Letters to the Editor February 1, 2023: Home that I love

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Home that I love

Moshe Dann (“Positive thinking,” January 31) either does not understand or deliberately distorts the reasons for the current wave of anti-government demonstrations.

He claims that the demonstrators do not accept the outcome of the elections. Wrong. I am one of those demonstrators; I accept the outcome of the elections and the legitimacy of the government.

The demo is a protest against what the government intends to do with its power, especially the judicial reform and the “override clause,” which would give the government absolute power by removing checks and balances. I also protest against the use of its majority to pass laws or amend the Basic Law to enable criminals to serve as ministers.

I protest because I worry about the democratic nature of Israel’s democracy, my country, my home that I love.


Kiryat Tivon

Moshe Dann’s op-ed about positive thinking exhibits anything but. Dr. Dann “positively” throws many barbs at those, half the country, who voted against this government, who are protesting some very serious and democratically egregious proposals.

He mischaracterizes these peaceful protests as refusing to accept the results of the previous election and as “civil disobedience,” rather than understanding that they are a vital feature of a functioning democracy. In his purported search for “unity,” he denigrates the previous government, those who voted for it and those who are responsibly speaking out against some moves by the current government that could seriously undermine our democracy, our economy and our standing in the world.

Dann’s right-wing bias is clear, and rather than seeking true coexistence, he demands that we blindly support our new government. That’s not how democracy works. You would think a man with a Ph.D. in history would know that.


Beit Shemesh

Outdo the US

I have been living in Israel for fifty years and notice that Israel is quickly on the heels of every practice that is found in the US. Now I see in “Ben-Gvir wants easier firearm licenses” (January 30) that if he gets his way, Israel might adopt still another US innovation.

In fact, we may outdo the US in school shootings, wife killings, road rage murder, etc., since guns would be so handy to use when someone is angry.  


Ramat Hasharon

Fake news, big lie

There have been many meaningful articles in the Post this past week, commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day, emphasizing the importance of remembering the horrors of that tragic era in order to prevent its repetition in the future.

I was particularly interested in the lead sentence of the article “Lessons from Theresienstadt” by Maya Zanger-Nadis (January 27), describing the history of that ghetto as “fake news.”  

The Nazis claimed that this was a model ghetto, but even though it was not a killing center, weekly deportations to Auschwitz made it a mere stepping-off point to the extermination camp, where 88,000 of the 155,000 Jews imprisoned in Theresienstadt were murdered. In addition as Zanger-Nadis points out, almost 35,000 died in the ghetto of starvation and disease alone.

There was even more deliberate deception, however, when in 1944 the Red Cross, in response to a request from the king of Denmark, decided to investigate the conditions of the ghetto. For months before the visit, the Nazis cleared the ghettos of the old and sick, sending them to Auschwitz, and tore down the dilapidated houses in the main square (now a park) to hide the true conditions of the ghetto.

On the day of the visit, children were given new clothes, assembled and presented with ice cream treats placed in front of them. (It was never clear if they in fact got to eat them.) The Red Cross did not look further and departed, praising what they saw there.

The approximately 500 Danish Jews, about whom the Danish king originally made his request, were soon deported to Auschwitz where more than half were murdered. By the time the ghetto was liberated, barely 40,000 Jews remained alive.

“Fake news” is not only an accurate description of the deliberate deception and the “big lie” techniques practiced by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust, but it also can be applied today to attempts of Holocaust denial by distorting the numbers of the Jews murdered, and covering up the killing and theft of Jewish property by native populations.

Education and commemoration regarding the murder of six million Jews are still the best ways to combat Holocaust denial, and that is why the installation of the Book of Names of Holocaust victims in the United Nations this week, while only one of many ceremonies held internationally, is of vital significance.

I myself am the author of Not To Forget: The Story of Harry Reiss and the Creation of the Rockland Center for Holocaust Studies, as well as a Holocaust educator and guide.


Beit Shemesh

Flex its muscles

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes (“US finally lost patience,” January 31), that “the US has lost patience with the Islamic Republic and is willing in one way or another to flex its muscles and, according to foreign sources, give more support to Israel to do so.”

The US has lost patience with Iran. It’s about time. But the US has not lost patience with PA head Mahmoud Abbas. The Reuters headline reads: “Blinken reaffirms need for two-state solution after talks with Netanyahu.”

Again?! The Sisyphean cycle is starting again. Somehow democracies never seem to understand totalitarian ideologies in time and the consequences are many – 9/11, Afghanistan, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the never-ending jihad against Israel.

It’s time for a new approach, says Robert Spencer in his book The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process.

The problem is that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will never read it.



The only hope

Regarding “The limits of Israeli power” (January 29): Yonah Jeremy Bob’s warnings are correct. The problem is how to give the Palestinians “some hope.” Israel can’t force Palestinian leaders to give up their lavish lifestyles or make those leaders start working to undo generations of anti-Jewish incitement.

Withholding tax revenue collected by Israel for the PA may bankrupt the “Martyrs Fund” but it could also bring down the PA and open the door for a Hamas takeover in Areas A and B of Judea and Samaria.

