January 16, 2017: From West Bank Life to BBC Entertainment

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
What’s the big deal?
When I see a headline like “US Jewish groups slam Trump’s reference to ‘s***hole countries’ as ‘vulgar and offensive’” (January 14), my reaction is thank God for Israel! US Jews have had it good for so long that their communal leaders have lost the plot. They should keep their powder dry and save their public outrage for the defense of Jews. If they think Jews will never again require defense, they should return to their private lives.
The hair-on-fire outrage at Donald Trump’s language is hypocritical because everyone knows that he’s not the first US president or national leader to use bad language, the difference being that pouncing on his every deviation from Sunday School language has become a cottage industry, with many reporters and commentators ignoring actual news to gleefully deplore some random Trump comment.
By the way, although The Jerusalem Post put this news item on its front page, I’m probably not the only one who wasn’t interested enough to read the article.
BDS’s scorched-earth approach
Michael Makovi (“BDS blacklist punishes thoughtcrimes,” Comment & Features, January 11) is spot-on about two wrongs not adding up to a right. The problem lies in the conflation of the two in respect to BDS.
Restrictions against entry to Israel of proponents of BDS have zero to do with retribution for “thoughtcrimes,” real or imagined. They are, rather, a completely rational response to the BDS movement’s apparent declaration of war on the economy of the Jewish state and its 8 million citizens, 20% of whom are Arabs, a kind of scorchedearth pursuit of a holier-than-thou moral standard that seems oblivious to the damage it is capable of inflicting on Jewish and Arab families alike.
The BDS movement’s demand for unfettered access to the land on which its rhetorical guns are so definitively targeted gives chutzpah a whole new meaning.
Michael Makovi takes too narrow a view on the issue of freedom of the individual. Every democratic nation has to tread the narrow line between permitting – indeed fostering – individual liberty in all its forms, and in protecting the state and its citizens from those who would use those very liberties to undermine or destroy it.
The claim that BDS is simply advocating a boycott of products emanating from Israel is demonstrably untrue. BDS apologists are quite unequivocal about their true intention – to eliminate the State of Israel.
BDS founder Omar Barghouti has said on many occasions: “We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.” Pro-BDS author Ahmed Moor: “BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state.” As’ad Abu Khalil: “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the State of Israel.” Anna Baltzer: “We need to wipe out Israel.”
When a movement is explicitly engaged in undermining and eventually destroying a nation-state, that state has an obligation to its citizens to sanction it.
Beit Shemesh
Michael Makovi apparently doesn’t understand the difference between thought and action.
Thinking you would like to destroy Israel is thought, and nobody is being punished for that.
Joining and supporting an organization working to destroy Israel is action.
He also doesn’t understand what he calls the “right to freely travel.” While many of us have fought for the right of people to leave a country that is persecuting them, those people don’t automatically have the right to go wherever they want.
Every sovereign country has the right to control its borders and determine whom it allows to enter.
It is foolhardy for a country to allow free entry to people working to destroy it and its people. Israel’s restrictions on the entry of some people working to destroy it is simply common sense – and long overdue.
The true cause, please
Once more we read Gershon Baskin’s usual mantra to the effect that “life, particularly for people in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, is very hard” (“Existential realities,” Encountering Peace, January 11). Isn’t it time he acknowledged that a significant cause for life being “very hard” has nothing to do with justified security checks and arrests (which would exist even if there was a Palestinian state)? For a change, I would prefer that he write about the endemic corruption and kleptocracy among the Palestinian leaders. When Yasser Arafat, on a relatively modest monthly salary, amassed a fortune estimated to be over a billion dollars, and when current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas contents himself in the meantime with only a few hundred million, it is little wonder that the economic conditions are “very hard.”
In particular, I find it “very hard” to read of conditions in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas steals the billions of dollars in aid intended for the improvements of living standards in order to build tunnels and acquire aggressive armaments.
A little honesty would make for easier reading.
Rabbinate and respect
Tani Frank’s “Time to set term limits for municipal rabbis” (Comment & Features, January 11) highlights the issue of the pervasive lack of rabbinical accountability. Intertwined with the rabbinical accountability problem is the dearth of rabbinical leadership, whether in the official rabbinate or otherwise.
People want – and will follow -– leaders they can respect. The rabbinate has done little to warrant public respect, and the rabbinical insolence and insouciance highlighted in Tani Frank’s piece (and experienced firsthand by many in Israel) are natural, logical and totally expectable results.
Petah Tikva
A question of genealogy
Having been mentioned by name by reader Terri Morey in her letter “Responses to responses” (January 9) and her citation of the Gospel of Luke when citing the genealogy of Miriam, mother of Jesus, back to King David, I wish to quote from Luke 3:23: “Jesus, being the son of Joseph, the son of Heli....” This is not the genealogy of Miriam.
This is an example of the Messianic Jews’ propensity to misquote. Another is their insistence that Jesus’s “original” name was Yeshua, meaning savior. Of course, calling him that doesn’t make him one. Yes, I’ve heard about the “second coming,” but nowhere does the Hebrew Bible mention that the Messiah will do his work on the installment plan.
A plea to YES
I ask that all faithful subscribers to YES please send letters by email, snail mail, pony express or pigeon post to politely ask for a return of BBC Entertainment to our screens. Thank you.
Kfar Daniel