Letters to the Editor March 24, 2021: Post-election dejection

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Post-election dejection
Regarding “Where did the big ideas go?” (March 19), I would like to express my total agreement with Yaakov Katz’s words: “…this garbage talk has to stop.” 
Katz is rightfully upset about the fact that real ideas get little or almost no mention in the electoral debate. We hear mainly simplistic ideas like “against” or “in favor,” “with” or “without.” As Katz mentions, when these basic words do not suffice anymore, people switch to insults.
So yes, “this has to stop.” But it brings to mind the concept that when you are in shul and you see that somebody’s tefillin is not set properly, before telling him (or her) so, check your own tefillin.
So, as a citizen, if the level of the electoral campaign discussion is too low for me, I should first make sure that I am not insulting anybody and then make my voice heard, and tell the candidates that I am not happy with it, and that I cannot vote for somebody who cannot respect others.
Similarly, maybe The Jerusalem Post should wonder if printed weekly insults formulated by former convict and prime minister Ehud Olmert on half a page are justified. Does it not add up to the insults we hear in the political world of which Katz says, “They have to stop?”
My opinion is that these insults from Olmert should stop. And if they do, it will probably be worth checking if Olmert’s ideas are still interesting to read about.
The title of the article by Ehud Olmert “Time for a change” (March 19), is a perfect segue into a request of The Jerusalem Post to do the same. It’s time to stop publishing this man!
He talks nonstop about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him every name a warped, hate-filled mind can think of. He talks about Netanyahu being a “contentious instigator,” when in fact it is he that is instigating and even inciting.
How can the Post allow him to talk about “blood being spilled” in the context of the protesters, and allow Olmert to actually say that Netanyahu “hopes that blood will be shed.”
Enough is enough already... we don’t need to be a party to Olmert’s crazed, irrational, out-of-control hatred for one man and his family. For him to say that “not just Bibi” is a topic we want removed from our national agenda, because he claims it would be an error to claim “this struggle is based on hatred and personal jealousies,” is a strange thought coming from a man whose next line states, it is...”a struggle against hatred and incitement, which are the creation of one man....”
Olmert ends his vitriolic spewing of hatred and jealousy by telling us, “It isn’t the proper time to be obsessed with the past.” Really, Mr. Olmert! Abide by that thought, for the good of all of us, and move on with your life.
This week Ehud Olmert seemingly pulled out all the verbal stops, saying (among other things), “Netanyahu – the miser, actor, narcissist, crook, liar and coward – is first and foremost an inciter and agitator. He’s a cold-blooded quarrel monger who wants to see his political base physically clash with the people who are protesting against him, even if these clashes lead to the spilling of blood. And I allow myself to say that he hopes that blood will be shed. The more blood spilled, the more he believes that he will maintain his powerful position and that his reign will remain intact.”
Does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also make prank phone calls, kick kittens and put dangerous sharp needles in Halloween candy? Indeed, one is hard-pressed to come up with additional derogatory words beyond what Olmert has not already employed against our prime minister.  Methinks he doth protest too much.
It is, indeed, time for a change. Now that the election is over, please consider replacing Olmert with a new columnist.
No truce on abuse
Presumption of innocence is an important foundation of American jurisprudence. I don’t know whether this also applies in Great Britain, where at least for libel (as seen in the Lipstadt/Irving case) the accused must prove their innocence.
Regarding the Yehuda Meshi Zahav case (“Guilt built to the hilt,” Letters, March 22), abuse in the community and the family – even the haredi community – sadly exists at a higher frequency than one might imagine. One difference with these crimes is that while accusations and suggestions are being investigated, the abuse continues. Does a young child have to be assaulted for another day, month or year, while every legal “t” and “i” is being crossed and dotted? Many of these victims never fully recover to live a normal life.
The recent accusations against Zahav were known in the social services community for many years, but no one was willing to go public because of fear of revenge by the religious establishment and the legal authorities, especially with regard to someone so widely respected.
It is important that false accusations of abuse not occur and be given credence, but that should not be the default response to someone who musters the courage to confront his or her abuser.
A nod to God
In “Where was God when millions died of the coronavirus?” (March 9), Rabbi Shmuley Boteach worries about people questioning God’s existence now, just as they did during the Holocaust. It should be noted that only the Almighty could have given US president Harry Truman the courage to end World War II by bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs, thus bringing the war to its end. Thereby, the most feared weapon was introduced into modern warfare, but for a good cause.
