Leave for a better country
I am dearly saddened after this Shabbat’s terror attacks in Jerusalem. I am deeply horrified by the comments made by Moshe Ya’alon (“Moment of silence at subdued weekly protests against judicial overhaul,” January 29). He reportedly “equated the terror attacks outside of a synagogue to that of Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein’s massacre of Muslims during prayer nearly 30 years ago.”
We have paid that price hundreds of times. If those comments are true, it is time for Ya’alon to leave for a better country maybe even in Ramallah. He needs to shut his mouth and this newspaper shouldn’t give him any space to show how bitter he is. Please, Jerusalem Post staff, don’t further divide us with this kind of reporting.
Old boys’ club
Regarding “Israel’s Supreme Court needs democratic checks” by David M. Weinberg (January 27): The Netanyahu coalition’s proposed “judicial reform” legislation is not an unprovoked attack upon the Israeli judiciary, but comes after years of abuses by the Israeli court system. Such excesses were practically guaranteed to occur on account of a judicial selection process for Supreme Court justices which lacks transparency and is in fact dominated by the court itself, together with a court that has no effective accountability to anyone beyond its own membership.
Though the judicial selection processes in the United States are by no means perfect, they at least have checks and balances to hold the judiciary accountable. In filling vacancies on the US Supreme Court, the president of the United States actively makes the nomination, which must be confirmed by the Senate; this gives the executive and the legislative branches of the American government more meaningful input into the process than exists in the Israeli system.
Many state and local judgeships in the US are elective positions. Though politics often sullies the quality of those who sit on the various lower court benches, the process at least instills some measure of external accountability to the courts.
Given that the US Supreme Court justices have included men such as the unabashedly antisemitic James McReynolds, or Harlan Fiske Stone, who excluded women from Columbia Law School when he had served as the dean of that institution, it is fair to speculate whether a Jew such as Benjamin Cardozo could have ascended to the bench of that court in 1932.
Similarly, it is doubtful whether a Horace Stern could have become the first Jewish justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1936, let alone elevated to the chief justice’s chair in 1952, if, instead of election by the populace, an “old boys’ club” of Pennsylvania Supreme Court jurists were solely in control over appointments to that tribunal.
The proposal by Amotz Asa-El (“Who wants civil war?” January 27) to enable a two-thirds super majority of the Knesset to override the Israeli Supreme Court would impose upon the court an accountability now sorely lacking.
Full disclosure: (1) Prior to making aliyah, I was admitted (and today continue as such) to practice before the United States Supreme Court; and (2) I recently authored a piece of punditry regarding a 1924 instance when the US Congress overrode the US Supreme Court.
KALMAN H. RYESKY
First of all, I wish a full recovery to the injured in the terror attacks on Shabbat.
Secondly, when attacks on the government’s proposals for reform of the Supreme Court are coming at us from all directions, an article like the one written by David M. Weinberg is a breath of fresh air.
It is a short, yet comprehensive review of the Supreme Court’s activities and decisions since the 1980s when the justices started to take on wider jurisdiction. Of course not all judgments can be listed, yet the ones cited show the bias that pervades the court, and the contradictory decisions which have been made.
I thank Mr. Weinberg for his most informative article, and I wish this article would be disseminated further, perhaps translated into Hebrew and published in Maariv and Israel Hayom. Haaretz would never publish it, as per Ruthie Blum’s article on Gadi Taub (“Canceling Gadi Taub in the name of ‘democracy,’” January 27).
Omri Nahmias (“Two years of international turmoil,” January 27) cites supposed experts lauding President Biden’s foreign policy with barely a nod to Biden’s responsibility for the turmoil.
It is suggested that the mistakes in execution of a necessary withdrawal from Afghanistan were temporary, and that the Biden administration “has learned many lessons about effective statecraft.”
Biden’s unconditional surrender to a bunch of barbaric Afghan terrorists cost hundreds of lives, and was massively destructive to America’s authority in the world. The incomprehensible decision to close the secure Bagram Airfield (releasing 5000 terrorists from prison and ceding to China a state-of-the-art intelligence gathering facility) and premature drawdown of military assets before evacuating all civilians led inexorably to this needless carnage.
Biden later asserted that there was nothing that could have been done differently, a statement that one commentator described as “breathtakingly arrogant and disturbingly delusional.” Biden has displayed no understanding of the grievous harm done to America’s credibility and deterrence. The senior advisers responsible for the debacle remain in place.
The article compliments Biden’s response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, but the war did not have to happen at all. There is a direct line from Biden’s servile capitulation to the Taliban to the Russian invasion just five months later. Biden qualified the threat of US sanctions, saying that the US response to a Russian attack would depend on whether it was just a “minor incursion.”
Putin reasonably interpreted this as a green light to act. It is no coincidence that Russia invaded Ukraine twice during the Obama/Biden administration and again with Biden as president, but took no such action during the Trump presidency.
