Letters to the Editor December 23, 2019: ICC is investigating Israel

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
ICC is investigating Israel
Had we declared sovereignty throughout the Jewish land and built and settled it, as was the purpose of our return, it would be clearly understood by all to whom the land belongs in its entirety, therefore obviating nonsensical support for a “Palestinian” people and country that don’t really exist (“ICC to investigate Israel for war crimes in Gaza, W. Bank,” December 22).
We suffer from a disease called “galut mentality” that ravages the mind and stops it functioning independently, as though we had never left Egyptian slavery! This is all too evident not only in our dependence on non-Jews, but by the fact that we do not build and settle the Land for the Jewish People or control our holiest site, the Temple Mount which has been surrendered like many other parts of the Land, to the Muslims.
Maccabees we are not. What we are is a sad reflection of what we once were and what we once again could be, were we to lose this galut complex.
Happy Hanukkah – with a prayer that we can return to our days of pride and glory.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the ICC has decided to move forward with the investigation of Israel for possible war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians are of course celebrating their great victory.
Israel, with possible participation of the USA, and with representatives of World Jewry, should set up the International Racism Court (IRC) based in Jerusalem, which will be responsible for the prosecution of antisemites and other racists. Bensouda can be the first person brought to face IRC prosecution, either in absentia or following forced abduction to Israel. Leading BDS personnel could also be investigated and brought to justice.
The Jewish world should stand up and fight the monstrous, antisemitic, decision of the ICC.
Ehud Olmert, columnist
The Jerusalem Post has decided to invite Ehud Olmert on a regular basis to voice his opinions this because of his unique insight and vantage points as a former prime minister and his jail experience.
In his maiden column, Olmert outlines what is required by the next government to improve the quality of life in Israel and it includes the usual dreary litany of what is wrong with Israel. Anybody could have come up with this list – it appears daily in the media in part or in full. He also bemoans the divisive public discourse currently in vogue, yet here is some of the language he used to describe the current political government: “Irresponsible and cowardly government,” “Bibi’s violent gang including some of his family members.”
Let’s hope Olmert will have more of a new, non-divisive, reasonable discourse in the next opinion piece.
I am appalled by the vocabulary used by Rossella Tercatin to define Otzma Yehudit. I am also appalled by the fact that you took on Ehud Olmert as a columnist.
Maybe Bernie Madoff was not available for your financial section?
I was startled to see that Ehud Olmert was given front-page priority in the Frontlines section for his new column. The Jerusalem Post editorial defended this column, claiming that a worthy newspaper “provides a window to a multi-colored world.” I’m very aware of Olmert’s world, the one which denounces Israel for not trying hard enough to make peace with the Palestinians. In Olmert’s view, the PA leadership “is opposed to violent terrorism.”
Olmert then continues his assault by placing the blame of the three boys kidnapped and murdered in Gush Etzion squarely on the Israeli security forces, and not on the terrorists themselves. But perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising since he also praised the PA when he wrote “Very few terrorist attacks are carried out in areas controlled by the PA,” a foolish statement, since the terrorists are trying to kill the Jews and not Palestinians.
If these are the sort of opinions that the Jerusalem Post wants me to be open-minded about, then it’s time for me to reconsider the newspaper I read. Olmert’s front page personal perspective does not enhance your paper, but rather diminishes my opinion of your integrity.
I am surprised by the choice to have Olmert write a column, given the fact that his reputation has been tarnished. Moreover, it does no good to the newspaper to label groups (extreme Right or Left). It takes away the “news” and editorializes basic facts.
Constantly repeating the same action and expecting different results is one definition of insanity. Yet after Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas flatly rejected proposals for the establishment of the first-ever-to-exist Palestinian state on essentially all of the disputed land, with the possibility of joint governance in parts of Jerusalem; after Hamas reciprocated Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza by lobbing thousands of missiles at Israeli population centers; after the lack of response to the two-state vision outlined by Benjamin Netanyahu at Bar Ilan, Ehud Olmert thinks Israel should still be making offers to the Palestinian leaders. He even believes that Abbas is a partner for peace. So what if he prioritizes paying murderers over giving PA employees their salaries, compensating Israel for electricity supplied to areas under PA administration, and covering bills for medical care Palestinians receive at Israeli hospitals?
