be governed by their own people in an arrangement where they can retain some honor, all of course while ensuring Israel’s security. So far, no one has come up with a solution, and to declare war because we can’t take it anymore is just a little overwrought.   

LARRY SHAPIRO

Calgary

Itamar Marcus is correct. It is past time for the world to recognize that Israel graciously offered to share land of religious and historic importance to Jews with the Palestinians, in return for Israel’s receiving secure and recognized borders. Unfortunately, the response of Palestinian leaders has been most ungracious. They have asserted that lands Israel liberated from Egypt and Jordan in 1967, while defending Israel’s people from the genocidal intentions of three Arab nations, were, in truth, Palestinian land, which is now under Israeli occupation.

Far from attempting to negotiate to establish the secure and recognized borders between Israel and the state that Palestinian leaders claim they want to establish, Palestinian leaders have made it clear that what they truly seek is the elimination of the nation-state of the Jews, whether by military force or by seeing Israel turned into a Muslim-majority state, peopled by Palestine refugees (UNRWA designation) who have been raised in societies which highly honor and reward Palestinians who attack and kill Jews.

Thus, Hamas fires missiles at Israeli population centers and digs tunnels under Israel to facilitate the abduction and murder of Israelis. The head of the Palestinian Authority proudly proclaims that signing a peace treaty will not end the conflict; that the PA is not required to make concessions (only Israel is); that the PA’s top priority is fulfilling its obligation to give lifelong stipends to Palestinians who have answered the call to “violently resist the ‘Occupation,’” with stipend amounts tied to the number of casualties inflicted in the terror attacks and payments made to the murderers’ families if the attackers are killed or imprisoned.

Israel needs to spread the word. If Palestinian leaders truly seek to establish the first-ever-to-exist Arab State of Palestine, they must tell their people the truth. That state will have to coexist, peaceably, with the world’s only Jewish state. The state will not run “from the river to the sea,” but will be built in Gaza and Areas A and B of Judea and Samaria. Mutually acceptable borders will be determined via negotiation, with Palestinians accepting the fact that, most likely, neither they nor the Israelis will get exactly what they want. 

This will create a non-contiguous Palestinian state, but all peaceful Palestinians and Israelis will be able to travel freely across the borders which have been accepted by all.

TOBY F. BLOCK

Atlanta

Diplomatic speak

Regarding “Israel’s rules of engagement” (September 19): Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while covering a shootout between Arab terrorists and Israeli forces on May 11, 2022. Her shooter is unknown. The Palestinian Authority rushed off with the body, did a secret autopsy, shared the data with no-one and even refused to release the bullet.

The Abu Akleh family was in a tenuous position. They are Christians, surrounded by Muslims. They dare not defy the mob. The family planned a dignified funeral and coordinated with Israeli authorities. Before the hearse reached the Christian cemetery, thugs dragged out the coffin, draped a Palestinian flag over it and ran through the streets, creating a Pallywood photo-op.

It is now months after the shooting. Rules of evidence demand a transparent chain of custody. Can anyone guarantee the bullet offered the Americans followed accepted standards of custodianship?

The Abu Akleh family visited Washington to meet Secretary of State Blinken and lawmakers, who pushed for an independent probe. Where were they on May 11, when it was possible for the PA and Israel to perform a joint autopsy? The PA had rejected a PA/Israeli investigation under American supervision.

In July, the US report on the killing said the forensic evidence was inconclusive, and yet Israel has been coerced into acquiescing to pressure from the Biden administration to admit it was “highly probable” that Abu Akleh was shot by an Israeli soldier, but she may have “been killed by Palestinian gunfire.”

That’s diplomatic speak for “we don’t know any more than you do.”

Now the US wants Israel to revise its rules of engagement. Should Israel emulate the WWII allies? They firebombed German cities, demanded unconditional surrender, cut the country in four and tried and hanged their leaders. America does not have the moral right to lecture the most ethical army the world has ever seen, just to pander to their congressional Islamists.

LEN BENNETT

Ottawa

A huge failing

From his very privileged position as president of World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder offered a speech (“Israel is the envy of the world,” September 16) that essentially agreed with what most Israelis know, which is that we have a dysfunctional electoral system that is leading us to yet another unnecessary, costly, election.

However, bookending the main thrust of his words, Lauder at the beginning parrots the US Democrat party line that we believe the overwhelming majority of Israelis now reject, the so-called two-state delusion.

And he finishes his remarks with some inaccurate comments about how Israel’s current system came into existence. The failed system that we have now was inherited from the original Zionist Congresses, after we have just celebrated the 125th anniversary of the first in Basel in 1897. At those congresses, there were no delegates representing constituencies, only parties. There was no representative for North Vilna or South Krakow, East Budapest or West Warsaw.

And it is that outdated, obsolete system that has remained – because no one seems to want to change it – to the detriment of the country. Citizens do not have direct access to their own representative, and in a supposedly modern democracy that is a huge failing.

It is not really up to President Herzog or to any “commission” to change that. It is up to the members of the Knesset to acknowledge it and, even at the risk of lessening their pensions and their many other perks, change it for the good of the country

JOSEPH BERGER

Netanya

Gift to the terrorists

Regarding “‘The Palestinian leadership has no credibility” (September 16): Let’s turn this joke around. It is the Israeli governments and the people who elect them who have no credibility. 

Who partners with terrorist organizations like Hamas and Fatah? What sane government depends on terrorists for our security as we do with Mahmoud Abbas, ardent follower of Yasser Arafat, and pathetically want Abbas to replace the other terrorist organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Jewish land which we gave as a gift to the terrorists for which we are to this day paying with so many innocent Jewish lives.

This monstrous situation that is actually a war crime against our people, can only be ended with the enemy conceding full defeat. When you go to war you must go to win an outright victory. Unfortunately, all our governments and too many of our people refuse to recognize who the enemy is and prefer to ignorantly and shamelessly blame those who have the courage and faith to stand with pride and say that this land is ours.  

EDITH OGNALL

Netanya

Dual loyalty

As a dual Israeli/US citizen, residing here in Israel, I read “Stars and Stripes go Blue and White” (September 7) with much interest. Overall, I concur with the vast majority of its conclusions.

I say this even though I earn my livelihood in the United States. As one of my dear friends put it many years ago, I have one leg in Israel and one in the US. Is it possible to have dual loyalty? Absolutely. I feel no conflicts between the two locales: one is my home (Israel), and one is where I earn my living (the US).

As the old saying goes: “May you live in interesting times.” I truly do.

MICHAEL D. HIRSCH

Tzur Yitzhak