Letters to the Editor August 16, 2023: An errant child

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

An errant child

Stephen Flatow’s article “Australia is occupied territory” (August 13) is compelling and a sincere, truthful read. However, I’d like to expound on the issue of occupation.

There are many countries who have “occupied” territory while land was being settled by explorers and groups moving to expand the horizons of a new nation. High on that list was America, whom we all know, pushed the so-called Indian indigenous population eventually on to reservations. Wars with them ended badly for both sides, but the colonists were much greater in numbers along with having more sophisticated weapons.

To this day, the reservations are still in existence and there are many tribes who live below the poverty line. No one changed the name, however, of the nascent United States.

For Australia to state that Israel is an occupier of “indigenous Arabs,” is an oxymoron of the highest caliber. We all know, there are no Palestinian people; there are Arabs. There is no land or state called Palestine, as there is no infrastructure and ruling government for and by the people. There is no official “Palestinian language,” as brought to our attention, by Mr. Flatow, because the Arab language is alive and in use.

It is mind-boggling that so many countries feel the need to treat Israel as an errant child, scolding us and threatening punishment for bad behavior. Last I heard, we are a sovereign nation, with a functioning government, laws and enforcement, as well as a strong army for security.

I have not seen or heard of Israel doing the same to other nations. Bullying and threats are never tolerated in the sandbox of diplomacy.

Israel needs to respond forcefully to the Australian government and let them know that no one has the right to change our name or standing in the world without our permission. The Arabs will continue on their campaign of annihilation with or without help from others.

If Australia wishes to remain on good footing with us, as well as the Arabs, then act diplomatically and stay out of the name game controversy. That should be the only way forward for all the nations of the world.



Stephen Flatow’s excellent article can also be extended to include the United States of America. The colonists who acquired the territories in the 17th and 18th centuries did so by going to war with the local native American tribes, mistakenly called “Indians,” and eventually relegating them to “reservations.” 

Even the Louisiana Purchase was an agreement between the occupying powers, France and the USA, to the exclusion of the native American tribes.

So colonial occupiers should not dictate to the Jewish people whose land was given to them by a higher power, in whom they also believe, as stated in the Jewish Bible, their so-called “Old Testament.”



Short on imagination

Two recent articles about the present political situation were excellent in concept, but short on imagination.

Cookie Schwaeber-Issan (“Who will be the political hero?” August 13) wants someone to stand up and declare for compromise, regardless of their party’s stance. However, she asks for that “someone” to be from the government. Why not from the opposition? I suppose she can’t be thinking of Yair Lapid, who has disqualified himself by demanding that all legislation should be stopped for over a year, thus torpedoing President Herzog’s efforts to bring peace.

Not only impractical (the government has every right to proceed, although they did stop for a time to allow discussion), but it was also disingenuous, as it was obvious that Lapid only wanted to buy time until a new election which he hoped to win by claiming that the government had not achieved anything.

Indeed, if only the protest leaders would abandon the calls for upheaval of the failed prime minister Barak, the ex-convict Olmert, and the former IDF chief of staff Halutz who thought it more important to call his stockbroker to sell his holdings when war commenced with Hezbollah, and instead realize whose lead they were following, we might not suffer all these extreme protests and there might well have been more goodwill on both sides.

Richard Shavei-Tzion (“Where are the chief rabbis?” August 9) wants the chief rabbis to make public pronouncements on major issues. Does he think anyone will pay attention to their message? On the contrary, there would be an outcry about their meddling in politics and it would provoke debate about the separation of state and religion

 It could, however, be effective if the two chief rabbis were invited by the Knesset to attend the opening ceremonies, one to say a Psalm or give a short prayer and the other to deliver a 10-minute address giving a non-political Jewish/Torah perspective on current matters of importance. In this way their participation would be respected and indeed they should take up the opportunity. If the British Parliament, the “mother of parliaments,” commences every day’s business in both the House of Lords and House of Commons with prayer, would it be out of place in the Jewish state’s parliament? 


Beit Shemesh

Almost pathetic efforts

It’s hot out there and getting hotter. Disaster follows disaster. The experts and climate activists are out there screaming “I told you so” (“Experts warn of dire outcomes as another heatwave grips Israel,” August 13).

“Do something” is their cry. But everybody knows that it’s too little, far too late. The world population will continue to grow, hundreds of millions of cars are on the roads daily, tens of millions are flying on their way to vacations. Pollution is increasing, not decreasing.

A few wind farms, already unpopular with those living close by, won’t help. They cause headaches. The trillions of dollars necessary to begin to even have a small effect don’t exist. And even if they did exist, the major industrial powers aren’t about to invest in something that may help down the road in ten or twenty years.

