June 27, 2018: Best of the best

Our readers have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Best of the best
Words cannot adequately express the loss that I feel at the passing of Dr. Charles Krauthammer (“The best of the best our people has produced,” June 24).
I vividly recall the first time I read an op-ed by Krauthammer on Israel in Time Magazine some 30 years ago. After reading the column I remember remarking, “He just gets it,” with respect to Israel’s political position in the world. Over the years, with the expansion of the Internet, I was able to enjoy and marvel at Krauthammer’s ability to state Israel’s case logically, eloquently and beautifully in his weekly columns in the Washington Post.
Despite the seven-hour time difference, I was a faithful follower of Krauthammer’s appearances on Fox News, always in awe of his ability to state his case regardless of the issue.
Over the years, my initial comment, “He just gets it,” was repeated by me and others I know on numerous occasions.
Several years ago, while visiting an aunt of mine who was a resident of an independent facility in Rockville, Maryland, my aunt introduced me to her best friend in the facility, Krauthammer’s mother. When I told his mother that her son was deeply loved by so many of us in Israel, she asked me how we, in Israel, knew of her son. I explained that Fox News was broadcast in Israel and that he had a large following.
She was thrilled to hear that. I spent the next three hours with her as she showed me the family photo albums dating back to when her son was just a toddler. As such, I almost had the feeling that I had known Krauthammer his entire life – and what a life it was. Unfortunately, that life ended prematurely, but the dignity with which he announced his fate was emblematic of the class he displayed in his public life.
While we can only hope that another advocate for Israel with his ability will take his place, I fear that it will not be possible. After all he was “the best of the best.”
Beit Shemesh
May I please give thanks to David M. Weinberg for reminding us of this very special journalist and broadcaster?
I first came across Charles Krauthammer in 1990, having intently consumed his many in-depth articles covering a myriad of subjects – but especially his take on Israel entering its fifth decade.
In his essay “Judging Israel,” he clearly and distinctly covered issues that continue to resonate today: bias from the media an the UN (including most governments around the world) and his support for Israel’s right to exist among hostile neighbors.
His article defined the hypocrisy heaped upon Israel from so many quarters and he derided the conscious deployment of a double standard directed at the Jewish state and at no other state in the world. He termed this a discriminatory standard which he said has a name – antisemitism.
Krauthammer had the gift of getting to the very heart of the subject he was analyzing and in doing so, would grab your attention from start to finish. You were left a wiser person for his ability to present details in a very succinct form; he was – probably without knowing it – a teacher that we all wished we had had.
Most think ourselves lucky to think in words or perhaps in sentences; Charles could do so in paragraphs and pages. Such was his intellect and clarity of thinking – all achieved overcoming steep personal handicaps.
The world is a much poorer place for his early passing.
Tel Aviv
Have a seat
As a modern-Orthodox woman, I am appalled and outraged by El Al’s response to the demands of four unruly ultra-Orthodox passengers (“Despite court order, El Al flight delayed over mixed-seating flap,” June 25). While the airline may not interfere with a person’s religious beliefs, individual passengers have no right to impose their beliefs and observances on others.
In this case, El Al chose to ignore a court order and to inconvenience hundreds of people. No doubt, had any other passenger refused to sit down because he didn’t like his seat mate’s race or nationality he would have been forcefully removed from the aircraft and rightly so!
Travelers should be told when purchasing their tickets that they will have no option other than to sit in the seat they are assigned. If they cannot accept this condition, then they must make other travel arrangements. Once on board, passengers who refuse to comply with flight crew instructions should be removed from the aircraft immediately, with no refund, compensation or rebooking services.
El Al’s total lack of consideration for its other passengers and its failure to comply with a valid Israeli court ruling on this subject have convinced me never to fly El Al again.
Zichron Yaakov
When arranging airline tickets, if one has special meal requirements, it must be arranged in advance. So too, if haredim have specific seating preferences, there should be required arrangement in advance (with the airline or an agent). If not, seating objections on the airplane should not be tolerated.
Unconditional love
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is refusing to talk to the Americans (Kushner: Peace plan will go public if Abbas does not “come back to the table,” June 25). As Jared Kushner points out, the Palestinians continue to repeat the same talking points, with no willingness to negotiate and I wonder if this counterproductive intransigence isn’t largely the fault of their “friends.”
Looking at 1) the lopsided automatic majorities in the UN in support of anything the Palestinians do or say, 2) the worldwide BDS movement and 3) murderous crowds chanting “death to Jews” in major cities, the Palestinians can be forgiven for believing that this universal approval will soon enable them to move en masse into the homes in Israel to made available by the disappearance of all of the Jews.
But all this has been going on for decades, and Israel and the Jews are still here. Maybe so much unconditional love hasn’t done the Palestinians any favors.
US presidential adviser Jared Kushner noted that Palestinian President Abbas has talking points that have not changed in the last 25 years. Israeli PM Netanyahu’s talking points have become harsher and more demanding – including his insistence that Abbas recognize Israel as “the Jewish State” – a demand of nobody else. Abbas responded before: Israel can call itself what it wants. Netanyahu increased the number of settlement blocs to retain from three to four ... now five.
Kushner noted that Arab leaders he met “want to see a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem.” Excellent! What does the deal propose? A capital in Abu Dis or Ramallah, as suggested previously by Americans? Which contiguous, viable part of East Jerusalem would Netanyahu cede for the Palestinian capital?
