Letters to the Editor March 15, 2023: Reform can wait

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Reform can wait

Regarding “Iran-Saudi thaw winners and losers” (March 13): If, as the saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, then it stands to reason that “the friend of my enemy is my enemy.” That being the case, all the analysis on the warming ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia inevitably results in one conclusion: the Saudis are turning their backs on the Abraham Accords and placing their future in the economic growth and regional domination of Iran and China.

Will Israel be forced to increase the pressure on preventing Iran from going nuclear now that US influence appears to be turning marginal? In theory yes, but with an eye still on normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia and not wanting to remove the business and commercial opportunities offered by China, how exactly that is to be done remains an open question, and a very serious one.

Now, then, is not the time to spend an inordinate amount of time on domestic overhauls and reforms. They can wait. The current government must ensure that Iran will not be given an open check-in for developing weapons of mass destruction.

There must be a concentrated focus on how to prevent this unholy trifecta of Iran, China and Saudi Arabia from becoming a nightmarish scenario. Now, more than ever, Israel’s foreign policy and strategy must define the demarcation point between speaking softly and waving a big stick.

 A newspaper with a cover picture of the flag of Iran and Saudi Arabia, is seen in Tehran, Iran March 11, 2023 (credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS) A newspaper with a cover picture of the flag of Iran and Saudi Arabia, is seen in Tehran, Iran March 11, 2023 (credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

Now is the time when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must earn the trust I put in him.


Ginot Shomron

American insults

Regarding the editorial “Where is the US?” (March 13): The Saudi-Iranian detente is a setback for Israel, the “Small Satan.” It is a massive diplomatic failure for America, the “Big Satan.”

It is bad news for Europe, as it watches the Saudi-Iranian-Russian-Chinese conglomerate squeeze their energy demands, just as the Ukraine war grinds on and the US is discouraging its own fossil fuel industry. A conspiracy-theorist might see a nefarious link somewhere.

This article places the onus on Israel and the Palestinian Authority. That’s not the Saudi focus. Arabs have an honor-revenge culture. The Saudis remember American insults following Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. They do not forgive. Then Biden came, hat in hand, begging for increased oil production and was sent home empty handed. Saudi Arabia and Iran, along with Turkey, are vying for supremacy when the West is replaced with a caliphate, which many believe in inevitable.

As for the Palestinians, Arab leaders know they are a pseudo-ethnicity invented by the KGB in 1964. They are a useful propaganda tool when needed. Since Yasser Arafat started civil wars in Jordan and Lebanon, and supported the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, there is no trust in the PA.

The Saudis and Iranians are showing the West they have other, more reliable, friends. Saudi-Iran ties won’t last. The Saudis value Israel and the Abraham Accords more than they do Iran. They just want America to pay attention.



Playing a move

The article headlined “Powerful regional front against Iran” by Zvika Haimovich (March 12) has been overtaken by events. Like a grandmaster playing a move that no one expected, China has checkmated the West by brokering an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore diplomatic relations between them.

The deal has given a middle finger to the liberal order based on human rights, women’s rights, press freedoms and the rule of law. China has signaled to the world that it will play by its own rules. It will ignore American and UN sanctions on both Iran and Russia.

 SAUDI CROWN Prince Mohammed bin Salman fist bumps US President Joe Biden upon the president’s arrival in Jeddah, on Friday. A fist-bump may not seem like much, but it amounted to a truckload of humble pie for Biden, says the writer (credit: REUTERS) SAUDI CROWN Prince Mohammed bin Salman fist bumps US President Joe Biden upon the president’s arrival in Jeddah, on Friday. A fist-bump may not seem like much, but it amounted to a truckload of humble pie for Biden, says the writer (credit: REUTERS)

While America’s policy to pay any price to defend Ukraine is facing unforeseen opposition, China has seized the opportunity to create a new reality on the ground in the Middle East. It seems that the deal puts to rest the claim that the keepers of the holy Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina were about to join the Abraham Accords.

It signals to America that China, Iran and Saudi Arabia are sick and tired of American criticism of their human rights record and will act in their own interests. This is a pivotal moment in world affairs. The world will never be the same.



Unprovoked, murderous attacks

Regarding “Pogrom in Huwara was anti-Zionist” (March 12): Those of us who grew up in Europe after World War Two, whose parents had managed to leave Europe just before or during the war, were very aware of the long history of Jews in Europe where pogroms were frequent. 

People like Daniel Goldman and others who don’t come from that immediate background don’t understand to what the word “pogrom” really refers to. It is used to describe totally unprovoked, murderous attacks on defenseless Jews, in cities and towns and villages all over Europe. What happened in Huwara, however nasty and unpleasant it was, was not a pogrom, and we Jews, in particular, should not lend that word to the non-Jewish media, with which they can then attack Israel.



Stupid laws

Dan Perry has given us another dose of his philosophy (“A hugely costly mistake,” March 10) which regularly denigrates Trump and Netanyahu, in whom he can see no good, and supports Biden and the Democrats, in whom he can see no harm. 