Perhaps the only hope is that expansion of the Abraham Accords would create a source of pressure to which the Palestinians might respond. Oil-rich Arab countries could donate money for building the infrastructure a Palestinian state would need, with projects to be carefully supervised to guarantee the funds are used for their intended purpose.

Arab states at peace with Israel could also begin to work with UNRWA to get the Palestine refugees on its rolls resettled (in either the donor countries or within the borders of the future Palestinian state). The bottom line – the new state must coexist, peacefully, with the nation-state of the Jews.



Even Yonah Jeremy Bob admits in his analysis that a reduction of IDF counterterrorism operations in and around Jenin is only likely to worsen Palestinian terrorism, as nascent Palestinian terrorists will only be inspired by the successes of their murderous brethren. Then he posits that perhaps such operations should be restrained because some time down the road, still other Palestinian terrorists might take offense and attack.

The fundamental error of his analysis is the seeming assumption that Palestinian terrorism has some sort of rational motivation. It does not. It is motivated by the visceral hatred which results from the zeitgeist of antisemitic Palestinian Arab culture in which successive generations of Palestinian terrorists are steeped.

An additional factor causing the increase of Palestine terrorism in the Jenin and Nablus areas is the malign influence of Iran. Iranian funding of Palestinian Islamic Jihad cells and allied terrorists there has increased, and the result is that terrorism emanating from these areas has increased concomitantly.

None of these evil actors will be deterred by Israeli restraint. An IDF counterterrorism raid in which terrorists are eliminated is a good thing, especially as they were planning an imminent terror attack on Israelis. Failing a sea change in the Palestinian culture of bloody irredentism and terrorist murder, this is probably the best we can expect for the foreseeable future.


Williamsville, NY

Part of the solution

Int’l study including Weizmann finds: Grazing of animals on desert land may help, not harm, the ecosystem” (January 25) is misleading and potentially very harmful. It implies that, while animal-based agriculture has negative aspects, it also has positive features, so no need to be concerned about it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is essential that we recognize that the production of meat and other animal products is the greatest threat to humanity.

Please consider: There used to be six trillion trees in the world but now there are only about three trillion, mainly because over 40 percent of the world’s ice-free land, most of which was previously forested, is now used for grazing and growing feed crops for animals.

Because these missing trees are no longer sequestering atmospheric CO2, it has increased from 285 parts per million (ppm) before the industrial revolution to about 420 ppm today, well over the 350 ppm that climate experts believe is a threshold for sustainability, and it has been increasing at over two ppm annually.

Shifts to plant-based diets would enable reforesting of much of the vast areas now being used for animal agriculture, resulting in a reduction of atmospheric CO2 to a much safer level. They would also result in a sharp reduction of emissions from cows and other farmed animals of methane, a greenhouse gas over 80 times as potent as CO2 per unit weight during the 10-20 years it is in the atmosphere.

Bottom line: We have a choice between a mainly vegan world and a devastated one. Please become part of the solution by eliminating or at least sharply reducing your consumption of meat and other animal products.



Zero tolerance

Regarding “IDF victory, quagmire or broader war?” (January 27): The Palestinian Arabs have been at war with Israel since 1948, even before that with the Yishuv Jews. The Palestinians do not accept the reality of a Jewish state and no amount of concessions and peace offers will change that.

Israel has no choice but to adopt a zero tolerance policy toward violence against its citizens because of its experience turning Gaza over to the Arabs. In 2005 when Israel dismantled 21 settlements in preparation to cede Gaza to the Arabs, the Arabs saw this as weakness and have been attacking Israel ever since in hopes that Israel would cede more land.

It is gratifying that Israel has learned the lesson that Arabs see restraint and peace offers as weakness. Nothing Israel can do, no concession it might make, will change that.



Miracle worker

Yitz Greenberg’s suggestion that the Arabs need a Martin Luther King of their own (“Needed: An Arab-Israeli Martin Luther King,” January 26) is certainly laudable. However it doesn’t seem plausible. The situation that blacks faced in America is not analogous to that of Arabs in Israel.

The bulk of the blacks were loyal to their country and had no desire to see it harmed and certainly not destroyed. Their children attended the public schools and they had a proud tradition of military service in America’s wars. They respected and loved the country in which they lived, but rightfully demanded that they be treated as full equals.

Martin Luther King was a great leader because he eschewed violence and, through courageous confrontation and eloquent speech, he inspired the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans who found his message irresistible.

America’s civil rights movement, however, bears little relevance to the case of Arabs in Israel. A very significant amount of them do not regard the state as legitimate and view its founding as the Nakba.

Many of them are happy to reap the benefits of the state while retaining the right  to disparage and trash it. What is more telling than Arab MKs’ refusal to honor Shimon Peres, a champion of Israeli-Arab rights, by attending his funeral?

Martin Luther King did not have to change the prevailing black view of America. The blacks wanted their fair share of the American pie and he showed them the best way to go about getting it. But that’s not the situation here.

A Dr. King would have to miraculously transform the Arab attitude of hostility to Israel into one in which they accepted the Jewish state, swore loyalty to it and merely wanted their legitimate share of its benefits. If there is a miracle worker version of Martin Luther King out there he is desperately needed.