August 26: Portman pontificates

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Portman pontificates
This is the first letter I have ever written to a newspaper in my 85 years of life. The subject is the article “Natalie Portman raises hackles by saying Holocaust no more tragic than other genocides” (August 24).
Belittling the Holocaust of the Jews and everyone else who perished at the hands of the Nazis doesn’t add up. It is important to explain to Ms. Portman and others like her that Hitler’s diabolical goal didn’t coalesce in a day – it was a well-thought-out and organized master plan to destroy first the Jews of Europe, and then the entire world’s Jews.
And there is no such thing as “too much time” teaching the Holocaust. It’s one of the main things we should pass on to other generations that might not learn or be in the position to learn.
On behalf of the millions of artists, professors, musicians, etc. who could have brought great light to mankind but perished, I do hope Ms. Portman is a bit ashamed. She has opened her mouth like a Pandora’s Box for the benefit of enemies of the Jewish people everywhere.
Tel Mond
Natalie Portman could be onto something far more important than a mere truism when she declares that the Holocaust is no more tragic than other genocides.
That the sheer body count of the Shoah vastly exceeds those of subsequent genocides, such as in Cambodia and Rwanda, is beside the point. The issue is how any genocide could take place following the Shoah.
Our non-stop mantra “never again” rings hollow when similar atrocities occur again and again, and not only is the world silent, but – let’s be honest here – Israel and the Jewish people are silent as well.
At this very moment, mini-genocides are taking place in our very neighborhood as ISIS and its fellow travelers systematically exterminate Christians, Yazidis and Kurds – often with the active or tacit aid of Turkey, the very country that introduced genocide in the 20th century.
We Jews argue that the world was silent while our people were being exterminated.
Well, let’s face it, we are being pretty silent ourselves when the victim is someone else.
If we are to give meaning to our words and make those mandatory state visits to Yad Vashem have any substance, it is time we started both speaking up and acting out.
Never again, indeed – and in deed.
Lamentable cartoon
The Jerusalem Post’s decision to publish an editorial cartoon with a sub-human caricature of a Hamas member following the alleged capture of an “Israel Navy” dolphin (August 23) is to be lamented.
When editorial standards slip, it makes advocating for Israel from abroad that much harder.
Sabbath in Jerusalem
Reader Martin D. Stern’s conclusion that the pain caused by seeing a fellow Jew driving on Shabbat in Israel “is another reason for not living in Israel before the coming of the Messiah” (“Multiplex wars,” Letters, August 21) left me amazed.
I am not arrogant enough to claim that I know exactly what the future holds, but maybe the Messiah (may He come speedily in our days) will admonish the community living in Mr. Stern’s “almost totally observant area” and ask its members why they decided not to perform the many and varied mitzvot that can only be carried out in Israel.
The Holy Land is here, not in northern England.
The distress felt by observant Jews because some entertainment venues in Jerusalem are open on Friday night and Saturday calls to mind the quote by H.L. Mencken, who defined puritanism as the haunting fear that someone, somewhere is having a good time.
This is the only way to understand the reactions of the ultra-Orthodox, who cross the city to riot in places they otherwise would never go, and even the reactions of more moderate complainers who are distressed by the prospect of seeing an open cafe. Surely, if the sanctity of Jewish law is their primary concern, there are problems closer to home to be dealt with before they start worrying about what others are doing.
Are all these people perfect? Is there nothing left for them to improve in their own behavior? NAOMI SANDLER Jerusalem Trumps them all In “The decadence of American politics” (Middle Israel, August 21), Amotz Asa-El inaccurately portrays Donald Trump as an inexperienced political novice. He also has the audacity to state that we in Israel would never allow a politically inexperienced person to run for the top job here.
There has never been a candidate for the US presidency as qualified as Trump. Having successfully taken a small family real estate business and turned it into a multi-billion dollar enterprise takes management skill and the ability to deal with politicians. His best-selling book The Art of the Deal is a book that President Barack Obama obviously has not read.
Trump has correctly identified problems facing the United States, which has an out-ofcontrol border. Paying for a fence like we have here and taking the money to pay for it out of the aid given each year to Mexico is a great idea. He also correctly identified that US jobs are going to Mexico and China because of bad deals Obama has negotiated.
In addition, he is financing his campaign with his own money.
As for the claim that we would never let a risky politician vie for the premiership of Israel, one has only to look at the last election, with candidates who supported giving away chunks of our small country to enemies sworn to destroy us, and this in exchange for empty promises of peace.
Mr. Trump is not only the best candidate running for president from either party in the US, he is also the most pro-Israel, with a solid record of support. For anyone who has seen The Apprentice TV show, he’s a man who is not swayed by others. What this would mean for Israel is that when the generals and State Department administrators meet and tell him he can’t be friends with us because it will upset other countries, he will tell them who is boss.
Tel Aviv
False dawn
It seems it’s business as usual down at the ranch, and that the change we’d hoped for in the Board of Deputies of British Jews and its new leadership is a false dawn.
One would think that the increase in anti-Semitism, as well as the vandalism, targeting of Jewish and Israeli businesses, boycott threats, violent demonstrations, hostile media, physical attacks and rise of a fascist Left in bed with radical Islam would galvanize our erstwhile leaders into action.
There is some action, but not the action expected. Instead of tackling the climate of fear, they have instead gone for the fashionable, Canute-like soft option of “fighting climate change.” It’s right-on and risk-free, with no possibility of accusations of racism or phobias – pats on the back and drinks all round.
The climate they need to change is the climate of complacency.
They need to stop pontificating about theoretical future rainstorms and start dealing with the very real and current firestorms of hatred. If they won’t, they should get out of the way and let someone else get on with the job.
Harrow, U