Letters to the Editor September 4, 2023: Global security

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Global security

Regarding “UN failure on Hezbollah” (editorial, August 31): I can’t agree with you more that the United Nations remains the best platform for global discourse. Recent terrorist attacks and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are reminders of how autocracies care little about causing death and destruction.

The war is a gross violation of human rights and the principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes as codified in the United Nations Charter, which has helped maintain the rules-based international order and kept the world in relative peace since the end of the Cold War.

The war’s humanitarian and economic fallout has also shown that globalized world crises cannot be contained within national borders. It is therefore imperative to deter similar threats to global security from happening elsewhere. UN officials speak often of joint solutions, solidarity, and inclusion in tackling the pressing issues of our time. Taiwan is more than willing and able to take part in these efforts while we are standing on the first line to defend the democracy.

However, Taiwan continues to be excluded from the UN. We call on the UN to uphold its principle of leaving no one behind by allowing Taiwan to participate in the UN system, rather than excluding it from discussions on issues requiring collective global cooperation.

Allowing Taiwan to meaningfully participate in the UN system would benefit the world’s efforts to address pressing global issues and advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This would also demonstrate the UN’s determination to unite for global peace at a critical juncture when the future of the world is at stake.



Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv

Total mockery

Yaakov Katz’s “Israel’s silence on the looming Iran deal” (September 1) is an excellent article but fails to address the question of why Iran has managed to out-negotiate the Americans.

It is absolutely clear that Iran has violated all the main terms of the 2015 JCPOA deal. Iran has enriched uranium to 60% as opposed to the 3.67% limit set in the agreement. It has made a total mockery of its agreement to allow unfettered access to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to the Fordow, Natanz, and Arak nuclear facilities.

Iran has simply stonewalled several attempts to allow access to the sites, and has failed to provide answers to questions raised by the inspectors. Surprise inspections require advance notice. The whole situation is farcical.

On reaching the JCPOA deal in 2015, Iran received the release of $1.7 billion of funds on which the West had previously placed sanctions. Of this, $400 million was transferred in cash. The release of the money greatly increased Iranian support for Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist entities. Iran is now seeking another infusion of sanctioned funds.

Iran has resorted to kidnapping American citizens and using them as bargaining chips to obtain funds blocked by sanctions. Iran has a history of taking American hostages going back to 1979. It seems that the latest American idea is to reward hostage-taking. The Americans have justified this by announcing that Iran has promised to use the money released only for civilian purposes.

This is the height of gullibility and naivety and explains exactly why Iran has consistently been able to out-negotiate the Americans. America wants to do a deal. The mullahs are laughing all the way to the bank.

Any war involving Israel and Iran will send oil prices skyrocketing and will be a major threat to world economic stability. The world is now faced with the problem of how to contain an Iranian regime that is close to obtaining nuclear weapons and has a fanatical obsession with wiping Israel off the map.

The Americans have decided to kick the can down the road in the hope that Iran will realize that Israel has both the capacity to intercept Iranian nuclear armed missiles, and to then act in a retaliatory manner and destroy the major cities of Iran. In the meantime, America has decided to appease Iran.

Iran has made one huge miscalculation. It has built its nuclear facilities underground in isolated areas. America has the means and ability to destroy Iran’s underground nuclear facilities with almost no collateral damage to any civilians. This is a huge consideration in today’s world of human rights.

What America clearly does not seem to have, at present, is either the will to use its vastly superior military capacity, or to provide Israel with the means to do the job. America is determined to avoid an Israeli-Iranian war. Time will tell if this turns out to be the correct approach.

What is certain is that Israel cannot be expected to remain idle while Iran continues with its present policies.



Guiding principles

Rabbi Eugene Korn deserves praise for “A Jewish state?” (August 31). His article clearly lays out that the guiding principles of our Jewish state must be based on justice, contributing to the common defense, staying away from falsehood and corruption, and respecting others (and that includes the convert).

An interesting question to ask is why our education system has produced (too many) people who believe that Jewish “power” is the key to our success. Our history is full of failures and failed states where Jewish power was indeed our guiding principle. The Torah, as Rabbi Korn notes, explicitly says that this is not enough

I am not belittling the need for a strong defense. However, isn’t it ironic that the aforementioned values were the so-called secular (but Jewish) values instituted by our founding fathers and mothers, and not by the so-called religious people?

It’s not enough to dress the part; one must also act the part. Thank you again to Rabbi Korn.



Lesser of evils

In “Some religious Jews should repent” (August 30), Gil Troy does his virtue signaling by condemning religious Jews for having supported Donald Trump in the last two elections. This grievous sin “won’t undo the moral stench developed over years of Orthodox fealty to this monstrous man.” What Troy seems to forget is that the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections provided candidates who were binary choices, and religious Jews chose the lesser of evils.

