Letters to the Editor May 22, 2023: Hacking and theft

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Hacking and theft

Kobi Ram’s “Joining the worldwide payments revolution” (May 17) attempts to make the argument for replacing paper checks with electronic ones. Supposedly, paper checks are outdated and electronic ones are necessary for the modern world.

The author fails to mention any advantage for the customer or the important disadvantages that electronic checks have. First, they are vulnerable to hacking and theft, much more so than paper checks. Moreover, a stolen paper check can easily be canceled, while a hacked electronic check endangers the entire account.

Second, paper checks are more private than electronic ones, and paper transactions do not result in the customer being bombarded with ads for goods and services he does not need or want.

Third and perhaps most importantly, electronic checks would be a big step toward a digital currency, and a digital currency puts far too much power into the hands of government and a central bank that could then access and manipulate customer accounts at will, removing money or depositing it entirely at their whim.

In short, electronic checks are neither necessary nor desirable, and I for one have no intention of using them.


Speaking ambiguously

Yonah Jeremy Bob’s take on the deadlock regarding how to deal with Iran overlooks the political elephant that stands looming in the doorway (“US, Israel look to find way out of Iran stalemate,” May 19). The most recent Democratic presidents – first Obama and now Biden – have preferred a nuanced approach when dealing with the threat of a nuclear Iran; talk tough but carry a small stick, you might say.

Moreover, it’s no secret that there’s little love between Biden and our prime minister, or that Democratic legislators are not overly inclined to bend over backwards when it comes to guaranteeing Israel’s security. Add to the mix that Biden is seeking another term and that his most viable opponent, Donald Trump, is fending off snarling alligators chomping away at his backside; the US, plainly speaking, has little to lose by speaking ambiguously.

I’m not doubting that the sentiments regarding the unbreakable US-Israel alliance are sincere, and the Defense Department is not oblivious to the sword hanging over Israel’s head. But they – and their commander-in-chief – cannot act or even plan without the involvement of Congress. Israel can ill afford to stand quietly on the sidelines and wait for this Gordian knot to get untangled.

We’ve reached a point, then, that Israel must neither ask for permission nor beg for forgiveness when it comes to neutralizing the Iranian threat. The safety and survival of over nine million men, women and children are at stake; the time for hemming and hawing is rapidly coming to an end.

If Biden wishes to adopt a more incremental policy and is no longer troubled by a backlash of the “Jewish vote,” so be it. If anything, the ball rightly belongs in the Israeli government’s court. And it will be played, I hope, before it’s too late.


Spectacular success

I beg to differ with Gershon Baskin’s statement that Israeli military operations against Palestinian terror never accomplish anything (“Round and round,” May 18).

Israel’s ability to take out terrorist leaders was not lost on Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran whose leaders know that they “can run but they can’t hide,” as boxer Joe Louis stated about opponent Billy Conn back in the 1940s.

Hamas or Hezbollah refused to join with Islamic Jihad despite Iran’s urging to them to create a unified command to present a more formidable resistance. This all had to do with Israel’s spectacular success in taking out Islamic Jihad’s leadership. That’s called deterrence.


Sanctity of marriage

David Jablinowitz’s “We do not forget Jerusalem” (May 17) reminds me of another explanation, given to me in the UK, for the breaking of the glass at a wedding; it illustrates how the sanctity of marriage can just as easily be shattered. It serves as an excellent warning.


Hopes of peace

War is hell; Douglas Bloomfield reminds us of that in “Sherman was half right” (May18), as if we didn’t already know. He makes the statement “If there is one thing today’s Israeli and Palestinian leaders appear to have in common, it is a lack of interest in finding a political solution,” thereby very simply creating equivalency between the two parties.

On the Palestinian side, leaders do not represent their people. In the West Bank, Abbas is in the nineteenth year of his four-year presidency. Gaza is controlled by the terrorists of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Israel has had a surfeit of elections over the course of its history, but its leaders have never strayed far from the viewpoint of Israelis regarding the security situation.

Israel has been continuously under attack from the Arabs since the start of modern Zionism. Optimism generated by the Oslo process led to hopes of peace, but they were severely dashed during the attempts of negotiations by the Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat group.

Nothing that the terrorist Arafat’s successor Abbas has done since then would lead any rational person to hope for a change in attitude, including his address at the United Nations last week, when he compared Israelis to the Nazi Goebbels, and seemed to ask to go back to the UN recommendation of November 1947, forgetting the long-lasting War of Independence that the Arabs initiated back then.

Israel’s left-wing peace camp is now largely defunct; no one has any realistic plan for peacemaking and Israelis yearn to live in peace. Bloomfield needs to wean himself from his tired rhetoric, and his paranoid hatred for Netanyahu.


