Letters to the Editor, December 05, 2022: Witness to the atrocities

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Witness to the atrocities

Daniel Gross’s opinion peace about Holocaust denial spreading in the US is spot on (“Holocaust denial in the US,” December 4).

Eisenhower did order, as is stated, military photographers to photograph everything that was seen in the camps. He stated that in fifty years, some will say it never happened. He also ordered the local town’s population to come bear witness to the atrocities. With all the documentation that we have, it is amazing that deniers are still given attention by social media in the guise of free speech.

JOSEF FLASCHNER

New York City

The sky won’t fall

I am writing to congratulate Ruthie Blum on her excellent article (“Israel-critics take their cue from Lapid and Gantz,” December 2). She has hit the nail on the head, pointing out the outcome of the recent elections will not cause the sky to fall nor prevent the sun from rising in the east.

The election results will not damage Israel’s reputation in the United States. Rather, it is the vicious statements of the critics that tend to blacken Israel’s name and provide justification for the mounting antisemitic views expressed in the United States.

Yes, we have all been upset by some recent outrageous statements made by a few newly-elected Knesset members. However, as we all know, these unfortunate statements will never become part of government policy. Netanyahu will make sure of that.

The critics of the now-forming government seem to think that democracy means the right of the citizens to elect only the type of government that these critics favor. They claim that different election results herald the destruction of democracy in Israel. 

Fortunately, we in Israel enjoy a thriving democracy, in which the voice of the electorate is heard. The opponents of the new government will have their chance to elect a different government at the next election. That is what democracy is all about.

PROF. NATHAN AVIEZER 

Petah Tikva

Very precarious position

The last thing Israel needs is a diplomatic squabble with the United States, so the concerns Herb Keinon expresses regarding Secretary of State Blinken’s upcoming address at J Street’s annual conference should be getting some attention (“Will US defense support for Israel be jeopardized because of new government?” December 2). On the other hand, perhaps this provides an opportunity to see precisely how our prime minister-to-be will respond to having his arm twisted.

The memory of the 1982 confrontation between then-senator Joe Biden and then-prime minister Menachem Begin comes to mind. The senator, according to historical reports, was angrily gesturing at the prime minister and threatened that Israel is in danger of losing US support in the aftermath of the First Lebanon War.

Begin retorted by emphatically telling Biden what he can do with the carrot stick that he was maliciously dangling as a reward for good behavior, adding that he, Begin, was not a Jew with trembling knees. The senator, roundly put in his place, backed off.

You can’t help but wonder if Israel’s current leaders – from either side of the Left-Right divide – would be as proud of being an Israeli Jew as the former head of Likud was. Somehow, I doubt it. It’s only a matter of time, of course, before there will be a confrontation over US support for Israel’s defense capabilities. I just hope that Netanyahu’s knees have not taken to trembling.

At this point, Israel is in a very precarious position. The Democrats, after a reasonably strong showing in the midterm elections, may feel the time is right to express indignation over the structure and composition of Israel’s soon-to-be coalition. And with the Republican’s main weapon, Donald Trump, rubbing elbows with unabashed antisemites, the waters that Bibi will be forced to navigate in the coming months promise to be more than a little choppy.

President Bill Clinton giddily expressed delight when Ehud Barak defeated Netanyahu and became the prime minister in 1999, saying that he felt like a kid with a new toy. Begin would have told Mr. Clinton where to put that toy. I’d like to think that Bibi will do no less.

BARRY NEWMAN

Ginot Shomron

Intolerable pattern

Amotz Asa-El is entirely correct in his criticism of Donald Trump’s actions (“Guess who’s coming to dinner,” December 2). Trump’s dinner with known antisemites is indefensible. Unfortunately, the condemnations from Asa-El and many others would be more effective and believable if they were equally critical of antisemites on the Left.

Many of the people who now condemn Trump so vociferously have precious little to say about Ilhan Omar’s overt antisemitism. Indeed, she was reelected last month to represent a strongly Jewish district. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi excused Omar’s intolerable pattern of antisemitic pronouncements by asserting absurdly that, “[Omar] has a different experience in use of words.”

There has been scant Democratic criticism of Rep. Rashida Tlaib for her close ties to unrepentant antisemite Louis Farrakhan. Nor have the Democrats censured her for anti-Israel libels such as, “Israel is a racist state and they [read the Jews] would deny Palestinians, like my grandmother, access to [COVID] vaccine. They don’t believe that she’s an equal human being that deserves to live.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly defended Omar and Tlaib, compared migrant facilities at the US-Mexico border under Trump to “concentration camps”– a form of Holocaust denial, and praised support from numerous antisemitic groups for her letter criticizing Israel.

Vice President Harris nodded in apparent agreement as a college student accused Israel of “ethnic genocide.” Only days later did she issue a weak apology.

Why did hidden photos of Barack Obama meeting with Louis Farrakhan go unremarked once they were revealed? Obama attended the church of Rev. Jeremiah Wright for over 20 years yet claims never to have heard Wright’s oft-stated antisemitic opinions.

Asa-El lists the positive things Trump did for Israel. Compare them with Obama’s deeply disrespectful treatment of prime minister Netanyahu, and the fact that just before he left office, Obama’s administration allowed the UN Security Council to pass a resolution harmful to Israel.

Many Democrats enthusiastically support both the intrinsically antisemitic BDS movement and Black Lives Matter founders with a record of antisemitism. We saw no Democratic outrage when BLM followers attacked Jewish institutions in California.

