Letters to the Editor December 18, 2019: Pompeo pummels US representatives

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Pompeo pummels US representatives
It is heartening to have a secretary of state – unlike his dreadful predecessor John Kerry – who is grounded in legal and geopolitical reality (“Pompeo slams Democrats’ settlement fixation, calls arguments foolish,” December 17). As he points out, communities in Judea and Samaria are not “inconsistent with international law,” war crimes” or “obstacles to peace,” as our enemies and many, ill-informed people claim.
At the same time, it is distressing that there are 106 misguided American representatives who, instead of recognizing, protecting and promoting the rights of the indigenous people (Jews) in their homeland, have embraced the spurious claims of invaders from Arabia who colonized the area and continually seek to supplant the indigenous nation: harm the Jews, forcibly transfer them and destroy their national aspirations.
I urge readers who are represented in Congress by Maxine Waters, Andy Levin, John Lewis, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and other signers of the letter to write to your representatives, expressing your dismay and presenting the truth.
ILAN RHODES
Rishon Lezion
‘Hitler is back’
Regarding “No room for optimism from Ramallah” (December 13), the late Israeli Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, once said “Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Not only was this prophetic, but it has gotten much worse.
The Palestinian Quds News network recently posted on its Arabic language Facebook page a photo of students giving the Nazi salute. The students were marking the 52nd anniversary of the establishment of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group at Birzeit University, Ramallah, located in Samaria. One comment about the photo on Facebook from Motasem Dweat read: “Hitler is back again.” A number of people copied the post before it was taken down.
Although Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas frequently presents himself to Western audiences as Israel’s willing “peace partner,” he still works toward the Jewish state’s destruction. He recently commented, “A Jewish state is not my affair. I will not recognize it at all and I will not accept it.”
Arab Palestinian society is saturated with hatred, and it is difficult to imagine why any Israeli government should be willing to negotiate a political future with people who don’t even bother to hide their intention to murder Jews.
DESMOND TUCK
San Mateo, CA
Banking on violence
The editorial “Not enough” (December 16) outlines the reasons advanced by some of Israel’s Arab citizens for the increasing violence in Arab society. As usual there is no assumption of responsibility on the part of Arab culture and mores.
One remarkable assertion by some Arab leaders is that the violence arises from the lack of banks in Arab towns and the refusal of the banks to give mortgages to the Arabs. This creates a vacuum filled by the black market and organized crime. The main function of the guns, it is claimed, is to protect the black market.
However, a quick Google search reveals that Sakhnin boasts branches of Bank Hapoalim, Leumi, Mizrachi Tfachot, Mercantile, and the Bank of Jerusalem – probably all run by Arab managers. So much for that assertion.
Perhaps the tradition of honor killing of helpless Arab women also arises from male frustration arising from rejected mortgage applications. Israeli Arabs, much like their Palestinian cousins, are expert at the blame game – always aimed at others, seldom at themselves.

YOSSI STERN
Ofakim
Election deja vu vu vu
Regarding “Back to the future” (December 13), I have rarely seen an issue where all Israelis are in agreement, but the revulsion and disgust over a third election are palpable throughout the country. Shame on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman for refusing to compromise, and wasting 1.7 billion shekels over nonsense!
After some hard thinking, I would propose the following punishments for these gentlemen:
1. Banishment from any political position for 10 years. This would be akin to the punishment for soccer hooligans who are banned from attending soccer matches.
2. 1,000 hours of community service at a hospital, crisis center, food bank, etc. The funds wasted by this useless election could have been used by these and other facilities. Perhaps having to serve those in need will knock some sense into our selfish politicians.
If not, then it’s time for a benevolent dictator to run the show.
KENNY FISHER
Jerusalem
Regarding “Likud Boots 100 members from anti-Netanyahu Group” (December 16), I never took Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a coward afraid of competition.
All of the good things he has done in the past are gradually being eroded by his current behavior. Now the Likud is proving that democracy in this country is dying. It is being run by dictators and demigods. What an embarrassment to our proud nation.
I see nothing is beneath him and his followers to fight tooth and nail to keep their seats. They don’t seem to be interested in democracy and running the country as it should be run, taking care of its citizens. Their emphasis is on protecting Netanyahu, keeping their seats, and abusing their power.
Any grudging admiration I had for Netanyahu’s skills is gone.
I SIVAN
Kiryat Bialik
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s striving to become our country’s first dictator is brought home very clearly by two front-page stories in the December 16 edition:
1) “Likud boots 100 members from anti-Netanyahu group” puts to rest any misconceptions about Bibi’s party abiding by democratic principles.
2) “For Bibi, debating is for losers” perfectly presents the mind frame of King Bibi.
May this election debacle hopefully come to a speedy conclusion.