This time he has had a swipe at Britain where he says he had his home for most of the decade of 2000, making him an authority on Brexit, too.

He apparently was not in Britain in 1972 when the British people bought into the idea of joining the European Common Market, having been told just that member states would face no internal taxes on goods. This eventually, however, developed into the European Union, and Britain was swept along with this development with no democratic input.

The union created its own laws that took away sovereignty from the British Parliament, introduced many stupid laws which had to be followed by all member states, created a complex system of governance with a powerful non-elected executive commission and a parliament which only advises, and which splits its year between two European capitals, between which a huge cohort of members and officials travel at massive cost and expense fiddling.

As Perry seems to respect democracy, instead of writing his nonsense regarding the decision to leave, he should congratulate the British government on allowing a referendum and accepting the people’s verdict to leave. Indeed, financial results have so far been disappointing, but he forgets there were three years of COVID and many more years of European attempts to punish Britain for daring to rebel, and creating difficulties in agreeing to Britain’s exit conditions.

He finished his article by claiming that the Netanyahu coalition only exists because of splits in the opposition, ignoring the fact that the Lapid/Bennett coalition was similarly based on splits on the other side and had an even smaller majority.


Beit Shemesh

Only a first step

In “Honesty can advance Mideast peace” (March 14), Josep Borrell, who is the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, outlines that peace between Israel and the Palestinians will be difficult to achieve, and that we can no longer rely on the US alone. We must include the Arab states, Europe and others. Honesty will be a first step toward solving the problem, he maintains. He proposes coming together and talking.

But to be totally honest, a first step toward solving the problem would actually be for the Europeans to stop meddling in the Middle East. Their involvement only gives the Palestinian street and leadership false hopes.

For these Palestinians, a Palestinian state would be only the first step, then onward to the destruction of Israel. Let’s be honest; the Palestinians want peace only as a prelude to the war with Israel.

Let the Europeans deal first with Putin’s unholy war in Ukraine before they meddle in our affairs.



Gross omissions

Compliments to Eliav Breuer for his piece on “The reverberations of Disengagement” (March 10).

 While generally balanced, there were three gross omissions.

1. Ariel Sharon was elected on “Netzarim=Tel Aviv,” which he immediately negated. In contrast, this government is fulfilling its campaign platform, and the opposition is taking to the streets to stop it. There is no moral or public equivalent.

2. Regarding any attempt to equate calls for refusal to carry out military service, there were very few in 2005, as opposed to former generals, party heads, and active servicemen today.

3. Attempting to equate road closures: In 2005, if anyone merely stepped off the curb, they were immediately arrested and held for days or weeks. Today’s demonstrators are treated as if it is their legal right to deny the majority to go about its business.


Petah Tikva

Metastatic consequences

Regarding “Iran said to seal secret uranium deal with Russia” (March 9): Benjamin Weinthal’s excellent article about reports of a secret deal between Russia and Iran which helps the latter country evade restrictions on its nuclear program reveals the metastatic consequences of the West’s refusal to confront the threat posed by an Iranian nuclear arsenal.

Slowly but surely the consequential tendrils of Iran’s illicit nuclear program are ensnaring other countries and other issues. 

Like an aggressive cancer, the threat of an Iranian nuclear arsenal has now infiltrated the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In exchange for Iranian military assistance, Russia will return 8.5 tons of enriched Iranian uranium under certain circumstances, potential fuel for nuclear weapons which was supposed to be forever out of Iran’s reach.

There are other bad actors on the world stage; the tyrannical Iranian regime won’t hesitate to exploit opportunities to use them as well to advance its nefarious nuclear goals.

The Iranian nuclear weapons program is an aggressive, dangerous cancer on the world stage. Like all aggressive cancers it will quickly metastasize into other areas, complicating efforts to remove it. The more those efforts are delayed, the worse the prognosis will become. The sooner it is removed entirely, every last vestige of it, the better off we’ll all be.


Williamsville, NY

It’ll be too late

While I appreciate the position taken in the editorial “Insubordination” (March 7), regarding the failure of air force pilots to report for duty, I do not agree with it.

Here is an analogy. We have just celebrated Purim. The Purim story was said to be at a time when our national survival was at stake. The holiday of Hanukkah, in contrast, refers to a time in which our spiritual survival was at stake.

Now, those who ensure our national survival are standing up for our spiritual survival. The situation is such that various parties within the coalition are supporting laws that will eviscerate the court and create an autocracy of the ruling party.

The government itself will have the power to be able to restrict the right to vote as well as limit which parties can run in elections. Political protests could be banned. The ruling coalition would also be able to use its new legislative powers to impose a strict interpretation of religious law on the rest of the population. 

The coalition as a whole agrees that a large subset of the population will be exempt from both serving in the defense forces and national service. Others will be forced to serve in their stead.

Insubordination? Perhaps, it’s simply: “If not now, when?” Later, it will be too late to take a stand in support of Israeli democracy.