Similarly the fight against COVID-19 may in the future produce medical benefits far in excess of the harm it has caused. In fact at least one important apparent benefit already is already highlighted in the new Jerusalem Post Innovation and Care Magazine.
The intervention of the Supreme Court in the delicate issue of conversion to Judaism and the manifold opinions expressed in your paper on this issue raise concern. I would like to relate a relevant story, relating to Passover.
A small Jewish community in Australia that was home to a sugar producer was importing kosher-for-Passover food products from USA, including packaged sugar. The GM of the company summoned the community leader and rabbi to his factory and asked them to purchase their Passover sugar products from his factory. The rabbi explained that this would require supervision of the production process. The manager rejected this notion, saying his factory was ultra-modern and no hametz can be found in the production line. The rabbi explained rabbinical supervision is a longstanding tradition prescribed by our Sages.
To convince his guests, the manager invited the two to tour the factory with him. When they entered a certain room where an employee was controlling the fluid flow of sugar, he had a sandwich in his hand. When the manger saw this, he almost fainted. After recovering, he threw the employee out of his room and apologized to the rabbi.
“I give my full respect and credit to your honorable Sages. Apparently they knew what to demand in their religious requirements, setting clear guidelines for future generations. Now, you can send rabbis to supervise the production process; I accept all the rulings of your Sages in this matter.”
The lesson of this story: give a little bit more respect of the halachic rulings of our Torah and Sages regarding conversion, which is a much more vital issue to the identity and survival of our nation than sugar production for Passover.
Behind the Iran curtain
With all due respect to Ehud Eilam (“Giving Israel the B-52 and the MOP to deter Iran,” March 21), I feel that the idea of the USA supplying the B-52 to Israel is a flight of fantasy. It is only in the past few months that America has finally agreed to supply Israel with a limited number of Boeing K46A refueling tankers to replace her ancient 60-year-old fleet of converted Boeing 707 (Re’em) tankers. Is it truly realistic – or even desirable – for the USA to supply Israel with the massive B52 bomber)? Would this not simply lead to a terrifying escalation of weaponry in the region when the Saudis, Egyptians and others clamor for similar lethal bombers?
I have no doubt that the ingenuity of the IDF together with the arms industry here, which developed the Dibber bomb that destroyed the Arab airfields in the 1967 war and which airlifted an entire Soviet-supplied Egyptian radar station back to Israel after that war – not to mention the raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor – will find the ways and means to deal with the Iran nuclear menace should this become necessary. 
“Iran diplomacy” (March 21), correctly points out that “Iran is closer to a [nuclear] bomb than it was in 2015 [when the Iran nuclear deal was signed].” Yes, and why is this? Because former president Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal in 2018, with the strong support of Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Before that pull out, Iran got rid of 98% of its enriched nuclear material, disabled two-thirds (12,000) of its centrifuges, and disabled a nuclear reactor by filling it with concrete. This greatly increased the time Iran would need to create a nuclear bomb.
In addition, there were extensive, possibly unprecedented, inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), using the most modern monitoring equipment and this group of professional inspectors certified at least eight times, before the US pull-out from the agreement, that Iran had been compliant with the deal.
Iran has stated its willingness to return to the nuclear deal if the US does as well, and that would again move Iran much further away from its ability to obtain a nuclear weapon. There is a strong consensus of leading security advisers and intelligence agencies that the pact was the best approach to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.
Of course recent statements and actions by Iran should be strongly condemned and sanctions not related to the Iran deal should be continued. Hopefully further negotiations and the possibility of additional sanctions being removed and other economic incentives would lead to Iran ending its destructive policies.
It is essential that disputes with Iran be solved diplomatically and not militarily, because a military conflict would have very negative consequences for Israel and the US.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
Shady Hady
Regarding “US memo details Biden Administration’s Palestinian ‘reset’ “ (March 17), within a year of the Second Intifada and 9/11, one Hady Amr was issuing statements about how “inspired” he was by this brutal Palestinian Arab campaign of terror and murder against innocent civilians, and how “Americans shouldn’t be surprised” when there is violent retaliation for US support for our greatest ally, Israel. Why do these 20-year-old statements matter?
