January 20: Above the law

Something seems to be rotten in the legal branch of the IDF.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Above the law
Sir, – I am shocked over Maj.- Gen. Danny Efroni’s claim that he can “investigate any general, even the chief of staff” (“IDF legal division head, Justice Shoham reject pressure over war crimes probe,” January 18).
The Military Advocacy-General is a branch of the IDF and therefore subordinate to officers of higher rank, such as the chief of staff. For such a megalomaniacal statement, Efroni has to be fired immediately and stripped of his rank.
Something seems to be rotten in the legal branch of the IDF. It apparently is lining up with the International Criminal Court in contradiction to the outspoken policy of the government and army.
Sir, – Why is it that terrorist states and organizations are the main ones to praise the decisions of international courts? I am struggling to avoid receiving the impression that the great hope of mankind and international law, the International Criminal Court, has been hijacked by al-Qaida.
The whole truth
Sir, – It is pertinent to ask of Espen Bjertness (“Jabbing ‘The Lancet,’” Letters, January 18) why, instead of complaining about an alleged attack by NGO Monitor on freedom of speech, he is not prepared to condemn the authors of the open letter published by The Lancet when he knows full well that two of the principal authors were caught red-handed promoting enthusiastically the anti-Semitic video by American white supremacist leader David Duke? Had Prof. Bjertness disclosed in his letter that he is a strong supporter of the BDS movement; that he has a working relationship with one of the writers of the Gaza letter; that he has written and/or spoken for the Lancet Palestinian Health Alliance (LPHA) and been warmly congratulated by Lancet editor Richard Horton for making the LPHA series a reality – all of which is readily obtained courtesy of Mr. Google – your readers would have understood why he wrote what he did.
An academic has no business complaining about anything to do with freedom of expression in The Jerusalem Post when, by failing to disclose all his own relevant interests, he demonstrates a lack of honesty.
Tel Aviv
The writer is a retired UK lawyer.
Sir, – Espen Bjertness’s letter supporting Lancet editor Richard Horton cites allegations about Israel’s supposedly negative impact on Palestinian public health – many of them published in that journal.
These references recycle Dr. Horton’s statements to prop up a somewhat diluted BDS petition submitted to the American Public Health Association (APHA) in the summer of 2013.
After reviewing the evidence, including the material published by The Lancet, the APHA’s 300-member executive council overwhelmingly rejected the BDS resolution by a vote of 74 to 25 percent. The council agreed with those presenting evidence that the claims were erroneous, selective, biased and discriminatory.
The APHA, the leading organization of its kind in the world, heeded warnings that endorsing a resolution based on The Lancet’s papers would undermine the association’s professional credibility and distract and divert it from its true mission – protecting and promoting public health. (Many of the statements of the BDS 2013 resolution were recycled in the infamous 2014 “Letter to the People of Gaza” published by Dr. Horton.) I invite Dr. Bjertness to join those of us working on joint Israeli-Palestinian projects to promote peace through health, truth and reconciliation and to stop undermining all three.
The writer, a physician, is affiliated with Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine. He has a 35-year record of joint research with Palestinians in environmental medicine and epidemiology, and was a member of the emergency coalition to defeat the 2013 APHA BDS resolution.
Let’s not forget
Sir, – In “Six ways to prevent terrorism in Europe” (Observations, January 16), Lior Akerman lists terrorist attacks that occurred in Europe since the 2004 murder of Theo van Gogh by a Dutch-Moroccan jihadist.
The problem is that he omits the absolutely horrible murder of a rabbi and three Jewish children by the monster jihadist Mohamed Merah in 2012 at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. This is astonishing because he mentions the killing of French soldiers the same month by the same Merah.
Mr. Akerman also forgets to mention the terrorist attack using a booby-trapped car that exploded in 1995 outside a Jewish school in Villeurbanne, France. The person responsible was an Algerian jihadist affiliated with GIA, Khaled Kelkal.
I just want to remind your readers of the names of Merah’s Jewish victims: Gabriel Sandler, 3; Aryeh Sandler, 6; Myriam Monsonego, 8; and Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, father of Gabriel and Aryeh.
Tel Aviv
Circus ringmaster?
Sir, – In “Boycott paranoia or the captive boycott” (Borderline Views, January 13), David Newman concludes that efforts to challenge the BDS movement stem from Israeli paranoia mixed with Orwellian manipulation. He calls anti-BDS scholars a “traveling anti-boycott circus.”
Newman reserves the most vitriol for Israel Academia Monitor, the presumed ringmaster. He writes: “It is not surprising that support for the traveling anti-boycott circus was expressed by the Israel Academic [sic] Monitor (IAM), an extremist right-wing website which spends most of its time defaming any Israel academic who holds centrist and left-wing views.
IAM has probably done more to damage the international name and reputation of Israel as a place of academic freedom and open dialogue than any other right- or left-wing organization in Israel or beyond.”
Newman grossly misrepresents IAM’s activity. IAM monitors a small number of radical academics who have cheated tax payers by using tenured positions to engage in political activism.
His attack on IAM is also personal.
We have exposed his role, as dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in hiring radical scholars like Neve Gordon and, in the past, defending their right to advocate for BDS. It was Newman’s decisions as chair of the Department of Politics and Government that prompted the International Committee of Evaluation to describe it as sub-standard.
Even Yehuda
The writer is editor of israel-academia- monitor.com.
Library stop
Sir, – Amid all the doom and gloom we read every day, there is something heartwarming going on in Jerusalem on Herzl Boulevard near where I live.
At a bus shelter, some kind soul erected book shelves, filled them with books and left a sign: “Read, return and donate.” I have done all three. There are novels in English and Hebrew, children’s books, encyclopedia volumes – something for everyone.
It was a lovely gesture by an anonymous Jerusalemite and makes me smile every time I pass it.
“Parshat Vayera: A positive spark in everyone” (Observations, January 16) was published due to errors by both the office of the rabbi of the Western Wall and The Jerusalem Post. The weekly portion was, of course, Va’era, and a different column should have appeared.
The office of the rabbi of the Western Wall and the Post apologize to readers for any confusion.
Unlike what was stated in the caption of a photo accompanying “New communications firm aims at nexus between DC and Jewish politics” (January 18), William Daroff is not an entrepreneur at Bluelight Strategies. He is vice president for public policy and director of the Washington office of the Jewish Federations of North America, a client of Bluelight.