Letters to the Editor December 8, 2021: Double standard?

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Double standard?

Emily Schrader (Not everything is free speech on campus," December 7) is right on target when she distinguishes between free speech and the hate and incendiary remarks against Israel and Jews on the USC campus. She decries the lack of action by university officials against posted comments such as "curse the Jews" and "I want to kill every... Jew," on the grounds of privacy and "protected speech."

I was reminded of similar comments many years ago by the American Civil Liberties Union in upholding the right of neo-Nazis to march through the heavily Jewish area of Skokie, Illinois in the name of "free speech."

Interestingly enough, the same organization today has relinquished its emphasis on free speech in favor of the pursuit of "justice" speech on contemporary issues.

Perhaps, as Schrader suggests, there remains today a double standard of "protected speech" for Jews and other groups.  

Her article points out the continued need for vigilance against antisemitic speech which can be a lead- in to violence on college campuses and in the larger community.


Life-threatening diseases

As president emeritus of Jewish Veg and author of Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism, I want to respectfully point out some problems with “Cows cause 30% of methane gas emissions, Israeli team hopes to reduce it” (December 5).

First, the impact of raising cows is far greater than 30% because, in addition to the methane emissions, forests are cut down or burned to create pasture land, and land to grow feed crops for the cows and this reduces the sequestering of CO2 and adds CO2 to the atmosphere.

Second, changing cows’ digestive systems to reduce their methane emissions fails to address the many other serious problems from raising and eating cows. These include the many life-threatening diseases caused by eating red meat, the wasteful and destructive use of land, energy and water, and the environmental problems related to the cow’s manure and the need for toxic pesticides and chemical fertilizers to raise feed crops.

Finally, and most importantly, the article fails to recognize that the only possibility of averting a climate catastrophe is through a societal shift to plant-based diets. This would not only reduce the methane emissions but would also enable rewilding and reforesting much of the over a-third of the world’s ice-free land now used for grazing and growing feed crops for animals. This is the only practical way to decrease atmospheric CO2 from its current very dangerous level to a safe level.


Independent woman

Regarding the Bennett family’s overseas trip (“Trusting leadership,” editorial, December 5), this story is merely “a storm in a teacup” as us British/Aussies call it. It happened and should blow over without any repercussions.

Gilat Bennett is a human being like any of us (and not a saint despite being the prime minister’s wife), and possibly after not having been away for a long time due to COVID, decided to book a family holiday overseas over Hanukkah. Just as others didn’t want to disappoint their children and cancel, Gilat decided not to as well. 

However, an even more relevant point is that, since when do modern independent women listen to their husbands? Naftali did the correct thing and didn’t join the family but that does not necessarily mean that Gilat would automatically decide to cancel the trip as well. 

I’m not condoning what Gilat did as I’m the first to believe that leaders should act as role models but I do think that this is not worthy of ongoing criticism. This country has far more important matters with which to be concerned.

MINA STERNRamat Beit Shemesh

Tourism to Turkey

What a delightful puff piece on the new Ataturk Cultural Center in Istanbul (“All cultural steam ahead in Istanbul,” December 5)! Who wouldn’t want an all expenses paid junket to Istanbul?

So what’s the problem? Do the Turks send journalists for free to promote Israel as a tourist destination? In your dreams!

Anyone and everyone who buys Turkish goods or goes to Turkey is supporting one of the most antisemitic regimes on planet Earth. Since most Israelis and some journalists couldn’t care less, we have a $3 billion trade deficit with Turkey. The mystery is, why don’t we support Iran, Lebanon and all the other countries who would like to see us destroyed?

It’s a mystery to me.


Appearance, not protection

Mark Feldman (“Travel restrictions – it’s all Greek to me,” December 3) notes that, “[airline] passengers are not required to show proof of vaccination or a negative [COVID] test when flying inside the US.” This is contrary to the newly instituted strict requirements for all international travelers arriving in the US via air.  

Shockingly, many thousands (perhaps as many as two million) people who were encouraged to come to the US illegally by President Biden’s own policies and campaign rhetoric are not subject to the same testing and vaccination prerequisites for admission. When asked about this obvious inconsistency, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president, responded simply that this was “a separate issue.” 

Similarly, there are no established government COVID testing procedures for the many illegal immigrants arriving at the southern US border. Coronavirus tests performed by NGOs produce an 18% positive result for migrant families and 20% for unaccompanied minors. Even so, illegal immigrants are admitted and distributed throughout the country seemingly with little or no regard to the likely impact on public health.  

While House Press Secretary Jen Psaki justified this absence of testing by saying that these people are “not intending to stay here for a lengthy period of time.” This explanation is patently absurd. These immigrants hope to remain in the US permanently. Besides, the same excuse would never be accepted from an American citizen who refused to wear a mask in a store or while taking public transportation because (s)he only planned to stay for a few minutes.

Considering this lack of concern for testing and vaccination of those crossing the border illegally, it would appear that the Biden administration is setting COVID rules as much for appearance as for protection of the public. Large numbers of people who are most likely to be ill and unvaccinated are admitted into the country for political purposes while those who pose a lesser health threat are being inconvenienced or turned away for show. 

EFRAIM COHENZichron Ya’acov

Left promoting its agenda

Douglas Bloomfield has really outdone himself this time (“Book burning in America,” December 2). First he typifies Glenn Youngkin’s successful run for governor as “focusing on issues such as race and sex, using buzzwords like ‘take back our schools.’” Actually, if there was one defining moment in the election, it was when Youngkin’s opponent, former governor Terry McAuliffe, called for taking the responsibility for children’s education away from parents and putting it firmly in the hands of the state. Outside of the realm of George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984, it is hard to see why any parents living in a democratic country would agree to this.