Biden’s reaction to China is especially troubling. Secretary of State Blinken demonstrated the weakness that was to characterize the Biden administration at the first US-China summit. In response to the Chinese tirade against the US, Blinken conceded that the US “acknowledges our imperfections, acknowledges that we’re not perfect, we make mistakes, we have reversals, we take steps back.”
Biden has steadfastly refused to confront President Xi Jinping regarding the source of COVID that has killed over one million Americans. His climate envoy John Kerry extols China’s cooperation while China is the world’s leading polluter and opens new coal-fired power plants at an astounding rate.
The Justice Department canceled the “China Initiative,” meant to counter Beijing’s theft of American intellectual property. All this while China ramps up its threats and provocative actions toward Taiwan.
Had any of these scenarios played out during the previous administration, Democrats would be demanding the president’s immediate resignation while preparing a third impeachment.
The latest article about US Ambassador Thomas Nides, “Keeper of the two-state flame” by Tovah Lazaroff (January 27), would have us believing that Mr. Nides is fostering peaceful expectations between Arabs and Israelis.
Nothing in his previous “blunt speak” has shown this to be true. He has scolded us on numerous occasions and at one point, seemed to have threatened us on issues of government speak. He must have been asked to tone down his rhetoric. However, as a guest of this country, he continues to rudely insinuate that he “knows what is best for us.”
I and quite a few Israelis would vehemently disagree. As a very close relative of a former US ambassador, I can say with certainty that I never heard some of the language from my relative, that is used by Nides. I understand that he is here to serve the interests of the United States, but there are ways to do that without causing a lot of us to bristle at his choice of words. After all, he is supposed to be diplomatic.
Who is he to tell us that he opposes that the new government might object to a Palestinian state and support settlement building. When was the last time any country and its representatives “insisted” on being involved in another country’s internal workings?
He accuses us of steps taken to weaken the PA, including withholding monies from tax revenues. However, he also explains to us in kindergarten terminology that the US contributes 500 million dollars per year to keep that terrorist (my terminology) organization afloat in order to improve the lives of the Arab Palestinians.
Well Mr. Nides, I hope the US is proud of its donations to the killer people of so-called Palestine; seven Israelis dead and scores wounded in their latest murderous attack on this past Shabbat. The dancing in the Arab streets, including fireworks, was sickening, to say the least.
Look inwardly, Mr. Ambassador, to the major issues of gigantic domestic proportions in the US, and perhaps quietly go about your diplomatic mission, but remember, you can’t throw stones when your own house is made of glass.
Israel will do great things and it won’t be because you willed it.
The two-state solution has been rejected by the Palestinians ever since the State of Israel was established in 1948. Despite this, Western politicians and academics never seem to get tired of proposing solutions based on Western norms and values that are totally at odds with what Islam is all about.
Islam is about conquest, domination and martyrdom. It is not about democracy, human rights, women’s rights or any other rights.
The deliberate killing on Friday evening of seven Israeli civilians in Jerusalem raises some serious questions. The sickening sight of Palestinians celebrating the deaths of Israeli Jews shows the unbridled hatred that the Palestinians have inculcated into their education system and society. This hatred will not be removed by granting concessions. Every Israeli concession in the past has led to greater terrorism.
On the basis of the “pay for slay” policy, the more Jews killed the higher the pension. The Palestinian Authority will soon declare the young terrorist a martyr, and award the family a substantial pension for life. Probably a school or public square will soon be named in his honor. Terrorism should never be rewarded.
Tom Nides has stated that America will not support settlement growth on the grounds that more settlement growth makes it more difficult to keep the two-state solution alive. America seems fixated on an unviable Palestinian state as a solution.
The question has to be asked: Why is America continuing its support for a Palestinian State when every act of the Palestinians is contrary to every norm of a civilized society?
Past American foreign policy in the Middle East is riddled with misunderstanding and incompetence. Here are three examples:
- The toppling of Saddam Hussein based on the erroneous belief that he had weapons of mass destruction resulted in the rise of ISIS and Iran gaining a foothold in Iraq. It cost America billions in treasure and American lives.
- President Obama warned President Assad that using chemical weapons against his own people would lead to serious consequences. Assad then used chemical weapons and Obama did nothing. America was compared to a dog that barks but does not bite. America lost its deterrence.
- The JCPOA deal with Iran provided Tehran with the funding to promote terrorism on an industrial scale. With Iranian support, Hezbollah was able to take over Lebanon and turn the country into a bankrupt failed terrorist state. Worst of all, the JCPOA deal allowed Iran to build a missile program and to gain the knowhow of how to build a nuclear arsenal that it can legally do once the sunset date arrives. The adverse consequences of the deal are clear. Iran is determined to build a nuclear arsenal and has to be stopped.
Three strikes and you’re out is as American as apple pie. America needs some new batters and more understanding of the Middle East. A Palestinian state will inevitably lead to the Palestinians asking for help in the same way that Syria asked for Russian and Iranian help. This is not a solution.
It’s time for America to stop adding to past errors in its foreign policy and to address Palestinian intransigence and terrorism. It is not enough to condemn the killing of seven innocent Israelis and at the same time to continue funding the Palestinians.