Netanyahu backed down on the egalitarian worship space at the Western Wall and vacated many other commitments under threat of losing his government. I doubt Netanyahu has the ability to, or is willing to convince MKs to divide Jerusalem.
Kushner promises, “When the plan is published, it will turn out the Palestinian people love it.” Just like the Israeli people will love it?
I yearn for peace, as do Israelis and Palestinians, and I have zero faith an honorable and equitable deal is forthcoming from the current American administration.
BBC still misleading viewers
Regarding the article “BBC finds comment on Israel and Gaza ‘misleading,’” (June 25) my check today on their executive complaints site does not yet shown any correction; Andrew Marr’s offending interview is no longer available on their site.
The BBC had originally tried to defend Marr’s reporting by pointing out that “several youths” (not “lots of children”) were killed, until it was pointed out that these did not happen until after the program was aired. This of course cannot be considered as reportage, which they should know.
The BBC needs to step up and take a responsible attitude in its reporting of things Israeli, to help the British see the truth of events occurring here. I remember some years ago, the BBC was instructed by the supreme legal authority of the land, the House of Lords, to investigate its perceived anti-Israel attitude of the time, but the report has never seen the light of day.
Nothing really has changed since then. People don’t really check any complaints section for their news, where the spokesman sniffily said the findings would be published “in due course”. We wait with bated breath.
Rein in the court
I find it hard to understand the near hysteria against the proposal to curtail the powers of the Supreme Court back to how it was before the Aharon Barak inflation period. Unlike similar courts in other democracies, appeals can now bypass lower courts and go straight to the Supreme Court. Even people with no standing can appeal on issues that do not affect them, resulting in little Israel having 15 justices instead of just 9 in America and 12 in the UK. But it is the “override law,” which allows the court to overrule the elected government and Knesset, that is most reprehensible.
I don’t agree with Stephen Shaw (“Letters,” June 20) that the judges being “unelected is their strength.” Does he assume that the judges are angels sent down from Heaven and programmed to do the absolute right thing? Although we hope they are honorable people who will do their very best to be impartial, lawyers are still the product of their upbringing, education, social class and pressures, religion and personal prejudices. The justices may not be “elected,” but they are nominated by a panel consisting of the same politicians that he does not trust and a selection of lawyers who have their own professional agenda, even if not political. We only have to recall the months of horse trading on the make-up of the panel itself to understand just how political the whole set-up is.
I prefer that lawmaking should stay the exclusive preserve of the elected government and Knesset, rather than a small coterie of lawyers nominated by another small group of people.
Beit Shemesh
UNHRC: The perfect foil
Regarding “US WITHDRAWAL FROM UNHRC PRAISED IN JERUSALEM (June 21), it is almost totally “people of color” that are being persecuted under the supposedly protective cover of the UN Human Rights Council.
The UNHRC, like virtually every other UN body, is controlled by the 56-state Organization of Islamic Cooperation bloc. Nothing happens without their approval, including seats and chairmanships on councils, commissions and NGOs.
The OIC is easy to please. To them, the UN’s function is to funnel money from the few wealthy Western democracies into the coffers of third-world dictators and to those entities willing to play ball with the OIC. Aside from the unearned redistribution of wealth, participating in the delegitimization and destruction of the state of Israel is essential.
The UNHRC is the perfect foil. Its membership comes largely from the most vicious human rights abusers. By focusing primarily on the only Jewish state, one that has a strong, free and open government and judiciary, they shield their own members and their friends from the scrutiny and condemnation they deserve.
Every self-respecting, free society should shun the UNHRC for the scam that it is.
Fitting tribute
Michal Cotler-Wunsh pays a fitting tribute to her father, Professor Irwin Cotler, for his role as a human-rights champion and his love for Israel. Professor Cotler has been correctly congratulated and idolized many times over the years. It warms the heart to see that Michal lives in Israel.
I’d like to point out the role that my own father, Rabbi Aaron Horowitz, played in the creation of the Cotler phenomenon. Rabbi A. Horowitz founded the Canadian Hebrew Culture Organization in the 1950s in Montreal Canada and the Camps Massad of Canada in the Laurentian Mountains north of Montreal. This camp drew hundreds of Montreal Jews every summer for two full months and the emphasis was speaking Hebrew. The daily life was in Hebrew. The names of the bunks, according to age, were Shoresh, Anaf and Tzameret. There was a machon for the older campers.
Professor Cotler spent many summers in Massad in his young adult years (as did I) and I have no doubt that the experience played a formative role in his love and connection to Israel. Kudos to Rabbi A. Horowitz, who had the insight and dedication to create Camps Massad of Canada and a role in the creation of Irwin Cotler – human rights champion and lover of Israel.
I found it surprising that Michal Cotler-Wunsh’s list of humanitarian causes – past and present – worthy of global championship (Everyone’s cause needs a champion,” June 24) failed to include the tortuous “parole” Jonathan Pollard is enduring after serving six times the normal five-year imprisonment meted out for spying on behalf of a friendly power, namely Israel.
Given former president Barack Obama’s inexplicable commutation of the sentence of Chelsea Manning, America’s most prolific disseminator of classified military documents just seven years into his 35-year sentence, one might have expected a Pollard commutation among the bundle of pardons recently delivered up by President Donald Trump. That this was not the case. 18 months since the inauguration of the most pro-Israel administration in US history, blame must be laid at the doorstep of a prime mister apparently unwilling to invest the political capital needed to make it happen. We can all share in that shame.