Letters to the Editor January 18th 2021: UNRWA and PA fail hatred test

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
UNRWA and PA fail hatred test
Regarding “UNRWA’s education filled with hate, calls to jihad and violence – report” (January 14), as an agency that has examined all 1,100 schoolbooks used by UNRWA schools in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem since the Palestinian Authority introduced their own curriculum with UNRWA in August, 2000, we would like to confirm the findings concerning the indoctrination to violence that characterize UNRWA texts, all of which emanate from the PA.
Five factors which must be emphasized.
1) We have conducted interviews with four consecutive PA education ministers who report that UNRWA works under a directive that only PA-approved curriculum will be used in UNRWA schools.
2) We have held five consultations with the staff of the UN Secretary General António Guterres concerning UNRWA indiscretions. Gutteres’s staff has made it clear that responsibility for allegations of misconduct in UNRWA rests with the 47 donor nations, who collectively donate more than $1 billion to UNRWA each year, with 58% of the UNRWA budget allocated to “education.”
3) The United Arab Emirates, which signed an anti-incitement treaty with Israel in September 2020, serves as the new head of the UNRWA Advisory Council of Donor Nations. In that context, there is no reason why not to hold the UAE accountable for the vile antisemitic UNRWA education, as reported in the article.
4) Germany remains the leading contributor of unconditional donations to UNRWA,in the amount of $200 million per year, and needs to be held accountable for such “education.” To paraphrase Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, “Germany should at least not cause any further damage to the Jews.”
5) In the interest of transparency, our agency has established a site that features all PA schoolbooks for anyone to peruse.
Director, Center for Near East Policy Research
International Court of Slander
Alan Baker forcefully and eloquently shows that the attack on Israel in the media and elsewhere for its non-vaccination of the Palestinian population is simply another expression of vicious anti-Israeli, antisemitic hostility (“Israel, the Palestinians and COVID-19 vaccinations,” January 17). Although Israel is not responsible for Palestinian health under the Fourth Geneva Convention or Oslo accords, it does act in many ways to support the population in Gaza and the West Bank. 
Unfortunately, Baker’s article is yet another futile effort. Even if haters happen to read his defense of Israel, it will have zero influence. It may even intensify their hatred, having laid bare their duplicity. Had Israel decided to vaccinate the entire Arab Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza before a single Jewish Israeli, some of the media would have screamed “Israel to use Arabs as experimental guinea pigs – International Criminal Court to convene and declare crimes against humanity.” 
We need an International Court of Slander and an army of lawyers in addition to the IDF. 
A very fine mess 
Daniel Gross (“‘Very fine people on both sides,’” January 16) continues the lie used to tar US President Donald Trump as a racist since Charlottesville. Trump made the headline observation when describing opposing sides on the question of removing statues. What he said next goes intentionally unreported: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.” One day earlier he had said, “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” 
We see the same selective reporting when it comes to the despicable Capitol violence. Gross takes as a given that Trump incited and was the primary cause of the attack. He fails to quote Trump’s call to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard” – a right expressly guaranteed under the Constitution. 
It has emerged that the FBI knew of a possible attack on the Capitol days in advance yet failed to brief the president, that authorities denied several requests for additional protective resources (possibly because they recalled the demonization of police during the summer), and that the attack began before the president spoke. These factors disprove the allegation that the president’s speech was the primary impetus for the successful capitol breach. The rush to impeach Trump without regard to the facts evinces a vindictive political motive to silence him and his millions of voters.
Failing to provide critical information produces perilous results: It maliciously demeans and libels the president. It recklessly represents to potential bad actors that they are supported by the country’s leader. Worst of all, it lays the groundwork for delegitimizing millions of voters, denying them their constitutional rights. We may well be witnessing the slide toward totalitarianism in the name of national security.
Zichron Yaakov
COVID vaccine passport
Israel’s vaccination program has finally hit its stride after a shaky start. Increasing numbers of Israelis of all stripes are being vaccinated.
There has been emerging talk of the issuance of a COVID vaccination “passport,” but there are few details. How will it be issued? Must one apply? Will it be automatic? Will it have international recognition? When we begin to travel, will we have to get different, competing forms to enter the various countries?
