Letters to the editor, February 21, 2021: Dicey DC dial-in delayed

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Dicey DC dial-in delayed
Good, that’s finally out of the way. The long anticipated “call” from Washington at long last arrived and the winners of the various pools held throughout the country have been paid off – myself, I’m sorry to say, not among them.
Now the speculation focuses on what was discussed and while Lahav Harkov does an admirable job (“The nuanced differences in how Biden, Netanyahu see their call,” February 18) of piecing together the conversation based on the official releases from the Prime Minister’s Office and White House respectively. My guess is that the two statements were carefully calibrated and coordinated to provide journalists, pundits and armchair political scientists a distraction and something to mull over.
Not to worry, though. It won’t be long before the gist of what the two leaders talked about will be made known and we will have a better understanding of what to expect from US President Joe Biden during the next four years. I have every confidence that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or his successor will in no way compromise Israel’s well-being and security, even if it means a cold shoulder from the Oval Office.
When, then, can we expect a Middle East policy statement from the newly inaugurated president? Good question. Anyone interested in starting a new pool?
BARRY NEWMAN
Ginot Shomron

Regarding “The phone call that came with a message” (February 19), I was aghast that you would propagate a classic anti-Jewish slur.
Specifically: “After four years in which Donald Trump seemingly gave Netanyahu whatever he wanted, Biden and his aides wanted to put the Israeli politician back in his right place. He does not control Washington anymore.”
So, until Biden was inaugurated, and for at least four years, Israel’s prime minister “controlled Washington.” This is the language of real antisemites who frequently assert that the Jews control America’s leaders – and the entire world.
So why are you using the language of “Jewish control” over “Washington,” by which you mean America’s federal government? This claim is utterly false and disgusting.
How ironic that less than a month ago The Jerusalem Post published “Turkey pro-government media claims ‘Jews’ control America” (January 29). From Turkey such a claim is bad, but it’s OK for you to write it? So, until January 20 Netanyahu did “control Washington?” Do you stand by this vile assertion? If so, what is your evidence?
Your disgraceful op-ed can now be used to support the enemies of Israel and the Jews: “Look!, even the editor of The Jerusalem Post agrees that Jews were controlling the US federal government!”
As a Jew, a Zionist, a volunteer during the Yom Kippur War and a former resident of Israel, I find your comments utterly inexcusable, false and disgraceful.
JOE LAWRENCE
Miami, Florida

In “The phone call that came with a message,” Yaakov Katz writes, “Biden and his aides wanted to put the Israeli politician back in his right place. He does not control Washington anymore.”
The use of the word “control” is disturbing.
Did Mr. Katz mean that our prime minister is less likely to find a sympathetic ear? The editorial policy regarding the use of words and phrases should accurately describe the reality of our situation.
I ask the writer to please be more careful when using emotive language. I ask the Jerusalem Post to be more judicious about using biased derogatory – words such as “settler” and/or “settlements”for example – to describe Israelis living over the old Green Line.
Don’t use the language our enemies use to describe us. I don’t beat my dog, and I give charity. Neither I nor my fellow citizens deserve to be maligned.
BARRY LYNN
Efrat

Yaakov Katz blames Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the poor relations with former US president Barack Obama. Now that Joe Biden is president and Donald Trump is gone, we have a new sheriff in town and Netanyahu would be wise to shape up and smell the roses.
Katz also accuses Netanyahu of exacerbating an already tense situation regarding the JCPOA (Iran/nuclear) deal by addressing Congress in 2015, but he omitted a number of important incidents in which the Obama/Biden administration went out of its way to display its antipathy to Israel.
To openly demonstrate their loathing of Israel, the Obama/Biden team did as follows:
• Purposely avoided Israel after the failed Cairo speech of 2009
• Forced the closure of Ben-Gurion airport at the height of the summer season in 2014
• Refused to sell hellfire missiles to Israel in the middle of the 2014 war
• Lied about the murder of four Jews in Paris in January 2015, calling it a “random murder”
• Promoted and refused to veto UNSC Resolution 2334 in December of 2016 which states that all of Jerusalem is illegally occupied by Israel
Since Biden is apparently getting ready to push us under the bus with the Iran deal once again, I personally would’ve been happier if Biden hadn’t called. We’ll manage a lot better without him and his significantly antisemitic Democratic Left.
MATTIAS ROTENBERG
Petah Tikva

