Letters to the Editor January 25, 2021: The great hate debate

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
The great hate debate
Regarding “Everything Sheldon Adelson loved about Israel I hate” (January 22), what a mean-spirited, vindictive and self-serving article former prime minister Ehud Olmert wrote! A new low for him. 
The reason, revealed toward the end of the article for Olmert’s animosity: negative editorials in Israel Hayom written about him. No mention in the utterly distasteful piece of the philanthropic millions Adelson donated to Israel. Birthright would not exist without him, Yad Vashem would be $50 million poorer and Ariel University would have no medical school. That is Sheldon Adelson’s legacy. 
Compare that to the blight on the landscape of Jerusalem that is the Holyland Complex.
SUSAN COHEN 
Tel Aviv
I am angered about the vile and hateful tone of Ehud Olmert’s piece about Sheldon Adelson. While Olmert may have disliked Adelson in his lifetime, it is shameful to write such a piece posthumously, particularly as it brandishes several claims that are hypothetical and unproven, such as, “If he could have, Adelson would have been there among the hoodlums who invaded the US Capitol building following Trump’s election fiasco” and “Adelson wanted an extreme right-wing America that was fractious and in conflict with most of the Western world.” 
Claims like this may have served Olmert in his career as a lawyer, however they will not hold up to anyone who has basic training in critical thinking skills, and therefore cast doubt on anything Mr. Olmert writes in this piece.
While Adelson may have promoted his own political agenda, which I cannot see as illegitimate, he clearly was one of the greatest philanthropists of our time, and a staunch supporter of the State of Israel, though thick and thin. It is these deeds that he should be remembered for by the citizens of this country, and also by those who led this country at some time.
I am also astounded that The Jerusalem Post gives Olmert, who has served time for being convicted of several counts of bribery and breach of trust from his time as mayor of Jerusalem and his ministerial posts, a stage to lecture us on how and by whom this country should be run.
I hope for the future that we will be spared such showings of publicly settling accounts, particularly when the attacked party can no longer react to defend himself and try to set things right.

CHAIM GUGGENHEIM
Efrat
I read with total disgust what Ehud Olmert wrote about Sheldon Adelson. He didn’t like the man? Well, that is just too bad. Keep it to yourself. To use The Jerusalem Post as a forum and for the Post to print it is a step too far.
Everyone chooses how they give to tzedakah. Does Olmert even give to charity? Adelson started from the bottom and worked his way to the top. During the corona crisis he kept all of his employees on salary with health insurance.
Should I bash Olmert? No. Only he works that way. I only wish that the next edition of the paper with an article from Olmert could have it removed from my copy before it is delivered.
BETH WHITE
Modi’in
I find it difficult and painful to reply to the repugnant and disrespectful Ehud Olmert article about a deceased person that is so despicable in that he crossed every red line possible.
Sheldon Adelson z”l, was a benefactor of many institutions and places of learning and had close wonderful ties to Taglit. To speak of him as an “unpleasant” man goes beyond all norms of speaking of the dead, who cannot defend himself, or argue some of the more disgusting points this disgraced former prime minister made.
All this article achieved was to show Olmert as crazy not only with hatred towards Netanyahu, but with pathetic jealousy for a man who rose from poverty and shared his millions with millions, whose love for Israel was unwavering, and yes he did want things for this country that may seem “out of the box,” but always for the country he loved so much.
Instead of recounting a hearsay conversation about Adelson saying Olmert needed to be “booted,” Olmert should be focusing on what exactly it is about Israel he hates. Is it the fact that even the Palestinians refused his offer of serving most of Israel up on a silver platter to them, or maybe even more sinister things?
It’s obvious to me; maybe it will be to him soon.
DEBRA FORMAN
Modi’in
The only truth in the Adelson article is Olmert’s confession that he is “not at all objective with respect to everything connected with Adelson, and I do not pretend that what I write here is fair, just, considerate or dignified.” 
An attack on the deceased who cannot mount his own rebuttal is despicable, abhorrent and nauseating. Adelson earned his fortune through hard work, ingenuity and vision. The money he amassed was his to dispense as he saw fit. His contributions to people or causes that aligned with his worldview were no less legitimate than those of George Soros and his Open Society (though I recoil at the mention of the two names in the same context).
Condemning Adelson’s significant contributions to the campaign coffers of certain politicians is breathtakingly hypocritical, considering the cash-stuffed Talansky envelopes Olmert stored in his office safe. Olmert makes unfounded accusations as to Adelson’s attitude towards the Arab population of Israel and unattributed quotations to nameless “senior members of the US administration.” 
In short, Sheldon Adelson was devoted to Jewish identity and continuity and the God-given right of the Jewish people to settle in and throughout their indigenous homeland, the Land of Israel. Olmert, the “12th prime minister of Israel,” convicted of taking bribes and attempted suborning of a witness, is the one who would have given away the farm to archenemy and Holocaust denier Abu Mazen were it not for the latter’s intransigence. 
I add my humble voice to the mourners of Sheldon Adelson – yehi zichro baruch.
JOEL KUTNER
Jerusalem
What’s ridin’ on Biden
Regarding “What Biden’s team means for security cooperation” (January 24), while there were a number of reassuring aspects in regard to Israel-USA security cooperation in Yonah Jeremy Bob’s informative analysis, there was also much to arouse concern. 
The fact that the future US security team unanimously opposed the elimination of Qasem Soleimani, the grandmaster of Iran’s strategy for dominating the Middle East and destroying Israel, indicates they are much more likely to be concerned with appeasing Iran rather than dealing with the problem in a fundamental way. It also suggests that the US will perhaps be leaving Israel and its Arab allies alone or even impeding them in confronting this existential danger.

