Letters to the Editor November 4, 2020: US election: The day after

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
US election: The day after
Describing in vivid detail the unfair demonization of US President Donald Trump versus the biased glorification of former president Barack Obama by the liberal media, “A message to the ‘Trump will be Hitler’ crowd” (November 3) should be written in stone and distributed to all the Left-leaning Jews who abandoned Trump in the recent USA elections.
Shmuley Boteach remorselessly ridicules the left-wing media and politicians who have compared Trump to Hitler and warned endlessly about his dictatorial ambitions. Boteach tells it like it is: Trump is a great friend of the Jews and Israel and we should be grateful to him.
Kudos to Boteach for a hugely uplifting article. No wonder The Washington Post has called him the “most famous rabbi in America.” He deserves it.
Kudos to Lahav Harkov for her twin front-page articles that contrast expected US/Israel relations for the next four years with US President Donald Trump as expressed by Ambassador David Friedman vis-à-vis with former vice-president Joe Biden as expressed by ex-congressman Steve Israel. Harkov’s articles (“Friedman to ‘Post’: Trump’s policies will change the Middle East for the next 100 years” and “‘Israel will be stronger with Biden as President’”) were well-written, very informative and unbiased – a rarity in journalism today.
Anyone still sitting on the fence regarding this issue should could just ask himself if the US/Israel relationship is better now after four years of Trump and the Abraham Accords, or four years ago after eight years of the Obama/Biden administration, which enabled passage of UNSC Resolution 2334, which calls the Western Wall “occupied Palestinian territory” and denies thousands of years of Jewish history to the region.
Regarding “Reevaluating Trump’s legacy as a friend of Israel” (November 2), it’s not a question of which American president has been the best friend of Israel. The important thing is that US President Donald Trump didn’t keep repeating the failed policies of the past.
Yes, Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan were important, but they never produced full normalization of relations. Anti-Jewish invective continued to spew, giving Palestinian leaders the hope that they could eventually destroy the Jewish state.
Now America has signaled that Israel has valid claims in the Jews’ ancestral homeland without attempting to set borders. It’s time for the Palestinian leaders to begin building the state they claim to want. They need to return to the negotiating table, realizing that neither side will get everything that it considers to be ideal. The main point is that with peace, both Israelis and Palestinians can succeed.
Atlanta, GA
Regarding, “Leading Modern Orthodox rabbi condemns Trump” (October 28), Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein, head of Yeshivat Har Etzion, is quoted as saying that US President Donald Trump “is a mentally disturbed person without any inhibition or judgement who controls the button of the most powerful nuclear weapons in the world – and here people applaud him for opening an embassy in Jerusalem. They don’t stop for a moment to think about the moral damage that he inflicts on the United States, or even on the world. They don’t ask how it’s possible to abandon the fate of humanity to such an unbalanced man, who doesn’t recognize the concepts of truth and falsehood.”
President Trump has brought about peace agreements between Israel and an ever-growing number of its Arab neighbors. He has been perhaps the most friendly and helpful president to Israel and to the Jewish people in America. He has condemned antisemitism in the American Congress and in American universities.
Where is Rabbi Lichtenstein’s expression of gratitude? Where is his judgment? Where is his morality? Where is his sense of balance and prudence? Insulting and shameful remarks are not worthy of a person of his stature and lineage.
The only specific criticism that he has of Trump is that he screams at those in the media. This is perhaps a virtue rather than a vice.
The “conversion therapy” question
The Knesset session on “conversion therapy” compensated for its lack of scientific data with plenty of stormy drama (“‘We will continue to fight against the lie of conversion’” November 3). But rational policy decisions must consider scientific research about whether sexual attraction can change.
The myth that gays are “born that way and can’t change” is dying a slow death. According to Harvard/MIT geneticist Andrea Ganna, current research shows that although 25% of sexual behavior is genetic, the majority is determined by environment. Leaving no ambiguity, she concluded, “There is no gay gene.”
Diamond and Rosky, the former openly gay, wrote in a 2016 study that arguments that sexual orientation is immutable “are unscientific” because research shows that sexual orientation is not biologically determined at birth and that sexual attractions don’t remained fixed throughout life. To wit, a 2012 longitudinal study showed that 45% of adolescents chose a different sexual orientation after six years.
The latest scientific view is that sexual attractions are not immutable, but characterized by “fluidity.” Despite limitations in all psychotherapy outcome research, many studies show that significant numbers of people report changing their sexual attraction. No research has established that suicide attempts were caused by the therapy, and a similar, small percentage of those undergoing therapies for other problems also report they felt harmed.
As noted in the Knesset session, psychologists do not do “conversion therapy.” The issue is good vs. bad therapy, the former being scientifically informed, non-coercive and following the client’s goals. Those who want to explore their sexual attractions and decide if they can live heterosexually should not be deprived of their civil right to try. The rainbow must be expanded to allow this new “sexual minority” to define their own pursuit of happiness.
President, Cognitive Dynamic Therapy Associates
Still going viral
When I read about our MKs – those “highly qualified economic mavens” – sitting around and deciding about the country’s economic health and future (“Virus cabinet to debate increasing fines today,” November 2), all I see are people who are missing some basic know-how.
