Letters to the Editor January 20, 2021: A bit of Gallantry

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
A bit of Gallantry
Your editorial “Gallant is right” (January 19) hit the proverbial nail on the head. The amount of falsehoods (such as the apartheid lie) that our enemies are willing to try to sell to the public relating to the Jewish people’s ties to the Land of Israel seems to be limitless.
If there is a true falsehood in this discussion, it pertains to the Arabs’ claimed ties to our homeland. In a number of travelogues dated in the early 20th century of noted individuals visiting what is today Israel, they describe a mostly barren stretch of territory, nary a soul in sight!
Unless one chooses to believe that the Arabs of that time were cave dwellers or discovered some other means of staying out of sight, this blatant canard fails the proverbial smell test.
Tzur Yitzchak
B’Tselem has called Israel an apartheid state and in response Education Minister Yoav Galant has banned from our high schools B’tselem and like-minded-groups that defame Israel at every possible opportunity (“Galant: Groups that call Israel ‘apartheid state’ to be barred from schools,” January 18)
First of all, my everlasting support and gratitude to Galant for finally rising to the challenge with a counter-attack against these “holier-than-thou” self-haters. But it’s not enough.
In the same issue, a letter to the editor calls for an International Court of Slander to fight the international media for various anti-Israeli reports that demonize Israel viciously and unfairly. The government of Israel has the responsibility to take on B’Tselem for slander. Sue them in a National Court of Slander. Let them prove in the court that Israel is an apartheid state. If they can’t – and they will fail by all legal and international standards – huge fines, dissolution and preferably, jail time.
Fight the slander on all fronts with all we’ve got.
Unsettling remarks
Regarding “EU hints settlement activity harms Israel’s normalization agreements” (January 18), I am certain that the EU must have meant that both Israel and the PA must stop construction and merely forgot to mention the PA.
Ha ha – our “fair” European friends.
Beit Shemesh
UK, Egypt warn Israeli settlement activity could harm peace efforts” (January 19) is laughable. The world has been telling Jews where they can and can’t live for so long that they can’t seem to break the habit.
News flash to the UK (which tried to rule Israel and keep Jews out) and to Egypt (which tried to exterminate the Jews here and drive them into the sea): it is morally repugnant to try to prevent an indigenous people from living in peace in key parts of their ancient homeland.
If you want a long list of things the Palestinians are doing that “harm peace efforts,” feel free to contact me, and then you can do the right thing and issue warnings to them about their activities.
Beit Shemesh
Iran: Big deal
Regarding “Biden’s Wendy Sherman appointment tilts balance on Iran deal” (January 17), Yonah Jeremy Bob well decried US President Joe Biden’s appointing virtually the entire team that negotiated the disastrous Iran nuclear deal – one in which Wendy Sherman is particularly intimately invested. The consequences may be dire.
Much has changed since the 2015 JCPOA – all for the worse. Restrictions on Iranian arms purchases have already lapsed, and expiration dates for others loom. The agreement’s rationale that the Iranian regime would moderate over the deal’s length has proven delusional. Emboldened by a $150 billion payoff, fueling its hegemonic designs. Iran has lavishly funded regional terrorist proxy militias Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and greatly expanded its worldwide perverse presence.
America and Israel remain in Iran’s crosshairs. Its manifest duplicity is breathtaking. Foolishly allowed to control compliance inspections and restrict sites, it is now ramping up uranium enrichment and has begun metalizing, testing international resolve. That growing cache, coupled with advanced centrifuges, could dramatically reduce bomb breakout time. Permitted long-range missile development exists solely for its delivery. As its swiped nuclear file showed, Iran cannot be trusted to comply – either in letter or in spirit – with any agreement.
Iran’s economy is in tatters, its populace restive and its geopolitical outreach overextended. This is absolutely no time to throw a lifeline to a rogue regime facing existential challenges.
Biden should wisely reconsider rejoining JCPOA barring substantial strengthening, or relaxing, beforehand, any current sanctions. The future of the Iranian people, Middle East regional peace and international security are all hanging precariously in the balance.
Syracuse, New York
Regarding “Friedman to ‘Post’: No rational person would return to Iran deal,” (January 19), most of the world’s leaders and most nuclear experts, in addition to almost all US Democratic politicians, support that return.
A lead article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, “A clean return to the Iran nuclear deal should be Biden’s first option,” states, “Returning to the deal is not only viable but also presents the best chance of preventing an Iranian bomb. It is the best path toward building on the agreement and addressing some of the shortfalls that critics deride.”
Since former president Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, Iran is far closer to developing a nuclear bomb. Of course recent Iranian actions and statements must be condemned, but the Trump approach was not successful in curbing Iran.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
A scene with Senesh
Regarding “National Library welcomes Hannah Senesh archive” (November 30, 2020), I had a brief encounter with Hannah in 1944, when we were both among the thousands imprisoned in the political prison in Budapest on George Koci Utca (street).
The prison was arranged in a quadrant surrounding a type of courtyard, with the men housed on one side and the women on the other. There were barred windows that allowed us to see across to the other side, and we tended to spend a lot of time looking out at the women’s windows. One day, Hannah started to spell out a message, holding up one letter at a time in her window. This went on for just one day before she disappeared. We did not know how to make sense of her message, but admired her ingenuity in making communication.
After the war, I realized that she had been spelling out her last name, clearly in hopes that she would be recognized and remembered. It is heartwarming to see that, indeed, the National Library of Israel will ensure that Hannah Senesh will be celebrated and remembered for generations to come.
