Letters to the Editor December 24, 2019: ICC iniquity and ignominy

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
ICC iniquity and ignominy
Kudos to The Jerusalem Post for your excellent in-depth coverage of the disturbing – and possibly obscene – intention of the International Criminal Court to “go after” Israel. The articles you published on December 23 supplied much-appreciated details and context, and provided a glimpse into what might develop from this saga in the short- and long-term future.
One would think that an international court of justice would seek to protect the legitimate rights of indigenous peoples (in this case, the Jews) and not try to brand their building homes in their ancestral homeland a war crime, but in a world stacked with dozens of Arab and Muslim countries leveraging significant endemic pathological global antisemitism, truth is turned on its head and the sole Jewish state is attacked for developing and defending its tiny, beleaguered birthright from those trying to destroy us.
It is ironic that on Hanukkah, the festival celebrating the defeat of our oppressors and the rededication of the Jewish Temple in our undivided capital – Jerusalem – more than 2,000 years ago, the biased ICC ignores history and justice and seeks to join cause with the anti-Israel forces that deny our right to live and to worship here today.
Ma’aleh Adumim
As 2020 beckons and we are about to enter a new year, the headline “ICC to investigate Israel for war crimes in Gaza, W. Bank” (December 22) recalls in megaphone tones a disturbing mantra from decades past.
With so many major issues troubling oppressed peoples around the world, the ICC in their bias fixation choose once again to highlight Israel for their investigations.
Israel is a democracy in a region in which such a concept is rare, and possesses a fighting force that is considered one of the most moral there is. Unfortunately, there are many countries where there is an appalling lack of political rights and civil liberties for their peoples, such as: Central Africa Republic, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, to name but a few – yet we rarely see the spotlight of investigation by international bodies fall where it rightly should.
The ICC’s allegations against us are totally without foundation. As a responsible democracy, we are well able to differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate actions in war – which is completely absent from our terrorist enemies’ agenda.
Our conscience is clear and our legal defense on this matter is compelling, so pressure needs to placed on the ICC to drop this redundant case. If this body is sincerely concerned about war crimes there are many real and blatant atrocities occurring in other parts of the world for them to spotlight.
Tel Aviv
The editorial “War Crimes” (December 23) is well argued and to the point. The statement by the ICC’s chief prosecutor is utterly unwarranted.
However, when you warn the world’s democracies that “what starts with Israel will not end with Israel,” you are using the “slippery slope” argument, a well-documented logical fallacy. To use such an argument would be to expose Israel to valid criticism.
Reading Booker like a book
In his article “Where was Rabbi Boteach this week after Jersey City attack?“(December 20), Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner berates Rabbi Boteach for his absence from events and commemorations that took place after the tragedy. In particular he berates Rabbi Shmuley Boteach for the latter’s criticism of Senator Corey Booker in connection with the Senator’s reaction to the Jersey City attack.
I am aware of the close friendship that had grown between Booker and Boteach from the time they were both in Oxford. That friendship began to unravel when the US government under president Barack Obama voted to join the European alliance that approved the ill-fated nuclear deal with Iran, which threatens Israel with extinction. A day before the vote in the Congress, Booker informed Boteach that he was going to vote with the government – a 180º turn from where he had stood before. It was a bitter disappointment for Boteach.
The final blow came with the Senate committee hearing on the proposed appointment of Judge (now Justice) Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. I still get sick to my stomach recalling the role that Booker played in the vile and totally false besmirching of Justice Kavanaugh’s reputation and the pain caused to him and his family. He was, baruch Hashem, confirmed and the US is better for it, but the pain must still be with the justice. All of this to the furtherance of Booker’s political aspirations.
In short, any criticism of Booker cannot begin to make up for the harm he did to an exceptional and honorable man (Kavanaugh) and his family.
Kfar Saba
Navigating Newton
A team of theoretical astrophysicists claims to have solved the “three body problem” first articulated by Isaac Newton, one of the great geniuses of human scientific history (“Israeli team cracks Sir Isaac Newton’s unsolved three-body problem,” December 23). Of course, Newton did not have recourse to the super computers that this team used to solve the equations to a “high degree of accuracy.”
Reading about this “breakthrough,” I couldn’t help but recall the considerable tension that often exists between experimental and theoretical physicists. Experimentalists often refer to the theoreticians as “astronauts” because they are removed from the difficulties and realities of real-life situations on Earth. Theoreticians often regard the experimentalists with undisguised scorn because they sometimes have difficulties with the complexities of the abstract mathematics employed by the theoreticians.
The theoretical astrophysicists involved in this “breakthrough” almost certainly assumed that the three bodies were spherically symmetrical with uniform mass distributions – conditions that never occur in nature for systems like the sun, moon and Earth. To consider the application of the mathematics to unknown monstrosities like “black holes” requires a leap of both imagination and arrogance that only theoreticians can somehow muster. Newton’s three-body problem may be solved maybe for billiard balls, but remains unsolved for real terrestrial bodies.
Professor Emeritus of Radiation Physics
Train of thought
Sorry to rain on anyone’s parade, but the train ain’t high-speed (“The train event,” December 22). The train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is supposed to travel at a maximum speed of 160 km per hour, but the standard for high-speed in other countries typically starts off at 350 km/h; a totally different picture.
