January 19, 2020: Double-crossing the Finnish line

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Double-crossing the Finnish line
Regarding “Finnish MP arrested after breaking through Gaza border fence” (January 16), Finnish Member of Parliament Anna Kontula, with four others, attempted to breach the Gaza border fence from the Israeli side.
Part of a group calling themselves “Gaza 2020 Breaking the Siege,” these anti-Israel activists said they were arrested because of their first attempt at breaking an illegal “Apartheid” fence. The truth is, however, that the group’s goal to breach the Gaza border fence is an illegal and criminal act. Anna Kontula was actively involved in spreading antisemitism against the Jews and the State of Israel – untruthful propaganda and manipulation that blinds eyes and hearts.
Gross human rights violations – real ones – exist in numerous locations worldwide, yet in line with her personal vendetta against Israel, Finnish Member of Parliament Anna Kontula deliberately chooses to focus exclusively on harming the only true democracy in the Middle East.
Ignoring the serious consequences to Israeli citizens if existing border security precautions are not enforced serves to emphasize Kontula’s ignorance and complete lack of judgment – a blemish that will not serve her well as a parliamentarian.
Egregiously excusing antisemitism
“Making excuses for antisemitism, then and now” (January 19) focuses on the history of antisemitism in New York City. A torrent of recent items in the media have featured various pundits discussing the recent spate of antisemitism acts in NYC as a new and to-be-feared phenomenon arising from the actions of US President Donald Trump, the social media, Muslim antisemitism, oppression of Palestinians, etc.
The article, however, details the rich history of antisemitism in NYC in the early 1940s, which included many physical acts of violence in an era far preceding the presence of the above-mentioned factors.
 Conclusion: It is often the media themselves that today exaggerate, amplify, inflate and dramatize various issues and their causes – not only in the realm of antisemitism, but also regarding climate change, dangers to democracy, species extinction, white male supremacy, police brutality, lower sperm counts, disappearing bee populations and many others.
While focusing on some of the egregious excuses for antisemitism in the recent past, one should not forget the terrible examples of former US president Barack Obama in his misguided uncontrollable pursuit of political correctness.
Thus, for example, the infamous dismissal of the murder of four Jewish victims in the 2015 Jewish deli attack in Paris as being “a random attack by some guys,” along with his multiple failures to call out Islamic terrorism (a term banned by the White House during his tenure). Remember also his description of the 2009 Fort Hood massacre of 13 soldiers by a Koran-toting psychiatrist as being a “work incident!”
Embracing Evangelical support
“Israel takes risk in embracing Evangelical support” (January 15) speaks of a vague threat from Evangelicals in Brazil. What is happening there is that Roman Catholicism is dying and is being replaced by the Evangelical form of Christianity. The Catholic Church recognizes Palestine and a “two-state” solution and the Evangelicals do not. The Evangelicals will pressure Bolsonaro to move Brazil’s Embassy to Jerusalem and the Catholics will want to keep it in Tel Aviv. What exactly is the threat posed by the Evangelicals? The threats need to be spelled out – not left for the reader to guess at and supply out of thin air.
Threshold for ideology
In “Kahlon, Shaffir fall to bad choices” (January 14) Herb Keinon rightly bemoans the loss of ideology in Israeli politics, but is wrong when he blames the only surviving ideologists for seeking partnerships of convenience to ensure that their minority voices may be heard in the next Knesset.
An essential element of democracy is for the minority to have a say without undue power and for the majority to have power, and that democracy is damaged if minorities have no voice at all. The real culprits are not the ideological remnants anxious to find a public platform to air their views, but the unthinking majority who decided in 2017 to raise the electoral threshold from 2% to 3.25%. This attempt to exclude four of the Israeli Arab parties from the Knesset failed miserably when the disparate Arab parties reacted by combining. Together they gained a solid 13 seats to represent their constituents. Now the Jewish minorities, facing the same dilemma, have reacted in the same way. What else should they have done, commit political suicide?
The electoral threshold percentage is too high. David Ben-Gurion, the ideologist to whom Keinon refers, was happy with a threshold of 1% at a time when it required only some 5,000 votes for a party to cross the threshold. Today (with the higher population and the threshold at 3.25%) that number has risen to an excessive 140,000 votes. As the population continues to increase, so will the minimum number of votes required to get representation. The majority dictates the percentage and has decided to disadvantage the minorities. Ben-Gurion would not have been pleased. Nor should we!
Check beneath the hood
“Palestinians launch anti-Israel prayer campaign” (January 19) includes a photo of the enemy in the process of attacking us with incendiary balloons. The picture showing hooded attackers has a caption calling them “young” men, but they are hooded. How do you know they are young?
The use of the word “young” serves to elicit sympathy for our enemy and has no place in that context.
Trump and Netanyahu
Regarding “Edelstein unlikely to convene Knesset for PM immunity” (January 19), as a dual citizen of Israel and the US, I have been following the legal difficulties of both of these countries’ leaders. In both cases there are superb leaders with personal traits that are perhaps questionable, but who have political enemies who realize that they cannot be defeated by honorable means, so “they take off the gloves off.” In both cases, the media has shown blatant bias and many facts have been completely twisted.
Accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of bribing in trying to receive improved press is laughable – find a single politician who does not pander to receive positive press. The more legitimate charge is his craving for luxuries, but if he has friends who are happy to cater to this negative personal trait, is that criminal?
