June 6, 2017: Barak a has-been

Let’s all remember for a moment Barak’s 15 minutes of fame as he pranced around Yasser Arafat at Camp David, with then-president Bill Clinton as his audience.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Barak a has-been
With regard to “Barak: Netanyahu misleading public, gov’t being ‘hijacked’ by extreme Right” (June 4), it is always with great delight that I read comments attributed to former prime minister Ehud Barak.
The irrelevant politician is again being interviewed. What joy! Let’s all remember for a moment Barak’s 15 minutes of fame as he pranced around Yasser Arafat at Camp David, with then-president Bill Clinton as his audience. Barak had his lunch eaten for him by Arafat. After Barak offered everything he demanded, Arafat still bested him and ended up spitting in his face.
Barak’s shameful Napoleonic exhibition of “playfully” trying to coax Arafat into the meeting room ahead of him will go down in the political annals of history as the definition of embarrassment.
Barak is all about Barak. Now we have to endure his myopic view of a world in which we are to believe that he knows all.
As with other “old and tired” politicians, Barak should find the good grace to leave the Israeli public alone. He knows about as much as the average Israeli does regarding current security issues, and because he was once a fleeting occupant of the Prime Minister’s Office, this does not mean he is all-knowing. He is but a small fish in a very large pond, and his musings should be given as much credence as those of a gnat.
It is time for all the has-been politicians, Mossad chiefs and Shin Bet masters to acknowledge that their time has passed.
Don’t lie!
According to its contract with Beersheba municipality, the Negev Forum for Coexistence and Civil Equality (NCF) agreed not to hold overtly political events on municipal property (“Fear and trembling in Beersheba?” Comment & Features, June 4).
Whatever one’s view of Yesh Gvul, it is clear that it is a political body. Nevertheless, the NCF went ahead and hosted an evening with that group. By doing so, it openly and quite deliberately breached its contract with the municipality.
In seeking to terminate the contract, the municipality is therefore not only acting correctly, it is also defending an important principal upon which all democratic and open societies are based: Don’t lie!
Mazkeret Batya
Ransom note
In reply to the letter by readers Blossom and Israel Rubin (“Crass coldness,” June 4), I find the physicians who resigned to be the ones who are holding these sick children for ransom. It is “do what we want or else these children will die.”
Is that not a ransom note by “caring” physicians who look out only for themselves, and not for the greater good?
Petah Tikva
Trump’s (non)moves
With regard to “Trump disappoints Israel by ‘postponing’ embassy move” (June 2), I voted for US President Donald Trump despite my dislike of his personality and his disrespect for women. I felt he would take a more positive attitude toward Israel than did his predecessor.
Now I see that he was all talk, and his promises mean nothing.
In fact, the only thing he’s achieved thus far is to undo some of the few good things that former president Barack Obama accomplished during his own administration.
Can I take back my vote?
US President Donald Trump has antagonized virtually the whole world by backing out of the climate deal agreed upon in 2015 by 195 countries (“US withdraws from Paris accord,” June 2). However, moving the US Embassy, which has been called for by Congress since 1995, cannot take place for fear of the reaction by Arab countries.
Whereas the climate deal will not bring peace, moving the embassy could well be the starter for real peace negotiations. Someone has lost the plot!
Hamdallah and ‘art’
Regarding “Kahlon meets with PA’s PM to discuss economic steps” (June 2), does Finance Minister and Kulanu party head Moshe Kahlon know he is offering rewards to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, a supporter of virulent Jew-hatred, with no reciprocal gestures? When Hamdallah, president of An-Najah University in Nablus, was appointed PA prime minister, I described in “Politics is dead, killed by art in Nablus” (Comment & Features, July 23, 2014) how his students glorified murdering Jews.
At the university, a grotesque art exhibition was mounted celebrating the slaughter by a Palestinian Arab suicide bomber of women, men, children and entire families eating pizza in the heart of Jerusalem.
A group of art students constructed a replica of the Sbarro pizzeria, site of the massacre. Students pushed to see realistically sculpted body parts and pizza slices strewn throughout an environment set for a performance artwork.
Wearing a terrorist’s military uniform and black mask, a performance artist entered the mock pizzeria under a sign reading “Kosher Sbarro” and set off a simulated explosion to the cheers of the crowd. Upon entering and leaving, the visitors enthusiastically wiped their feet on Israeli and American flags used as doormats.
Visitors then encountered a mannequin outfitted as a terrorist standing next to a large boulder.
A speaker placed behind the rock called out in Arabic: “O believer, there is a Jewish man behind me, come and kill him.” In another room, two students dressed as suicide bombers, each with the Koran in one hand and a Kalashnikov assault rifle in the other, were reenacting the grisly last video testaments that suicide bombers create before carrying out their deadly attacks.
Historian of Islamic art Elisabeth Siddiqui writes in the Arabic journal Al-Madrashah Al-Ula that art is the mirror of a culture and its worldview. She emphasizes that there is no case to which this statement more directly applies than to the art of the Islamic world.
As a former art professor at Columbia University and research fellow at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, I concur with Siddiqui. The values of Hamdallah are mirrored in his students’ art that praises terrorism and genocide.
No blackmail
With regard to “A Torah for all” (Editorial, June 1), we are privileged to host many American Jewish guests. Not one has tried to rearrange the furniture, the seating arrangements or the menu.
The sad incident in the kibbutz could have been avoided very simply by conducting a regular, traditional prayer. There is no need to import to Israel all the non-Orthodox innovations. Be polite guests; respect our tradition.
This is not “blackmail.” They were not “forced” to pray without a Torah scroll. The prayer leader tried to force the superior to violate the standards of his calling.
There is certainly no justification to conclude that the guests’ Jewish identity is not legitimate here.
Those visiting youngsters and, hopefully, their children and children’s children will be warmly embraced.
Jerusalem Fruitful aging
Regarding your Healthy Living, Golden Age supplement (May 30), it was with some degree of amusement to find a full-page advertisement for Postinor, the “morning after pill.” Seriously?
Petah Tikva
Sweet dreams
If I was unable to sleep, listening to the 6.30 a.m. English news on the radio was a wonderful way to doze off again. Now I listen to the shipping forecast on BBC World News. Wonderful!