JPost Letters to the Editor: Fear and loathing

This was hardly the case in this instance, and does not mitigate what seems to have been an execution.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Fear and loathing
With regard to “A house divided” (Editorial, May 15), MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) should be indicted for incitement to hatred. His declarations not only degrade and demean the position of a member of Knesset, but encourage others to give vent to their unreasonable hatred of anyone who does not agree with them.
While we don’t directly elect our members of Knesset, they nonetheless represent us and are our voices in parliament. Thanks to people like Smotrich and his nemesis, MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List), it has become acceptable to rant against the leftists or the rightists, or whoever doesn’t fit their ideas of who should be allowed to live here. They are allowed free reign to spread their poisonous views, which they pass off as legitimate.
I teach in a college. My students come from all over the country and represent every facet of our society. I see how they are affected by what happens outside our ivory tower and feel powerless to help them learn to deal in a respectable way with the extreme views that MKs like Smotrich and Zoabi are spouting.
I am both ashamed and afraid of what is happening here – ashamed because those in power choose to cloak this behavior in the film of “true democracy” and therefore allow it, and afraid because these attitudes are overtaking and destroying our society by spreading fear and loathing everywhere.
Letters about letters
I am somewhat surprised at the May 15 letter from reader Monty Zion, a retired physician (“Sgt. Elor Azaria”). Is he suggesting that one suffering from multiple bullet wounds be summarily “euthanized,” like a racehorse with a broken leg? It is true that euthanasia (illegal in Israel) is practiced in hospitals, but only with the full agreement of the patient and the family.
This was hardly the case in this instance, and does not mitigate what seems to have been an execution.
I read with great interest the letter from reader Sydney L. Kasten (“Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan’s remarks,” May 13). Without naming the column or its author, one can deduce that he is referring to “Into the Fray” by Dr.Martin Sherman.
Kasten chides Sherman for his humanitarian, non-coercive prescription for resolving the Israeli Palestinian conflict. But strangely, he attributes Sherman’s plan as being an offer to Israeli Arabs.
I religiously followed Sherman’s columns and nowhere, to the best of my knowledge, did he address a relocation plan for any of Israel’s Arab citizens.
To have on offer a generous and voluntary emigration option would seem to me a legitimate and humane proposal that any Israeli government could implement.
But it would appear that Mr. Kasten, who doesn’t offer a solution of his own, is prepared for the ongoing loss of Jewish and Arab lives.
What all this has to do with the unsolicited, false, damaging and untimely statement by IDF Maj.- Gen. Yair Golan perplexes me.
Perhaps Mr. Kasten thinks that the general projects a morality that will be applauded by Israel’s anti-Semitic detractors, whereas Sherman’s humanitarian prescription will add fuel to the anti-Semitic bonfire.
It’s irrelevant how humanitarian, moral and ethical we Jews are. Regrettably, the “longest hatred” will persist until our persecutors undergo a divine manifestation – and I suggest one shouldn’t hold his breath for that.
It’s not what we Jews say or do; it’s all about who we are.
Bat Yam Martin Sherman’s idea may be unacceptable to some, though the transfer of Jews from Gush Katif in 2005 met with the approval of many. But at least he is courageous enough to field an “out of the box” idea for solving the conflict, which he knows will earn him censure and unpopularity but could, if approached in the right way, be workable. After all, every other attempt to bring peace to the region, mainly through concessions, has failed.
As for reader Sydney L. Kasten’s comparison between the Palestinians, who may find themselves with “nowhere to go,” and the Jews of Germany in the 1930s, the writer ignores the obvious fact that the Jews of Germany were exemplary people who wanted nothing more than to be good citizens in their host country.
BDS in statehouses
I was disappointed to read in “At the state level, US legislators tackle BDS head on” (Independence Day 2016 supplement, May 11), by Danielle Ziri, that “pro-Palestinian activists have managed to halt the efforts in states such as Virginia and Maryland.”
On the contrary, the statewide Virginia Jewish community spearheaded an initiative to successfully pass a bipartisan state resolution, HJ177, which forcefully “condemn[s] the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and its activities in Virginia, as its agenda is inherently antithetical and deeply damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East.”
This resolution passed the Virginia House of Delegates 86 to 5.
DARCY HIRSH Fairfax, Virginia
The writer is director of Virginia government and community relations for the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.
Your article includes the following statement: “Although the anti-BDS bills have passed in many of the states that have been considering them, pro-Palestinian activists have managed to halt the efforts in states such as Virginia and Maryland.”
Our organization was one of the main groups behind this decision in Maryland. It was not pro-Palestinian activists who made the decision not to introduce legislation this year; it was a decision by Maryland’s political leaders to hold off until (or if) the BDS movement in Maryland gains enough power to make it relevant and necessary.
To be clear, an anti-BDS bill was never actually introduced in Maryland and was not seen by legislators, despite the misinformation presented by pro-BDS groups. The only legislators aware of potential legislation were those who met with us to evaluate the actual need for such a bill. Therefore, any public relations done by pro-BDS groups on the defeat of a bill that never existed is vastly inaccurate.
Fortunately, our research shows that the BDS movement does not currently pose a threat to state pension investments and contracts. If it begins to show any signs of momentum in Maryland, we are prepared to utilize our relationships with legislators, advocacy groups and local universities to move a bill forward.
Had anyone from your newspaper taken the time to contact us prior to publication of the article instead of relying on the misinformation of pro-Palestinian blogs, we would have been happy to accurately explain the situation in Maryland.”
The writer is director of public affairs for the Baltimore Jewish Council.
Danielle Ziri responds:
Jewish organizations in Maryland and Virginia have indeed led significant efforts to push BDS back.
The bill mentioned by Darcy Hirsh, however, is different from that addressed in the article, which condemns the activities of BDS in Virginia but does not prohibit the state from doing business with organizations that support the movement. As for Maryland, the Baltimore Jewish Council might have concluded that BDS was not enough of a threat in the state to continue the initiative, but my research shows that there was also significant pressure from pro-Palestinian organizations such as Freedom2Boycott to stop the bill from being introduced.