Letters to the editor: Jan. 25

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
She’s a liability
Sir, – Tzipi Livni’s comments (“Livni: I am willing to negotiate over Jerusalem if necessary,” January 23) are outrageous.
As the person who has been leading the so-called negotiations with the Palestinians, how dare she be so amateurish! When does a negotiator give away her red lines before commencing negotiations? It is laughable because there are members of other governments, such as that of Canada, who are more responsible and forceful in putting across the Israeli position.
Isaac Herzog must be flipping out at having tied himself to such a liability. She should be known as Livni the Liability.
As for her estimation that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is no longer a terrorist, she just keeps putting her foot in her mouth. If it were not such a serious matter it would be humorous.
Doing a disservice
Sir, – Daniel K. Eisenbud does your readers’ search for clarity and truth a significant disservice in “Report: Construction of Temple Mount footbridge exacerbated tensions” (January 23).
While the NGO Emek Shaveh is entitled to its opinion, its report is highly biased and skewed, and downright inaccurate. From its perspective, Israel and Jews should have virtually no role, say or rights to the Temple Mount despite Article 9 of the Israel-Jordanian peace treaty, which guarantees equal access for all parties to all holy sites.
The Wakf’s role on the Temple Mount is administrative, not political. And the issue of the so-called status quo is a classic example of what is held in the eyes of the beholder. Veteran tour guides speak about a status quo where at one time everyone went up to the Temple Mount and prayed and sang however they chose.
For those eager to deprive Jews of equal rights of access and prayer, the current situation, largely motivated by police fears of unsettling hostile and aggressive Muslim sensibilities, has become tantamount to sacrosanct.
It is a classic “circle the wagons” strategy. It will fail because the equities of the Temple Mount situation are four square on the side of equal and shared access and rights.
Rosh Pina
Motivation a key
Sir, – Regarding “Baird: ICC move an effort to tie Israel’s hand behind its back” (Diplomacy, January 23), the conduct of Canada’s foreign minister, as well as its prime minister, does Israel no favors and only justifies further marginalization of Palestinians within Israel and the West Bank. Gaza is in another sphere of misery.
The only way to fully comprehend the history of any issue is to study the work of a wide variety of scholars and commentators, particularly those with whom you disagree, and also those dissidents who risk their physical and economic security by opposing their government’s policies.
Therefore, rather than condemn those Palestinians who “… cheered, danced in the streets and handed out candy after 9/11,” as one Canadian pundit wrote last week, might it not be a good idea to discover the actual motivation for such odd behavior? Did not huge crowds of Americans noisily celebrate Osama bin Laden’s death? The ugly history of US support for brutal Middle East dictatorships must be considered when we criticize those who have been facing Pentagon-supplied weapons for decades.
Brilliant placement
Sir, – Kudos are due The Jerusalem Post for the brilliant juxtaposition of two columns on Page 15 of the January 22 edition.
The first is the excellent “The media take us for a walk” (Media Comment) by Yisrael Medad and Eli Pollak, who point out and summarize the stark anti-Netanyahu hatred that has characterized the Israeli media for the past 20 years. They write: “The true victim of all this bashing is all of Israel. This type of media behavior only feeds anti-Semites.... Our media should be ashamed of itself.”
The second, “The choices we must make” (Encountering Peace) by Gershon Baskin, is a perfect example of the phenomenon described by Medad and Pollak. In it we read once again that Prime Minister Netanyahu is to blame for the current standstill in the negotiations with the Palestinians because he absolutely refuses to accept a long list of their “reasonable” demands, and that Baskin “believes” it would be possible to reach an agreement under a government led by Labor-Hatnua leader Isaac Herzog.
Perhaps Baskin should be commended for laying out in the clearest possible terms the best reasons not to vote for Herzog.
Left wondering
Sir, – With reference to Reuven Ben-Shalom’s “Good Palestinians, evil Israelis” (Observations, January 23), until now I have found his pieces informative and intelligent. But this one left me wondering about the extent of his naïveté.
The writer confuses being (formally) educated with being “intelligent” and “knowledgeable” when Prof. William A.
Cook, as Mr. Ben-Shalom admits, is a classic example of someone whose utterly biased views of Israel are based on “factually baseless or warped” information.
As for claiming that Prof.
Cook’s attitudes and views regarding Israel are not indicative of anti-Semitism (after all, he “has Jewish friends and colleagues”), when one claims to have no ill will toward Jews (as in “some of my best friends are...”) but detests Israel, there is really no distinction.
In his final paragraphs, naïveté reaches a new level when the writer expresses the realization that we are still faced with blood libels in one form or another.
This is news to him? Why Mr. Ben-Shalom feels the need to apologize for almost, but not quite, criticizing someone who spews such loathing for Israel and Israelis and calls us a “terrorist state” beats me. But we do agree on one point: We both believe that “there is no basis for negotiating with the Palestinians unless there is...
truth in their perception of history.”
And not only the perception of Palestinians, but that of dyed-in-the-wool Israel bashers like the Prof. Cooks of this world.
Archaic stance
Sir, – The film The Imitation Game has just come to Israeli cinema screens. It is a profoundly moving rendition of the life of Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician, cryptographer and inventor of machines that were precursors to the modern computer.
He led the team responsible for cracking the Germans’ Enigma code, shortening World War II and possibly saving 10 million lives.
Turing was also a homosexual, which at the time was illegal in the UK. Only seven years after the war, the British establishment was prepared to see him prosecuted, judged guilty and subjected to horrific hormonal treatment, tantamount to castration.
Turing committed suicide in 1954.
Why write this? Because in recent days, some members of Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party have adopted a cowardly and archaic stance on homosexuality (“Bennett: No secret that Bayit Yehudi opposes gay marriage,” January 9). Where would we all be without the genius of Turing? Humanity is diverse and heterogeneous.
The unconventional can make immense contributions to society. Examples pervade Jewish history and culture.
Unfortunately, the Bayit Yehudi leadership does not appear to grasp the importance of this. Its narrow stance on several subjects is damning.
On this issue alone, a brilliant film brings home to Israeli society the risks it confronts if people like those in Bayit Yehudi are allowed to determine our future.
Tel Aviv