Whoever Israel’s next prime minister is, it’s important that an election will result in the establishment of an effective Knesset. Work on electoral reform must begin now. Even if, somehow, a fourth election is not needed, the country must take steps to avoid a repetition of the current chaos. The election committee should require parties to prepare platforms outlining their plans for dealing with major issues and to obtain signatures of a specified number of registered voters before they are permitted to stand for election. Should the March 2, 2020 election result in yet another stalemate, parties that did not meet the election threshold should be excluded from standing for election until the first election subsequent to the seating of a Knesset in which a functioning government is created.
What a pathetic ploy to bring Ehud Olmert back into Israel’s center stage, by giving him a column in this newspaper!
The public is not qualified to determine whether Olmert is contrite, so that is not the basis for my comment. Even assuming he did teshuva, there is a far cry from asking private citizens to act civilly toward him versus intentionally thrusting him in our face.
This position has to do with more than just bad optics. Olmert sat behind bars for fraud, breach of trust and tax evasion in his retrial on corruption charges. It also has to do with more than whitewashing the judge’s verdict that he took bribes and used funds for personal reasons. We are talking about normalizing high crimes.
Welcoming a disgraced PM back into mainstream society sends the wrong message about Israel’s need for Knesset members to be honest, principled, law-abiding public servants – and that if they betray public trust, they will not be given a second chance to run roughshod over us.
Will you inaugurate Mr Katzav’s column next week?
Is his column a trial balloon for Olmert’s reentry into politics?
Regardless, The Jerusalem Post has done an enormous disservice, and should reconsider bringing back a man who not only shamed himself; he shamed Jews world over.
Nof Ayalon
Johnson and Brexit
Amotz Asa-El’s “Britain’s twin divorces” (December 20) was spot-on.
The attitude of the English to governance is totally different from that on the Continent. There, every major country, east and west, has had in the past 200 years, a murderous dictator.
England has never had one. Oliver Cromwell hardly qualifies.
True, some English monarchs were brutal, but they had some form of legitimacy – even if they had to be imported from Scotland, the Low Countries or Germany.
The (English) Channel is more than just a physical barrier. With the British never having relinquished the pound for the Euro, Brexit was always in the background.
Boeing, Boeing, gone
Regarding “Boeing, suppliers slip as crisis grows,” (December 18), hen I read about such seriously questionable big business negligence cases as that of Boeing’s failure to immediately call for the grounding of their 737 Max fleet when warned in advance – even before the first crash – about its deadly flaw that resulted in the deaths of 346 people, I picture (albeit a bit cynically) corporate CEOs figuratively shrugging their shoulders and defensively saying that their job is to protect shareholders’ bottom-line interests.
Meanwhile, the shareholders, also figuratively shrugging their shoulders, defensively state that the CEOs are the ones to make the moral/ethical decisions.
White Rock, B.C.
Solving the Bibi dilemma
I was surprised and pleased that a member of the legal profession has spoken out against the legal establishment’s witch-hunt against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and believes that he should not resign (Ophir Falk’s “Justice, justice and democracy you shall pursue,” December 19), but I’m now also inclined to agree with Lior Akerman’s “The time for change has come” (December 16), that Netanyahu, although innocent, should step down for the good of the country.
How to reconcile these opposing thoughts?
What if Netanyahu were to step down as leader of the Likud on two conditions: that he be appointed the foreign minister in any Likud led government, and that the Likud would hold leadership elections after Bibi’s trial(s), when he could possibly regain the party leadership and therefore the prime ministership?
