Letters to the Editor November 29, 2021: Disastrous foreign policies

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Disastrous foreign policies

Is any more proof needed to demonstrate the total inability of the present chaotic government to advance its plans than the headline “Israel bows to US pressure, won’t advance east Jerusalem Atarot project” (November 28)? Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has agreed to his own emasculation and has exchanged his backbone for a jelly-stick. 

By his acquiescence, he shows that he is only one centimeter away from collaborating with the US in declaring a Palestinian terror entity on our doorstep, because that is what our so-called friends wish to impose upon us. Isn’t it a pity that they can’t learn from their own disastrous foreign policies hitherto (Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Syria) and leave us alone to decide what is best for us. After all, every country formulates its foreign policy based only on its own interests: and the US is no exception.

Atarot is part of sovereign Israel and part of our capital city of Jerusalem. And why has the land in Atarot now become free for development? Well, of course the answer is that in 2001, then-prime minister Ehud Barak closed down and dismantled Jerusalem’s sole airport in Atarot because our “cousins” in east Jerusalem were firing on our planes as they took off and came in to land, making the entire airport a severe security risk. So again we acquiesced.

Come back Trumpeldor, everything is forgiven!

LAURENCE BECKERJerusalem

 The site of the Atarot project, next to the security barrier and the apartments of Kafr Akab. (credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF) The site of the Atarot project, next to the security barrier and the apartments of Kafr Akab. (credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

Eliminating male violence

We have just marked (again) the International Day For the Elimination of Violence Against Women. And (again) a woman is murdered by her partner (“On International Day: 32-year-old woman murdered in Mughar,” November 26).

I think the day should be renamed: The International Day for the Elimination of Violence by Men. In addition to focusing on ways to protect women from violence, how about also focusing on ways to treat the phenomenon of male violence? Violence against women is the symptom – male violence is the disease for which a cure needs to be found. Let’s stop saying “she was murdered by her partner” and instead say “her partner murdered her.”

The cause of the pandemic – and it is a pandemic – is hardly addressed. Enough of interviews with women’s organizations that are doing magnificent work in dealing with the fallout, in all its forms, from male violence. Where are the organizations working to eliminate the scourge(s) in society which produce so many violent men? Until this is approached as society’s problem, and not seen as a women’s issue, there will be no progress. 

It is more evidence, not that any is needed, that we are still in a society in which the male default reigns. Men are people and women are women. It is the same reaction when the media and the politicians talk about “violence in the Arab sector.” Why is it not called “male violence in the Arab sector?” All the violence in that sector is committed by men; why is it not a gender issue? Because the gender committing the violence is the male gender. Until we begin to focus on the cause of the phenomena of women suffering at the hands of violent men, and not only the effects of that violence, we will not make any real progress. 

It is more than 50 years since Golda Meir’s famous stance, when asked to place a curfew on women to help end a series of rapes. She said, “But it is the men who are attacking the women. If there is to be a curfew, let the men stay at home.” Have we learned nothing?

ELLIE MORRISAseret

Revolting and disgusting

Nowadays politicians use the term “red line” frequently to indicate a point or level or barrier beyond which a certain course of action is no longer acceptable and must be stopped.

Your pro-Palestinian advocate Gershon Baskin has reached that in his latest (“Terrorism in our name,” November 25) revolting, disgusting, barrage of distortions and untruths.

Even though article after article has been published in respectable journals and elsewhere by distinguished law professors and legal scholars confirming the legality of the various towns and communities developed in Judea and Samaria since 1967, Mr. Baskin still insists on churning out the Palestinian propaganda line of calling them “illegal.” This moral deafness of Mr. Baskin is no longer acceptable in a Jewish newspaper in the State of Israel.

His expressions of empathy with Palestinians whose olive trees may be harmed while young Jewish men, women, and children are being murdered by Palestinian terrorists, is no longer acceptable.

There are so many outright distortions of reality, that many, many people believe The Jerusalem Post should no longer be giving a platform to this hateful man.

DR. JOSEPH BERGERNetanya

Gershon Baskin has never been so disgusting and embarrassing in his love for those who wish to destroy him. The apartheid PA has never refuted its aim of the whole of the Palestinian state being free of Jews and that includes our esteemed author. To make the whole article more unpalatable, he omits the tragic murder of Eli Kay by a Hamas assailant in Jerusalem last week. The murder was celebrated by the distribution of lollies in PA-controlled areas. This is a fate planned for all Israelis and Baskin should be aware that the only “occupation” of Judea and Samaria was by Jordan between 1948 and 1967. At this time, Jews were ethically cleansed from the area.

Notice that Baskin chooses three notorious totally biased and inaccurate organizations to back his claims – Peace Now, Breaking the Silence and Yesh Din. Their agenda is one-sided and they ignore Palestinian violations of Israeli human rights, including terrorism. He fails to mention how the Palestinians are treated by Lebanon (Hezbollah) where they are given one privilege and that is to accept a laissez-passé to leave the country, never to be allowed to return, or live in conditions of utter deprivation.

