March 25, 2019: Hamas controls UNRWA

On Hamas and UNRWA, Israel-diaspora ties, and other topics.

A Palestinian woman takes part in a protest against possible reductions of the services and aid offered by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), in front of UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City August 16, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
A Palestinian woman takes part in a protest against possible reductions of the services and aid offered by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), in front of UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City August 16, 2015.
Hamas controls UNRWA
In “Qatar’s break with Hamas shakes up Mideast politics” (March 24), Jack Rosen asserts that Qatar has broken off with Hamas and that it is redirecting its funds through UNRWA.
Rosen neglects to mention that UNRWA, which hosts 81% of the Gaza population, is controlled by Hamas.
Documentation of the Hamas takeover of the UNRWA workers union and the UNRWA teachers association in Gaza was provided in a study commissioned for the European Parliament by the Center for Near East Policy Research in 2009. Total control of UNRWA in Gaza by Hamas has continued ever since.
Rosen correctly states that Hamas is defined as a terrorist entity by the US and Israel and that Israel has approved the funding of UNRWA through Qatar. The US and the Israeli governments acknowledge that UNRWA continues to nurture the Hamas terror base in Gaza.
Why don’t Rosen and the American Jewish Congress oppose a policy that buttresses Hamas terror control in Gaza?
Director, Israel Resource News Agency
Harming Israel-Diaspora ties
In “Rabbi rebukes PM for harming Diaspora-Israel ties,” (March 22), Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch is critical of the government’s right-wing positions There is almost nothing newsworthy in the interview except for one crucial statement: “The Reform movement must take significant blame for having not done enough to prevent Jewish assimilation in the US and what he calls the ‘dilution of Jewish identity’ in the country.”
For two centuries, Reform has been trying to assimilate into the local country while professing to maintain Jewish values. The problem is that the only “Jewish values” they maintain are those that coincide with their liberalism. They have done such a good job at inculcating liberal values that groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace and #Ifnotnow can now manipulate those values to be anti-Zionist and antisemitic.
How can allow his people to claim that Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians is a “moral problem of Israel’s making” and because of that liberal US Jews are turned off from Israel? Hasn’t he seen Israel try to make peace with the PA’s leaders and even the people of Gaza? But they are led by terrorists who will only be happy if we are pushed into the sea!
Yes, relations between Israel and liberal American Jews (those that still even identify as Jews) have been shattered to an unprecedented degree because Israelis are not willing to commit suicide to appease the moral sensibilities of liberal Americans (Jews and non-Jews alike).
Liberal American Jews may be turned off by Israel because they see the Israel/ Palestine dispute is a moral issue, but before such Jews assume everything has to fit into their agenda, shouldn’t the likes of Rabbi Hirsch enunciate what the complexities of Israel’s security issues to those who rely entirely on Western media to obtain what they think is an informed opinion?
It has taken more than 50 years for an enlightened US president who is certainly not championed by these liberal Jews to recognize the security reality of the Golan Heights to Israel and one may presume that the Trump peace plan recognizes the same security reality with the Jordan Valley. That has been achieved despite – not because of – the lobbying support of the majority of US Jewry.  
They may also find haredi control over religious life in Israel unacceptable, as do many Israelis. However, Israel is a democracy and haredim are entitled to participate. That it would be better for Israeli democracy to not have a multitude of specific sectorial parties is a valid view, but that is for the Israeli electorate to decide – nobody else. Liberals in the USA should understand that Israelis do not intend to commit suicide just to please mistaken “moral” views in the USA.
Win and lose
One problem with “Lessons from history” (March 22) is Michael Cohen’s equivalence of responsibility for the Israel-Palestinian conflict, a position that most Israelis disagree with. His placing equivalent “restrictions” on the freedom of the current leaders on either side to take bold initiatives is also not true. In Israel’s elections, the current leader may be voted out; the other side’s “leader” is a dictator in the umpteenth year of his four-year term of office.
Perhaps Cohen’s main error is repeating the late Shimon Peres’s delusion, “You don’t make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies.”
No. If they remain your enemies, there cannot and will not be peace. Peace can come only when they stop being your enemies. History shows that victory by one side and surrender by the other leads to the best, longest-lasting, most productive peace.
When one side has been so thoroughly defeated that they have to undergo an enormous cultural-psychological reevaluation and rid themselves of the distorted harmful notions that led them to undertake their misguided wars and assaults, they stop being enemies.
Examples of this are Germany and Japan after World War II. Only by realizing their defeats were they able to rebuild strong economies and more liberal, less fanatical societies identifying with the Western powers that defeated them.
They were not allowed to withdraw with dignity. Goodwill and magnanimity can only come after one side has accepted defeat and has become aware of how mistaken they were for so long.
Those are the real lessons of history.
Shouldn’t throw stones
It seems we didn’t make fools enough of ourselves when the High Court ruled recently against our own people and in favor of our enemies to run in the elections. Now we have another investigation (“Military opens investigation of Palestinian death outside Bethlehem,” March 23) into an IDF soldier responding to what could have resulted in the soldier’s death.
The “potential” terrorist, Ahmed Jamal Mahmoud, was throwing stones, which we know from sad experience can kill. Have our soldiers’ hands not been tied enough when confronting possible death or injury from our enemies? Apparently not, because an IDF spokesperson’s unit said the military is investigating the possibility that Mahmoud was throwing stones not out of nationalistic motivations but for criminal reasons as he was aiming not solely at Israeli vehicles but at all cars on the road.
