Is it normal?
In her article “What Israelis can learn from Sarah Huckabee” (February 10), Ruthie Blum continues her efforts to promote Republicans and slam Democrats, regardless of the facts. She extols Huckabee’s response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, especially her statement that “the [political] choice today is between normal or crazy.” Huckabee’s statement is correct, but, contrary to her arguments, it is the Republican Party, not the Democratic Party, that is not normal today.
Please consider: Is it normal for a political party to continue to support a former president who made about 30,000 false and misleading statements during his administration? Is it normal for a party to still be promoting the big lie that Trump won the 2020 presidential election, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Is it normal for a party to use that big lie to suppress certain groups from voting and to promote other undemocratic measure to win political victories, despite the wishes of the majority of voters?
Is it normal to be doing everything possible to overturn or weaken legislation designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, despite the increasingly dire warnings of climate experts and the recent increases in the frequency and severity of climate events? Is it normal to put investigating Hunter Biden and taking revenge on Democratic politicians ahead of joining Democrats in efforts to rebuild the crumbling US infrastructure, provide better and more affordable health care to Americans, and provide other benefits?
Finally, is it normal to require 15 votes to choose a House speaker, and is it normal to appoint election-deniers and other believers in discredited conspiracy theories to key House committees? And there is so much more.
RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ
Former Israel Police commissioner Roni Alsheich’s commentary, “Who is the landlord here?” (February 10), rationally and convincingly explains the downside risk of placing too much power over the Israel Police into the hands of the National Security Ministry.
Alsheich’s statement that “house demolitions are not the police’s job” had already been validated in Philadelphia on May 13, 1985, when a police helicopter dropped a makeshift bomb on a row house in which a radical militant group, whose members seven years earlier had already killed a police officer and injured others in a firefight, was stockpiling weapons and ammunition. The ensuing conflagration, which resulted in 11 deaths (including five children), demolished 61 homes and left 250 people homeless (including some co-workers of mine at the time).
In addressing the issues Alsheich sets forth, it is well to compare and contrast the policing organization structures of Israel and the United States. Israel has a single national police organization with branches throughout the country. The United States, on the other hand, has three levels of policing: (1) the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the national level; (2) the respective state police; and (3) the police departments organized as units under the local cities and other municipalities.
While the American system does present challenges in law enforcement coordination, the local police departments do have a strong identity with (and therefore accountability to) the communities they serve.
The absence of such local accountability has affected my own Israel neighborhood. My wife and I live within 150 meters of the residence of former attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit. To say that the weekly protests regularly staged against Mandelblit during his term in office were an inconvenience to us local residents is an understatement.
The Israel Police often refused to allow us to access our own apartment buildings (which would not have been so bad if my wife’s ambulatory situation at the time had not required her to use a walker). In response to the many residents’ complaints to the Petah Tikva city administration, we were informed that the mayor has no control over the police.
The very politicization of the police to which Alsheich objects is necessary when the mayor of the fifth-largest city in Israel must resort to pulling national political levers to even attempt to address a simple traffic routing problem caused by police negligence.
KALMAN H. RYESKY
No country called Palestine
Regarding “Two young brothers, newlywed killed in Jerusalem terror attack” (February 12): My blood is boiling at the ongoing attacks by “Palestinian” Arabs. I want to know why we persist in calling these Arabs, “Palestinians?”
The more we do, the more we give them legitimacy to allow them to think and believe that one day they will return to “Palestine.” There is no country called Palestine. It was the name given by the British when they obtained the mandate to govern here. I am sick of our elected officials calling them Palestinians.
Why can’t we just say Arabs from such and such a place, be they terrorists or innocent individuals? Needless to say I wish this was the last terrorist attack, but reality tells me otherwise. Meanwhile, I hope the injured have a speedy recovery, and that our elected leaders will stop calling any Arab, a Palestinian.
Regarding “Is the unseating of Ilhan Omar a Pyrrhic victory?” (February 9): Douglas Bloomfield’s defense of Omar is itself an indictment of the Democratic Party. He notes that, “The [earlier] vote to remove [two Republican members of Congress] was bipartisan; the anti-Omar vote was right along party lines.”
Ironically, this demonstrates that Republicans were willing to discipline members of their own party, while Democrats are not. Both Jewish and non-Jewish Republicans stood against Omar’s intolerable antisemitism, while even the Jewish Democrats refused to stand resolutely against Jew-hatred.