I remember as a child in England, almost 70 years ago, awaiting with excitement and terror for the daily passage of the ‘Flying Scotsman’, reaching the magical ‘ton’, now known simply as 160 km/h. The locomotive itself was a monster of smoke and steam, with a whole bunch of intricate moving parts.
Speaking of railways, when is the railway from Ra’anana going to connect directly to the coastal line, rather than going all through Rosh Ha’ayin, et al? The tracks were completed some time ago, it seems, with the signaling all in place. We were at a public meeting in 2016, when a representative of the railway company assured the audience that all would be open by the end of 2017. Two years later and coming into the next decade, maybe it would be appropriate for the railway company to give an update to its customers on its plans for this important connection.
Fractured factions
In “A microcosm of a partitioned America” (December 24), Rabbi Shmuley Boteach complains that America – and in particular his hometown of Englewood, New Jersey, an increasingly Modern Orthodox neighborhood – is politically paralyzed. Identity politics (Orthodox Jews versus secular Jews, Jews versus non-Jews, black versus white, etc.) have taken over discussion about zoning restrictions and concrete parking lots.
Boteach thinks that Judaism is the answer to the tragedy of the great divides that engulf America today. Kiddush Hashem will bring all factions together to feel significant, respected and valued.
How is it then that Judaism and Jews seem to be the most factious, segregated, argumentative and divided of all the religions? We have secular, Modern Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox (haredim), Chabad, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Humanistic Judaism, Neolog Judaism, Jewish Renewal, Jewish Science, “Messianic” Judaism...
For some reason, perhaps genetic, psychological or an intertwined, catalytic, combination of both, and irrespective of the universal Jewish values of tikkun olam (serving as a light unto the nations), we seem to be the ones who are in most need of a “tikkun” to overcome our own divisiveness.
Pension tension
Regarding “Aging population weighing down on economy” (December 18), one of the reasons that men may opt to stop working full time at 67 is that if they earn over approximately 5,000 shekels monthly, they will not receive the kitzbat zikna (old age pension) that is approximately 2,500 shekels monthly. They will be eligible only at 70. Perhaps if the tax authorities looked at the effect of this law and amended it, more men would choose to be more productive after the official retirement age.
Russian muckraking
Regarding “Yisrael Beytenu has antisemitic campaign, Russian speakers say” (December 24), unfortunately, because many of the Russian-speaking immigrants are not halachicly Jewish,and have been exposed to antisemitic tropes not aimed at them throughout their lives, they accept and believe the hurtful nonsense espoused by Yisrael Beyteinu. When party leader Avigdor Liberman claims that these anti-religious comments are mistakenly interpreted from the Russian or were made by individuals and they do not represent the viewpoint of the party, do not be fooled!
Beit Shemesh
Chord discord
The Oxford English Dictionary, in its entry on the word chord, quotes Dr. Johnson as follows: “When it signifies a rope or string in general, it is written cord.” The bridge at the entrance to Jerusalem designed by the Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava is held up by galvanized steel wire strands, which could colloquially be called cords.
Why then does The Jerusalem Post persist in calling this bridge the Chords Bridge (latest occurrences: two articles on December 23)?
No one disputes that modern Israel is a miracle, but it does not have a bridge suspended from “a simultaneous sounding of several different notes!”
Beit Zayit
Tracking the Trump trial
Attempting to justify the impeachment of President Donald Trump, Richard H. Schwartz (“Targeting Trump,” Letters, December 23), quotes Gil Troy: “We should not excuse ‘Trump’s compulsive bullying, belittling, bigotry, vulgarity.’” Even if all this were true, none of it meets the constitutional mandate: “The President shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
The two articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives on a purely partisan basis suffer from the same fatal flaw. Unlike the three previous cases when presidents faced impeachment, Congress has failed to identify a single violation of law by Trump.
The “obstruction of Congress” charge is ludicrous. Trump sought a court determination that his closest personal advisers need not testify before Congress. The claim of executive privilege has been made by presidents since George Washington. In a dispute between the legislative and executive branches of government, the judiciary makes the final determination. Rather than engage in the legal process, the Democrat-controlled House charged that the mere assertion of executive privilege was “obstruction.”
Similarly, no crime appears in the charge that Trump has “abused his power,” an allegation so broad and nebulous as to be meaningless. Presidents are regularly accused of abusing their power by the opposing party when the president takes an action to which they object.
Democrats have been searching for a way to impeach the president since the day he took office. Their actions are reminiscent of Stalin’s head of the secret police Lavrentiy Beria’s promise: “Show me the man and I will show you the crime.”
Hate, anger and fear cannot be the basis for removing a duly elected president from office.  The appropriate recourse is through the ballot box.
Zichron Yaakov
President Donald Trump is not a victim, but has abused others from the beginning, from “Lock up Hillary” chants to Fox anchor Megyn Kelly and senator John McCain, whom he besmirched as not an American hero. Because of this, comparatively few major Republicans went to Trump’s Cleveland, Ohio, nominating convention – including no Republican presidents.
Conservative Republican Senator Lindsey Graham did not attend as well, and instead called him a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot,” a “kook,” “crazy,” and “unfit for office.” Last July, Trump said that Article II of the Constitution gave him the right to do whatever he wanted; he has acted according to his precept all along and now the chickens are coming home to roost.
Cambridge, MA