Letters to the Editor December 7, 2020: Maradona – Not Netanyahu

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Maradona – Not Netanyahu
Significant increases in incidences of domestic abuse have accompanied the coronavirus epidemic in Israel and throughout the world. Shelters are full, hotlines are overwhelmed and promised budgets to fight the phenomenon have not been forthcoming.
Eradication of this terrible wave of violence seems elusive. Reading Ehud Olmert’s “The secret of glory” (December 4) pinpoints one of the reasons why this is so. Maradona was arguably one of the greatest footballers ever to grace the world’s foremost soccer stages. He was also, reportedly, a domestic abuser. And yet three days of official mourning, glowing obituaries, minutes of silence and black armbands worldwide – the tributes could not have been greater. In the air-brushing of the unpalatable truth, domestic abuse is often overlooked or made invisible, especially if the perpetrator is an elite sportsman, a famous actor or other such influential figure.
Whilst this continual “brushing under the carpet” of abuse continues, the scourge of violence against women (for it is not exclusively, although almost always is against women) cannot be effectively fought.
The existential question, are we free to enjoy, appreciate and celebrate the artistic work, films, music, literature or sporting prowess of people who also happen to be abusers, is irrelevant to the victims of that abuse. But it is a question that we should ask ourselves.
In this article, Ehud Olmert disparages Maradona just a few days after his passing. Olmert uses some conveniently chosen statistics to argue that there existed more successful soccer players. He attributes Maradona’s greatness simply to the fact that he was born in a poor neighborhood, as if he was the first and only successful athlete to have done so.
Olmert is apparently clueless as to the reason Maradona is universally adored. Maradona’s greatness cannot be measured by number of goals, championships or fouls committed against. Maradona, with his magic, brought about the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. This utilitarian feat is what differentiates Maradona from the rest of the players.
How many people, apart from a few Germanophiles, shed tears of emotion watching Beckenbauer? I ask this with all due respect. And for the grandeur-complex afflicted people of Argentina he did another incomparable feat – he proved to the whole world, once and for all, what each and every Argentinian knows since he was born and the world stubbornly refused to acknowledge: that we are the best in the world.
In life, Maradona was judged by the last image of his private life spied on by the media. Dead, he has the posthumous right to be judged for his highest work.
I don’t know much of anything about soccer, but Maradona must have been a giant in the sport because for the first time ever (I think) we have had the pleasure of seeing former prime minister Ehud Olmert write about something other than how despicable he thinks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is.
I hope it is not the last time.
UNGAinly UNGA vote
Regarding “UNGA approves five anti-Israel resolutions” (December 4), what is the reason for the United Nation’s systemic antisemitism?
The flaw in the UN is that international laws are supposedly based on universal values. However, the values that stand against savagery and dehumanization are not universally held. They are the specific product of Western societies, based on the Hebrew Bible.
Prior to the 1967 Six Day War, most countries had a favorable attitude toward Israel.
In 1964, when Soviet influence had replaced America’s in Egypt, the KGB established the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Terrorism was its modus operandi. It also created a “Palestinian” people and a history that did not heretofore exist.
The Six Day War humiliated the Arabs. They, their Muslim allies, the Soviets and the non-aligned nations turned more aggressively against Israel. France imposed a “regional” arms embargo that affected only Israel.
In October, 1973, Egypt and Syria launched the Yom Kippur War. As Israeli armaments diminished, the US replenished them. In retaliation, the Arabs proclaimed an oil embargo, targeting nations perceived as supportive of Israel. The price of oil rose 300%. If you were willing to reject Israel, you got oil, and so almost every country was willing to vote as required in international fora.
So, what explains this voting pattern in 2020? Oil is no longer as large a factor. Countries that hate or compete against America can safely vilify its ally, Israel. Billions of Saudi and Qatari dollars flood our universities, spreading radical Islam and antisemitism. The Muslim Brotherhood, with its branches CAIR, Muslim Students Associations and Hamas, is well entrenched in Western governments and academia. The uncontrolled Muslim migration into Europe has brought those countries to heel.