This is consistent with the response to Omar’s blatant antisemitism while Democrats were the majority party. Then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi asserted absurdly that, “[Omar] has a different experience in use of words. [She] doesn’t realize that some of them are fraught with meaning that she didn’t realize.”
This implied that Omar was unable to understand and internalize American abhorrence of antisemitic rhetoric during the over 25 years since she arrived in the US. Omar’s ludicrous “apology” for one of her statements confirmed this implication. She claimed she “wasn’t aware” that there are “tropes about Jews and money.”
The Democratic-controlled House responded to Omar’s antisemitism by passing a resolution broadly condemning hate and intolerance, including antisemitism and anti-Muslim discrimination. Omar was not mentioned by name, and antisemitism was equated with all other forms of hate.
Bloomfield joins unrepentant antisemite Rashida Tlaib among others in alleging that the action against Omar is “politically expedient Islam-bashing” because she is “a non-white Muslim.” Apparently, anyone who criticizes Omar is by definition a racist Islamophobe, their allegations’ accuracy notwithstanding.
Bloomfield is uncertain whether Omar’s anti-Israel comments are antisemitic. Here is just one of her tweets. You be the judge: “Israel has hypnotized the world. May Allah awaken the people and help them to see the evildoings of Israel.”
Compare the earlier punishment meted out to the Republicans with the recent treatment of Omar. The Republicans were prevented from serving on any committee; Omar was removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee but may serve on other committees.
The Foreign Affairs Committee represents American values to the rest of the world, and helps shape US foreign policy. Omar’s antisemitism is antithetical to those fundamental values, and suggests that she may be biased when considering decisions regarding America’s closest ally. Her removal from the committee was entirely appropriate.
Ruled by others
“There can be no democracy with Jewish supremacy within Israel,” and with that one sentence Gershon Baskin has laid his cards on the table (“No Democracy with conflict,” February 9).
He confirms his worldview by stating “one democratic state from the river to the sea means that Israel will no longer be the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
So there we have it; Baskin is prepared to throw away a Jewish homeland, a 2,000-year dream, to return and expose the Jewish people to once again be ruled by others, this time the Arabs, because of his love of democracy.
That’s the same Arabs who will do to us what they do to themselves across the world: remove the democracy he craves and believes does not exist, curtail the rights of minorities and women, and stop all freedom of expression and that’s just for starters, whereupon Baskin and his ilk will bemoan the state of affairs and probably blame it on the Jews.
Israel is the land of the Jewish people; always was and always will be. Others can live here in peace but they cannot have it. The exile is over.
Our prime minister is a willing victim of extortion by the people in Israel who want to maintain and/or increase Israeli control over Judea and Samaria as well as the people in Israel who want to make the country a very much more religious society (“Deri floats Kotel jail bill, Netanyahu nixes it,” February 10).
Many statements the prime minister has made in the past show his intelligent opposition to the ideas supported by those who are extorting him. He has made the Likud voters and party subordinate to their demands. The claim of “majority” rule is asserted based on this unholy trinity of the setter movement, the hardline religious and the Likud. Call it a perfect storm or a three-way marriage of convenience or whatever, but the combination exists as a result of the prime minister’s need to be rid of all his legal troubles. The situation is actually a tribute to his manipulative and political skills.
Mustered against the direction being taken by our “majority” government are all sorts of responsible people. They include Israeli economists, bankers, lawyers, hi-tech and other business leaders, university and college leaders, military leaders and reservists, many lay leaders of Jewish organizations in the Diaspora as well as leading members of the executive and legislative branches of the government of the United States, our most important ally. In addition, there is approximately 50% of the Israeli population.
The selfish hubris of the unholy trinity is horrendous to contemplate. We can only hope that the opposition can find a way to stop them from really screwing the country that we support and love.
Defending the country
In the article “Another step toward a halachic state” (February 8), MK Moshe Gafni wants to annul the grandchild clause from the Law of Return. If we are not going to allow this group of potential citizens to make aliyah, then in the future who will join the army or keep Israel as technologically advanced as it is at the present time?
I don’t think MK Gafni’s children or grandchildren will be defending the country by joining the IDF in the future. Many young people, who are not considered Jewish, do have a halachic conversion while in the army and end up contributing greatly to this country.
There is not only one way to see things but it’s necessary to look at the bigger picture. It’s best for everyone to leave the law the way it is presently and view in a realistic manner the harm that could be caused by making this change, and not look for ways to cause an even greater divide.