Many have concluded that governments on the whole did not act effectively or efficiently in the handling of this pandemic. Now that humanity will start to exit its widespread isolation, governments must act cooperatively to ease the barriers to mingling again. A uniform, standardized COVID Vaccine Passport would be critical to enabling humanity to be fully human again.
Let’s get this passport thing right from the beginning. Is it too much to hope the government has been working on this issue and will inform the public quickly? After all, some of us have already received our second Pfizer shots, and the numbers increase every day.
Dull mulling
In The Jerusalem Post of January 13, we are treated to the headline “EU ‘concerned’ about Iran’s 20% enrichment.”
I am so sick of words like “concerned, worry, regret and urging” passing for serious foreign policy:
• “The EU also expressed concern “Iran’s action also risks...”
• “We deeply regret the worrying steps taken by Iran...”
• “We urge Iran to...”
Only missing this time are the oft-repeated and oh-so-helpful “considering” and (my personal favorite) “mulling.”
Well I am deeply concerned about all that concern and am mulling about what I must urge someone to do so I won’t have to regret.
The Ten Suggestions
Some people joke that the Ten Commandments are really only the Ten Suggestions. This joke is not funny.
 In “Shots fired in air as ultra-Orthodox protest enforcement” (January 13) we read about a protest gone wrong. An ultra-Orthodox school in Bet Shemesh was operating against government regulations. When police came to close it down, a volunteer police officer was pelted by stones. Fearing injury, the officer fired a shot into the air. “An ultra-Orthodox official in the city” complained, “This is the most severe incident and we don’t understand how it happened.” 
An important Torah precept is Dinah d’malchuta dinah (the law of the land is the law).
The rabbis should be observing this halacha and teaching it to their students. We are not permitted to cherry-pick only the Torah we like and disregard the rest. 
The Terminator’s terms
I was more saddened than anything else when I read about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s’ comparison of Kristallnacht to the events in Washington DC (“Arnold Schwarzenegger: Capitol raid was Kristallnacht ‘right here in the US,’” January 11). 
It is well known that the Night of Broken Glass, was a state-sponsored attack on Jews throughout Germany, burning synagogues, destroying businesses and pulling Jews out of their homes to murder them. It was a premeditated part of the plan to exterminate all the Jews of Germany and eventually all of Europe. 
To compare it to the rally and subsequent rioting in DC on January 6 is to diminish the crimes of the Holocaust. 
For a former governor of California and well-known actor to either be so ignorant of history or to intentionally misuse the facts for political purposes, is a travesty.
Beit Shemesh
I’m glad to see that the Terminator (or is that the Kindergarten Cop?) is venting about the recent riots in Washington DC last week. He is jumping on the bandwagon along with so many other politicians and celebrities in condemning US President Donald Trump for supposedly causing these riots. 
As disgusting that these riots/demonstrations were, it belittles and degrades the memory of Kristallnacht to make such a comparison.
Perhaps a better comparison to Kristallnacht were the riots in Los Angeles on Saturday night after Shavuot last year (May 30), when “demonstrators” rampaged through my old neighborhood in the Beverly Fairfax area breaking into and destroying Jewish stores and businesses and defacing local synagogues with graffiti. It got so bad then that Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills (my former synagogue) had to remove their Sifrei Torah from the premises for fear of them being attacked and defiled. 
Where was Arnold then? Those riots were much more analogous to Kristallnacht than anything going on last week in Washington DC.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Misrepresenting apartheid and antisemitism
Regarding “B’Tselem, for first time, labels Israel an apartheid state” (January 12), as an ex-South African who lived under apartheid for over 30 years, I would like to point out that if Israel actually was an apartheid state as claimed by B’Tselem, the following would apply:
All Arab political parties would be outlawed. No Israeli Arabs would be allowed to vote in any Israeli elections. No Arabs would be allowed to be members of the Knesset. No Arabs would be allowed to live in “White” areas. Israeli Arabs would be required to attend separate schools and universities. Arabic would cease to be used on Israeli street signs. Israeli Arabs would be required to use separate hospitals, public transportation, taxis, beaches, parks and toilets. No Israeli Arabs would be allowed to eat in “Jewish” restaurants or stay in hotels in Israel. If Israeli law adopted the apartheid definition of an employee, then an employee would be defined as follows: “An employee is any person other than an Arab person.” 