Such a solution would offer the best of all worlds by allowing Gantz and Liberman, etc. to join a coalition with the Likud, and thus avoid the unhealthy stranglehold that the religious parties have had on the country for years. It would also keep Netanyahu on the political scene and help Israel’s sorely lacking hasbara by leveraging his unrivaled personal relationship with so many world leaders.
Netanyahu would need persuading, but if the Likud godfathers presented it as an ‘offer he can’t refuse,’ then it would be an opportunity to enhance his reputation as an patriot by putting the country first and then regain the PM mantle after he is proven innocent in court.
Hatred with deep historical roots
The French parliament’s recent definition and condemnation of antisemitism, and the proclamation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (Antisemitism and human rights, December 18) are significant in the history of European antisemitism.
Virulent antisemitism was rooted in Christian doctrine in Europe in the 4th century when Jews were labeled by Saint John Chrysostom as “the other” for not having accepted the new religion. Jews were not necessarily to be killed outright, since they were related through Jesus, but they should be ostracized from society.
The famous sculpture at the Cathedral in Strasbourg portrays the Jew as blindfolded, not having seen the “truth” of Christianity. Of course a Jew could take off the blindfold by converting, an act still lauded by the Catholic Church during the Holocaust, when Pope Pius tried (unsuccessfully) to arrange the escape from the Warsaw ghetto of Jews who had converted to Christianity.
During the Middle Ages, the Jew was demonized and blamed for everything, including the bubonic plague. Antisemitism was incorporated by Martin Luther into the Protestant revolution.
This religious hatred did not seem to cross over the Atlantic to the United States, partly because the early colonists were themselves escaping religious persecution in Europe. When antisemitism appeared, it was in the form of racial hate, which paralleled Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries
The above-mentioned proclamations may not affect psychological hatred of Jews, but it is hoped that they will have an impact on the reasoned thinking of those who simply lack knowledge about antisemitism and its consequences, and are open to the concept of liberty and equality for all.
Beit Shemesh
“Ex-Miss Iraq: I’m ashamed that Jewish life in Arab states came to an end due to hatred” (December 8) highlights the courageous stance of Iraqi beauty queen, Sarah Idan, who clearly states that thriving Jewish life ended in Iraq, as elsewhere in the Middle East, “much, as a result of antisemitism.”
Finally, the truth is out, and from an Arab notable, that the creation of Israel was largely ancillary, not causal, to the Arab governments’ attacks against their Jews. The main cause was their thirst to despoil and extricate Jews, as with other minorities, from their societies and economies, and they are all the worse for it.
Palestinian Arabs should reflect that had the neighboring Arab rulers really wanted to support them, they would have ensured warm hospitality for Jews in their home countries as an alternative to emigration to Israel. Then, as now, they couldn’t have cared less about their Palestinian Arab “brothers.”
The mentality of Arab hatred of Jews is slowly subsiding in some very limited circles. Only progress on this front and fair partnership with Israel can hope to bring true peace to all.
Targeting Trump
Ruthie Blum’s article, “Impeaching the electorate” (December 19), in which she is critical of Democrats for impeaching President Donald Trump, is improperly titled, because, even if Trump is convicted in the Senate, Mike Pence would become president.
Blum conveniently does not refer to the facts of the impeachment, because they are so damning to Trump. In its editorial, “Trump Should Be Removed From Office,” Christianity Today, a publication read primarily by Evangelical Christians, a group that has been loyal to Trump, wrote, “The facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”
In uncritically defending Trump, Blum ignores among many other negatives:
• As Gil Troy wrote on December 18, we should not excuse “Trump’s compulsive bullying, belittling, bigotry, vulgarity divisiveness, spitefulness, libels and lies, besmirching much that is sacred in America.”
• Trump has implied that Jews have duel loyalty and put their financial interests ahead of ethical considerations, possibly contributing to the sharp recent increase in antisemitism in the US.
• Despite increasing evidence that Israel and the entire world are heading toward a climate catastrophe, Trump is in denial and has been doing everything he can to weaken or eliminate efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island