Mount Airy, MD
COVID comments
The cost of the COVID vaccine for all over-16s is reputedly the cost of two or three days of lockdown, so what is the point of this country remaining in lockdown for even longer than the planned two weeks, when the vaccine has already been rolled out to 25% or more of the population? Just because certain sectors of society refuse to adhere to the government’s rules and the government fails to enforce its own rules regarding mass events, schools, etc?
If certain sectors of society insist on behaving in a way that only leads to their own self-infection and serious illness it is bad enough that society has to pay for their treatment, but the rest of society should not also be paying a second time by locking itself down when the very people who cause this refuse to be locked down.
It is unreasonable for any government to suggest that this should happen.
I read Maayan Hoffman’s “A fatal flight of folly” (January 19) with a mixture of shock and sorrow. Shock, as I learned that the government has consistently failed to effectively manage Ben-Gurion Airport by allowing political considerations to overshadow health concerns, actions that were a major cause of more than 4,000 Israeli coronavirus deaths. Sorrow, because for too long I believed Netanyahu’s “I can keep Israel safe” mantra.
But there is a silver lining to all this. The upcoming elections will allow me and others who have finally seen through the government’s curtain of hypocrisy, to vote with a sense of clarity and vision.
Regarding Kenneth Fisher’s suggestion (“Last in Line,” Letters, January 18) to further penalize those not wearing masks, I am baffled as to why smokers seem to be exempt from the requirement to wear masks while outdoors. While it is understandable that eating and drinking temporarily exempt one from the requirement to wear masks, these are essential activities. Smoking is clearly not an essential activity, and fining smokers for not wearing masks would have many benefits.
First, it would reduce the harm -– both from the cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes as well as from the possible spread of coronavirus – that occurs when a smoker exhales. Second, it would be more healthful for those smokers. Third, it would reduce litter.
Sounds like a win-win for society!
Sore point for Shtayyeh
Regarding “Shtayyeh: Israel must allow Jerusalem Arabs to vote” (January 19), this headline is somewhat misleading. As the article mentions, Israel has allowed Jerusalem residents who identify as Palestinian to vote in Palestinian elections. The sore point for PM Shtayyeh is that the Arabs must travel to “Ramallah and Bethlehem” to vote. Thus, what the prime minister is actually demanding is that Israel allow the PA to set up polling places in Jerusalem. And that could be interpreted as giving support to the PA demand that eastern Jerusalem will be the capital of the future Palestinian state.
The PA really has two choices. To relieve Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents of the need to travel to vote, the PA could set up a system for absentee voting (I hope it will be better than the one we Americans used in our recent presidential election). Or, the PA could negotiate with Israel, set borders and end the conflict. Then, people finding themselves on the side of the border they deem less suitable for themselves could move to the area of their preference.
Atlanta, GA
Perks for the Turks
Seth Frantzman’s “Turkey’s blank check to invade countries may end with the Trump era” (January 17) made for sober reading. It chronicled how the Ankara regime used a pro-Turkey faction in the US State Department to work behind the back of the Pentagon, manipulate the White House, and contravene multi-year efforts to defeat ISIS and constrain Russia and Iran in Syria. The Trump administration comes off as having been confused or ignorant about the motivations of the regional actors, and that may be a charitable interpretation.
 Turkey furthered its regional ambitions in various ways during recent years, such as having this rogue State Department faction lie to the Syrian Democratic Forces about future US intentions, and through direct phone calls made to president Donald Trump from Turkish President Recep Erdogan (who is the world’s leading jailer of journalists, and who has likened Israel to Nazi Germany, among his other distinctions).
One of these phone calls led to a sudden withdrawal of US troops from an area in northern Syria that Turkey then proceeded to invade. Thus the way was paved for Erdogan to ethnically cleanse the Kurds (who were the real heroes on the ground in the fight against ISIS), and to insert Turkish forces into Syria in alliance with Russia, Iran, and Assad - all without official US opposition and with Trump’s blessing or passive compliance. Knowledgeable analysts throughout the US government were completely bypassed, while key American allies were left out in the cold.
There is more in Frantzman’s account, much of it shocking, and there are a number of questions to ponder. One is how Trump could have made foreign policy decisions that enabled Turkish aggression, caused grievous suffering, and worsened regional tensions; that left dedicated American allies in northern Syria to a cruel fate; and that empowered an axis of enemies, including Iran, to collude in a country bordering Israel.
Another is whether this president, despite his administration’s having scrapped certain failed Middle East policies in favor of new ones that have benefited Israel, might someday have thrown Israel under the bus in a similar way, due to an unseen cabal in his government, a chance phone call, or some slight to his ego.
Perhaps it is our good fortune that we shall never know.
That’s entertainment
On January 19 a whole page was devoted to the passing of somebody who ended his life serving a sentence for murder (“Phil Spector, a groundbreaking music producer and a convicted murderer, dies at 81”), yet in the last few months two truly fine performers passed away: alto Mira Zakai and soprano Gila Yaron. As in the case of another great soprano Tzilla Grossmeier – whose heart was even larger than her generous frame, little or no attention was paid to their passing in your “Arts & Entertainment” page.
These are singers who devoted their lives to their art for niggardly recompense and they really had voices that were a result of years of hard work – unlike the  electronically enhanced sounds of pop “stars.” Also, having had the privilege of working with them, I can attest that unlike the murderer you publicize, they were ladies who were always happy to help others.
Pontificating: 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.”