JPost Letters to the Editor: Yogi’s choice

According to Ariel Harkham, Israel “faces a fork in the road, deciding between two main paths.”

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Yogi’s choice
According to Ariel Harkham (“Deterring Iran the day after the deal,” Comment & Features, August 23), Israel “faces a fork in the road, deciding between two main paths.”
For many years, I’ve chuckled at one of the malapropisms of that great philosopher, Yogi Berra: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” All of a sudden, Berra’s questionable wit shows a profound understanding of Israel’s existential predicament.
We cannot and dare not decide between two paths. One can agree that it’s insufficient to look at our strategic situation as one where we must tighten our defenses, shield ourselves “by ever-increasing anti-missile batteries” and, I guess, pray! So we are enjoined to go on the offensive – against Russia and China, no less – by mobilizing our military and economic resources to enlist Ukraine, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand in what appears to be more and more the lead-up to a wider world conflict.
Granted, we must make our plans – defensive and offensive – without the luxury of having “a superpower to come to the rescue.”
But lining ourselves up against Russia and China? Really! It’s easy to mock our prime minister for allegedly talking too much instead of acting (whatever acting might mean in such anxiety- driven times). Instead, we must marshal our words and acts – overt and covert – to maneuver within a cynical opportunistic jungle of nations. This means using every means we have – military, economic and diplomatic – with as many nations as we have.
We must make sure we have as many “paths” or “roads” to take in order to keep this Zionist enterprise of ours thriving.
Divided Jews
You are somewhat misleading when you speak of Jewish divisions (“Jewish division,” Editorial, August 21), as these divisions have existed almost forever. Jews historically have never been able to reach a consensus over anything.
These schisms exist wherever Jews live and are highlighted ever more so if any given society allows its Jews to flourish.
In China, the community flourished, assimilated totally and then disappeared into history. In Britain, the community is shrinking before our eyes. America gave its Jews enormous opportunities – the price of success has been assimilation and a gradual erosion of Jewish life, except where diehards cling in their ghettos to a lifestyle that is out of tilt with that of their fellow Americans.
Another example of Jewish divisions is the Zionist and anti-Zionist.
Here in Israel, Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews fight like cats and dogs, and our treatment of Jews of Ethiopian descent is little short of a scandal.
If one day somebody looked down upon us from far away, he would have no problem seeing that of all the problems that threaten the Jewish world, division is perhaps the greatest
My sister recently unearthed a old tin box from her storage space. In it was a scrapbook smelling of mildew. It was put together by my late father when he was about 37 and we all lived in Connecticut. In the pictures he is a young, bespectacled, skinny guy, the happily married father of three young children.
The events in these newspaper cuttings were mostly from the Connecticut Jewish Ledger, but also from regular Hartford papers. They described a huge, divisive fight within the Jewish community in 1950.
Dad and his friends were Labor Zionists. They were trying to raise money for the two-year-old State of Israel, which at the time was being swamped by new immigrants, basically from Iraq.
Even with severe rationing, there just wasn’t enough food – or much of anything else, but the Jewish Federation of the day didn’t want Dad and his friends to solicit money for a “foreign country.” Back then, Jews were terrified of being thought agents of a foreign government, like Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. That was the time of an anti-Communist witch hunt.
What would Dad say to the divided American Jews of today? Don’t let them intimidate you! Be strong and of good courage! American Jews might be unhappy or uncomfortable about “backing a foreign government against their own,” but this accusation is both unfair and false, just as it was all those years ago. Actually, America is facing the same danger we are. We simply are in the front line of the fight.
Pretty awful
Caroline B. Glick (“The power of Jewish indignation,” Column One, August 21) discusses the terrible Vienna deal as if there were a chance of rejecting it. She is wrong.
The agreement is already taking effect. The EU, China and Russia are inking economic and trade agreements with Iran. The sanctions that were meant to deter Iranian non-compliance are effectively dead, and almost incredibly, it will be partly up to the Iranians themselves to determine whether they are in compliance.
It’s pretty awful to contemplate.
Mr. Obama has cleverly inflicted a document of capitulation on mankind that will economically enrich Iran, grant it total international legitimacy, allow it to develop nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles needed to carry them to any target on the planet. It will also fund all their terrorist activities! It’s pretty awful to contemplate.
And in spite of all those brave attempts to derail the treaty, the tragic fact is that even if Congress and the Iranians themselves reject the deal, it has already gone into effect.
It’s pretty awful to contemplate! So given that the Vienna agreement is a fait accompli, I ask why Mr. Obama continues his mean-spirited defense of the thing, and what benefits he expects for singling out and insulting the American Jewish community with phony charges of dual loyalty, describing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a warmonger, and painting Israel as the only country that objects to the treaty.
I cannot think of any benefit that would accrue from this, so I hope and pray that the president’s behavior will dissuade American Jews from ever voting Democratic again!
His other side
There are few American officials I have disagreed with more than former president Jimmy Carter.
Yet when I witnessed the dignified manner in which he handled the medical report saying his cancer had widely metastasized, I could not but admire his composure, confidence and courage.
This is the other side of a man I have so disliked for his political views. Here is another dimension of a human being bravely facing adversity.
I was reminded that we are all vulnerable creatures of the same God. As long as people are not out to destroy us, we should never lose sight of our commonality.
We have every right to express our opposition to an individual’s political or religious views, but we should not lose basic respect or, God forbid, inflict injury upon them.
Still going postal
I find it amazing and oxymoronic how Israel is so cutting edge. It’s way ahead of most other countries in science, technology and medicine. You go for any medical checkup and swipe your card to get all your history and data. You self-checkout at the supermarkets and Pango to park, with such convenience at the touch of a button.
And yet, the most primitive task of mailing a letter still goes back a century.
Pony Express, here I come.