Letters to the Editor February 15th, 2021: Being Bensouda

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Being Bensouda
Regarding “The fatuous claims of Fatou Bensouda,” (Readers letters, February 10), I share all the criticism of Bensouda’s decision on behalf of ICC to investigate Israeli for so-called “war crimes.”
Before taking this absurdity to task, we must take a look at Bensouda’s curriculum as chief prosecutor and general attorney in Gambia from 1987 to 2000.
During this period, a coup d’etat was initiated by Yahya Jammeh, who became president and dictator of Gambia. Many abuses of power and human rights occurred during his reign, including shooting students in 2000, abducting citizens, witch-hunts and rape. During this period Bensouda was the highest-ranking legal officer in Jammeh’s government, serving this brutal dictator and ignoring all of his abuses of human rights.
Our Mossad and intelligence services, which managed to extract the top-secret nuclear archive from the center of Tehran, should have no difficulty drawing up a detailed profile report on Bensouda’s unsavory activities in Gambia serving in a brutal dictatorship. I have no doubt that there are interesting stories about her tacit or outspoken support for or involvement in human rights violations.
Then the ICC can decide who really needs to be investigated for war crimes – Bensouda or Israel.

Guilty even if proven innocent
It continues to amaze me that the articles by former prime minister Ehud Olmert continue to “grace” your pages.
In “Judgment day” (February 12) there is no reason for his vitriolic castigation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family members, other than, I think, to continue Olmert’s “therapeutic” vomiting of his pure unadulterated hatred.
Olmert starts the article by stating that he, Olmert, was not going to “express an opinion, raise a hypothesis, or recommend any conclusions regarding the charges filed against Netanyahu,” since “every defendant is innocent, until proven guilty… in court.”
Well that resolution lasted about four paragraphs before Olmert launched his diatribe against the prime minister and family, calling him a criminal and crook with no inhibitions, including his “delusional wife and disturbed, rude and spoiled son Yair,” as part of his non-statements regarding the “defendant.”
Olmert never gives clear reasons for his hatred of Netanyahu, but his continuing vitriolic articles lend themselves to show us the mind of a lonely, desperate man who can pour out his soul for free to a public who is really not interested at all in what he has to say.
He talks at the end about “everyone” being held accountable for the “filthy conduct that enabled Netanyahu to cause so much damage.”
I assume Mr. Formerly-convicted-prime minister, that this includes you, too.
I have just read the latest offensive article written by Ehud Olmert. In his first paragraph he states, “It is not my intention to express an opinion, raise a hypothesis, or recommend any conclusions regarding the charges filed against Netanyahu. I truly believe that every defendant is innocent until proven guilty in a lawful procedure by judges who were legally appointed to do so in court.”
If he had concluded his article with this, then wonderful. But oh no. He later states, “Bibi Netanyahu is a criminal, a crook with no inhibitions” and concludes “He deserves to sit in prison for many years” Is Olmert a judge? What happened to “innocent until proven guilty?”
In my earlier years, as Jewish chaplain to Wormwood Scrubbs prison in London, I dealt with the heartaches of families who had loved ones in prison. I will never forget their trials and tribulations. It is disgusting to wish that a person should go to prison for many years.
In Ethics of the Fathers we read “Ye Sages be heedful of your words.” If the Sages had to be careful, then certainly we mortals should be.
Emeritus Minister Woodside Park Synagogue, London
It’s all about me
It is a sad reflection on our times that our government will probably not legislate to enforce vaccination against COVID (“Gov’t able to force shots, but won’t,” February 12).
What we are witnessing is the triumph of the rights of the individual over those of the community. This has not always been the case! Only in the last couple of decades have we been seeing the erosion of the social commitment that is integral to the stability and tenacity of our society to maintain itself for those who come after it.
Numerous times in Jewish sources we find the saying: “All Israel is responsible for each other,” which means that one’s personal rights and liberties must be subject to the public good, so that if the exercise of such rights adversely affect the welfare or safety of the community, they must have no place in society.
