Letters to the Editor February 9, 2020: The Olmert/Abbas show at the UN

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
The Olmert/Abbas show at the UN
I was flabbergasted to read “Olmert, Abbas to talk about Trump peace plan in NY” (February 7) and that Olmert wants to talk with Abbas about the real way to make peace.
How can Israel have two prime ministers to advance two directions for peace? If disgraced former PM Olmert wants to talk to Abbas, then he should first get the mandate from the Israeli people to be their leader, but he should remember that during his term his approval rating hit an all-time low of 3%. He calls the Trump Peace Plan propaganda for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, forgetting that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz is essentially on the same page as Netanyahu on the American plan. With other parties, this has to mean that the overwhelming Israeli population is in favor.
Olmert skips over his failed attempts at peace with Abbas while representing us. He presented Abbas with a plan (which we of course was rejected for not being Judenrein enough), but we have never seen that plan. What else was offered in the secret meetings, we will never know
Because of his duplicitous, near-treasonous actions, The Jerusalem Post should immediately abandon Olmert as one of its contributors.
I have been uncomfortable with The Jerusalem Post making former PM Ehud Olmert a regular columnist. I realize that your paper wants to provide a diverse set of perspectives on contemporary politics, but Olmert is an embittered and increasingly nasty commentator, providing more of a shrill voice than thoughtful set of views. His planned press conference with President Abbas, however, is a step too far for me. If he goes ahead with that press conference, and the Post continues to feature his columns, you may lose some of your loyal readers
Much to my chagrin, a number of months ago, the Post informed its readers that disgraced ex-prime minister and convicted felon, Ehud Olmert, was to be offered a column in which to share his accumulated wisdom, insights and perhaps, ways to improve our society. The editor implored his readers to suspend judgment arising from his deplorable, felonious conduct and afford him the benefit of an open mind. To date, it seems to me that he has contributed little to the betterment of society. Instead, he offers us tiresome diatribes against the current government and prime minister to be followed by the self-aggrandizing: “When I was the prime minister...”
However, all this pales by comparison to the February 7 news item in which you write that Olmert will be traveling to New York to hold a joint press conference with Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the Trump peace plan. At the UN Security Council, Abbas will make a desperate attempt to censure Israel and the United States in his persistent rejectionist trajectory. Olmert will be standing shoulder to shoulder with the same Abbas, who has yet to respond to the reckless proposals Olmert offered years ago. Let it be remembered that Abbas is a Holocaust denier and a rabid antisemite who promotes Jew-hatred throughout the PA’s organs and adamantly persists in the “pay to slay” official policy that incentivizes and rewards murder. That Ehud Olmert finds common cause with this vicious enemy who ceaselessly seeks to erase any vestige of 3,000 years of Jewish history and heritage in the Land of Israel and paper it over with a patently false narrative that is younger than Abbas himself, is beyond the pale.
That Olmert has no shame is well known. He stooped so low as to attempt to suborn the prosecution witness, Shula Zaken, his one-time chef de bureau, and offered her a bribe to “take the fall” for him. This is the dishonest, morally corrupt individual the Post has seen fit to offer a public platform.
Should Olmert pursue his plan and appear jointly with our avowed enemy, and should you choose not to consider this egregious conduct that demands the termination of his column, I, for one, will have had enough and will terminate my decades-long subscription.
We are appalled to see that Ehud Olmert has a column in your newspaper. Wouldn’t Haaretz be a more appropriate venue for him?
His meeting with Abbas is one more brick in his wall of shame. Who gave him the right to do stealth diplomacy with a mass murderer and Holocaust denier?
We are not interested at all in hearing what he has to say and many of our friends share this view.
For sheer incomprehensibility, it would be hard to top that planned joint Ehud Olmert/Mahmoud Abbas news conference at the UN Security Council to denounce the Trump Peace Plan.
The plan is surely is not beyond criticism, but it is an astonishingly fresh attempt to solve the interminable conflict with the Palestinians. All efforts should now be directed at encouraging the PA to engage with, rather than wrathfully reject it. Especially so, since such rejection is likely, as already evident, to be more violent than merely vocal. Abbas should not be embraced, especially by a former prime minister in his preemptive efforts to sabotage the deal.