Trump’s character flaws were subsequently somewhat compensated for by a highly successful presidency in all his agenda. Not least of all was that he was good for Israel and the Jews.

On the other hand, Joe Biden has all the character flaws and then some which Troy sees in Trump, with his lying, alleged corruption, and incompetence. Almost every decision he has made has been a disaster for America, from Afghanistan, open borders, crime, and all the woke and progressive issues that his puppeteers have given him, not to mention his cognitive and physical disabilities.

Does Professor Troy think America is better off today than before January 2021? If so, his view of observant Jews should be taken for what it is: nonsensical.



The article by Gil Troy caught my attention to what has been brewing in my mind about the behavior of two world leaders, both seemingly on the path to the slammer.

I have decided to analogously compare the saga of both Netanyahu and Trump to a play in Tel Aviv or the US. The main characters, and I use that term a little disparagingly, are Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. However, it’s announced at the beginning of the production that other supporting actors will be mentioned. The title of this play is “You can always fool audiences, (read citizens), as much as possible.”

Trump plays the more vicious of the two, but after all he’s been at it for more years than Netanyahu. He has been known to “lie, deceive, polarize and damage” the profession, and has sullied the trust of a large segment of audiences. His stated motives for continued playacting seems to be his egotistical, narcissistic, pompous, and attitude toward all, including those actors who have worked with him, and the multitude of audiences who have come to watch him babble.

Netanyahu plays the protagonist, however he seems to have picked up some traits of the richer more experienced Trump; hence his part in trying to outdo the antagonist comes off poorly. After all, he too is facing an audience of nay-sayers, and lower-level actors trying to steal his thunder. He seems to go off-script frequently, while those other actors steal the limelight offstage.

Both of these actors have finally forced the hands of the general audiences, who are now ready and willing to walk away, not pay for any more outrageous theatrics, and possibly see to it that neither gets the big prizes: prime minister and president, or as the theater goes, the Oscars.

I’ll now go off-script. Without minimizing the damage both men seem to have done to their respective countries, its imperative that Orthodox Jewry in America doesn’t get sucked into the “Look what they’ve done for Israel,” as Trump’s “extended temper tantrum on losing,” as Troy puts it, has been a deciding factor for many Americans who may have lost faith in the voting system.

For the so called “Right-leaning voters” in Israel to believe that their leader is the only savior, Netanyahu has relinquished power to the out-of-control Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. He has been sidelined as an effective leader.

The photo accompanying Gil Troy’s article of Chris Christie, a Republican candidate for president, with the caption accompanying it, says it all for both men: “Someone’s got to stop normalizing this conduct.”

Curtain down.



Discriminatory practices

Regarding “Racism is a malignant disease we must fight” (August 31): Imagine an Israel where only Jews are defined as being native inhabitants; where Jews receive first pick of all new housing alongside a 7% discount irrespective of actual income; where Jews have lower admission requirements to universities; where government contracts can only go to Jewish companies; where all foreign companies operating in Israel must be 30% Jewish owned; where all companies listed on the stock exchange must be 30% Jewish owned; and only Jews have access to government backed investments. Would writers such as Shuki Friedman condemn this country as racist?

In reality, none of these discriminatory practices occur in Israel, despite the Left’s cries of “racism” when Jews reject assisting their murderers. However, these policies listed above are from Malaysia to enable the Muslim Malay majority to subjugate the Chinese and Thai minorities.



Lonely student

Regarding “Israeli and Libyan FMs meet despite lack of ties” (August 28): Israel has diplomatic relations with over 160 nations, and is a world leader in so many areas, not least evidenced by the massive defense deals regularly announced. Yet day after day, the behavior of many of our leaders, and the hype of our media outlets, make the country appear like the lonely student in the school playground, pleading to be part of the in-crowd.

Our foreign minister was so thrilled to be invited to a secret meeting with his Libyan counterpart in Italy – apparently engineered through the good offices of the US – that he simply had to brag about it to the press, thereby setting back progress under the Abraham Accords which were aiming to encourage more Muslim countries to join.

He could have learned a lesson from Moshe Dayan who, in 1978, when he was foreign minister, spilled the beans that Israel was supplying arms to the Mengistu regime in exchange for the continued emigration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. The doors were promptly slammed shut.

Then we have the story of the Air Seychelles aircraft having to make an emergency stop in Jeddah en route to Tel Aviv. The fact that the Saudi authorities permitted the aircraft to land and behaved courteously to the passengers does not signify an imminent exchange of ambassadors. Whatever the shortcomings of the Saudi regime, it is not Idi Amin’s Uganda and it behaved as one would expect of a civilized country. The media’s (mis)reading of all sorts of messages into the rather trivial incident was absurd.

On a weekly basis, we also have the undignified reports of our prime minister practically begging for an invitation to the White House. Have we lost our collective self-respect entirely?

The golden age of Abba Eban’s diplomacy and tact, knowing when to speak and when to keep quiet, is sadly missing today.