None of this excuses Trump consorting with known antisemites. He deserves to be excoriated. However, if we are to successfully fight this growing scourge we must admit that it exists on both ends of the political spectrum. Otherwise, the criticism of Trump is nothing more than situational morality.  

EFRAIM COHEN

Zichron Ya’acov 

A most challenging neighborhood

What has gotten into Abe Foxman (“Abe Foxman to ‘Post’: I won’t support a non-democratic Israel,” December 2)? He used to be a fair, level-headed spokesman against Jew-hatred. Now he has turned on his own people. In his recent effort to remain relevant and in the good graces of the American Jewish community, he is attacking Israelis and choices our electorate has made in our recent election.

Like too many self-appointed saviors of ours, he has the audacity to assume that he knows what is best for us. Hey, give us some credit. We have done alright up until now safeguarding democracy and protecting human rights in a most challenging neighborhood.

I would prefer that Mr. Foxman refrain from lecturing us on how to maintain the support of American Jewry and by extension the American voter, and instead address the very real dangers of the growing American antisemitism. Let him educate both silent and complacent American Jews, and liberals and leftists alike about the dangers of turning the other cheek and remaining silent while the genie is being let out of the bottle.

These frightening developments in Foxman’s own backyard will have a far more devastating impact on the Jewish people, our relationship with American Jewry, the future of Israel, and on Western civilization. That would seem to offer him a significant enough role in the near future, and allow him to put to good use his many years of leadership experience. 

STEVEN HABERFELD

Nahariya

What would Abe Foxman say about America if Donald Trump were to be elected president of the United States in 2024?  

MORDECHAI SPIEGELMAN

Beit Shemesh

Split-second decision

Regarding the editorial, “A dangerous mix” (December 1): The IDF purity of arms and the Code of Ethics is not left to the commanders of particular IDF units as Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi intimated. It has been instituted throughout the defense forces, having been formed through the tradition of the IDF and universal and Jewish moral codes.

If an individual spits at, stones or strikes a soldier, we cannot expect him to act like the King’s Guard at Buckingham Palace and remain stoic and unmoving. The response has to be proportional, and sometimes that becomes a split-second decision by the soldier.

The guidelines for such responses have been nebulous, and after this latest incident should now be clarified, with consultations with the IDF, ethicists and representative political leadership. However, the safety and dignity of our sons and daughters who are serving should be paramount.

FRED EHRMAN

Ra’anana

Sanctuary state

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is an appalling custom (“Shaked denies asylum to woman fleeing FGM,” December 1), and the sophistry of classing it with male circumcision is unworthy of an intelligent woman like Ayelet Shaked.

However, by rejecting asylum for a woman who claims to be threatened with FGM, Shaked is avoiding a precedent that might bring innumerable African and Arab women to Israel on similar grounds. It’s hard to see how Israel could afford to be the FGM sanctuary state of the world.

Israel should, however, support efforts to solve the problem at the source.

MARK L. LEVINSON

Herzliya

Our total destruction

President Isaac Herzog, in his enthusiasm over his ‘historic’ visit to Bahrain, is obviously deaf to the conditions of the Abraham Accords (“As I fly to Bahrain for historic visit, the future is now in the Middle East,” December 4). One condition is the two-state solution, to which of course Herzog subscribes, totally deaf to the daily calls for our total destruction and ongoing attacks by those who would have control over our land.

Another condition is not doing anything contrary to what the ‘committed’ Arab states think is wrong. Instead of only being a puppet of America, we are also allowing Arab states the same privilege. It is indeed a historic visit, marking the capitulation on the part of what was once a people proud of its faith and heritage.

EDITH OGNALL

Netanya

Mistaken, but not a lie

In “Shimon Peres, the dreamer and the nightmare” (December 1), Moshe Dann’s claim that the belief of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Bill Clinton that Arafat and other terrorists would promote peace was a “lie” is wrong.

To claim this was a lie implies that these three leaders harbored anti-Israel sentiment, which is incorrect. On the other hand, to say that their belief was mistaken would be fair.

GERRY MYERS

Beit Zayit

Parliamentary sovereignty

Dan Perry’s panic (“The road to hell,” November 29) about a future right-wing government, which is not yet in place and has not yet done anything, is overly pessimistic. This is a government voted in by the people and he should wait to see what it does before spreading his doomsday predictions.

Specifically, he justified his fear of an override clause which will give power back to the elected Knesset over the High Court, by writing, “almost no democracies on earth have any such thing – Canada is the sole exception,” is simply not true. Does he not know that the UK, with its “mother of parliaments,” has a doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, and its Supreme Court cannot overturn any primary legislation made by Parliament.

An honest argument could possibly have been made to differentiate between the UK and Israel by noting that the UK has an upper chamber which can exercise some constraint on the lower house, but it can only return legislation to the Commons twice, and if presented a third time, it is passed.

More to the point, I wonder why anyone should think that a small, unelected elite of 15 lawyers, no matter how erudite, should be more reliable than the full Knesset. Justices of the High Court are only human beings, with their own viewpoints and prejudices, even if not biased, and elected by a small panel of not disinterested people. I would rather trust the Knesset, with a large number of members coming from all walks of life and from all segments of the population and elected by the people.

There is no reason why the High Court should be more than an advisory body. The only concession I would make to compensate for the lack of an upper chamber would be to require a “super majority” of perhaps 65 to be able to bypass the High Court.

ALAN HALIBARD

Beit Shemesh