Letters to the Editor November 18, 2020: Nuclear or not?

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Nuclear or not?
Gershon Baskin’s Encountering Peace column from November 12, “The Biden brief,” once again misses the mark and is rife with delusions of peace-loving neighbors like Iran and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
He argues for US President-elect Joe Biden to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal in order to push Tehran further from nuclear breakout.
Yet he reminds us that Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, “which should prevent Iran from ever building a nuclear weapon.” In the very next sentence, Mr. Baskin writes: “It is true that Iran and other state have violated the NPT in the past.”
So what’s it going to be, Mr. Baskin? Is Iran on the path to a nuclear weapon? Can we trust Iran or can’t we? The answer seems clear: we can’t!
Regarding the Palestinians, Baskin advises Biden to renew full financial assistance to the PA and to UNRWA, among other things. Yet he advises that the US should not start or act as mediator to any peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Re-funding financial assistance to the PA and UNRWA will simply embolden the PA to continue its intransigence regarding any peace process: why make peace when one is given all the money one needs?
It remains to be seen if Biden follows Baskin’s advice. Heaven help us all if he does – at least with respect to Iran. They are the existential threat.
The Palestinians can be expected to bumble along as they have done for 70 years.
Israel has lived with the Palestinian problem for that long and survived, and can continue to do so until new and enlightened leadership among the Palestinians arises.
Blast from the past
Thanks to Mina Stern for reminding me of my good old friend Takamitsu Muraoka as a Japanese scholar of Hebrew. (Letters, November 9).
He belongs to a younger generation than Prince Mikasa and Setsuzo Kotsuji, and that’s why I had not mentioned him. Ms. Stern might do well to congratulate him on the birth of his granddaughter, as he informed me in a recent email. With his phenomenal memory he is sure to remember her.
Give us a break!
The first paragraph of Ruthie Blum’s column in the November 6 paper, “Jews, Joe Biden and the ‘squad,’” made it clear that the rest of her two-column top-to-bottom of page pipe dream would be a waste of time to read.
To imply that the only thing that drove “liberal” American Jews (75% of all American Jews) to Joe Biden was their aversion to Donald Trump’s “tweets and demeanor” is beyond ludicrous.
She seems to have ignored that US President Donald Trump’s alleged tax-dodging, draft-dodging, blatant bigotry, mendacity, con-man schemes, self-dealing, nepotism, violations of US constitutional and federal laws and lack of just plain human decency may have been factors in such an aversion.
His manic tweets and loutish demeanor are merely the scum on top of a pile of repulsive rubbish.
Give us a break Ruthie! The cover of Donald Trump’s book gives a pretty good hint of the horrors within.
Chair in, dignitaries out
Regarding the November 15 editorial, “Above Politics,” the last dignitaries to visit Yad Vashem were from the UAE and they showed the same respect as foreign dignitaries before them.
With the proposed chairman, Effi Eitam, installed how many dignitaries from the Arab world will visit Yad Vashem ?
Indeed when the word gets out, how many other foreign dignitaries will visit the memorial?
Easy does it
The November 13 headline gets it just right: “UAE official on peace with Israel: Getting to ‘yes’ was quick, easy.”
UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba provided a unique insight into Abu Dhabi’s view of its goals in the Abraham Accords. “The annexation is what made us reach this decision in the way we did and the time we did it.”
And I reckon they pretty well knew that Israel would prove “easy” in forgoing sovereignty in exchange for “normalization.”
The other win of course for the UAE was the F-35 deal, now valued at around $2.3 billion, which will go into the coffers of the US.
Bottom line: the UAE still supports the two-state solution for the Palestinians, Otaiba said. “We’re going to have tough conversations with the Israeli government about the Palestinians and the Palestinian state.”
I don’t reckon, going on our record of conceding, that they will have too tough a time to get what they want from “easy” Israel.
Thanks from afar
This letter is to thank Liat Collins for her beautiful tribute to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, of blessed memory, in November 13’s Jerusalem Post (“The lasting legacy of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks”).
She correctly identified the many dimensions of his achievements, among them: scholarship (including originality within the tradition), institution-building, lucid communication to the Jewish people and to all people, and great compassion.
To our small Jewish community in Mozambique, he made an enormously disproportionate contribution, as we use so much of the source material he created – the parsha study materials, the children’s educational materials, among others – all the time.
As Ms. Collins rightly states, however great the loss of his untimely departure, as a teacher we will have him with us for the generations. And we can continue to draw inspiration from his example.
Maputo, Mozambique
The writer is an official in the Associação Honen Dalim – Comunidade Judaica de Moçambique (Honen Dalim - The Jewish Community of Mozambique).
And the cheering began
In his article “After the cheering stopped,” November 9, Micah Halpern states: ”Almost every Orthodox Jew, certainly in New York, voted for Donald Trump.”
