Letters to the Editor January 9, 2023: Outlived its usefulness

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Outlived its usefulness

According to State Department spokesman Ned Price, the US “opposes any unilateral action that undercuts the historic status quo” of Temple Mount administration (“Ancient times and current events,” January 6).

People tend to support the status quo only when they favor the current system and are unwilling to do the hard work of evaluating whether that system has outlived its usefulness. This is the height of lazy thinking.

In fact, the history of modern civilization is quite the opposite. Societies progress either through evolution or revolution when they question the continued relevance and value of time-worn principles. Some of them stand the test of time while others are found wanting and are jettisoned.

American jurisprudence offers a perfect example: In the 1896 landmark decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, the US Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation laws did not violate the Constitution as long as the facilities for each race were equal in quality, a doctrine that came to be known as “separate but equal.” As a result, racially segregated schools, many of which actually were of poor quality, continued for more than half a century.

The Supreme Court unanimously overturned Plessy in 1954, deciding in Brown v. Board of Education that separating children in public schools on the basis of race was unconstitutional. This decision had a massive salutary impact on education for minorities and integrating society at all levels.

It is hard to imagine that any of the people now arguing for the continuation of the status quo in Jerusalem would assert that the Brown case was wrongly decided because Plessy had been in force for so long.

David Weinberg (“Strike while the iron is hot,” January 6) shows convincingly that “change in the way the Temple Mount is administered is... long overdue.” Whether or not the original plan was appropriate at the time it was adopted is irrelevant.

It has morphed into an excuse for violence, archaeological crimes and denial of equal religious rights for Jewish worshipers. It must be relegated to the dustbin of history.


Zichron Ya’acov

Who are the people?

Regarding “10,000 march in Tel Aviv against Levin judicial reform ‘coup d’état’” (January 8): For what sort of democracy are the demonstrators who you write about screaming? The legal reforms, which the new justice minister is proposing, were well known and well documented for several years before the election.

The people knew what was in store for them and they obviously liked it because the majority of the people voted for it. So why are they hysterically spouting meaningless platitudes? Maybe they are demonstrating for having lost the elections? That’s democracy?

The new provision deleting the test of “reasonableness” from the toolkit of the Supreme Court is just saying that the judges do not have the right to tell the people what is good for them; the people themselves through their democratically-elected representatives will decide what is good for them.

The proposed reconstitution of the Judicial Selection Committee comes in order to prevent judges, in closed unrecorded meetings, voting themselves in, on the basis of “jobs for the boys.” The proposal that a minister, not the bureaucrats, will appoint his own legal adviser is self evident, since it is he who needs to feel comfortable with his adviser and to know that his adviser will indeed defend him if necessary.

The final main change that is now proposed is the most obvious of all. The limitation on the Supreme Court from canceling a law passed by the elected representatives of the people really needs no comment at all.

To quote Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg nearly 160 years ago, “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Who are the people? They are the individuals who, by majority, are elected to represent the people. So what right do the judges have to force their own ideas in the place of those of the people?

And despite it all, they will continue to demonstrate and, I imagine, we are going to see a resumption of the “Balfour” hooligans disturbing the peace of the citizens of Jerusalem every Saturday night. Heaven forbid.



Eating its way to extinction

As president emeritus of Jewish Vega and author of Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism, I read “Keeping Israel as a world leader in alternative proteins” (January 4) with much interest.

The article included an extremely troubling sentence: “Worldwide meat consumption is the highest it has ever been and global meat production is projected to double by 2050.” If meat production would in fact double by 2050, many more cows would be needed and they would all be emitting methane, a greenhouse gas over 80 times per unit weight as potent as CO2 in heating the atmosphere.

Much more land would be needed for grazing and for producing feed crops. Forests would be destroyed to serve this purpose. The world is literally eating its way to extinction. 

To help avert a climate catastrophe, it is essential that there be a societal shift to plant-based diets, enabling reforestation of the over 40 percent of the ice-free land now used for animal-based agriculture. That would sequester much atmospheric carbon dioxide, reducing it from its current very dangerous level to a much safer one. Bottom line: We have a choice between a mainly vegan world and a destroyed world. I pray that we will choose wisely.



Mean-spirited stab

In “Israeli actions on Temple Mount unacceptable, US tells Security Council” (January 8), Tovah Lazaroff notes that the status quo on the Temple Mount is that “anyone can visit but only Muslims can pray there.”

The UN Security Council’s condemnation of the peaceful 13-minute visit on the Mount by Israel’s national security minister as somehow a violation of that status quo is patently absurd.

Regrettably, the US joined in on that verbal attack on Israel. I haven’t been so embarrassed at an American position in the UN since Obama’s mean-spirited stab in the back against Israel (Res. 2334) in his final days in office.



