Letters to the Editor October 24, 2022: Inescapable collective responsibility

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Regarding “Sea the Future: Can Israel’s marine agriculture feed the world’s future generations?” (October 21): Firstly I want to congratulate Israel for hosting the world’s first-ever Sea the Future Summit in Eilat, which not only highlights Israeli’s innovative solutions to the food shortage problem through marine agriculture, but also serves as a timely reminder that every country in the world should make collective efforts to combat the unprecedented challenges posed by climate change.

As a responsible stakeholder in the international community, Taiwan has already announced our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, and the four transition strategies focused on energy, industry, lifestyle and society have been undertaken. In addition to making our country greener and more sustainable, Taiwan also upholds the spirit of mutual assistance for mutual benefit and has cooperated with our diplomatic allies and friendly countries to fortify the capability to address climate mitigation and adaptation, and to increase energy efficiency, agricultural resilience and develop carbon-neutral tourism through technology transfer, green finance, capacity building and talent training.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Making the transition to net-zero emission is an inescapable collective responsibility of this generation. Taiwan has the absolute willingness to work hand in hand with all the countries in the world and the ability to contribute to this pressing global issue.

Regrettably, due to a political agenda of a single country, Taiwan is excluded from international organizations and cannot participate in discussions on the global climate issue through the UNFCCC mechanism. Taiwan can help and is helping, but what we need is an equal opportunity and fair inclusion in this collective action.


Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Tel Aviv

 Speaks in platitudes

Here we are, almost two years into the Biden administration, and only a few scant weeks from the midterm elections, and the subject of Douglas Bloomfield’s latest article is “Trump threatens ‘unappreciative’ Jews” (October 20). He’s still only talking about Donald Trump, who has not been in office since early 2021, is not on any ballot, and who is yet to declare if he is running for president in 2024.

When Trump supports Republican candidates, the results are usually positive; Democratic candidates by contrast are pretty much unanimous in asking both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to stay away, as the outcomes can be quite disastrous. Former president Barack Obama is trotted out from time to time, but only speaks in platitudes and as an elder statesman.

Key issues concerning American voters, all the results of policies of the Democratic administration are not brought up. The significant rise in the cost of living; the walking away from energy self-sufficiency, and the consequent need to go cap in hand to America’s despotic enemies to provide alternate fuel sources; foreign policy debacles; and the rise in serious crime throughout the US are all issues that cannot be addressed by Bloomfield, or by far-Left politicians and commentators.

Israelis were very appreciative of what Donald Trump did for us, working toward resetting, in my belief, the arc of history in the long-term relationship between Israel and the Arab and Muslim world.



Far from being antisemitic

Zvika Klein (“With friends like Trump and Kanye, do Jews need enemies?” October 21) asserts that Donald Trump’s latest pronouncements are antisemitic. Trump’s allegedly offending statement warned that US Jews “have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel – before it is too late.”

Far from being antisemitic, this affirms that support for Israel is important not just for that country but for America and American Jewry. The charge that Jewish support for Israel demonstrates dual loyalty and is contrary to American interests is absurd. Israel and the US are close allies, with many shared values. The strength of one helps sustain the other as well.

 Then US-president elect Donald Trump and musician Kanye West pose for media at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, US, December 13, 2016.  (credit: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY) Then US-president elect Donald Trump and musician Kanye West pose for media at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, US, December 13, 2016. (credit: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY)

Many US leaders argue that it is critical for America to support Ukraine as a democratic bulwark against autocratic Russia. That applies even more strongly to supporting the only Middle East democracy against countries such as Iran and Syria that would do harm to both Israel and the US if given the chance.

For nearly two millennia, Jews’ very survival depended on the good will of the country in which they happened to live. That changed in 1948 when Jews attained what virtually every other people strive for – a homeland of their own. This miraculous development increased the security and respect accorded every Jew in the world, whether or not that Jew lived in or actively supported Israel. Zionism has become a vital element of Jewish identity and safety.

Unfortunately, there remain in the world people who subscribe to the age-old scourge of Jew-hatred. That hatred has morphed into a more socially acceptable form. Israel has become the “Jew among nations.” Those who hate Jews can hide their hatred by claiming, “I’m not antisemitic; I’m anti-Zionist.” The potentially deadly results are the same.

Trump’s warning is a caution to all Jews. If we don’t stand up for Israel, we will be giving those who hate Jews the cover they need to pursue their murderous goals. He is saying, “It is in your own interest as Americans. Stand up for yourselves before it is too late.”

One final point: We are all in this together. If and (God forbid) when the antisemites come for us – whether neo-Nazis on the Right or the Democratic “Squad” or BLM on the Left – not one of them will say of the faint-hearted Jews who failed to support Israel, “Leave them alone. They stood with us.”


Zichron Ya’acov

Unlikely to succeed

While applauding Shimon Cohen’s efforts to protect shechita in the UK and throughout Europe (“Brussels conference on religious freedom in Europe,” October 14), I believe his tactics are wrong. His argument is that shechita is a basic Jewish religious requirement and therefore should be exempt from European legislation, as a ban would restrict religious freedom.