MICHAEL D. HIRSCH
Tzur Yitzhak
Will the results of a third election within one year, break the political deadlock? Maybe. But with better timing and diligence we could have managed four general elections within a year. That would have broken a world record!
DANIEL ABELMAN
Jerusalem
Neville Teller (“Time for electoral reform,” December 17) is correct, that the lack of personal responsibility of members of Knesset to voters is a serious defect in Israel’s electoral system.
Two more issues need to be addressed:
1) The number of MKs needs to be increased to 150 or even 180. At present, when 30 MKs or more are ministers or deputy ministers and cannot take part in debates in Knesset committees, the other MKs are hard-pressed to take part in debates in committees where the hard work of preparing bills for voting is carried out. Increasing the number of MKs would enable full discussion of legislation.
2) It should be obligatory on every list standing for election to publish its platform on the important issues, such as foreign affairs, defense, education, health and the economy. Any list that has not published its manifesto three weeks before the election should be disqualified. This would reduce the level of personality politics, where individuals join lists in the hope of being elected without regard for policy.
PHILIP MARCUS
Jerusalem
Inquisitive minds
The article “Israelis look to Inquisition roots to get Portuguese passports” (December 11) is misleading and historically inaccurate. Decree-Law 30-A/2015, enacted by Portugal on February 27, 2015 to offer Portuguese citizenship to Sephardi Jews, says absolutely nothing about the Inquisition, contrary to what the article says.
Some of the requirements to apply for the citizenship are: proof of direct ancestry or family relationship in a collateral line of a common parent from the Sephardi community of Portuguese origin or tradition of belonging to a Sephardi community of Portuguese origin; certified records, such as registers from synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, and other proofs of family connection from the applicant, through direct ancestry or family relationship in a collateral line of a common parent from the Sephardi community of Portuguese origin; and not having been convicted of a crime liable to a prison sentence of three years or more, in accordance with Portuguese law.
Equally inaccurate is the statement that Ladino is a dialect. Ladino, a form of Spanish, is full-fledged language with its own set of grammar rules and orthography.
DANIEL SANTACRUZ
Ma’aleh Adumim
Booker in the cornfield
In “As Jews are gunned down in New Jersey, Cory Booker tours Iowa’s cornfields” (December 17), Shmuley Boteach calls it correctly in my opinion regarding the deplorable attack in Jersey City.
Senator (and still barely presidential candidate) Booker does everything he can to avoid saying what this is: an apparent attack specifically to kill Jews. How could he explain his acts or omissions as being other than antisemitism?
On the other hand, if a Gaza resident at the weekly violent riots attempts to cross the legal boundary of a sovereign country slips and hurts his knee, much of the world comes after Israel for this, saying the state is evil and should no longer exist.
Not wishing any evil on anyone, but... well, you can guess what I’m thinking.

DAVID SMITH
Ra’anana

TreMENdous achievement
A tremendous accomplishment indeed. Thousands of women are completing the cycle of Talmud study and a huge celebration will take place worldwide (“3,000 women to mark completion of 7-year daily Talmud study cycle,” December 17).
In the picture, 13 women and one baby in mom’s lap are taking part in the Ra’anana-based Hadran’s women’s Daf Yomi Talmud study group. The women are clearly not ultra-Orthodox or even Orthodox, since bare arms and long hair are clearly in sight. But why the exclusive gender participation of females only?
Shouldn’t men and women study life and the Talmud together? Isn’t the interaction between men and women one of the most important daily aspects of everybody’s life ? Why wasn’t the person holding the baby in his arms a man? That’s what we should all strive for – including in our interpretation of the Torah. Full equality now – not when the next Temple is constructed.
YIGAL HOROWITZ
Beersheba
Gutter mutterings
Regarding “No gutter campaign? Really? (December 16), UK Brexit candidate Yosef David said more in one eyebrow gesture than reams of articles on UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s disastrous defeat.
With the heartland of traditional Labour communities switching their allegiance to the Conservative Party led by Boris Johnson due to Corbyn’s longstanding Marxist views, his indecision on Brexit and his antisemitism, it was an election accident waiting to happen.
Like all poor losers, Corbyn has begrudgingly accepted responsibility somewhat for the loss, although while doing so, taking a swipe at the media, still believing his policies to have been sound. He is not relinquishing his post any time soon; until he does and Labour makes major moves toward the center, they and their supporters will have plenty of time to reflect on what went horribly wrong.
STEPHEN VISHNICK
Tel Aviv
No Planet B
As “Greenland ice sheet [is] melting exponentially faster than in 1990s, study shows” (December 15), we have a choice regarding climate change: to respond based on the views of 16-year old Swedish Greta Thunberg or President Donald Trump.
I was thrilled to learn that, “Activist Greta Thunberg is ‘Time’ Person of the Year” (December 12). She has inspired millions of young people worldwide to speak out and demonstrate, recognizing that their future is in peril from climate change.
The next day I was appalled to read, “Trump mocks teen activist: ‘Chill Greta, Chill.’” At a time that there is a strong scientific consensus about climate threats and there seem to be almost daily reports of severe climate events, Trump seems to be doing everything he can to cancel or weaken over 80 US rules and regulations that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The importance of immediate responses to climate threats is reinforced by your December 4 article, “Hot and dry: Climate report spells disaster,” which discussed the Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry’s report at the Madrid climate conference, that indicated that Israel will become much hotter and drier, making terrorism and war more likely, according to military experts.
It is time to recognize that climate change is an existential threat to Israel and to the entire world, and to do everything possible, as soon as possible, to help avert a climate catastrophe and to help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path.
RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ, PH.D.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island