August 20, 2017: America in crisis

As I understand it, the counter-demonstrators had no permit and came prepared for a fight. However, because they were the “good guys,” they get a pass, with no criticism of their violence.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
With regard to “America in crisis” (August 17), I don’t agree with the neo-Nazis, the KKK or the antisemites who marched with the white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, but many ordinary citizens were there who disagreed with the extremists yet had no other way to voice their objection to removing the Confederate statue.
They had a permit to march, although I don’t understand why the swastika was allowed to be flown; maybe it’s part of American free speech. But if it’s legal and the police didn’t stop it from being flown, then no matter how objectionable it might have been, the counter-demonstrators had no legal right to attack those carrying it.
As I understand it, the counter-demonstrators had no permit and came prepared for a fight.
However, because they were the “good guys,” they get a pass, with no criticism of their violence from the media.
Trump said there were good and bad people on both sides. I know that not everyone agrees with him, but at least he’s taking the time to consider his position instead of spouting off at the mouth with politically correct comments, as so many politicians and media figures do.
On August 15, you published an editorial complaining about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allegations of a biased press. You quoted the “ethical standards set down by the Society of Professional Journalists.”
It’s a shame that journalists don’t abide by what they preach.
I find myself getting more and more concerned about those who want to deny freedom of speech to others who do not agree with their point of view. It should be remembered that the very first amendment to the US Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech.
Obviously, David Brinn (“‘Very fine people,’” Comment, August 17) does not respect US President Donald Trump. That is, of course, his prerogative, but to suggest that Trump agrees with the Nazis is ludicrous.
This seems to be his intent when he appears to state that Trump “opens the floodgates to racists....” Then again, Brinn states that “there is a difference between people who think like Nazis and people who try to stop them from spewing their hate.”
No, we Jews cannot accept the Nazi doctrine in any way. Yet by banning free speech for these idiots, aren’t we copying the Nazis? God forbid!
Kfar Haroeh
There is nothing morally wrong in antisemitism, as it is not wrong to be anti-Shi’ite or anti-Manchester United (or Hapoel Tel Aviv). It is the manifestation of such anti-isms, what we acceptably do about it and what mark we thereby get within the moral/legal spectrum that is significant.
Jewish sensitivity and reactions to antisemitic phenomena are understandable, but they are insignificant and do not interest the world. In 2,000 years, it might provide historians some niches for intellectual research, but nothing more.
With regard to “America’s farright stole the spotlight. Now comes the backlash” (Comment & Features, August 17), my advice to American Jews: Get out while the going is good! I’m sure that Nefesh B’Nefesh would be happy to show you the way!
Ginot Shomron
Here’s how the first paragraph of Shmuley Boteach’s “Monuments to those who fought to continue slavery betray American values” (No Holds Barred, August 15) should have begun: “On April 9, 1865, just five days before Abraham Lincoln – husband of Mary Todd of Kentucky, whose wealthy slave-holding family Lincoln happily married into – was assassinated, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, a slave owner, sat in the home of a slave owner named Wilmer McLean in the little town of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. He agreed to meet with Gen. Ulysses S. Grant – a former slave owner and user of slave labor before the war, and whose wife often visited him at the front with her slave ‘Black Julia’ – to negotiate his surrender.”
My point is simply that if we are going to start tearing down monuments to former slave owners because they betray our values, where do we start? In Rome, where we can tear down every monument to every caesar and every general? How about we focus on mosques? After all, we know that Islam was founded by slave-holding Mohammed and his cohorts.
And let us not forget that there are whole sections of the Torah that deal with how to treat one’s female and male slaves.
Of course, slavery was and is a moral abomination, but I was heartened by the announcement from Gettysburg in recent days that Union and Confederate memorials would not be taken down from the battlefield.
As a spokesman said: “These memorials, erected predominantly in the early and mid-20th century, are an important part of the cultural landscape.”
Bottom line
Congratulations to Seth J. Frantzman for his masterful August 17 background piece about Iran extending its “land bridge” and military facilities in Syria toward Lebanon (“Iran building missile factory in Syria”).
Frantzman’s quotes from American congressmen and experts help sharpen his analysis.
In particular, he brings the conclusion of Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, who says that “Iran has found a strategy that puts Israel in check for the moment.”
After reading this article, one is left with two questions: Where is Israel’s strategy? Where is America’s? The leaders of both countries would be well advised to undertake a psychological warfare campaign worldwide against the evil Iranian Shi’ite empire that oppresses its many minorities that are not ethnic Persian.
For starters, they could focus on Iran’s many Arab subjects along the northern littoral of the Arabian Gulf, and then move on to Tehran’s subject Azaris, Kurds and Baloochis, to mention only the larger ethnic groups.
Bottom line: Read Frantzman’s article!
The writer is a retired US Foreign Service officer who traveled extensively in Syria.
A response
Reporter Yonah Jeremy Bob responds to the August 17 letter “Claims on IQOS” from Laura Rosen and Hagai Levine, representatives of the Israel Association of Public Health Physicians: Laura Rosen and Hagai Levine are experts, with the honorable goal of saving Israelis from smoking-related illness – one reason both were quoted making anti-IQOS arguments in my Jerusalem Post piece “The IQOS gamble” (Comment & Features, July 16).
However, their claim that the Post produced an advertisement is absurd.
How many “advertisements” label the beneficiary as having “a history of misrepresentation”; cite multiple anti-IQOS journal studies; note studies of related products showing an extremely negative impact of tripling use by US high schoolers to 2 million; and cite 10 anti-IQOS arguments, including some newly discovered by the Post’s reporting? Their claim about the use of the word “claim” is wrong – it is used for both sides.
Similarly, they mischaracterize the piece, which described the different US and Israeli policies, while correctly noting that Israel’s final policy will likely be based on the FDA’s final decision.
Yes, there are many additional ancillary points that both they and Philip Morris wanted, although these would fit only in a lengthy journal article. But truthfully, they only objected to the idea of a balanced article about IQOS. While the FDA is undecided and Israel and many western countries see IQOS as possibly helping smokers, the Post must give both sides.