Exception to the rule

In your coverage of Jerusalem Day, you joined the leftist media in Israel and the international anti-Israel media in emphasizing the exception to the rule. Even the front page headline stating “Minor scuffles break out as 50,000 parade through Jerusalem’s Old City” (May 19) should have been a minor story in the back pages. “River of blue and white” should have been an extensive article on the front page instead of just four lines continuing on page 10.

My wife and I stood at the entrance to Mamilla with hundreds of spectators reveling as we watched the parade of thousands, including dancing to a sound truck, at the famous intersection of King David and Agron Streets.

Where were your reporters? Waiting at Damascus Gate to catch a few hoodlum youth inciting the Arabs? 

Forget about representing the truth about your country; anything to sell newspapers.


An antisemitic act

Amotz Asa-El, in defending George Soros (“By George [II],” May 19) and urging every Jew to do the same, is either uninformed or ignorant of the billionaire’s activities in the last 25 years. He joins others like the ADL in stating that any criticism of the man and what he stands for is an antisemitic act. If he would be an Episcopalian, Soros would deserve the same condemnation from those who defend Judaism and Israel.

Soros himself describes the home he grew up in as antisemitic, and it certainly has rubbed off on him if you examine his policies and the organizations he generously supports. His Open Society Foundation has an objective of “challenging Israel’s racist and antidemocratic policies.” He has supported NGOs that urge boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel. He has blamed Jews for the Jew-hatred that exists and his antidote is giving up on “tribalness” – another way of saying that Jews should assimilate.

He has backed many extremist left-wing causes. Soros has championed the legalization of marijuana. He has almost single-handedly helped elect district attorneys in major US cities who protect the criminal at the expense of the victim. This has allowed them to escape proper penalties, putting them back on the street, leading to an explosion of crime and the breaking down of law and order.

Asa-El should have studied his subject more carefully instead of instinctively supporting someone because of his political leanings. This Hartman Institute fellow and the institution is further sullied because of this kind of misrepresentation of his subject.


Successful contributions

Congratulations to Prof. Irwin Cotler for his immense contributions to democracy, human rights and justice and on the occasion of the establishment of the Irwin Cotler Institute at Tel Aviv University (“Living and learning about democracy, human rights and justice,” May 19).

I knew Cotler when we were both in our late teens and early twenties. We were both sports counselors at the Hebrew-speaking Camp Massad in the Laurentian Hills, north of Montreal.

A couple of hundred of Montreal Jewish youths attended this mainly secular camp every summer. The emphasis was on speaking Hebrew and Zionism and indeed some  of us ended up living in Israel.

The camps were founded by my father Rabbi Aron Horowitz, a Hebraist. Another camp was founded near Winnipeg, based on the same principles. The camps still exist. I like to think that part of Cotler’s future and successful contributions were determined by his participation in Massad life.

He was a below average card player in our weekly poker sessions which may have taught him humility. 


Dissatisfaction and opposition

The Jerusalem Post published an opinion piece titled “Taiwan can help,” (May 17) which hypes up erroneous views on Taiwan-related issues at the World Health Assembly (WHA). The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the State of Israel expresses strong dissatisfaction and opposition against the opinion piece. We offer the relevant facts and truth as follows:

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a UN organization consisting of sovereign states. There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory.

The Taiwan region’s participation in the activities of international organizations, including the WHO, must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle. This is an international consensus and an important principle enshrined in the UNGA Resolution 2758 and the WHA Resolution 25.1.

The Chinese central government has made proper arrangements for the region’s participation in global health affairs under the precondition of following the one-China principle. With the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities refusing to recognize the 1992 Consensus that embodies the one-China principle and headstrong on “Taiwan independence,” the political foundation for cross-Strait consultation has been thrown into jeopardy, and the political foundation for the Taiwan region to participate in the WHA no longer exists.

The upcoming WHA will be the first face-to-face meeting held by the WHO after the pandemic broke out, where countries look forward to discussing important issues concerning global health governance in the future. While consistently hyping up Taiwan-related issues at the WHA, the DPP authorities care only about expanding so-called “international space” and highlighting its non-existent “sovereignty,” rather than health issues or international interest on public health. Such practices can only disrupt the Assembly order, waste time and undermine the common interests of member states.

The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair that allows no external interference. China firmly opposes any interference with China’s domestic affairs by external forces under the pretext of Taiwan-related issues. The one-China principle, universally supported by the international community, is a popular, overwhelming trend that cannot be denied or deterred.

We hope the Post and its readers can see the truth clearly, avoid being misled by “Taiwan independence” words and deeds, and refrain from providing any platform for such erroneous opinions.

MEI LICHUMedia Affairs, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the State of Israel