Olmert should rethink this colossal misjudgment.
Syracuse, NY
A real peace plan
In “Israel needs a real peace plan” (February 6), Nadav Tamir states, “The two-state solution is unattainable while Palestinian interests are ignored and Palestinian leaders are excluded from the peace process.” Unfortunately, 1) Palestinian “interests” include the expelling of all Jews from Israel, which they consider occupied Arab territory and 2) the Palestinian leaders exclude themselves from the peace process.
Yes, the Palestinians are rejecting the Trump Peace Plan outright. So, what’s new? Have they not rejected every peace plan submitted to them, even one that gave them everything they said they required? Did they respect the Oslo accords? Of course not.
Tamir states, “The leaders of the PA in Ramallah understand that terrorism has hurt them just as it has done damage to Israel, and they are trying to achieve independence through non-violent means.” Oh, really? Has he no knowledge of the Pay-to-Slay payments that are central to the Palestinians policy, no matter how much their funds are cut?
Would Tamir offer to name a poll in the last five years that says the majority of the Israel public supports a two-state solution without demilitarization and acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state? He must think the Israeli public is so gullible. Israelis are fearless and have proved it time and time again, as in not moving from their homes in the South in spite of constant provocation from the Gazans. We have lost hope for peace because of Palestinian intransigence and their impossible demands.
If Israel succumbs to all the demands and interests of the Palestinian people, we might as well start packing our bags.
Rishon Lezion
The only way to beat con artists is to out-con them. The concepts of “from the river to the sea” and “two-state solution” are now clearly seen to be mutually exclusive.
Nobody seriously expected the Palestinian Authority to accept the Trump plan in any shape or form, least of all US President Donald Trump. What Trump has done is to call the bluff of the so-called moderates among Arab Palestinians and expose them as the extremists they are.
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is terrified of accepting any part of the Deal of the Century because his own people will kill him if he does. He fell for the trap hook, line and sinker.
Israeli Arab reaction has also been revealing. Many have protested against being included in any future Palestinian state, while holding up the flag of Palestine, which they don’t want to become a part of (“Triangle hypocrisy,” February 7). You can’t make this stuff up.
The Trump plan won’t directly bring peace to the Middle East, but at least it will expose lies on the Arab side about actually being partners for peace. Once that’s clear, they can be dealt with as the adversaries that they actually are. This ruse may also embarrass Arab countries that previously supported the Arab Palestinians into distancing themselves from that path to nowhere.
San Mateo, California
Waging war on low salaries
Ehud Olmert (“The shocking wage gap,” February 7) is right when he states that the quality of education and health care are “deteriorating right before our eyes.” It has been going on for a long time and no one in politics seems interested enough to do something about the situation.
Teachers’ salaries are close to my heart, as I taught English in the system for years. I earned so little (in the 1990s my salary was NIS 5,000/month) that at one point I had three jobs. Each of my children had to wait her turn to get new shoes, or a winter jacket because we couldn’t eat and buy those things at the same time. My husband was an electrician with his own company, and was not able to make much money; often people didn’t like to pay, or couldn’t, so he was always short at the end of the month.
Working three jobs plus teaching at home, as one can imagine, was not conducive to a happy family life. I had little energy or time to take care of home and family.
Teaching in college these days isn’t much better. Tenure is impossible to achieve and “lecturers from outside” earn a pittance compared to the same courses taught in universities. The MALAG is busy fighting with the teachers over salary and work conditions instead of being honest about the plight of lecturers, and trying to help.
Teachers are still working both in the education system and without to make ends meet. This intolerable situation has got to stop. Perhaps the new education minister will work for better salaries in the education system instead of focusing on propaganda. Smaller classes and better accommodation for LD students will help, but if my salary doesn’t stretch to buy three pair of shoes for my three children in one month, even though I have a degree, something is wrong.
Desire to destroy/defend/save
“Revising History” (February 5) states that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact (between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union) was signed a month before the outbreak of WWII. In fact, that neutrality pact was signed on August 23, 1939, just a week (and a day) before the outbreak of WWII on September 1, 1939.
