February 26: Cart before horse

Of all the arguments advising Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel his planned address before a joint session of US Congress, the one by Frank Luntz is the most absurd.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Cart before horse
Sir, – Of all the arguments advising Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel his planned address before a joint session of US Congress, the one by Frank Luntz is the most absurd (“US political consultant: Netanyahu- Obama bickering endangers support for Israel,” February 24).
You report that Mr. Luntz, a respected American political consultant who has been monitoring Israel’s image on US campuses for 13 years, is concerned that “the pressure Israel is placing on the US government is hurting... Israel’s future support in the US.” As a result, Israel might “not be able to count on the next generation of American leaders.”
This could be true. But the decline in support has been going on for years and has little to do with Mr. Netanyahu’s forthcoming speech. It has more to do with the ineffectual efforts of Jewish- American leaders in motivating Jewish youth about Zionism.
One thing is eminently clear. If Iran acquires nuclear bombs, Israel might not have a future. Our articulate prime minister has a unique opportunity to present Israel’s case to the American legislative body before President Barack Obama’s ill-fated agreement with Iran is a fait accompli.
If Mr. Netanyahu is successful in persuading Congress, Mr. Luntz will have additional time to educate misguided US youths to support Israel.
Reinstate WZPS
Sir, – As usual, Isi Leibler, in “Israel’s deficient response to the global anti-Semitic tsunami” (Candidly Speaking, February 24), is spot on.
A few decades ago, the World Zionist Organization gave a free service to newspapers worldwide called the World Zionist Press Service (WZPS), headed by the talented Dan Leon. Along with journalists like Simon Griver and David Geffen, I wrote bi-weekly articles on the situation in Israel for 120 newspapers in 17 languages, clarifying what was happening here.
The newspapers received the articles for free along with photos, and always featured them prominently in their publications. Then, in the 1980s, this policy ended.
The papers had to pay for the material, so most declined. One of our most valuable PR tools ceased to exist.
This was a short-sighted policy that we will go on suffering from as media worldwide become more and more antagonistic toward Israel.
The WZPS should be reinstated, although alas I feel it is too late!
‘Visibly Orthodox’
Sir, – If it was possible to slander a building, then Meir Wikler’s “Holocaust remembrance and Orthodox Jews” (Comment & Features, February 24) slandered the Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem. I could not help but wonder that perhaps he had a hidden agenda even beyond shilling for the new museum in Brooklyn.
Contrary to what Mr. Wikler states, there are numerous photographs and films depicting Orthodox Jews who were victims of the Nazis, some taken shortly before they were murdered.
There are videos of “visibly Orthodox” survivors giving testimonies.
I can attest to the fact that there are such testimonies in the gallery about life and death in the concentration camps and the Kovno ghetto. Furthermore, the museum is replete with artifacts that point to the centrality of the religious beliefs of the victims.
As an Orthodox Jew, I am proud of the sensitivity and inclusiveness that the Holocaust History Museum and Yad Vashem have toward the Orthodox community.
I am proud to be a guide who is “visibly Orthodox” along with many other Orthodox guides. I am equally proud that it is visited by all types of Jews, from the very secular to hassidim.
I invite Mr. Wikler and his protagonist, Mrs. Feige Ferber, to come to Yad Vashem, where it would be an honor for me to personally guide them and show them how prominent Orthodox Jews were as victims and survivors.
Pleasing a friend
Sir, – Apropos “Predicting where to park? Israel’s got an app for that” (Business & Finance, February 24), I am taken back around 50 years to my youth in London, where my best friend hated parking. He dreamed of just getting out his car and pressing a button.
Monorails incorporating electro- magnetic tracks had just been introduced. On paper, I devised a system whereby all streets would have electro-magnetic tracks that driverless cars could follow. Parking spaces would be electronically controlled.
My friend would have his wish. His car would find its own parking space. Later, he’d need only to press a button and the car would find him. There was the added plus of automobile collisions being impossible (although pedestrians would still have to stay out the way).
The problem? Rather expensive and disruptive.
So where are we now? Google et al are introducing driverless cars, and now apps for parking places are almost here. My friend would be pleased.
Tel Aviv
PA’s paymaster
Sir, – With regard to “Jerusalem hits back at claims it is causing collapse of PA” (February 23), I suggest that the government take the tax funds being withheld from the Palestinian Authority and use them to pay some of the PA’s legal debts, specifically those owed to the Israel Electric Corporation and the families of terror victims, to whom the PA now owes $655.5 million.
If it does that, no one could legitimately claim that Israel has been withholding funds from the PA since it would merely be acting as the PA’s paymaster.
Struggle goes on
Sir, – In “Struggling for Zionism” (Comment & Features, February 23), Nathan Hersh fancies himself as saving Zionism.
In his distorted and false view, everything over the Green Line is illegal and un-Zionist. He goes on to repeat the myth that our government is secretly funneling money to “the settlements.” He then has the audacity to portray himself and his organization as the saviors of Zion, promoters of women’s rights and in favor of teaching Hebrew to Diaspora Jewish children.
There is an expression in Hebrew, ata chai b’seret, which translates as “you are living in a movie.” This well describes Mr.
Hersh’s anti-Israel screed.
Tel Aviv
Sir, – While my own politics might not coincide with those of Nathan Hersh, he is absolutely right.
The claims that Jews who don’t support the right-wing Israeli agenda cannot call themselves Zionists and are even anti-Semites have been growing by leaps and bounds. Jews who deeply and sincerely believe in the Zionist endeavor as originally laid out, but are also progressive in outlook, are maligned and marginalized. Those who want to know where their hard-earned contributions to Israel are going are met with indignant stares, as if it’s their job to give and then shut up.
The Israeli Right is fast becoming the mirror image of zealots in the US and elsewhere who seek to impose their views on everyone else. Some of this they do through anti-democratic legislation, using democracy to get where they are and then hauling up the ladder after them. Some they do by working to dry up funding. Some they do through lies and fabrications.
And some they do through sheer intimidation, verbal and even physical.
My feeling is that this is the behavior of people who claim that their way is the right way, yet fear views and opinions that differ from theirs because they threaten to prove them wrong.
CORRECTION In “Local hero” (Editorial, February 24), the stabbing victim’s name was incorrect. The victim was Abraham Goldschmidt.
The Jerusalem Post regrets the error.