When we were younger, favorite junk foods of children were rogelach or beigelach and others, all ending in lach meaning “to you.” Now it’s all bisli, milky, taami, etc. – all with the suffix of “me, myself.” That is a reflection on the current climate of the legal profession, which has become obsessed with the rights of the individual, and it extends to the leaders and policy-makers of Israeli society. What other explanation is there to allow the continuation of the weekly ritual of mass infection in Balfour Street?
Now we have the public legal debate whether the vaccination should be obligatory, whether people who elect not to be vaccinated should be allowed into malls, stores, workplaces, schools. Where has the communal responsibility gone? Why am I to be subjected to possible infection by these self-centered people? Where are my rights?
Talmud is the product of thought, social philosophy and wisdom of generations of the greatest scholars who led the communities of old – we must not ignore their basic principles – our laws and responsibilities must consider the overall good of society and preserve our community heritage for the generations that will follow us.
I’m much obliged for your timely reminder that the 2021 Major League Baseball season is about to get underway (“Navigating 2021 COVID grind will be huge mental challenge,” February 12). With ongoing focus on the hopefully waning pandemic, staying on top of the who’s who of the upcoming elections, evaluating the will we/won’t we possibility of ending Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and speculating as to why US President Joe Biden has yet to give our prime minister the time of day, that spring training is only days away could have easily been overlooked.
If nothing else, this year promises to be somewhat better than the woefully abbreviated one of 2020. The modifications demanded by the pandemic are not overly troublesome, and I’d like to think that at some point during the summer the gates will open and fans will again be able to fully enjoy ballpark excursions.
Additional on-the-fly adjustments to the game will undoubtedly be called for, but it seems that both the players’ union and the MLB front office are in synch regarding the need to ensure that the season proceeds smoothly and that there will be no unjustified postponements or scheduling mishaps. This year, hopefully, I’ll be able to start my mornings with a review of the latest baseball scores, statistics, injuries and trades – and not with corona updates.
And as a lifelong baseball fan who still remembers Roger Maris’ asterisked sixty-first home run, I long to hear the two sweetest words of the summer: Play Ball.
Ginot Shomron
Land for sale – but not to Jews
Purchasing land has been foundational to Zionism for more than a century (“‘Settlement activity, terror payments bad for peace efforts,’” February 14).
Samuel Mohilever (1824-1898), a pioneer of religious Zionism presented this message at the First Zionist Congress (1897):
“All ‘Sons of Zion’ must be completely convinced and must believe with a perfect faith that the resettlement of our country – i.e., the purchase of land and the building of houses, the planting of orchards and the cultivation of the soil – is one of the fundamental commandments of our Torah. Some of our ancient sages even say that it is equivalent to the whole Law, for it is the foundation of the existence of our people…”
By proposing to purchase land in Judea and Samaria, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) is following that venerable Zionist tradition.
Three times the world community has declared Judea and Samaria to be sovereign Jewish land: the San Remo Agreement (1920), the League of Nations (1922) and Article 80 of the United Nations Charter (1946).
As Eugene Rostow, former dean of Yale Law School (1955-1965) and under secretary of state in a Democratic administration (1965-1969) wrote in September 1983, “Israel’s right to build settlements in Judea and Samaria is “unassailable” based on the above mentioned international agreements.”
Also, some 2,400 Jews died in June 1967 in a defensive war that liberated Judea and Samaria from Jordan’s illegal occupation. It would denigrate their ultimate sacrifice and be a perversion of fairness and justice to now say that every person has right to legally purchase land in Judea and Samaria – unless he happens to be a Jew.
Margate, Florida
Throughout history, in many jurisdictions Jews were forbidden from buying land. They were also forbidden from practicing certain professions and going to certain schools. Never again.
Jews in Israel will not live according to other people’s prejudices. If they have willing sellers, and they wish to buy, they will do so without being cudgeled by those wishing to impose a double standard upon them.
Calgary, Alberta
UNRWA: Watch $billions disappear
Regarding “UNWRA seeks $1.5b ‘to support refugees’” (February 12), am I the only one who finds it odd that after more than 70 years and tens of billions of dollars billions poured in to “support” the “refugees,” not a single one of them seems to have been resettled?
