January 1: Overdue tribute

Thank you, Newman, for this long-overdue tribute.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Overdue tribute
Sir, – I was delighted to see in David Newman’s column about Limmud (“The world’s greatest Jewish learning project,” Borderline Views, December 30) tribute paid to Clive Lawton, whom Newman rightly describes as “a maverick Jewish educator” for whom “a lot of the credit” for Limmud’s success is due.
Clive and I were colleagues many years ago at the Board of Deputies of British Jews – he as education officer – and I can still picture him clearly with his unruly mop of hair. Since those days I have read numerous articles and reports about Limmud and its “offspring,” Limmud FSU, but never a mention of Clive’s founding role.
Thank you, Newman, for this long-overdue tribute.
Letters about letters
Sir, – Reader Netta Kohn Dor- Shav (“Investigate Herzog,” Letters, December 30) was right in asking for a “full clarification” of Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog’s role in the 1999 Barak election campaign scandal.
Many of us have a deep sense of shame that a president of the state, a former prime minister, a minister of finance, a chief rabbi, a judge, army generals, senior police officers and several mayors have criminally abused their positions. I dread hearing of yet another scandal involving a senior government official.
Those who aspire to lead must lead by example and expect to be held to higher standards.
Young Mr. Herzog is on record as aiming for the highest position in our government. He must explain the allegations to the public, clarify the source of the money and not invoke the legal loophole of keeping silent.
Herzliya Pituah
Sir, – Reader James Adler (“Not much difference,” Letters, December 30) chides us benighted Israelis and asks us what we would do if “Palestine” were occupying Israel.
I refer him to Daniel Gordis’s excellent “Tweets, content and history” (A Dose of Nuance) in The Jerusalem Post Magazine of December 26 for a scholarly explanation of how “Palestine” has in the past occupied – and, in fact, today actually occupies – large portions the Land of Israel that had been earmarked for us.
However, I would point out to Mr. Adler that unlike the Palestinians, our reaction to this occupation has not been to murder children in their beds or set off bombs in cafes or discos, on buses or at religious celebrations.
Instead, we have taken a tiny sliver of land allotted to us and built schools and hospitals, universities and cultural institutions.
We absorb immigrants from all over the world and have made arid wilderness fertile and blooming.
If the Palestinians had done likewise with the opportunities they have been given instead of using them as a springboard to take away all that Israel has achieved, true peace could have been realized long ago.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – Nobody can disagree with James Adler’s logic and sentiments because what he says makes real sense. Unfortunately, what is going on in the world today has no interest in common sense.
The whole Arab world promulgates universal anti-Semitism for two very simple reasons: First, blaming the Jews for everything is much cheaper than sharing the oil cake with the downtrodden masses.
Second, they know that once a democratic society allows anti-Semitism to go viral, it is doomed and will be replaced by totalitarianism in the form of the worldwide caliphate.
Our unelected neighborhood world hero, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, calls Israel an “apartheid state” while he tells the world that no Jew will be allowed anywhere in his Palestine.
Should Israel help bring into being the brave new apartheid state of Palestine? What Mr. Adler needs to remember is the Khartoum Declaration of 1968 telling the world there will be no negotiation, no recognition and no peace with Israel, and that the basis of his (and, apparently, the rest of the world’s) approach to Israel is that Jews have no human rights and the Nazis were wrong not to have destroyed every last one of us.
But I will close with a simple question: Once the UN has given permission for Jews to be eradicated, who will the world blame for the bloodshed that is unleashed, which will make the Syrian nightmare look like scenes from a comic opera?
Sir, – The Jewish people are the only people who ever had a sovereign state in the Land of Israel with a capital in Jerusalem, and the only people with a continuous 3,000- year presence in that land. James Adler must accept the fact that under Muslim rule, Jerusalem was never made a political capital and always took an inferior seat in deference to Damascus or Baghdad.
Adler should also be capable of understanding that Irgun resistance under Menachem Begin was based on Great Britain’s White Paper, which closed the gates of Palestine to Jews while six million were being systematically gassed by the Nazis. Finally, there is his attempt to equate Palestinian terror, which is aimed at completely innocent civilians, and resistance by the Irgun, which was always meticulous in directing its efforts toward military rule.
It is shallow thinking and a thin veneer of morality that precludes any possibility of a peaceful solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
Petah Tikva
Trusting in antitrust
Sir, – As an overseas-based American oilman in his 38th year of international exploration (and someone who also has a lone soldier serving in the IDF), I want to raise a red flag to all those who think that antitrust commissioner David Gilo’s recent and stunning reversal on Delek Group and Noble Energy is a “Hanukka present” for the Israeli people. It is not. Rather, it is a signal to the international energy community that Israel is joining the likes of Venezuela and Russia when it comes to setting the tone for the cost/ benefit trade-off of massive energy investment.
Here are several facts to consider: There are few proven operators capable of safely and competently extracting deep water hydrocarbons, fewer still whose boards are willing to work with an undependable government, and (here’s the surprise for many) the full-cycle economics for a portfolio of deep water projects is quite modest when all risks are considered.
Taken together, this near-term rush to protect the value of Israel’s natural gas resources has a significant chance of backfiring, and badly.
This story is not about efforts to protect a nation’s treasures, however well-intended, nor is it about beating down “toxic” CEOs. It is about competent national leadership and vision.
There are oil-rich countries on this planet that have been written off by both the global energy and investment communities for unethical and irresponsible behavior. Learn about them before it’s too late.
African bootstraps
Sir, – Seth J. Frantzman accuses the West of a “sub-conscious racist... mentality” when life-enhancing technologies are provided to individual Africans via NGOs (“Stop ‘saving’ Africa,” Terra Incognita, December 29).
Actually, the real reason for these “grass roots” strategies is that all too many African governments are too corrupt, inept or, in some cases, murderous to provide their people with basic infrastructure and services such as clean water, education, health care and welfare. All that can be done under the circumstances is get as many of these services as possible into the hands of individual Africans so that they can “bootstrap” their way out of misery.
Camden, New Jersey
The name of the governor of the US state of Indiana is Mike Pence, not Mark Pence, as was erroneously stated in “Possible US presidential candidate: US need not be ‘honest broker’ in Mideast” (December 31).