Letters to the editor November 16, 2022: The American people won

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

The American people won

Regarding “Democrats keep control of Senate, crush ‘red wave’ hopes” (November 14): It’s good news for many reasons.

Truth won: Many Republicans who supported the “big lie” that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against former president Trump were defeated.

Democracy won: Republican efforts to suppress certain groups from voting and to intimidate voters failed. Also, every Republican election denier who was running for a secretary of state position and would have been in charge of voting on a state level lost.

Prospects for effectively addressing climate threats won: The Republican Party, whose members are mainly climate deniers and have consistently opposed efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, did far worse than expected.

COLORADO RESIDENTS vote in the US midterm elections (credit: REUTERS)COLORADO RESIDENTS vote in the US midterm elections (credit: REUTERS)

The American people won: Since the Democrats did better than expected, it is more likely that there will be greater efforts to rebuild the US’s crumbling infrastructure, provide better health care at reduced costs, reduce poverty and hunger, and improve in other ways conditions for Americans, rather than to provide major tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and highly profitable corporations, a Republican priority. 

Also, Republican plans to weaken Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will be off the table.

RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ

Shoresh

Avoid the danger

Regarding “The override clause” (November 14): Lord Acton’s famous quote that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is as true today as when he wrote it in 1887.

I agree with Uri Regev, that allowing a regular absolute majority of MKs to override the Supreme Court is dangerous because it’s important to have some restrictions on the power of the majority, or else their power will lead to the inevitable corruption foreseen by Acton. On the other hand, the legal system in Israel has seized virtually absolute power and has already become corrupt. 

At present, there are no limits on the power of the courts and this is very dangerous. An override clause is at present the most obvious way in which that power can be curbed.

However, to avoid the danger of the Knesset becoming corrupted by absolute power there must be some limit on their power, too. Hence, yes we need an override clause, but it should require a super majority of say 55% of the Knesset to pass, and should be used sparingly.

The new government, when it is formed, should keep in mind that almost 50% of the electorate voted for parties unlikely to be included in the coalition. As one who voted for Likud I am happy to see a right-wing government in power, but hope and pray that it will act in moderation.

STEPHEN COHEN

Ma’aleh Adumim

Change their minds

Regarding “Ben-Gvir calls to end recognition of Reform conversions for aliyah” (November 14): Should we then change the name of the Jewish state to the Orthodox state?

Have they not heard of “live and let live?” Should all the non-Orthodox leave Israel? Forget Women of the Wall? Despite President Herzog’s assurances, it seems likely that the section of the wall allocated for the non-Orthodox will disappear.

Many prospective Jews planning to make aliyah will be disappointed – no – they will quickly change their minds!

Israel will become a police state: either you change to be like us, or don’t bother coming. Maybe you will even be refused entry.

A frightening thought.

JOY COLLINS

Tel Mond

Palestinian depredations

Yisrael Medad (“A Failure of American Jewish media,” November 13) exposed a major gap in efforts to combat anti-Israel media bias.

As a well-known aphorism has it: “If you’re not at the table, you’re on it.” Why are there no balancing American Jewish and/or Israeli media journalists present at White House or State Department press briefings to counteract provocative anti-Israel questions from Al Quds journalist Said Arikat?

There are many important questions not now being raised as to American Middle East foreign policies, and Palestinian depredations, and many potential personalities who could do so. 

Wouldn’t it be much better to be present at the source of the ever-present distortions than desperately scrambling to refute them after they go viral?

RICHARD D. WILKINS

Syracuse, New York

Political rights

Regarding “UN asks ICJ to give opinion on Israel’s W. Bank ‘occupation’” (November 13): To the best of my knowledge, information and belief – Article 80 of the UN Charter can still today be invoked to prevent the UN from altering the national and political rights of the Jewish people to the entire country – from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea – or awarding those rights to any other people.

JACK SHEBSON

Attorney, Israel Bar Association

Jerusalem

Replacing the West

Regarding “Take action against antisemitism” (November 13): Antisemitism is centered in academia. The Algemeiner’s Annual List of US and Canada’s Worst Campuses for Jewish Students puts Columbia, Vassar, the University of Toronto and McGill at the top of the list.

In Egypt, 1928, Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood, spreading Islamic nationalism with the goal of replacing the West with a caliphate.

Radical Islamists have manipulated our open, democratic societies. They bought their way into academia, using their power to demonize and delegitimize Jews and Zionism.

CAIR, Hamas and the Muslim Students’ Associations (MSA) are part of the Brotherhood. MSA sponsors the Boycott, Divest and Sanction and the Israel Apartheid Week movements. Students for Justice in Palestine is Hamas’s representative in our universities.

“Pro-Palestine” groups exist solely to promote antisemitism. Remember the Islamist chant: “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.”

LEN BENNETT

Ottawa

The judgmental self-righteous

Many people including the president have been rightfully calling for a lowering of the volume of nastiness that emanated during the recent election campaign, and in the Knesset and elsewhere.