Saying that it is important to Jews is unlikely to succeed in the long run against animal welfare organizations which claim shechita without pre-stunning is painful and is therefore cruel. Even to me, as an Orthodox Jew who does not want to see shechita banned, his argument seems petty.

Such a line can equally be used to justify female circumcision and child marriage – although practiced by large numbers of Muslims who see them as religious tenets but are anathema to the western world and to Jews. Taking it to its logical conclusion, what would we say about a sect which believes it is a religious requirement to sacrifice every first-born child? It is obvious that the religious beliefs of a minority, no matter how sincerely held, cannot overcome the sentiments of animal welfare groups which see shechita as cruelty to animals.

Instead, I believe that the argument must be solely about cruelty to animals and this must be fought head-on. There are numerous articles written over decades by reputable doctors, scientists, neurologists, veterinary surgeons and others, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who have attested that shechita brings on unconsciousness within seconds and as such, causes no more pain, and possibly less, than any other method of slaughter. 

Indeed, this was argued successfully by eminent authorities in the UK Parliament. It is only this argument which should be pursued, as it cuts the ground from under the feet of the abolitionists.


Beit Shemesh

All sectors in society

It was sad and disappointing for me to read Yaakov Katz’s article, “Ben-Gvir, a grave danger to Israel, is what the election is all about” (October 19).

With my liberal American background it seems to me obvious that our government should include representatives of all the sectors in our society. I believe that Katz should be represented in the government and I believe that I should also have representation in the government (such as, by voting for Itamar Ben-Gvir). It saddens me that Katz thinks that the government should exclude significant sectors of the Israeli society.


Karnei Shomron

Threats to humanity

As president emeritus of JewishVeg and author of Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism, I was very pleased to read “Vegan Tel Aviv – beyond expectations” (October 23), which extolled a meatless cafe in Tel Aviv, On The 8th Day.

I am proud that many consider Israel, and especially Tel Aviv, a “world capital for veganism.” In this regard, I would like to raise some respectful questions:

Why are most Jews ignoring that the production and consumption of meat and other animal products seriously violate basic Jewish teachings on preserving our health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, and helping hungry people?

Why are most doctors ignoring the many scientific studies published in peer-reviewed articles in respected medical journals which show that plant-based diets can prevent, and in some cases, reverse heart disease, several forms of cancer, diabetes, and other life-threatening diseases?

Why aren’t more environmentalists stressing that animal-based agriculture is a major contributor to climate change and other environmental threats to humanity?

So, to help leave a healthier, more humane, environmentally sustainable world for future generations, one more consistent with basic Jewish teachings, please consider becoming vegetarian or vegan.

Fortunately, it is far easier today because of the abundance of delicious plant-based substitutes for meat and other animal products.



We should live so long

While reading the front-page story regarding Prime Minister Lapid and the UN (“Lapid: UN ‘occupation’ report ‘written by antisemites,’” October 23), it reminded me of the old expression, “master of the obvious.”

When has the United Nations verbalized and/or written anything concerning Israel that was not anti-Israel? We should only live so long to see the day when the UN publishes or verbalizes anything pro-Israel.


Tzur Yitzhak

Game changer

I cannot understand the logic of Bibi Netanyahu in his opposition to the gas deal with Lebanon as stated in the article headlined “Lapid hiding surrender to Nasrallah, Netanyahu says” (October 3).

The outline of the American proposed agreement is clear. It is a game changer in the relationship between Israel and Lebanon. Israel will immediately begin pumping gas from the Karish gas field off the coast of Israel, and Lebanon will explore for gas in the Qana gas field that are presently partially in Lebanese waters and partially in Israeli waters. Israel will receive all the profits of the Karish gas field and part of the profits of the Qana gas field. The deal is to be guaranteed by the US and France. The deal thus has financial, political and strategic benefits for Israel.

The deal offers a lifeline to Lebanon to exit the financial crisis that it is in. Hezbollah cannot be seen to be acting against the last hope of Lebanon to have a better future. The possibility of Hezbollah attacking Israel is thus greatly reduced. The deal is the best guarantee of more time for Israel to fully develop and produce the laser beam defensive shield system.

If this laser defensive shield is as successful as trials indicate, Israel will be able to neutralize future drone or missile attacks at a small fraction of the cost of the Iron Dome system. This is a game changer in Israel’s deterrence against future attacks.

Another strategic area that will be improved is the relationship with the EU. The EU is looking for alternative supplies of gas. In a small way, Israel will be able to pump much needed gas to the EU. This will improve Israel’s relationship with both the EU as well as America. 

Let’s go back to Bibi’s thinking. He is against the deal with Lebanon, and at the same time he is trying to buy votes by offering public money to finance yeshivot that refuse to teach core subjects of English, math and science. Without these basic skills, the students of these yeshivas will be condemned to a life of begging. Life-long poverty is not what Israel should be promoting.

Bibi is no longer capable of distinguishing between what is good for Israel and what is not. He is no longer the strategic thinker that he once was. He should be thanked for the incredible job that he has done for Israel in the past, but he should not be allowed to ever fly the plane again.