Letters: January 15

The Jerusalem Post (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Jerusalem Post
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Bibi in Paris
Sir, – We would like to comment about some of the negative criticism in the Israeli and foreign press about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Paris (“PM to critics: Israel’s leader needs to march against terror,” January 13).
Twelve people at Charlie Hebdo had to be murdered for over a million people, headed by some 50 heads of state and world leaders, to feel directly targeted and demonstrate. Had 12 Jews been murdered, this demonstration would not have taken place, because it would have been attributed to the “Israeli-Palestinian problem.”
It was correct for our prime minister, Mr. Netanyahu, to be there as well. Can you imagine the criticism had he not attended this gathering of solidarity? For the past few years he has been calling on world leaders to fight world terrorism and react to the danger brought to our global family by very extreme Islamists, stressing that ISIS, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. are all from the same poisonous tree.
To put the record straight, at the synagogue, Mr. Netanyahu did not call for aliya. Quote: “I want to say to you what I say to all our Jewish brothers, that you have a full right to live secure and peaceful lives with equal rights wherever you desire, including here in France.... These days we are blessed with another privilege, a privilege that didn’t exist for generations of Jews – the privilege to join their brothers and sisters in their historic homeland of Israel.” He also said that those who decide to make aliya will be welcomed with open arms and a warm heart.
Almost 7,000 people made aliya from France in 2014, including a planeload during Operation Protective Edge. They refused to postpone their arrival to their homeland as they felt more secure here than in France.
Ramat Gan
Coming home
Sir, – I was disappointed to read your editorial “Diaspora Jewry” (January 13) blasting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to French Jews to come to Israel. But even more disconcerting were Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky’s words that such a call is “a mistake and not smart,” because the world might think it furthers Israel’s interests.
Netanyahu’s call was not a political maneuver, but a shofar blast directing our attention to pikuah nefesh, a life-threatening situation that must be overcome.
The rabid disease of Islamic terrorism has infected millions in the Middle East who are prepared to lay down their lives to kill Jews.
Now this cancer has spread to Europe.
If we don’t call out to our people now, when will we? The concentration camps were full of Jews who thought Nazism would pass, and without an Israel to prod them, governments waited far too long to sound the alarm.
So I ask you: Is it politically savvy to “encourage Diaspora Jews to lobby for Israel” at a time when we can see that their lives are in danger? Or should we sound a clarion call all the world to hear?
Sir, – Natan Sharansky is indisputably an intellectual icon and an honest man. But even men of his stature can fall victim to political correctness.
In his recent interview with The Jerusalem Post (“Sooner or later, liberal Europe must fight back,” Diplomacy, January 9), Mr. Sharansky unequivocally delineates the two anchors that prevent Diaspora Jews from assimilation – faith and Zionism – and says that those who lack both “will assimilate in one generation.” The next day he cautions Israeli leaders by saying “it would be a mistake and not smart” to say to French Jews “immigrate now,” because it would be insulting to the French.
He admits that liberal Frenchmen “hate Israel” and conservative Frenchmen “believe that Jews do not belong to their culture.”
Could it be any clearer that Jews living in France do not belong there? How many more must die or assimilate before he considers it the right time to come home? French Jews are fearful to go to synagogue, to frequent kosher stores, to don kippot and even to attend university. They have procrastinated for long enough. The time is now and we should welcome them all with open arms.
Wrong newspaper
Sir, – I have for some time considered Alan M. Dershowitz one of your most interesting and important op-ed writers. However, his piece “Brandeis University: Both pro-Israel and pro-free speech” (Comment & Features, January 13), which praises Brandeis University president Fred Lawrence for sanctioning obscene and hateful student social media tirades against Israel, and for failing to foil campus Islamist groups that prevented Ayaan Hirsi Ali from receiving her honorary degree, demonstrates to me that Prof. Dershowitz has somehow lost his way.
I remember many years ago that my mother, a lawyer, fervent liberal and Zionist, and longtime contributor to the American Civil Liberties Union, drew the line when the ACLU chose to defend the American Nazi Party’s right to defame Jews. I draw the line when the college named after America’s greatest Zionist cares more about enforcing absolutist concepts of free speech than it does about defending its proud Jewish and Zionist traditions.
If Prof. Dershowitz wants to celebrate a personage like Fred Lawrence, let him do so on the editorial pages of such pro-Israel and pro-free-speech publications as Haaretz, The New York Times or The Guardian, not your newspaper.
San Francisco
Sir, – Prof. Alan M. Dershowitz claims that Brandeis University president Fred Lawrence’s decision to withdraw an honorary doctorate from Ayaan Hirsi Ali was not censorship of her freedom of expression, because “she was not prevented from expressing her views on the campus.”
What was the reason for withdrawing her honorary doctorate other than a capitulation to pressure from the promoters of hate speech against Israel and America?
Sir, – With regard to “Are you guilty of feeling hatred for the Paris murderers?” (No Holds Barred, January 13), Shmuley Boteach’s diatribe does not belong in a Jewish-Israeli newspaper, because its essence is anti-teaching teaching based on visceral, not rational, thinking.
Jews are not put here on Earth to promulgate hatred, fear-mongering and war-mongering. I am astounded and deeply perplexed by the fact that the premier Israeli newspaper for English speakers and readers would publish such an article supportive of anti-Jewish teaching and thought.
Rabbi Boteach endeavored to disseminate this same type of nonsense several months back in Algemeiner, to the dismay of many, including myself. At that time he seemed to relish provoking readers to follow his mode of thinking, that is, that of the “great American rabbi bar none.”
Such an egotistical, self-righteous, contumelious perspective does not find any sensible, prudent, intelligent audience in the Jewish community – not in America and not in Israel.
Quite rich
Sir, – David Newman, in “Boycott paranoia or the captive boycott” (Borderline Views, January 13), writes that three foreign scholars who refused to attend a conference he hosted “displayed a remarkable lack of integrity.”
This is quite rich coming from the dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, a hotbed of boycotters and delegitimizers of Israel.
The oft-quoted verse of the New Testament comes to mind: “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
MK Tzipi Hotovely is deputy minister of transportation, and not as stated in “Fight over Likud slot could be decided today” (January 14).
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