Israel and the United States have made great progress under the leadership of Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump. Is everything perfect? No, but all the world’s problems cannot be resolved overnight. The Knesset politicians are no better than Bibi in craving luxuries. Just a look at their vote to increase their salaries when Bituah Leumi has to refuse assistance to individuals in dire need.
We can be disappointed in certain behavioral traits of the leaders of both my countries, but have to give them credit for their leadership.
Petah Tikva
Is Germany germane to WWII?
I have been wondering whether it is my memory deceiving me about the combatants in WWII. Was Germany in it somewhere? Among the axis powers were Japan, Italy, the Soviet Union and…the Nazis. Singapore was occupied by the Japanese, Abyssinia by the Italians, Poland by the Nazis and then by the Soviets. And Europe by the Nazis. If we say “the Nazis,” then why not “the Fascists” rather than Italy, or “the Communists” rather than the Soviet Union? And while we are at it, why “Nazi concentration camps?” Were there no Germans at the time?
The reference to “the Nazis” in place of Germany 1933-1945 is so ubiquitous, that it surely cannot be too long before school children will be unaware that Germany was in the war at all and certainly not as part of the Axis powers against the Allies.
The latest and particularly poignant example of an article along those lines, seems to bring home the anachronism of a situation that is more than simply subtle rewriting of history for geopolitical reasons. “World leaders converge on Jerusalem (January 17) informs us that “Yad Vashem invited every country that was under Nazi occupation, every country that was an Allied power, plus Germany.” The article is replete with references to “the Nazis” (as in “victims of the Nazis”).
As an example of political correctness and sensitivity (and, let’s be frank, the result of possibly the most successful merchandising effort of all time), the language is understandable. But as a lesson of history and the concomitant exhortation to never forget, it is shameful.
Ramat Hasharon
Jarring Jordanian jargon
Regarding “Abdullah: What if the world gives up on two-state solution?” (January 16), King Abdullah of Jordan should be presented with the “Chutzpah of the Year Award.” He said at the European Parliament, to loud applause, that a more peaceful world is not possible without peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Ignored is the massive upheaval in the Moslem world: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, etc., that has absolutely nothing to do with Israel and the Palestinians.
In 1948, with the proclamation “to provide a home for the Jewish People” at the end of the British Mandate – with the tacit approval of perfidious Albion, the current king’s great grandfather, also named Abdullah, invaded the Land of Israel hoping to drive the indigenous Jews into the sea. It didn’t happen, and with his illegal occupation of Judea and Samaria, the present impasse between the local Arabs and the State of Israel came about.
It now gets a little complicated. The League of Nations gave Britain the Mandate to govern the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan to create a “National Home for the Jewish People.” The invasion and occupation by Jordan in 1948 and attempted annexation of these areas and its settlement by the Jordanians is ignored by the ICC, although international law considers acquisition of land by war – especially an offensive war and not a defensive one – unlawful. Yet the recovery of these lands by Israel, the successor to Britain of the sovereignty of their historic heartland in 1967 is deemed illegal by international law.
In other words, invasion and occupation by non-Jews is legal but the return of these lands by Jews to the previously mandated territory in a defensive war is considered a war crime. The Europeans and others are still carrying on their war against the Jews, which had slowed down after WW2 but has now continued with a vengeance.
Bet Shemesh
Giving up on the two-state solution means that the artificial kingdom of Jordan (one of the two states in Palestine) will cease to exist and Israel will have to extend its sovereignty there. I don’t think His Highness King Abdullah wishes that.
Nor should any thinking person rush to advocate a three-state solution by creating yet another volatile Arab country in the tiny area of Judea and Samaria.
Regarding “Stepping back from the brink’ (January 16), it’s amazing to me that even someone with such impressive sounding credentials could suffer from TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) and perhaps, like Ilhan Omar, from PTSD as well.
To accuse US President Donald Trump as someone “who is fighting for his political life” and therefore ordered Qasem Soleimani’s dispatch to “distract public attention from his political woes” is just a bit off the mark. All of the dire predictions of the reaction to Trump’s action have already proven to be wrong.
Just who is fighting for its political life? Simple answer: the Democratic Party. Their best hope for survival is to remove Trump from office. More than a few Democrats have admitted that they cannot beat him at the ballot box and therefore seek to impeach him.
As for Trump and Israel. Are his actions in recent years relative to Israel also done to save his political life? I think not. His political life is assured for another four years by virtue of what he has already accomplished both domestically and internationally.
Give it full gas
Regarding “Gas to Egypt is great, but unlikely alone to thaw ‘cold peace’” (January 15), there is no cold peace. Just go forward in good faith with honest endeavors and we will become the happiest area in the world.
We should crush doubts and timidity, and believe in the true decency in each other, and we will easily do good business. There is tremendous potential in all our peoples; we are all far more capable than any others.
Before the dark years when the treacherous Palestinians made a puppet of naive Egyptian leader Abdel Nasser, the Jewish people and the Egyptians were an example of true friendship and respect. Great Jewish minds helped to support the Egyptian economy.
I only wish Mrs. Carmen Werstein, the lovely leader of Jews in Egypt, were still alive. She would have been as delighted as I am at the great developments that are emerging.
Thumbs up for Mr Netanyahu – keep him, you will be the winners.
The credit for the photo to “Ashdod offers ‘equality’ series of artistic events” (November 18) goes to Assaf Maimon.