February 18: Baseless screed

There is room for improvement, as there is in any country.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Baseless screed
Sir, – I am usually a fan of Jeff Barak, but I must confess to being a bit appalled by his rant accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of directing everyone’s attention away from his “miserable record of achievements after six continuous years in office” (“Method to Netanyahu’s madness,” Reality Check, February 16).
First, what miserable record? The accusation itself assumes this as a fact, which is baseless.
I follow the news closely and see a country that successfully fought a defensive engagement this summer; a country whose economy has rebounded from that war; a country with world-renowned universities; and a country that is diversifying its traditional alliances to embrace China, India and Africa. I also see a political leadership that has amended its platform to acknowledge the need for a twostate solution, and was lauded by the OECD for steadily working to bring the impoverished Arab and haredi sectors into fuller employment and opportunities.
Of course, there is room for improvement, as there is in any country. But for Barak to assert that there are no accomplishments under this government reduces his column to merely another venomous, baseless screed so popular at the moment among the liberal scribes who worship at the altar of Labor.
Leftist lemmings
Sir, – The furor over the Israel Prize and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (“PM backtracks on Israel Prize changes after A-G’s request,” February 15) can be reduced to zero if we understand one fact.
Prof. Ariel Hirschfeld is the individual who politicized himself when he signed petitions on behalf of soldiers who refused orders to serve in the territories.
Netanyahu was merely removing a controversial and politicized figure whose judgment is no longer impartial and whose far-Left views render him unworthy.
Following the script, the kneejerk lemmings of the academic Left resigned en masse without bothering to consider the facts on the ground.
Let him speak...
Sir, – God bless Eli Wiesel (“Eli Wiesel pleads: Let prime minister speak,” February 15). As one who knows from experience in the Holocaust, he knows that when a leader says he wants to destroy Israel, one had better take the threat seriously.
The need for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of the US Congress and emphasize the dangers of Iran getting the bomb is paramount.
I’m reminded of the Jewish leaders during World War II who knew what was happening in Europe but were silent for fear of angering president Franklin D.
Roosevelt. I am pained and shamed to see that many have not learned from history.
...or pull out elegantly
Sir, – Why didn’t anyone else think of this? Prime Minister Netanyahu withdraws from his invitation to speak before US Congress, and as a goodwill gesture, US President Obama releases imprisoned Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.
For good measure, Netanyahu, as he did previously with Turkey, apologizes.
Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – It doesn’t matter whether the prime minister addresses Congress or not. All the electioneering is unnecessary and a waste of time and money.
Israeli voters have known right along for whom they will vote.
The only important thing is the weather on election day and how many voters show up to cast a ballot.
No surprise
Sir, – With regard to “Honoring terrorists is dangerous” (Sinai Today, February 13), the reason Nelson Mandela never became a terrorist was his incarceration for 27 years during the height of the ANC attacks against South African civilians, both black and white.
Following his release, thousands of civilians lost their lives in the war between the ANC and the rival Inkatha Freedom Party. Winnie Mandela devised the method of killing opponents by burning them alive with gasoline-filled tires called “necklaces” – a terrorist method no less horrific than those now employed by ISIS. Numerous bombings and many other smaller attacks were certainly acts of terror, not the acts of freedom fighters, as the writer would have us believe.
The legitimization of Nelson Mandela and the actions of the ANC, together with the view that Mandela is an icon, allows the ANC to legitimize the actions of Palestinian hijacker Leila Khaled as a so-called freedom fighter. The sooner we understand and accept that freedom fighters don’t exist, and that any person or organization that kills or maims civilians to achieve its ends is carrying out terrorist acts, the sooner the fight against all terrorists can succeed.
We should not be at all surprised that the criminal Khaled is feted and honored by the South African ANC government.
Hod Hasharon
The writer is a reserve major in the South African Army, where he participated in counter-insurgency operations.
Use social media
Sir, – An Australian friend of mine tweeted the following response to a comment about the Palestinian people: “There existed no such nation. Who was their president? What was their currency?” Within seconds he had 20 responses from various people.
There is a lesson in this in that most news today is disseminated through the social media. The majority of young people and possibly older people do not read newspapers, but get their news from cellphones or laptops.
Unlike newspapers, there is no censorship, and the hate mail and lies are believed by all the eager participants.
This is not to say that distorted versions of events are not printed in newspapers. But depending on the agenda of the editors, any responses in the form of letters are unlikely to be printed.
I believe that the way to fight anti-Semitism and hate mail is to aggressively engage via social media to reveal the facts and expose the lies. Obviously, this cannot be done on an official basis. A covert operation is necessary.
Cats and dogs
Sir, – As a first-time tourist to Israel, thus fulfilling a lifelong dream, I am in awe of the beauty of the land and the warmth and openness of the people. Having said that, as a person who is intimately involved with the over-population problem of cats and dogs in the United States, I am shocked by the number of feral cats I see here.
I understand that in this small, imperiled country, animal welfare might not be a top priority. I am also aware of organizations that devote time and energy, with limited resources, to these pressing issues. Yet if more people do not get involved, let me share some horrific facts about what you will see.
One non-spayed female cat and one non-neutered male cat and their offspring can result in approximately 400,000 kittens in seven years. The situation is similar for dogs, although with numbers not as staggering. There are so many horrible consequences for these homeless animals, including sickness, suffering, the spread of disease and horrible death.
I have heard comments from Israelis about their disgust for the cats they see in the streets. These animals rely on humanity to help them. They cannot do it for themselves.
And as mentioned, the problem is going to get exponentially worse.
But more to the point: Just as those who do not vote have no right to complain about the political situation, unless you are willing to get involved to help alleviate the overpopulation of cats and dogs, you lose your right to complain.
Portland, Oregon