The people who should never have been shut down are those with minimal traffic, but who offer services to their community that perhaps no one else does. The shoemaker, the watch repair person, the dry cleaners, the children’s shoe store, florists, etc., among many others, were never of concern for spreading the virus, because theirs are low traffic, low volume establishments. They are most likely to fail if they can’t reopen soon, and their community ends up without certain services, often by a long-established senior member of the community.
Small business is at the heart of our economy. While its closure affects our lives negatively, its reopening does the opposite.
Islamic leaders and terrorism
Regarding “Islamic leaders fight cartoons with Shoah denial” (November 2), I would like to point out that no Jew has ever beheaded anyone who denied the German-inflicted Holocaust on the Jewish people. We took them to court, as civilized people do, and won.
Many have made mockery of Moses and jokes about Jesus. How many people have died for these obscenities? Not a one. I myself have a book published by an international publisher called Yeshua! that dwells on the humanity of the Christian God. I lecture on several subjects, including one entitled, “Yeshua ben Yosef, the Jew who became the God of the Christians – How did it happen?” No Christian has attacked me with a sword, scimitar or scythe for describing him as a man who lived and died a Jew, one who had no intention of founding a new religion. It was Saul/Paul of Tarsus who did that.
I suggest to Hassan Nasrallah, Ayatollah Khamenei, Mahathir Mohammad, and all those Islamic leaders who preach hate and justify murder in the name of their religion: “Learn to respect your fellowmen. Until you do, Winston Churchill’s definition of your people will continue as the truth. He said, ‘How dreadful are the curses of Mohammedanism! Besides the fanatical frenzy, as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is a fearful fatalistic apathy and a degraded sensualism that deprives this life of its grace and refinement. The fact that, in Mohammedan law, every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as child, wife, or concubine, must delay the extinction of slavery until Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.’
Rishon LeZion
Regarding “French dilemma” (November 2), France’s colonial past in Vietnam did not prevent integration of Vietnamese immigrants, and cannot be blamed for the growing Islamist violence and separatism in France.
According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “It becomes more and more difficult to be a Muslim and live an Islamic lifestyle in Western countries.” What exactly does he mean by “an Islamic lifestyle”? Does it include decapitation of your fellow citizens?
French Islamists demand that non-Muslims follow Muslim law in determining what is permissible, making it clear that political Islam is not compatible with the Enlightenment values on which the French Republic was founded. If they have their way, French Islamists will make it difficult to be French and live an Enlightenment-based lifestyle in France.
Freedom of speech is falsely being set up as an attack on “religious sensitivity,” but murder by decapitation and by other methods is not an expression of “religious sensitivity.” Political terror is a decision being made by French Islamists because they have seen that violence works.
We shall see if that is determinative for the future of France.
Davis, CA
Regarding “Reports of several dead, injured in Vienna attack” (November 3), we of course offer expressions of sympathy to the families of the victims killed and wounded. But other than that, is there really nothing that can be done to prevent Islamic violence and terrorism around the world?
Capital confusion
Regarding where Jerusalem is located (“18-year-old born in J’lem gets first US passport with birthplace listed as Israel” (November 1), I was on a one-year program for foreign students at the Hebrew University during my junior year of college in 1962-1963. At that time US passports were valid for three years and had to be renewed to extend their validity for an additional two years. My US passport, having been issued in 1960, had to be renewed in 1963.
I went to the US consulate on Rechov Agron in Jerusalem and my passport was duly renewed with the official stamp “PASSPORT RENEWED Jerusalem, Palestine, & signed by the ‘American Consul, United States of America.”
Let’s hope no US administration rolls back any of the progress made in our region in the past four years.
Readers and leaders
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has finally woken up to what so many of us knew was inevitable (“Blue and White split on staying in government,” November 3). Bibi’s “no shticks no tricks” speech was exactly that, a shtick and a trick which Gantz fell for.
Now that he sees the light, perhaps he will leave the government and help bring about a government of the people and for the people. Most importantly, during this COVID-19 time, we need a prime minister with a plan for the nation’s future, not just his own.
Jeff Barak (in “Reevaluating Trump’s legacy as a friend of Israel”) and Susan Rolef ("Benjamin Netanyahu at his best and at his worst”), both published on November 2, ascend to new heights of one-sided poisonous descriptions of the two leaders.
Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump are portrayed as outrageous obnoxious liars, both having contempt for democracy and the rule of law, both thriving on incitement, both detesting the media and all liberals. Netanyahu, at least, is intelligent (according to Rolef) whereas Trump is an ignorant boor.
Both journalists can find absolutely nothing positive to say about either political leader or their accomplishments over the years. However, Netanyahu does get positive points for side-stepping Trumps “sleepy Joe” comment in a telephone conversation.
Both writers should try to inject a broader vision beyond their strident viewpoints. Readers of The Jerusalem Post deserve more intelligent and broad-minded journalism.
When I’m 64
Regarding “Katz considers increasing retirement age for women to 64” (November 3), in this day of gender equality, the article never addresses the question of why women now can retire at the age of 62 in Israel, yet men, who have a shorter average lifespan, must work until they are 67. How can this be considered fair?
Life expectancy in Israel is increasing. The average lifespan of Israelis in 1971 was 71 years; today it is about 83 years. This is a significant change. The longer people live, the harder it is for the National Insurance Institute to afford to make payments, so it is logical that people should be prepared to see the retirement age gradually shifted back a few years, but people near the retirement age should be exempt from the extension.
Also, maybe people who wish to work beyond retirement age should be offered incentives for doing so.