That settles it
Nadav Tamir’s opposition to KKL-JNF’s support of settlement expansion in the disputed territories (“How did a symbol of Zionism like KKL-JNF become an organization that hurts Israel?” February 19) rests on several inconsistent and faulty propositions
• He postulates that JNF-KKL’s actions violate international law. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared just three months ago, in accordance with a number of international law experts, that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are not inherently illegal.
• Tamir assumes that settlements prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Not surprisingly, he relies on the ad hoc 1949 armistice line – having no historical relevance – to demarcate “Palestinian land.” Whether and when there should be a Palestinian state is a subject for another day. What is clear is that its parameters must be determined through negotiations between the parties, one of whom has shown little if any interest in obtaining a state of their own through peaceful means, even when Israel froze all settlement activity as a show of good faith. Imposing restrictions on one of the parties ab initio reduces the incentive of the other to negotiate, and unfairly prejudges the final outcome.
• According to Tamir, Zionism requires that Israel be “an equal home for all Jewish and non-Jewish citizens regardless of religion... and ethnicity.” But then he objects to Jewish presence in “occupied Palestinian territory,” which apparently must be Judenrein. Evidently, “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine.”
• He notes that the Reform Movement in North America has condemned KKL-JNF’s actions. While the opinions of all our brethren outside Israel should be considered, they are not determinative. Indeed, if we had bowed to the Reform movement’s earlier policies, there would have been no State of Israel at all – beginning in 1948.
• Perhaps most troubling is Tamir’s repeated implication that “liberal values” contradict Jewish residence in Judea and Samaria. Yet he favors illiberally prohibiting members of a particular group from living wherever they wish based solely on their religious and cultural heritage. Also, consistent with immoral PA policy, he would prohibit private Palestinians from selling their land to whomever they choose – an unconscionable infringement on personal property rights.
EFRAIM A. COHEN (RETIRED AMERICAN DIPLOMAT)
Zichron Yaakov

Mothers of invention
In “Who is Itamar Ben-Gvir, the loyal student of Meir Kahane?” (February 18), Gershon Baskin calls this statement by Betzalel Smotrich “infamous”: “The Palestinian people are an invented people a day and a half ago. The Palestinian people never existed, and a Palestinian state will never be established.”
Really? Is Smotrich’s statement anymore “infamous” than the words of PLO Executive Committee member Zahir Muhsein explaining the strategy of the Palestinian Arabs to the Dutch newspaper Troux in 1977:
“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the State of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism.
“For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while I as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheba and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.”
Or anymore “infamous” than this quotation from Golda Meir:
“There is no such thing as the Palestinian people. It is not as if we came and threw them out of the country. They didn’t exist.”
Baskin’s selective memory and selective outrage completely undermine his argument.
RICHARD SHERMAN
Margate, Florida

For all the COVID in China
If Matan Vilnai – who, as a former ambassador to the country, really should know better (“Ex-envoy: In COVID war, China won, Israel lost,” February 21) – honestly believes that fewer than 5,000 Chinese have died from COVID-19 (as opposed to, say, 67,000 in Germany, 7,000 in Japan, and 21,000 in Canada), then I have a bridge in Shanghai to sell him.
Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised by such a statement coming from a man so disconnected from reality that he blithely asserts that the brutally repressive and authoritarian Chinese regime “wants its people to be happy.”
One can criticize our government’s (mis) handling of the pandemic without taking flight into La-La Land.
MENACHEM G. JERENBERG
Ramat Beit Shemesh