All that’s left is dubious, almost pathetic, efforts to breed climate-friendly cows that will belch less methane (“The climate-friendly cows bred to belch less methane,” August 13). Some burger restaurants are changing what their cattle eat. That’s sure to help. Everybody is having fun claiming to save the planet.



Hard and undisputed facts

In his article “Is it about Israel or democracy?” (August 9),” Gil Troy makes one statement that I strongly agree with and one with which I completely disagree. The one that I agree with is, “I cannot understand at this point how any patriotic American could still vote for Trump.” 

Here are some hard and undisputed facts. Trump’s many negative characteristics include the fact that he was impeached twice and indicted four times. At least one more indictment is highly likely. He brazenly told over 30,000 lies and made numerous misleading statements during his administration.

He is still promoting the downright and irrevocably proven lie that he actually won the 2020 presidential election, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He personally inspired the vicious attack at the US Congress on January 6, 2021.

Despite the dire warnings of climate experts and the significant increases in the frequency and severity of heat waves, wildfires, storms, and floods, he is in total denial about climate threats. He appointed other climate deniers to key environmental positions and did everything possible to overturn, weaken, and destroy legislation designed to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and other actions that are ruining the environmental welfare of our severely imperiled planet. The latest example is what has just happened on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

Troy’s statement that I strongly disagree with is, “Biden’s fragility prevents him from projecting the vigor that’s needed.” Like every preceding president, Biden is far from perfect, but his abilities and accomplishments are not appreciated by many people. Because of his leadership, Ukraine has been receiving the weapons it needs to defend itself against ongoing Russian attacks and aggression. Without Biden’s efforts, Ukraine would have lost the war a long time ago.

Despite having very small congressional majorities and facing consistent Republican obstructionism, Biden signed legislation that reduced climate threats, medical expenses, and inflation. According to polls, he defeated Trump in the two presidential debates they had in 2020 and is likely to do so again if they are both nominees in 2024.



A special day

Compromise is normally good. It is a word that means that both sides give in and are unhappy with part of the result, but neither side is cut out completely.

The word, however, can be used as a sword when it comes to some things that cannot be compromised. We are willing to compromise, and you are not, so you must be wrong.

The Jerusalem Post is constantly crying for compromise on the trains running on Shabbat. One article compared us to a third world country for not running the trains, never mentioning the fact that we run the trains on Sunday and we don’t run the trains not because we can’t but because it is Shabbat.

A Shabbat compromise” (editorial, August 13) is just more of the same. There is no mention of the status quo, that for 75 years we have made Shabbat a special day in Israel, the only Jewish country in the world. This fact should be celebrated, yet our primary English newspaper pretends this fact doesn’t exist, and instead maintains that people are “suffering” and that those who can’t afford the more expensive options are stuck at home. We are “depriving these people of public transportation.”

One is either pregnant or not. There is no compromise. One either respects Shabbat by not running buses and trains or not. The trains cannot run without the buses; they feed each other. Whether it goes through Bnei Brak or not, either we recognize that Israel is a Jewish country that makes it special or not. 

Please stop inflaming the flames with your constant attacks and demands that a compromise can and must be found. There is no compromise on whether we recognize Shabbat or not on a larger scale. Small compromises can be made such as the new free Jerusalem bus regarding which your paper has also reported. However, a larger compromise means an end to our 75-year status quo, and ignores the fact that Shabbat is the sign that we are a Jewish country.


San Diego

A pipe dream

I guess I’m missing something. That the Abraham Accords, now celebrating its third anniversary, is being heralded as a major success strikes me as something of an exaggeration (“Three years on, ‘Abraham Accords changed the lexicon of the region,’” August 14). By now, most if not all swords should have been turned into plowshares and Israel’s historical enemies should have embraced and profited from mutually beneficial commercial, technological, academic, and cultural agreements promised by the accords.

That, of course, remains very much a pipe dream. And while there are indeed some worthwhile projects going on with the few nations that have entered into partnership with Israel, I would hardly describe them as resounding. The goosebumps Aryeh Lightstone refers to were, I’d say, a bit unwarranted.

More importantly, not much has changed internationally. Anti-Israel sentiment and slanderous accusations of apartheid are still very much evident throughout much of the world. Indeed, a Democrat state senator from Michigan had to publicly apologize to her Arab constituents for having had the effrontery to participate in an official visit to our country.

Iran remains a dangerous threat. The Saudis are teasing us with the notion of normalization, which more likely than not will include outrageous preconditions. And, of course, antisemitism remains rampant. What then, really, did the accords accomplish that is worth celebrating?

Not that I was any less enthusiastic than anyone else about the potential represented by the initial agreement, and I backed the prime minister’s agreement to temporarily table the issue of sovereignty in order to have the accords signed. But while that enthusiasm has not quite soured into disappointment, I’m not expecting major breakthroughs any time soon.


Ginot Shomron