By changing the word Arab in the above sentence to Kaffir (the South African derogatory name for the black population), South Africa effectively prevented any black employee from receiving the benefits accruing to white employees. Arab employees would thus cease to receive disability insurance, pension benefits, severance pay, social security and can be fired at will without a right of appeal. In addition, the minimum pay for Arab employees would be a fraction of the minimum pay of Jewish employees. The list goes on and on and includes the non-provision of electricity, water and sewerage for many areas inhabited by Arabs. The South African policy of “Separate and Equal” only applied to the former. Nothing provided by the South African Government was equal for whites and blacks. Under Apartheid, black South Africans literally had no rights at all. 
From the above, it is evident to any unbiased person that Israel is not, and will never be, an apartheid state as labeled B’Tselem.
In fact, B’Tselem itself can be labeled as an “apartheid organization” as it investigates only so-called human rights abuses by Israeli Jews and never ever investigates any of the human rights abuses committed by the Palestinians. The organization has demonstrated over and over its antisemitic bias. Its reports are clearly not credible. 
The world should ignore the totally biased reports of B’Tselem. 
Regarding “‘Codifying antisemitism definition stifles free speech’” (January 15), the Progressive Israel Network, highlighted in this article, intentionally misrepresent the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.
Basically, the IHRA definition states if Jews are treated differently than anyone else, that is antisemitism. If there are calls to destroy Israel, that is antisemitism.
Criticism of Israel or Canada is legitimate. Treating Israel more harshly than Canada is not.
To claim Israel commits human-rights abuses, builds illegal settlements and practices apartheid is antisemitic, whether made out of ignorance or malice. Arabs make up 20% of Israel’s population and they enjoy every benefit of citizenship. Some are not compelled to serve in the military, but can volunteer. They are equally represented in academia and slightly over-represented in medical fields. They have parties and members in parliament and an Arab sits on Israel’s Supreme Court. Where’s the similarity to South Africa?
Yes, there are massive human-rights abuses in the areas controlled by the PA and Hamas. Gays are thrown off buildings. Honor killings are common, as is female genital mutilation. None of these are Israel’s responsibility.
As for the Jewish communities the writers call “settlements,” under binding international law (San Remo Accords, 1920, League of Nations, 1922, and UN Article 80, 1945) Israel includes Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
The Jews in areas captured by Egypt and Jordan in 1948/49 were murdered or expelled. The Arabs who remained in Israel became citizens. At Oslo, Israel (foolishly) agreed to share governance with the PLO. That led to the two-state concept. When the PA stops paying terrorists to kill Jews and Hamas stops firing rockets into Israel, the parties can get together and work out fair borders.
Meanwhile, antisemites must be called out.
Author of Unfinished Work, Ottawa
Last in line
The January 8 Jerusalem Post had a front-page photo of the Mahaneh Yehuda market just hours before the most recent lockdown. Unsurprisingly, many of the shoppers, who were standing very close to one another, could be spotted wearing their masks around their chins, putting in danger all those around them.
It has become beyond frustrating that so many people refuse to abide by the health regulations and are putting at great risk the health, and indeed the lives, of all of us. Repeated pleas and warnings not to congregate and to wear masks properly remain unheeded by many. No less outrageous is the behavior of the police, whose enforcement of the rules has been haphazard and ineffective. 
Given that these individuals show complete disregard to the dangers of COVID-19, may I suggest that after a first warning, any individual who breaches the health regulations should be added to a registry of people who will be last in line to receive the COVID vaccinations. Perhaps this will serve as a strong reminder that it pays to follow the rules, especially in matters of life and death.
Pontificating on failed political positions 
Regarding “Semi-annual trends in Israel’s regional foreign policies” (January 17), has The Jerusalem Post become the publishing arm of the Mitvim Institute? We seem to be “treated” to several articles a week from this institution. It is refreshing and wondrous that such highly intelligent and accomplished individuals can actually earn a living pontificating on failed political positions such as:
• There is a peace partner in Abbas.
• The PA Arabs are just dying to have peace and security with us at the 1967 borders, if only we would listen.
• The Iran deal is sweeter for us than mother’s milk.
• The Supreme Court must be protected at all costs, because it is a fragile institution with hardly any power.
As George Orwell said, “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.”