In discussing the election results, Emily Schrader (“This election is not the

 THOUSANDS TAKE part in last year’s Pride Parade in Jerusalem.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) THOUSANDS TAKE part in last year’s Pride Parade in Jerusalem. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
end of Israel,” November 8) used the word “extremist” (or a derivation) at least nine times in a relatively short column.

As is so common among the judgmental self-righteous, Ms. Schrader seems blissfully unaware that repeatedly labeling those with whom you disagree as “extremist” is provocative and highly inflammatory.

Those who want a better public tone of rhetoric should first look at themselves and see how they are contributing to the harm.

JOSEPH BERGER

Netanya

Zionist manifesto

I was amazed by the chutzpah of the Conservative Movement as presented by Zvika Klein (“Conservative-Masorti Movement: Keep Ben-Gvir out of gov’t,” November 9) in demanding that the next prime minister not appoint Mr. Ben-Gvir to be a minister. 

I am not a supporter of his but find it quite chutzpah to trample democratic election results. Likewise, it should be pointed out that LGBTQ and egalitarian Kotel, as well as conversion issues, are not a part of any Zionist manifesto. It is sad that traditional Judaism is not always successful in explaining itself.

Instead of name-calling, we should simply tell the Conservative and Reform leaders that they should first put their house in order, especially the 71% intermarriage that they are presiding over, before telling us what to do. I hope that we will not be told that intermarriage is also a Jewish and Zionist value.

YITZCHOK ELEFANT 

Chief Rabbi of Dimona

Matter of concern

Regarding the analysis – “Despite Israel’s help, most Jewish refugees from Ukraine prefer to stay in Europe” (November 7): There is much that is thought-provoking in Zvika Klein’s article. He cites as an example that although Germany only accepts immigrants who are halachically Jewish in contrast to Israel’s policy, 30,000 Jewish refugees from Ukraine have settled there in comparison to 14,000 who have chosen to come to Israel. 

Of those 14,000, Klein assumes that many are not halachically Jewish. 

He goes on to give a demographic figure of 45,000 Jews in total living in Ukraine before the present crisis, but since Ukraine did not exist as a separate country after the Holocaust, we do not know how many Jews actually survived there and how many were from the Former Soviet Union or neighboring countries. 

What seems very clear however is that among the halachic refugee Jews who prefer to live now in Germany, as well as the small number of non-halachic Jews who decided to seek refuge in Israel, there is a decided lack of Zionistic fervor among all of them. As Klein points out, that is indeed a matter of interest and concern.

MARION REISS

Beit Shemesh

Too tired and worried

Regarding “Biden: Climate crisis is about ‘very life of planet’” (November 13): I have heard very little of Greta Thunberg in the mainstream corporate news media since COVID hit the world. Nonetheless memorable was her apt, poignant description last year of the global-warming (non)efforts of fake or neo-environmentalist politicos as just more “blah, blah, blah.” 

It’s no longer prudent to have so much of society, including our primary modes of transportation, reliant on traditional sources of energy. Yet, even as bone-dry-vegetation regions uncontrollably burn, mass addiction to fossil fuel products undoubtedly helps keep the average consumer quiet about the planet’s greatest polluter, lest they feel and/or be publicly deemed hypocritical. It must be convenient for big fossil fuel. 

The industry and friendly governments can tell when a very large portion of the populace is too tired and worried about feeding/housing themselves or their family, and virus-variant damage is still being left in COVID-19’s wake – all while on insufficient income – to criticize them for whatever environmental damage their policies cause/allow, particularly when not immediately observable.

Meanwhile, (neo)liberals and conservatives are overly preoccupied with vociferously criticizing one another for their politics and beliefs thus diverting attention away from the planet’s greatest polluters, where it should and needs to be sharply focused. Albeit, it seems to be conservatives who don’t mind liberally polluting the planet.

FRANK STERLE JR.

White Ro​ck, British Columbia

Lack of faith and courage

The answer to the article by Alon Levavi, “J’lem’s security – the key to regional security” (November 14), is so obviously to clear out our enemies from surrendered Jewish land, and the only reason it is still disputed is fear of America, our patron without whom we supposedly cannot survive. 

The opposite is in fact true because there is no reciprocity for the intelligence they get from us, and we are their only true friends in the Middle East. Levavi writes that “policing Jerusalem is a constant balancing act between the need to be forceful in the face of Palestinian [actually Arab] aggression and attacks on Israeli police and Jewish residents of eastern Jerusalem, and the need to pull back and push for calm.” 

And that’s exactly what we shouldn’t be doing when fighting an enemy hell bent on our total destruction. We need to win, not push for calm, because there can be no compromise which in any event has been tried and failed miserably. We are in a constant fight for our survival against an enemy with no right to this Jewish land, and we desperately have to regain our faith and courage in order to take back and keep this land which is ours.

We must remember that only in ourselves and God (not America) can we ultimately depend. We have nothing to be ashamed of except our lack of faith and courage in the justness of our cause. And that sadly is what frightens us into submission to pretend-friends. 

EDITH OGNALL 

Netanya