The Palestine cause has become the current excuse for antisemitism. As more and more Arab states align with Israel, will voting pattern in the UN change? Will Western democracies regain their moral footing and set the right example?
Ottawa, Ontario
Spurious sparring partner
Gershon Baskin’s entire argument (“Where’s the partner,” December 3) is based on the incorrect premise that there is moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians. Thus, he calls for changes in both Israeli and Palestinian schooling.
But Israeli children aren’t taught that Palestinians are descended from pigs and apes nor do Israeli children’s programs encourage impressionable youngsters to seek martyrdom by killing Palestinians. In addition, Israel has proffered viable and equitable peace plans and even evacuated Jewish communities from disputed land. In contrast, even on the rare occasions when Palestinian leaders have agreed to come to the negotiating table, they have insisted that only Israel needs to make concessions and that the conflict won’t end when a peace treaty is signed. Hamas reciprocated the withdrawal from Gaza by stepping up attacks on Israeli population centers.
The sad truth is that many Israelis have been seeking peace with the Palestinians and some Palestinians who dared to engage with Israelis have been criticized (or worse) by the Palestinian leaders. The situation is not going to change until the Palestinian leaders accept the truth.
The Arabs of Palestine never had self-rule and 19 years of illegal Egyptian and Jordanian occupation of land to which Israel has legitimate claim didn’t establish any Palestinian right to that land. The Palestinian leadership needs to start preparing its people for co-existing peacefully with the nation-state of the Jews. Palestine refugees should be given the option of becoming participants in the building of a Palestinian state or gaining citizenship in an Arab country. Israel became a world power while living under siege. The Palestinians should negotiate fair and realistic borders and agree to end all hostilities. Then, they will be able to finally build a better future for their children.
Atlanta, GA
I like Gershon Baskin’s “Israeli Palestinian Moral Majority Code of Principles of Peace.” Could he please enlighten us on whether the Palestinians would accept:
• “The right to live on this land” – Jews in all of Judea and Samaria
• “The right of connection to the homeland” – Including the Temple Mount, Hebron and all of Jerusalem
• “The freedom of worship” – Synagogues on the Temple Mount and in Area A
• “The right for human security” – including no “pay for slay” incentivization/ reward for murder
• “The right to live in a democracy” – where four-year terms do not stretch to a decade and a half and beyond
• And how about “The right to a corruption-free government” – Our troubles in Israel in this department are minuscule compared with the crooked leaders in Gaza and the disputed territories. Where are all the protests about that?
Of course, it is easy to demonstrate in a democracy like ours. Baskin informs us that he joins in – but demonstrating against the leaders who never show evidence of support for Baskin’s Code is a different matter. I dare him to take up that challenge.
BDS: Bully and Demonize Semites
In “Trumpism continues to give us poisoned gifts” (December 3), Nadav Tamir begins by talking about “toxic Trumpism,” with the “poisoned gifts” he has given us thus far.
After talking about 1) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s purported run for Senate; 2) Evangelicals not wanting a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians (for fear it would prevent the fulfillment of one of their prophecies) and 3) Ambassador David Friedman being “accused” of just assisting his settler friends, we finally come to the hateful reason for the whole article: BDS – stating that most Democrats and American Jews oppose BDS but oppose outlawing it, based on the premise that opposing it would violate the right to free expression.
He says, “The connection between antisemitism and BDS sounds so ridiculous and absurd...”
What planet has this man been living on? Antisemitism is alive and well in America and the world, and BDS gives it legitimacy exactly by couching slogans, and tropes within the confines of an “organization” meant to de-legitimize the State of Israel.
Before making aliyah almost 14 years ago from New Jersey I can attest to antisemitism from non-Jews and Jews alike. Tamir’s article is nothing but a continuation of Trump-bashing, and not giving the president his just deserve in all the wonderful gifts – certainly not poisonous – that he gave to us.