The “elephant in the room” on Bloomfield’s writing, is that he rarely mentions the performance of the current administration after almost a year in power, and the extremely low ratings of Biden and Harris. Bloomfield must have caught on to the criticism of his always talking about former president Donald Trump, by rarely mentioning him by name. He gladly refers to Youngkin’s winning election strategy by not calling on Trump to help him out (why would he?), but McAuliffe brought out Biden, who incredulously called Trump’s name a reported 24 times. Americans get it; Biden is not Trump.

Bloomfield also has problems naming the Bible for some reason, strangely referring to it as “the book most widely available to children of all ages,” and then clarifying “both editions, Old and New.” Funny, I thought they were often called Old and New Testaments, but not editions.

The issue Bloomfield raises on book burning is this. Parents of a number of school boards strenuously objected to their board’s choice of books for children down to age 12. The bind that parents are in is that the material in the books is of such an explicit sexual nature, that it is actually illegal to transmit it under FCC laws. In a classic Catch 22, opponents cannot legally show the material in the media. Parents who read excerpts at meetings were chastised by school boards for using explicit language. 

The books have been selected by the extreme Left in its efforts to promote its agenda for gender fluidity and related issues, hence their desire to wrest control of children’s development away from their legal guardians (i.e. parents). The issues covered both in words and explicit pictures are pedophilia, homosexual oral sex, and breast binding of young girls. Any Jerusalem Post reader can, if they were so inclined, easily get the shocking details of one of the books, Gender Queer: a Memoir, by viewing many samples of pages on Amazon. I challenge Bloomfield to take a group of 12-year-old children at random, accompanied by their parents and law enforcement agents, and show or read the excerpts to the children, and not get arrested. On second thoughts, so as to not subject youngsters to the depravity, Bloomfield should just ask his lawyers if they think this would be a good idea.

I must admit, I agree with Bloomfield that there are books freely available on library shelves covering similar matters, and that the Bible has many stories not suitable or scary to young minds. However, the difference is that they are not foisted on young children, nor are they so explicit in word and image. Finally, Bloomfield is just plain wrong in repeating the line that CRT is not in the Virginia school curriculum, as a rudimentary fact check on his part would reveal.


Begging for funds

Isn’t it about time that UNWRA’s head stopped using the phrase “Palestinians under occupation?”

The Palestinian Authority is responsible for its citizens. If they really cared about their people they would have stopped begging for funds and instead develop businesses, agriculture and industry.

They would find a willing partner in Israel. Instead they preach hate and blame Israel for all their woes.

UNWRA has only exacerbated the refugee problem and has not solved it, which it should have done in the 1950s resettling the refugees in Arab countries just as Israel resettled its Jewish refugees from the Arab states.

UNWRA bought into the propaganda that one day Israel would be destroyed and the refugees “resettled.” So sorry that didn’t happen.

So please UNWRA, take responsibility. Israel is not occupying Gaza nor the Palestinian cities which are under Palestinian control.


Gershon Baskin (“November 29 – a national holiday,” December 2) gets it all wrong when discussing UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947, known as the “Partition Plan.” He cites the “Declaration of Independence” of the Palestinian Arabs, which states that this resolution still “provides those conditions of international legitimacy that secure the right of the Palestinian Arab people to sovereignty.” 

But from the perspective of international law, this is absolutely not the case: One who rejects an agreement does not retain any rights based on that agreement. The International Court of Justice noted as much in its 1971 Namibia decision. Having rejected Resolution 181, the Arabs cannot today make an argument for their rights to a state based on it. 

Key here is the reason why they rejected it: an absolute refusal to share the land with Israel. In fact, the Arab League went to war after Israel’s declaration of independence in order to decimate the fledgling Jewish state. Anticipating the war, Arab League secretary general Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha famously spoke of “a war of extermination and momentous massacre.” Subsequently, Article 19 of the Palestinian National Covenant declared that “the partition resolution and the establishment of Israel are entirely illegal.”

It boggles the mind that Baskin ends his column by saying that what keeps the conflict alive is the “inequality and imbalance of power and wealth between the two peoples.” No! The evidence is incontrovertible that the Arabs to this day still refuse to share the land. Take a look at the Palestinian Authority logo, which represents all of “Palestine” as being in its hands. And just two months ago, the Mufti of the PA assured his followers that Israel “will pass… Jerusalem will be liberated, return to Islam… The evil will pass.”

The Palestinian Arabs – who have received more international donations per capita than any other group and are supported by the UN and various other nations and institutions – continue to play the victim card, avoiding all responsibility for their situation.


Never miss an opportunity

Gershon Baskin provides a very deceitful summary of early Israeli history. After describing the UN resolution  declaring the irrevocable right to create a Jewish state in Israel, he  simply states, “the Palestinian people rejected the UN decision.” First, there was no formal Palestinian entity at that time. Most upsetting, however, he conveniently omits the fact that the UN resolution was not just rejected, but in fact six Arab nations attacked the nascent state with the goal of obliterating it. Six thousand Jews, fully one percent of the total Jewish population, were killed in this war. The goal at that time – no Jewish state between the river and the sea – remains a hardcore principle of the Palestinian Authority.    

Amazingly, after 40 years, suddenly the Palestinians wanted the resolution implemented as far as the partition of the mandate territory into two states. Unfortunately, there are no do-overs in international relations. England can’t have the “colonies” back. 

Any discussion of a two-state solution must be grounded in the reality of 2021, not the repeatedly rejected fantasies of 1947 or other generous Israeli proposals through the years. As Abba Eban said, the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.