You may ask, what difference does three weeks make?
Turn to the “Why wasn’t Auschwitz bombed” discussion (February 4 and 5 op-ed and Letters).
If a peak of approximately 12,000 people a day were arriving at Auschwitz in 1944, then three weeks would give an arrival figure of 252,000 people.
Just one week’s disruption or delay of the mechanism of murder would have saved 84,000 people.
As Yad Vashem’s website notes, “the Allies’ desire to help Jews was not nearly as strong as the Nazis’ desire to murder them.”
Turning to the present, we must ensure that our desire to defend our country is much stronger than the desire of those who wish to destroy it.
“Evian: The last resort” and “Why wasn’t Auschwitz bombed really” have in common the apathy and indifference of the world to the fate of Jews before and during WW II.
• The 1938 International Refugee Conference in Evian, which was supposed to find a solution for the trapped Jews in Germany and Austria, yielded no results. Every country explained why it couldn’t absorb Jewish immigrants, thereby sealing their fate in Germany and Austria. For Hitler, it was further proof that he could continue to do what he wanted with “his” Jews
• The Auschwitz bombing: In the spring of 1944, the full magnitude of the extermination of all Jews in Europe became known to the free world after escaped Auschwitz inmates provided first-hand evidence about the daily industrial slaughtering of Jews. This information was transmitted via Switzerland to highest military and political echelons of the Allied powers and to the Jewish leaders in the free world. Letters and cables arrived from Hungary and Slovakia, primarily from Rav Dov Weismandel and Mrs. Gisi Fleishmann, begging the Jews in the free world to undertake everything in their power to convince the Allies to bomb Auschwitz and the railroad tracks leading to it to halt the daily slaughter of 10,000 Hungarian Jews. These letters, which I personally read, are an outcry from depth of hell to the free world, to stop this unimaginable atrocity, for which there is no precedent in human history.
Nahum Goldman, the US leader of Zionist Federation, met with the Allied Air Force High Command Generals, pledging them to undertake one air sortie bombing Auschwitz, which would save lives of hundreds of thousands of victims, but he found no empathy or sympathy for the Jews doomed to death. At the end of the meeting, he accused the generals of “lack of human understanding for the terrible tragedy of the extermination camps”
Goldman noted, “These talks were among the most unforgettable and depressing in my long career.”
In contrast, I was impressed by the recent International Auschwitz Conference in Yad Vashem, where over 40 world leaders participated, recounted the tragedy of the Holocaust, and promised to do everything in their power to fight antisemitism. If these participating countries had shown even 10% of this solidarity with Jews 75 years ago, many Jews would have been saved and the Holocaust would have taken a different course.
View from Albion
Regarding “Corbyn’s place in the history of antisemitism” (February 2), as leader of Labour, Britain’s second-biggest party, Jeremy Corbyn had a real opportunity to become prime minister in the last election.
There were a number of reasons why Labour was rejected by the electorate, apart from its ridiculous position on Brexit. Primarily, the UK tends to prefer centralized politics and Labour had shifted to the far-Left. The shadow chancellor aspired to a Marxist economic system while the prime minister in waiting looked likely to oppose NATO, disband much of the army and abandon Britain’s nuclear defense strategy.
The Jewish community wasn’t particularly shocked about far-left antisemitism, but was totally unprepared for the way it took hold of one of the major parties. Corbynistas were only listening to Jews from far-left anti-Israeli fringe groups and were ignoring the vast majority of the Jewish community who support the right of Israel to exist, even if they oppose its current government. Labour’s anti-Zionism was slipping too easily into antisemitism and an attack on British Jews.
During the election itself, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis made an unprecedented public intervention asking voters to consider their conscience were they to vote for an antisemitic party. Labour candidates reported that many traditional working-class voters were telling them that they didn’t like Corbyn’s antisemitism and were unlikely for the first time to vote Labour.
The scale of Corbyn’s defeat under the UK’s electoral system makes a Labour government unlikely at the next election, but unless they return to the center, they could be finished as a political force. The unanswered question is where far-left antisemitism will go in this political vacuum.