SHALOM FREEDMAN
Jerusalem
One must recall the damage done to Israel and Jews globally when US president Barack Obama chose not to veto UN Resolution 2334, which legitimized the BDS movement targeted against Israel and became a rallying point for antisemites globally. President Joe Biden was silent then and has remained silent over these past four years.
BARRY SETNOR
Ontario, Canada
EU concern for Jews: Empty words
Regarding “The EU does not ban kosher slaughter” (January 24), Agreed, Ambassador Giaufret, your European Union as an institution does not itself ban kosher slaughter, but its Court adopts the view that its member states can. So at the best the EU does not care if its members promote laws offensive to Jews. 
Its appeal to “democracy” as the excuse is hypocritical, or is it an admission that flagrant antisemitism of a member state also has to be accepted if adopted “democratically?” Perhaps the Court is not motivated by actual antisemitism but if so, its approach is that the requirements of Jews just does not matter.
You list the grants that the Union makes for Jewish purposes. The total amount is so insignificant against the budget of the Union that your attempt to show how much the Union cares for its Jews is shown to be empty words.
Regretfully it seems that Europe has not changed much from 2,000 years of persecuting Jews. We are still the “others” to be despised and denigrated.
And yes, the Flemish government has fully demonstrated how its wonderful concern for cows overrides its concern for its Jews.
M. RABIN
Jerusalem
 
Parler talk
According to “Will Amazon build an AWS cloud server farm here?” (January 22), Israel might invite Amazon to set up a cloud server in Israel and host all government data. This is worrying, given that Amazon recently cut off its service to social media platform Parler with only 24 hours’ notice, apparently for the sake of political correctness.  
Amazon claimed it acted because of violent content on Parler, although Parler executives had no knowledge of Amazon’s problem.
Given that Amazon in fact had no problem with sites that really propagate threats to kill certain public figures, or to wipe Israel off the map, Amazons’ behavior should raise a red flag for Israel.
NAOMI SANDLER
Jerusalem
 
Admonish your neighbor
Kudos on “Haredi autonomy is killing us” (January 22).
It should be pointed out that haredim (characterized by a strict adherence to Halacha [Jewish law] and traditions) by their (mis)behavior are not only endangering lives and presenting poor role models to their children, but are also desecrating the name of God. 
Those that throw stones on law enforcement officers and call them “Nazi” and “Amalek” are transgressing Halacha. Maimonides (Avodah Zara) opined that it is prohibited to despise (deprecate, degrade, denigrate) any Jew – and especially public employees when they are carrying out their duties. Also, the Talmud states that dina demalchusa dina (the law of the land is the law), which means that for Jews, obedience to the civil law of the country in which they live is viewed as a religiously mandated obligation and disobedience is a transgression. 
Rabbinic leaders that don’t admonish those extremists that unabashedly violate the state’s laws are not fulfilling the positive commandment, “Thou surely should admonish your neighbor” when he is acting in a prohibited manner. Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein, one of the most highly respected haredi arbiters, ruled that one who sees a person without a mask should report him to the police.
SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
Rehovot
 
Critical thinking is in critical condition
Regarding “Banning views won’t help development of students” (January 22), I cannot take issue with the contention that critical thinking is an essential element in students “learning to recognize or develop an argument, use evidence in support of that argument, draw reasoned conclusions and use information to solve problems.” 
There is certainly no dearth of legitimate controversial issues that may be brought to high school students’ attention and consideration. But to invite B’tselem, a hostile political actor masquerading as a human rights organization into our schools is beyond the pale. B’tselem is in no way representative of the vast majority of Israel’s citizens. It by rights ought to be registered as a foreign agent in as much as 85% of its budget comes from such “friendly” nations as Denmark, Ireland, Norway and the American-based New Israel Fund (note that the adjective “new” defines “Israel’). 
Of B’tselem’s annual budget of some NIS 10 million, its director general, Hagai Elad receives a salary of NIS 235,000 per annum (twice the average salary) to spew his malicious lies, such as the recent apartheid accusation, before the entire world. 
Besides being patently false, such an allegation belittles the horrible experience of South Africa’s black population under the real apartheid regime. Education Minister Yoav Gallant was unequivocally correct is banning B’tselem’s representatives and those of other post-Zionist organizations of similar agenda from our schools. To invite inimical organizations into our schools in the name of progressive education is disingenuous.
JOEL KUTNER
Jerusalem
 
Dispensing unlicensed med. diagnoses
Regarding “America’s morning after” (January 22), to the best of my knowledge, columnist Amotz Asa-El is neither a qualified psychiatrist nor a medical doctor.
If I as a double-board qualified psychiatrist had offered the “medical diagnoses” Asa-El offered about US president Donald Trump, I might not have lost my license, but I definitely would have been thrown out of my psychiatric associations.
When it was announced that distinguished Senator Barry Goldwater would be the 1964 Republican presidential candidate, a number of left-wing psychiatrists published letters and statements offering various “diagnoses” of Senator Goldwater’s mental state.
They were roundly condemned and the American Psychiatric Association publicly cautioned psychiatrists not to make “diagnoses” about people who were not their patients, whom they had not interviewed or assessed personally.
That caution has been reiterated at times since, when it became apparent that some psychiatrists were ignorant of the policy and were tempted to behave inappropriately. Other psychiatric associations have essentially followed that direction.
The remarks in the article were totally inappropriate. It is possible for lay people to vehemently disagree with a person’s actions with civility, without falsely alleging that the person is “medically delusional” or suffers from a mental disorder.
DR. JOSEPH BERGER
Netanya