Really? I find that illusion reported as fact to be absurd and self-centered. Orthodox Jews who value leadership that is truthful, kind, honest, humble and accomplished, would even find being lumped into a Trump grouping as repulsive.
Not even because of politics; but because of the essential values of Judaism that Trump belittles through his actions.
Vote for whom you will, but don’t proclaim assumptions about a diverse collective of our people, many of whom will have values different than yours, will uphold those values, and vote those values.
New York
Our experience on the Shabbat of November 7 in New York City could not have been more different and enjoyable than Mr. Halpern’s.
As a reminder, that was the day Pennsylvania announced that Joe Biden had won the state and therefore secured the presidency of the United States.
As reported in the media there was a euphoria of joy that came over many of the residents of New York City including the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
I do not question the experience that Mr. Halpern and his fellow congregants experienced but I think it is important to hear from other Orthodox Jews on the Upper West Side and their experience that day.
I had gone to an early COVID-safe outdoor minyan at my shul and was home by 10:30 a.m. I was reading in our living room when we heard this tremendous roar of noise. We asked a neighbor what had occurred and they told us of Biden’s win in Pennsylvania.
We went outside to join the celebration, contrary to Mr. Halpern’s view that “Almost every Orthodox Jew, certainly in New York, voted for Donald Trump.” We have many friends, relatives and fellow congregants that did not support Donald Trump now or four years ago.
Later in the afternoon, my wife and I along with some Orthodox friends took a walk to Central Park where the euphoria over Biden’s win continued. We wore our Shabbat clothes and kippot. In the park there were hundreds of Shabbat-observant Jews enjoying the beautiful fall day in New York City. At no time were we or did we see any other Jew harassed by our non-Jewish neighbors.
Perhaps Mr. Halpern should reach out to his neighbors to explore why they received negative feedback that day as we enjoy the positive relationships we have with our neighbors on the Upper West Side.
New York
Recognize the good
Rabbi Shmuly Boteach is to be praised for his forthright expression of gratitude to President Trump (“An American rabbi says thank you to President Trump,” November 10).
Unfortunately the attitude of many Jews to the US president lacks any element of the classic Judaic virtue of hakarat hatov (recognizing the good).
In the course of the election campaign many of The Jerusalem Post’s columnists displayed an utter lack of awareness of the magnitude of Trump’s actions on behalf of Israel.
Some went so far as to declare that Trump was actually bad for Israel while another denied that he was Israel’s greatest benefactor and instead nominated Harry Truman for that accolade.
Really? True that Truman granted de facto recognition minutes after Israel declared statehood, but in the War of Independence in which her very existence was at stake he refused to give her even one bullet.
I am nevertheless happy to give Truman credit but his action is very pale compared to the long list of historic breakthroughs engineered by President Trump.
Jews must look within and ask: why did they disparage a true friend and discredit his positive deeds, thereby committing the sin of “negating a favor” (kafuy tova).
The Jewish people have many enemies and very few friends in the world today. Can we afford to be so hostile to the world’s most powerful leader, who went way beyond what anyone could have expected in furthering Israel’s interests?
The Jews need a lesson in how to recognize and appreciate a true friend. This is of vital importance from both the moral and practical standpoints.
Let’s remember that if someone has done you a huge favor you may not repay the good with evil.
Even if you intensely dislike the benefactor you have the obligation of gratitude. Rabbi Boteach has courageously expressed the appreciation that all Jews should feel toward the president. May we emulate his example.
Election conundrum
As it is manifestly clear from the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the US presidential election results, one must conclude that regrettably the Americans are incapable of efficiently and reliably administrating a postal vote system which should therefore be discontinued forthwith.
Messy results
As Susan Hattis Rolef points out in her November 16 Think About It column, “The election results roller coaster,” contested elections can have “messy results.”
The US election of 1877, sometimes referred to as the Compromise of 1877, affected more than which candidate would become president.
The years between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and the election of 1876, were known as the Reconstruction years in the South, wherein the newly united country afforded voting and all civil rights to the freed slaves, who began to assert their new freedoms in all spheres of local governments and communal life.
The Democratic Party of the “white” South, unwilling to continue this equalization for African-Americans, took the opportunity of the contested election of 1876 to make the deal with the Republicans, who had controlled those states, to recall all these new rights, in return for allotting the presidency to Republican candidate Rutherford Hayes.
This so called “compromise” restored white supremacy in the South and effectively denied civil rights to African-Americans in those states for almost a century.
So we can see that dissonant elections can indeed have quite untoward and “messy” results.
Beit Shemesh
Get down, man
Trump’s difficulty in accepting defeat as reported on several occasions is understandable.
I fully sympathize with him after having undergone a similar experience. Some 75 years ago, in the 8th Grade, I ran for president of the student council and garnered a grand total of four votes.
My advice to Mr. Trump is that it is time to make way in the White House.