Because the same Hady Amr has now been appointed by US President Joe Biden as deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs. In that role he has reportedly written a memo detailing the Biden Administration’s plans for policies in the region. 
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given Amr’s prejudices, these plans include another trip around the same, tired, failed track of a so-called peace process requiring Israel to capitulate and withdraw to the indefensible 1949 armistice line (“Green Line”), offering vital land for “peace” with a deadly opponent that actually cares only about destroying the “Zionist entity), and that has pocketed all prior concessions without an inch of progress toward deciding to coexist peacefully with their Israeli neighbors.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that Amr’s policy ideas will spell trouble for Israel and to realize that this appointment and other similar Biden Administration appointments are likely to sow land mines in the path to true peace. Despite their professions of support for the world’s only Jewish state, the Biden administration’s actions continue to belie their sadly empty words.
Williamsville, New York
The China syndrome
The Chinese Embassy to Israel noticed “Israel, US must confront China threat” (March 17). Full of cold-war mentality and zero-sum game philosophy, this article made up fallacies of “China threat” and smeared about China-Israel pragmatic cooperation in an effort to drive a wedge between the two nations, to which we are resolutely opposed.
First of all, the fallacy of “Chinese penetration of Israel’s economy” is ill-founded. China and Israel share similar cooperation ideas and draw strength from each other. Our cooperation delivered tangible benefits to both our peoples. Chinese companies brought cost-effective labors that are much needed by Israel’s construction endeavor and provide a large number of job opportunities. Our innovative cooperation in technology fields opened the largest market in the world for Israel’s most advanced products. In 2020, despite setbacks due to the coronavirus pandemic and striding forward against the global trend, our bilateral trade increased 18.8% to $17.54 billion, in which Israel’s export to China increased 21.9% to $6.28 billion. The facts speak for themselves, China-Israel cooperation is win-win in nature.
Second, the fallacy of “Chinese Investment Threat” is ill-founded. The article harped the same string of defaming Haifa’s new port contracted to Chinese companies and accusing Chinese companies of stealing Israel’s technologies by investing or building infrastructures. It sensationalized the idea of China threat to Israel’s national security, but failed to present any sound evidence. This lured the public to wonder if there were ulterior political motives behind its words. In fact, be it in the field of infrastructure construction or innovative investment, China-Israel cooperation is nothing else than normal business practice based on market supply-demand. Projects led by Chinese companies are advanced with an open and transparent bidding procedure in Israel. They abide by Israeli laws and regulations strictly. Chinese investment contains no hidden geopolitical agenda, no attached political strings nor threat to Israel’s national security. Such slanders scatter before the facts.
Third, the fallacy of “China-Israel relationship undermined Israel-US relationship” is ill-founded. China pursues a multi-faceted diplomacy and is willing to develop friendship and cooperation with every country in the world based on mutual respect, equity, and win-win spirit, China-Israel cooperation is bilaterally independent and voluntary, which is not targeted against a third party and should not suffer from a third party’s influence. Israel is an independent sovereign nation; we welcome development of normal ties between Israel and any other country. But relevant countries should refrain from zero-sum philosophy and blatantly interfering with development of normal ties and economy and trade cooperation between China and Israel. We believe that Israel’s cooperation with different parties can coexist while complementing with and drawing strength from each other. 
There was indeed one point this article made correct, that is China’s government and people had never been antisemitic. Though thousands of miles apart, the Chinese nation and the Jewish nation enjoyed a long history of friendly exchanges with long-lasting warmth. Antisemitism never sprouted in China in the past few thousand years. As two ancient nations that both suffered a lot in their history, the Chinese and Jews had all along showed respect and assistance to each other.
Rumors end with knowledge. Israel is an independent sovereign nation. China respects Israel’s legitimate security concerns and intends not to harm its special relationship with other countries. At the same time, legitimate commercial cooperation based on mutual benefit and market economy principles between China and Israel as well as between their companies deserve full respect too. I believe that years of friendship and mutual trust between China and Israel are a solid enough foundation and the Jewish nation has the wisdom to make the correct decision. I also believe that our win-win cooperation should not and will not be hindered or sabotaged by any external elements.
The Embassy of People’s Republic of China to Israel