Go to jail; do not collect $200
Regarding “Israeli woman released, returns home as two shepherds freed to Syria,” February 19), I am pleased that the young lady who crossed into Syria is now on her way back into Israel and I am grateful for the sensitive diplomatic and activity that led to this. However, I think that the lady in question should go straight to prison and pay for the horrendous results of her folly.
The release of the two apparent terrorists inside of Israel will mean that we will now have two malefactors roaming and plotting freely in our midst, preparing to murder the next innocent victims for being Jewish and Israeli.
We are understandably not informed of the other “goodwill” gestures which Israel had to concede in exchange for her release. Was it to reduce our attacks on Iranian activities in Syria? Was it to desist from trying to prevent the upgrading of Hezbollah’s rockets? We will probably never know. But significant damage was caused to Israel.
If these two terrorists do recommence their deadly activities and bring about the death of innocent citizens (heaven forbid) and if Israel is indeed restrained from its defensive preemptive actions, then I hope the young lady will have it on her conscience for the rest of her foolish life – and let it be a lesson to all of us of our responsibility to our fellow Jew: “All Israel is responsible for each other.”
LAURENCE BECKER
Jerusalem

Blame – our claim to fame
Regarding “PA calls for pressure on Israel to allow vaccines into Gaza (February 17), the Palestinians are always calling on the international community to pressure Israel when it suits them. How about the international community and the human rights commission putting pressure in the PA and Hamas about returning the bodies of our fallen soldiers, one of whom was killed in a ceasefire violation.
Mr. [UN secretary-general Antonio] Gutteres, may I remind you that Gaza is not occupied Palestinian territory and neither is the West Bank. Gaza has a border with Egypt where all needs can be met – except for smuggling arms, which even the Egyptians object to.
Likewise there is a border between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Why can’t Jordan provide the vaccinations bought from the Russians? Why can’t the PA arrange for vaccines themselves, as they are required to do by a treaty they themselves signed?
Why is Israel always responsible and maligned at every opportunity?
FREYA BINENFELD
Petah Tikva

Readers’ letters about readers’ letters
I would like to 1) praise The Jerusalem Post on the variety of articles that try to appeal to all readers and 2) direct my letter to readers whose letters attack the newspaper for not agreeing with them.
Israel detractors and antisemites do not rely on The Jerusalem Post for material, and the newspaper should not only reflect one side of any issue. For example, the article “Argentinian rabbi in Israel wanted by Interpol for suspected sex abuse,” which was attacked by a letter writer (February 17), presents a troubling issue that has been reported extensively in the Hebrew press regarding the ease with which sexual predators from abroad find refuge in Israel.
Another reader expressed indignation at an article presenting people opposed to the vaccine because it promotes fake news. This is curious since there are many people who don’t want to be vaccinated and ignoring them is pointless. I hope The Jerusalem Post continues to takes all its readers into account.
LINDA DAYAN
Ashkelon

Regarding the letter sent by Harry Brown (“Bone Picking Zone,” February 17) referring to the harmful choice of language used by The Jerusalem Post when referring to KKL-JNF buying land, his comments were well put.
I hope the Post takes note and “avoids use of language that is incorrect and unnecessarily plays into the hands of our detractors.”
EDA ASSEO
Ashdod

Blanket coverage
Just before the recent cold weather I got a call to say I was getting something from Keren Leyedidut, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews founded by the late Rabbi Eckstein z”l. They came with a big package – and imagine my delight when I found it to be a large magnificent blanket to keep me warm at night. No gift could be more appropriate in the cold winter nights for elderly folk like myself. I was deeply grateful for this unexpected gift, which was apparently being distributed to many elderly people in Jerusalem and elsewhere.
I also get invaluable help from the Fellowship every month enabling me to buy food, but I cannot get over the timely thoughtfulness of this wonderful and inspiring gesture – especially at a time when we are deeply embedded in gloom and uncertainty.
DAVID HERMAN
Jerusalem