February 18, 2015: At all costs

'Jerusalem Post' readers respond to the paper's latest articles.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
At all costs
Sir, – Now that a delayed broadcast of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress has been officially sanctioned (“Election panel: Netanyahu speech to Congress can be broadcast – but with delay,” February 17), it seems reasonable to ask in the public interest what results we might realistically expect from this much-debated event.
Many backers of the speech are convinced that with Israel’s fate – and indeed the world’s – at stake, Netanyahu will turn the tide of history and effectively put an end to Iran’s nuclear plans. With all due respect to his oratorical skills, such a scenario is less than plausible in view of President Barack Obama’s certain veto of a congressional vote for further sanctions. Those who see in the prime minister a latter- day Churchill ought to remember that even Churchill’s eloquence did nothing to prevent Germany from preparing for war.
Even if crippling sanctions are actually imposed, as Netanyahu and others demand, the notion that Iran will be forced to abandon its nuclear ambitions is wishful thinking. Years of previous sanctions did not stop it, and there is no reason to assume that new sanctions will have a greater effect. To believe in the ultimate efficacy of economical pressure is what Samuel Johnson, in a different context, described as “the triumph of hope over experience.”
If diplomacy does not work, fine speeches will achieve nothing.
The only assured way of stopping Iran is massive and sustained bombing to obliterate all nuclear facilities throughout the country. In other words, war.
Some apparently believe that such a horrific contingency is preferable to a nuclear-armed Iran, that Iran really must be stopped at all costs. If so, we had better be very clear sighted and unblinkingly realistic about what the phrase “at all costs” actually entails.
Sir, – We are facing a clear and present danger from Iran, and the last chance to avoid our having to fight a devastating war is American leverage. The proposed nuclear deal with Iran will end that leverage and assure a clear path for it to prepare to annihilate us, as it has promised.
What difference does it make if we antagonize the current occupant of the White House? We already know where his sentiments are. But if he won’t help us with this issue, we will not need his help for anything else.
Why worry about protocol when it is a matter of life and death? Mordechai told Esther that if she did not break protocol to save the Jews, help would come from elsewhere and she and her family would not be among those saved. She risked more than her political life to approach the king without an invitation. We all know the result.
If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu relents, he will face the same consequences Mordechai warned Esther about. Israel can attack Iran now with nuclear weapons. It will cost many lives. Bibi is giving the world the last opportunity to prevent this. He is asking President Barack Obama to save the lives of millions of Iranians. Obama must be made to understand that.
May God help and guide the US. If not, we will find salvation elsewhere.
‘Friends’ they’re not
Sir, – With regard to “Obama’s shameless cheerleaders” (Candidly Speaking, February 16), once again, Isi Leibler has shown that, unfortunately, Israel’s political leadership is short-sighted and stupid. In their rabid attempt to push their political ambitions forward, these people attack the one person – Benjamin Netanyahu – who is willing to tell the truth about Iran and the rest of the Muslim world.
On the other hand, Jews in the Diaspora (read: United States) have proven once again just how tenuous is their “security” there. Heaven help us and protect us from our “friends.”
Kfar Aviv
Money talks
Sir, – There is a simple solution to the artificial escalation in the costs demanded by religious councils (“Stav: Chief Rabbinate obstructing marriage law to maintain power,” February 17).
Any council demanding evidence of a marriage applicant’s single status from a different council should be required to deduct the NIS 170 from its NIS 700 registration fee. We will quickly discover how necessary this evidence really is.
‘Giants’ of our age
Sir, – Almost every day we see demonstrations and road closures by yeshiva students (“Thousands celebrate prison release of haredi draft dodgers,” February 17). They are not to blame. They follow the teachings of their rabbis, the “giants of our age.”
It is very understandable that they believe this is a gentile country populated by Jews, and that the messiah will come and turn it into a Jewish country.
What they don’t realize is that Israel is a safe haven for any Jew in the world, a fact that makes this country holy and worthy of being protected by all its residents.
Their treatment of haredi soldiers, calling them cockroaches and threatening their families, is a shame and a disgrace. If these are giants of our age, God help us.
Tel Aviv
Coexistent cleric
Sir, – For some reason, The Jerusalem Post failed to report in its print edition that a Lebanese Shi’ite cleric has extended an olive branch to Jewish and Christian leaders around the world, with a message of non-violence.
Sayyed Muhammad Ali Husseini, secretary-general of the Arabic Islamic Council, took to Facebook recently to warn of the dangers of religious extremism.
“We call on rabbis, priests, cardinals and Muslim clerics, Sunni and Shia, to play down the verses, the scriptures, the traditions and the religious texts that call for violence, because they are more dangerous than nuclear weapons,” Husseini wrote.
“The various religious texts which call for the use of violence and cruelty to achieve goals are extremely dangerous texts when used by groups that we have warned against in the past, as these texts give religious authorization to commit acts of violence and murder,” he continued.
“Obviously, these are texts that were implemented in specific and even limited times, places and situations – they cannot necessarily be applied to our time, since every situation has its own unique conditions and circumstances.”
Husseini’s message comes just a few weeks after he posted two videos to his Facebook page. One was in Hebrew, in which he addressed his Jewish “cousins.” The other was in English, in which he addressed both Jews and Christians.
“Know that we are your cousins and followers of Prophet Ishmael, son of Prophet Abraham. We both belong to the same family and are relatives, as your ancestor and ours were brothers who had the same father, i.e., Prophet Abraham,” he wrote.
“We respect and sanctify Holy Scriptures and we believe in the Torah, Bible and Koran. We also believe in all prophets and respect them, and we do not differentiate between them,” he went on. “We believe that not all Jews are evil, not all Christians are depraved and not all Muslims are terrorists. Our cousins, let us therefore leave behind our differences, stay away from evil and hatred, reject extremism and violence and refuse to accept bigotry.”
These are part of a larger social media campaign for peace and coexistence. Husseini’s Facebook page is filled with messages in Arabic, Hebrew, English and French, preaching non-violence.
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