Truthfully, Tamir’s membership in J Street says it all.
Obama/Biden blatant bias
 In “Obama’s Memoir: The anatomy of Iran-appeasers and bash-Israel-firsters” (December 2) Gil Troy well notes US president Barack Obama’s blindness toward Iranian mendacity and malignancy, and fecklessness in managing “asymmetry in power between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Those are attitudes that the Biden administration unfortunately seems about to reprieve. Obama’s animus towards Israel, though, seems to derive even more deeply from his highly skewed historical understanding of the Arab-Israel conflict.
As Dov Lipman has so devastatingly pointed out, Obama’s Chapter 25 account is replete with false chronologies, concealed critical context, passive presentation, and utter indifference to Arab motivations and actions. Whatever, and whenever, bad things happen, it’s the fault of the Jews.
Their prior presence ignored, Jewish mass immigration begins only after illegitimate Balfour Declaration award of later liberated Ottoman lands. That set up armed conflict between “Zionists” and Arabs. After Arabs refused partition, “the two sides quickly fell into war,” which ended with “Jewish militias declaring victory.” “For the next three decades, Israel would engage in a succession of wars with its Arab neighbors.” Ignoring the lead-up, Israel “routed” Arab armies in the Six Day War and “seized” territory.
Overlooked was Arab postwar rejection of Israel’s proffers of peace. Even today, Israel is “leveling entire neighborhoods in Gaza.” That fraudulent account not only likely greatly informed Obama’s policy positions, but will undoubtedly now further poison American public opinion concerning the conflict. As it has in the past, and likely will do in the future, such ahistorical misinformation can only lead to tragically misguided public policies.
Syracuse, New York
Toxic Tlaib tweet
I would like to briefly comment on three articles in the December 6 paper.
1) Democratic US Congresswoman Rashid Tlaib tweeted, “No child deserves to die like this” (“Israel probing Palestinian teen killing during riot”). When a “child” (teenage terrorist) is attempting to murder Israelis by throwing slabs of granite at traffic, he/she is the one responsible for whatever happens – unlike the Israeli children in cars killed by those slabs.
2) “Bahrain retracts statement that settlement products would be labeled as ‘Made in Israel.’” Bahrain was one of 145 countries to vote in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution last Wednesday that called on member states “to distinguish in their relevant dealings between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967,” saying that they should not give Israel any aid to go to those territories. And this was even with the surrender by Netanyahu of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. So much for ‘normalization’ agreements.
3) Lastly and perhaps most importantly, “Jordan fears losing control of Jerusalem Muslim sites.” Giving up control of our holiest site, the Temple Mount, was tantamount to giving up control of the Jewish Land and Jewish pride. Jordan’s status as custodian was set in 1924; Israel’s status as custodian was set 2,200 years before Islam. In the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan, Israel committed to “respect the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem.”
No agreement with Arab countries is worth the surrender of one dunam of Jewish land and certainly not the Temple Mount, unfortunately allowed to be known universally as “Haram esh-Sharif” as though it had legitimate providence.
Vaccine vagary
Will vaccines offer lasting immunity?” (December 4) brings to mind the old adage “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”
The writer describes a few dozen out of 60 million cases worldwide in which there has been a recurrent case of COVID-19 infection. It is not clear whether this means re-infection from outside sources or the virus lurking somewhere in the body only to re-appear at an opportune time.
The point is that as hundreds of millions of people are vaccinated, there will be stories of some people with symptoms, some people who will get sick with either COVID or some other possibly connected ailment, some people in which the vaccine was ineffective.
These “outliers” will be discussed ad infinitum in the newspapers and in the media. The overall effect will probably be to decrease public confidence in the vaccine and lead to widespread refusal to be vaccinated – in itself a far more dangerous phenomenon than the possibility of one-in-a-million complications.
A little understanding is a dangerous thing.
Professor Emeritus of Physics, Beersheba