Bad soldier for not making sure what the motivation of the potential killer was. Perhaps he should have invited him for a drink to talk it over.
The terrorist was not playing games but intending to injure and/or kill. Our courts seem prepared to sacrifice soldiers’ lives rather than possibly harm an enemy performing an illegal action. I for one am delighted that our soldier is alive no matter what the enemy’s motivation was.
Stop David Irving
Regarding “Bennett calls on Poland to deny entry to Holocaust-denier Irving” (March 21), David Irving is a convicted triple threat: a Holocaust denier, antisemite and racist who continues to peddle his lies, brazenly leading tours to various death camps.
We are aware that the terminology describing these camps as being of German orientation and situated on Polish territory is of vital importance to Poland and its people, and possibly rightly so.
It is also incumbent upon them to show the true character required in banning Irving from entering their country. Should he be allowed to proceed with these hate-filled tours, the protestations on their part regarding Poland’s actual role in the atrocities of the Second World War might seem to some as nothing less than crocodile tears.
Tel Aviv
Constructive building
Like night follows day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again announced the building of new housing in Judea/Samaria, as retribution for another murderous attack on an Israeli citizen. (“PM vows to add West Bank Housing,” March 19).
Beyond the matter of taking an action that does not work, it is wrong to promote the idea that building in Judea/Samaria is punishment. We should be building there in any case, as a matter of right. I for one would not be inclined to move into a house that would not have been built but for the murder of a fellow Israeli. Furthermore, I cannot imagine that any terrorist will be persuaded to forego his/her heinous act if he/she expects the construction of new housing as punishment.
What would we do with the need for housing should, God willing, terrorism stop? Cease all building in Samaria and Judea? Hardly.
Kfar Saba
A different Judaism
“‘3 weddings and a statement’ against the rabbinate” (March 21), is framed as an attack on the rabbinate, but to be an attack, there must be some common basis. To me, an Orthodox layman, these marriages merely show that the Reform and Conservative movements represent a different religion from Judaism as I know it. They have elevated their concepts of right and wrong above the concepts in the Torah. They reject the requirements of the Torah and the rest of the Bible, following only the traditions and customs that they approve of.
I realize that this conflicts with the view of a plurality of forms of Judaism, but that view cannot be justified. Yes, there is a plurality of forms, we have Sephardim, Hassidim and Litvaks to name a few, but they all converge in believing that the Torah is Divinely given and cannot be changed. This is not what the Reform and Conservative movements believe.
The article’s writer does do not distinguish between rabbis, and treating the opinions of those who disagree with the rulings of the chief rabbinate as of equal or better validity to those of the chief rabbis and their beth din. This is like regarding the advice of a newly qualified doctor as just as authoritative as that of a specialist with many years of experience. One needs immense knowledge and expertise to give a ruling based on the Torah and the Talmud, which, I fear, many of these rabbis lack; sometimes their ignorance leads them to disagree. Accordingly, when quoting them, one must seek also and quote the reasoning of the opposing view.
Har Nof, Jerusalem
A natural scapegoat
Benji Levy’s description (“Esther’s way,” March 20) of the contradictory ways that antisemites legitimize their animosity to Jews is accurate and disheartening. Having watched the forces of antisemitism gain traction at American colleges for at least 30 years, I have been in despair as to how to counter this trend. Levy’s call to stand up to these forces wherever and whenever they occur is unfortunately no solution. As CAMERA’s example shows, we win a few battles but are losing the war.
Antisemitism fulfills psychological and political needs of antisemites. Many find themselves confronting a world of enormous complexity where they have little control and feel battered by forces they do not understand. Conspiracy theories offer a single negative force whose removal will lead mankind into a golden era.
Jews are a natural scapegoat. We are a small group and despite talent and creativity, can be used by those with more power to create useful alliances that fundamentally have nothing to do with us. We are different in our outlook about life, about the necessity to create a better reality and have an allegiance to a God that demands rigorous and continuous adherence to higher goals. That is why the State of Israel is a continuous rebuke to those who have more and have done far less.
We must continue to demand justice and equal protection under the law, but ignoring the value of antisemitism to its adherents will continue to lead us to believe that these people will change or at least acknowledge the injustice of their actions. We must develop new tools to address the psychological value of antisemitism to the antisemite.
Benji Levy’s article was one of the better descriptions of the contemporary Western world I have read. I am reminded of the fact that president Ronald Reagan, for whom I worked, played poker once a month with speaker of the house Tip O’Neill, a Democrat from what we used to call the “Soviet Republic of Massachusetts,” whose political positions were the opposite of the president’s. As one contemporary observed: “Two Irishmen having a good time.” They could disagree and still like each other and enjoy each other’s company. It is impossible to imagine President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi doing anything but insulting each other.
Levy is right: Western civilization is threatened on multiple fronts, external and internal. I think the internal threats are more significant. The death of civility, reasoned political discourse, the traditional family, classical education, the death of beauty in art and music – the list goes on. The defenders of Western civilization are losing. Witness the surge of antisemitism everywhere in the West, even while some survivors of the greatest pogrom of all time are still alive.
The holocaust was not a purely German phenomenon. The Nazis had plenty of collaborators in other European countries,such as Holland and France (ironically among the less enthusiastic collaborators of Germany in this regard was its ally Italy).
Hate is everywhere, from Pittsburgh to Brussels to New Zealand; in Congress and in Parliament; in the colleges and in the media. Twitter and Facebook are cesspools of hate and spewers of invective.
May God have mercy on us all; we desperately need it.
Professor, University of Haifa