Is there no accountability from the PA or UNRWA as to where the billions are going to?
How much longer will it take for the citizens of Gaza and the PA realize that their leaders have let them down and they are never going to get out of the rut unless they admit that Israel is legitimate and not going away?
There really is no reason why UNRWA should continue to beg the world for money to fund perpetual victimhood, violence and endless refugee status.
Petah Tikva
Benevolent Soviets?
In “You got it wrong” (February 14), Mikhail Galuzin, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Japan is trying to rewrite history. Joseph Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953, was clearly on a land-grab mission once the Nazis were in retreat. If Russia was being as philanthropic as the ambassador is trying to make out, why didn’t Russia simply offer independence to the countries that it took under its control after the war? Instead it ruled these countries with an iron fist until the Berlin Wall finally crumbled in 1990.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is, of course no different from Stalin in his desire to control as much of the world as he possibly can. This is apparently a Russian psychosis.
Galuzin’s article is obviously the kind of revisionist history that the ambassador learned at school.
Annexation: What’s next?
Regarding “Sa’ar says West Bank annexation still a goal, even it not implemented now” (February 11), I agree with New Hope Party leader Gideon Sa’ar. Declaring Israeli sovereignty over Jewish communities in Area C can wait a while, giving Israel an opportunity to explain to her new Arab allies that the land in question is of religious and historic significance to Jews – and of strategic importance to Israel.
Israel should also be asking her new allies for help in explaining to the PA leadership that the rules of the game have changed. Israel will not allow the Palestinians to have a veto on Israel’s incorporating parts of Area C into Israel, but Israel will negotiate on setting borders. What happens on the Palestinian side of the border will depend on the Palestinians’ willingness to abandon their efforts to destroy Israel or convert the nation-state of the Jews into a Muslim-majority country.
Perhaps Arab nations newly allied with Israel could help the Palestinians build their economy, supplying capital for well-supervised projects that will benefit the people, rather than enriching corrupt leaders or being diverted to the continuation of the never-ending war against Israel. Israel’s new Arab allies could also work on helping the Arab so-called refugees begin to rebuild their lives – either by working to improve conditions in the PA entity or becoming citizens of an Arab country at peace with Israel.
Atlanta, GA
Polish positioning
Regarding “Polish historians ordered to apologize” (February 10), I was privileged to attend a Yad Vashem seminar several years ago when Barbara Engelking described the research which led to her book Such A Beautiful Sunny Day, which describes the abuse and murder of Jews by their Polish neighbors from whom they sought refuge during the Nazi round-ups.
She told us at that time that she had been reprimanded by the Polish government for this work and that her position on the Holocaust Council there had been threatened. We were shocked to hear of this denial of historical testimony but never thought that it would actually lead to a Polish court action against her.
It is known that there is a continuing cover-up of civilian complicity with the Nazis in Poland, as evinced by Father Patrick Desbois’s Holocaust research where he describes how even today, when he seeks to obtain testimony from Polish witnesses to the killings, he is stymied by the threats of reprisal by their neighbors who do not want to stir up old memories, or indeed to stir up the physical dirt under which mass graves are still hidden.
This is the dark side of the coin of the many Poles who are counted among the Righteous Among the Nations and saved Jews, but which needs to be equally revealed.
What is particularly egregious in the case of Engelking and her associate Prof. Jan Grabowski, is that this Holocaust denial is state-sponsored. It is a violation of freedom of speech and press and academic freedom, and gives grist to the mill of Holocaust denial by placing it under the aegis of government authority.
Beit Shemesh
Biden’s 2334 team
Regarding “Joe Biden’s A-Team of Jewish advisers, cabinet members and staff” (February 9), it will be fascinating to watch how a strongly liberal Jewish-Catholic administration operates.
Each Jew in this administration supported the BDS movement and anti-Israel UN Resolution 2334. All remained silent about it over the four-year timeframe. This resolution has been a key rallying point for antisemites.
It is important for The Jerusalem Post to highlight the facts regarding the deliberate attack on Israel and world Jewry supported by these Biden administration Jews.
Ontario, Canada