December 28: ‘Pollyanna’

When I read Gershon Baskin’s articles, I am always reminded of Pollyanna, a 1913 best selling novel by American author Eleanor H. Porter.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Only candidate
In the December 22 edition of The Jerusalem Post, there is a report by political correspondent Gil Hoffman with the headline “Deri likely to replace Shalom as interior minister.”
Using Hoffman’s revelations about Shas leader Arye Deri’s misdeeds – the qualifications to become a senior minister in the government should be a police record, including conviction for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
No wonder Deri was the only candidate.
Kfar Yona
Long-term harm
The proposed Israeli-Turkish rapprochement is the logical result of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ill advised apology for the Mavi Marmara incident.
The apology forced by US President Barack Obama gained nothing for Israel in world opinion.
Indeed, it may have convinced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he could hold out for even more Israeli concessions.
Israel is now expected to establish a $20 million fund for the families of those who died on the Marmara. This will give the lie to Israel’s assertion that its actions were a necessary response to unprovoked attacks by mercenaries bent on martyrdom.
Israel will no longer be able to explain its military actions as necessary and justifiable self-defense.
From now on, the world will see such claims as self-serving and ultimately unreliable. Israel may also be required to lift,or at least appear to loosen, the Gaza blockade.
The world will not recognize the intricacies of a charade that leaves the blockade in place under the guise of some face-saving formula. Instead, this will be seen as an admission that the blockade is wrong; demands that it be removed entirely will increase If the blockade is unnecessary it should have been lifted long ago. If it remains essential, then how can we justify endangering our southern citizens just to please Erdogan? Erdogan has promised not to prosecute Israeli officers in absentia for supposed war crimes related to the Marmara.
Israel’s willingness to pay a huge sum of money to avoid these charges will suggest an admission that our military leaders deserve to be convicted if prosecuted.
In all of this, the government will be abandoning thousands of supporters who relied on Israel’s veracity and defended its actions in the face of withering criticism.
These supporters will be left swinging in the air – much like the brave commandos who were forced to defend themselves against the mercenaries on board.
The proposed agreement might provide some ephemeral benefits for the Israel-Turkey relationship.
But it could well do grievous long-term harm to Israel, its supporters,and the IDF.
Zichron Ya’acov
When I read Gershon Baskin’s articles, I am always reminded of Pollyanna, a 1913 best selling novel by American author Eleanor H. Porter. The title character’s name has become a popular term for someone with a very optimistic outlook.
Baskin, in his last “pie in the sky” article, (“Yes, it is difficult to make peace,” Encountering Peace, December 24), tells about a Christmas party that he attended, and mentions his amazement that the 10 Gazans and the 10 Palestinians guests from the West Bank got along so peacefully and cordially with the Israeli guests.
This wonderful example of coexistence has a geographical explanation: the party took place in Israel, more specifically in the resort Mediterranean coastal city of Herzliya.
Let’s imagine a similar party in Ramallah, in the West Bank, attended by 10 Israelis brave enough to risk their lives to attend the celebration. Instead of peace and cordiality, judging by sad precedents, there would probably be lynching and knifing.
Baskin is “barking” up the wrong tree. Baskin, while basking of his good relations with Palestinians, should try to convince them to stop indoctrinating their youth with hate towards Israelis. This would be an important first step on the way to the idyllic solution hoped again and again, by “Polyannna” Baskin.
Evil weevil
A couple of years ago a kind gentleman came around and presented to me a brochure explaining the dangers of the red palm weevil to palm trees, in general, and to date palms, in particular, and appealed to me to have my tree infused with the appropriate insecticide.
He asserted that one untreated palm could act as a reservoir for the bug and allow for a resurgence of the invader. The cost was reasonable, and within a short time a truck with a long extendable hose came and pumped the chemical into the top of my eight-meter tall palm.
I was gratified that I had saved my tree and had done a public service as well.
To my great distress, I recently observed that my pleasure was undeserved, because my palm now exhibited all the symptoms of a weevil infestation, which my visitor had described: dead palm branches from the top down, which also meant that the tree had already succumbed.
Then, in December 23’s Post, there appeared an article about the blight having spread throughout Tel Aviv (“Tel Aviv fears spread of red palm weevils among trees”).
This raises the question as to why no one returned to me at a later date and requested me to repeat the bug-zapping procedure, which I would have done without hesitation.(I discovered on the web the availability of weevil traps).
Also, why was this not a country- wide campaign by the Agriculture Ministry? This is in stark contrast to the annual notice I receive from my regional council to pay for treatment of my pine tree to prevent infestation by the processionary moth caterpillars (“tola’ei t’vai hatahalukha”), which can cause severe eye irritation and skin rashes.
It is crazy to expect every citizen to do an online weevil doctoral research or to remember to order a dose of insecticide for his trees. I didn’t, and it has cost me a 50-year-old tree that decorated my yard and provided shade from the summer sun.
What flock of turkeys dropped the ball this time?
Accidental error
In The Jerusalem Post editorial “No Kindness,” December 27, the author make a comparison between an act of terrorism and a car accident to advance the notion that the terrorist and his/ her victims should have equal priority for first responder treatment.
“How would that guiltbased treatment work in a car crash? Should the driver who caused the accident be rescued last, if at all?” the author writes.
The Post’s argument is that if such a distinction is made in the context of a terrorist act then one might also “play God” and choose to first help the victim of a car accident rather than the person who caused the accident.
The Post’s argument is not valid because an act of terrorism is deliberate and an accident – by definition – is not.
The Post presents no other argument in favor of its proposition other than condemning ZAKA for “playing God.”
A better comparison might be that of a battlefield. Do we attend to the wounds of our own soldiers before those of the enemy? JOAN and