A mere bagatelle

As I reached for The Jerusalem Post yesterday morning with coffee in hand, I comforted myself that it wasn’t Thursday, and that I wouldn’t be getting a double-dose of Baskin and Bloomfield.

But, I soon learned that there are worse things: Nadav Tamir and J Street (“US supremacists and the Israeli Right,” January 8). I also learned – from Tamir’s article – that the corruption of education in the West, the full-blown antisemitism on university campuses, the pressure on young Jews to forsake bonds with Eretz Yisrael, etc. are all just a mere bagatelle when compared to the dangers of evangelical Christians who love Jews and the Land of Israel.

Please dear editor, put him together with the Baskin and Bloomfield bunch.



Right on point

Kudos to Liat Collins for her column “Mounting an assault” (January 6) on the current and long-term issues involving the Temple Mount.

Much as I dislike Ben-Gvir’s approach to almost everything, I agree with Collins that his visit this past week was in order, considering the day (10th of Tevet) and the way it was carried out (no fanfare, no publicity beforehand, simply walking around as most of us Jews do). The Palestinians and other Arabs are “outraged” at just about anything we do in connection with the Mount. And her comments about Palestinians playing football and storing weapons and ammunition there are right on point, as are her comments about the mythical status quo.



As it really is

My compliments to Moshe Dann for his clear and historically correct article titled “Perspective: The Israeli-Palestinan conflict” (January 4). The Palestinians have been living in the Land of Israel, as he says, only since WWI while Jews have always been living in the Land of Israel even during and before WWI.

Furthermore, as to the complaints conjured up about Jews going to the Temple Mount, and the Palestinians fearing the Jews are trying to establish their claim that the Mount is ours, the fact that the Temple is admittedly and historically known to all as having been here testifies further to our having been here long before the so-called Palestinians.

It is about time that someone said it as it really is, and was not just perpetuating and repeating another big lie.



Misplacing sentiment

The article “A call to Foreign Minister Eli Cohen” by Avi Gil (January 5) begins by telling us how dependent we are on the United States and, furthering that narrative, impressed upon us how important the “feelings” of the American Jewish community toward Israel are.

What apparently is missing, though, is the reporting in the Israeli papers of how we perceive the love for us from the Americans. Of course we care, but not on a 24/7 cycle of hand wringing. We are a happy people, but fighting for our existence on a daily basis, and American Jewry seems to have misplaced that sentiment. Blaming Netanyahu for “aligning” himself with the Republican Party has, in Mr. Gil’s opinion, caused possible irreparable damage regarding the support of Jews who vote Democratic. What utter nonsense. Some in the Democratic Party, such as those blatant anti-Israel, antisemitic “squad” members, do a great job on their own of vilifying Israel.

We are not asking anyone to coddle or love Ben-Gvir or Smotrich. We are asking to judge this government on what it will do and accomplish. Individual personalities, whether Right or Left, do not an entire government make.

But, the most outrageous suggestion that this writer poses is for Foreign Minister Cohen to meet with the most anti-Israel, anti-Zionist organization’s executive director in Israel, Nadav Tamir from J Street. The reasoning behind this is a meeting with him would show the “seriousness of Cohen’s efforts” and “building bridges” with Jews who are disillusioned with Israel at this time. These are Jews who are assimilating at an alarming rate in order to be “just like everyone else.”

Painting Tamir as “formerly a brilliant diplomat “ is beyond ridiculous. This man has appeared in the Post with articles so diametrically opposed to Israel as Jewish and Zionist, he eventually stopped writing in the paper because of the blowback his articles caused. J Street is in no way the bellwether of world Jewry’s feelings toward Israel. I didn’t realize Gil’s alliance to Tamir until I read his byline. His organization, the Jewish People Policy Institute, is up there vying for first rate status as the best anti-Israel, anti-Zionist self-Jew hating organization alongside J Street. I need not say anything more.

Foreign Minister Cohen has his work cut out for him, however meeting first with J Street is probably not on the top of his agenda. Hopefully, it won’t be on his agenda at all.



First and foremost

Regarding “One person, one vote” (January 5): One of the first things that Prime Minister Netanyahu said was that he is working with Saudi Arabia to establish a peace agreement that he believes will lead to peace with the Palestinians. So to state that Israel has no interest in dealing with the Palestinian issue is incorrect; it is first and foremost on Netanyahu’s mind.

All Israelis, including the religious Zionists in Israel’s cabinet, want the war to come to an end. They are sick and tired of losing their children. None want a perpetual war and all lament the futility of regenerating a peace process in which every single Israeli offer has been rejected.

There is a lot riding on Saudi Arabia normalizing its relationship with Israel.