JERUSALEM POST readers – please assist in doing what you can to pressure the paper to cease publishing articles by Baskin. He does not deserve the publicity and he ruins our days with his heresy, vile, antisemitic outbursts. His contributions to Haaretz would be welcomed.

KAREN PISKNetanya

Oh yes, these settlers are evil, cruel, no doubt about it. And from time to time a peaceful Palestinian appears, shoots and kills some Jews, no problem!

RUTH SCHUELERJerusalem

Preserving the Land of Israel

Regarding “More challenges arise for tax on disposable plastic utensils” (November 25), having lived among haredim in Brooklyn, New York, I can’t understand their mindset. They reject a basic secular education with the excuse that it is bitul Torah and bitul zman, a waste of time not devoted to the study of Torah. They demean women in not allowing them to actively participate in society and not allowing their photos to be published with the excuse that they provoke sexual immorality. But when haredim reject a tax on disposable plasticware which they disproportionately use, what excuse do they have? What rational person could be against preserving the natural environment of Eretz Yisrael, the beauty of which the Torah describes?

JACOB MENDLOVICToronto

Leave Hanukkah out of this

I’m not familiar with Dr. Micah Goodman, the philosopher cited by Amotz Asa-El in his latest column (“Hanukkah and the new idolatry,” November 26) but Goodman’s concern regarding the danger of an over-digitalized world is not novel. Every so often, studies are published that call attention to the unhealthy reliance we have on being continually linked in, and suggest that disconnecting from time to time would result in enhanced productivity in the workplace as well as greater emotional stability in our personal lives. Your columnist appears to endorse the idea that technology needs to be contained and that in some locations, WiFi gateways should in fact be disabled. But while I certainly don’t disagree with the notion that we should speak more with our voices than with our fingers and that the high-tech version of chats is woefully inferior to the screenless counterpart, I find it ironic that right at the end of Asa-El’s column is an invitation to visit his website. A small but significant first step might be to keep the worldwide web out of the picture, at least from time to time.

I wonder if Goodman, in his book, identified a technological line of demarcation, one where a single step beyond is too much and contributes to the fractured world he writes about. Would he find it acceptable that virtually every contributor to The Jerusalem Post’s Frontlines section provides an address to a website, Facebook page or email inbox? Or are these not “elements of the digital era’s threats?” Surely, that the paper’s readers are being lured into a digital wonderland is not meaningless. And yet, they are, for all practical purposes, an integral component of personal identification.

But please ask Asa-El to leave Hanukkah out of the debate. The parallels he draws to make his points may or may not be valid, but the serious issue raised by Goodman deserves to be dealt with unfettered by historical references or holiday imagery. I don’t think that there would be too much disagreement that we are indeed living in a fractured world. Certainly, the advent of technology and the growth of social media are contributing factors to this sorry situation. But as Asa-El concludes, all is not lost. What is required is an admission that we, ourselves, are responsible for what can only be called a virtual plague, and the resolve to bring it under control. Not quite a miracle, granted, but something that will not take place without resistance from many different directions.

BARRY NEWMANGinot Shomron

In his review of Micah Goodman’s latest book, Amotz Asa-El correctly warns that “social media make people talk and listen mostly to those who already think like them. The result is a decline in dialogue.” However, he fails to mention the even greater danger: Social media actually tell people what to think. Their virtually unbridled power to remove what they deem to be “offensive” or “misinformation” can eliminate debate on crucial issues. 

A successful marketplace of ideas requires wide ranging free expression. While it is entirely proper for private individuals and groups to fight hate speech and misinformation, we grant social media this expansive mandate at our peril. Giving the platforms the authority to determine acceptable forms of expression and topics for discussion opens a Pandora’s box that might never be closed. 

Two recent examples: The outcome of last year’s presidential election may well have been determined when both Facebook and Twitter prevented the public from seeing a clearly newsworthy report by the New York Post that was potentially harmful to then-candidate Joe Biden. By the time that decision was reversed, Biden had won. Similarly, discussions of potentially life-saving COVID-19 therapeutics are banned if they contradict the orthodoxy espoused by those interested in maintaining or expanding their own power. 

Unlike traditional news outlets, social media platforms are immune from liability for damages caused by posts on their sites. This legal protection was granted initially because the then-fledgling companies asserted that they were mere conduits of information. They promised not to exercise editorial discretion in the manner of traditional news outlets – a promise they now violate with impunity. 

Rather than recommend that the immunity be lifted, however, some are now calling for even stricter controls over the types of expression allowed on social media. The next step down that road would be even worse – allowing government agencies to determine the parameters of acceptable speech. 

These troubled times require more speech, not less. With the exception of threats of imminent violence, child pornography (itself a form of violence), and other illegal acts, social media outlets should not remove offensive or allegedly inaccurate information, nor should they deplatform users. 

We must oppose degradation of the fundamental rights of thought and expression. As big tech, government, and cancel culture seek to impose their own views of acceptable speech on the rest of society, the specter of George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth should terrify us all.

EFRAIM A. COHENZichron Ya’acov