Letters to the editor October 18, 2021: Can Israel learn from New York?

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Can Israel learn from New York?

Regarding “Needed: A civility spiral to propel Israeli-Arabs forward” (October 13): I disagree with Prof. Gil Troy’s suggestion that Israel can learn from New York how to tackle the Israeli-Arab crime problem because it has over the years lowered its crime rate. No, anyone who reads the city’s tabloids will be shocked at how violent the city still is. More to the point is that the United States and Israel have monumental problems which have no commonality. The former must confront gun violence and the racial crisis; the latter, how to integrate the recalcitrant haredi and Israeli-Arab minorities.  

Even the US with all its brainpower, as reflected in the staggering number of Nobel Prizes it has won, cannot solve these problems. Much of this brilliance is associated with top universities in California, where seven of the ten Nobel laureates this year in medicine, physics, chemistry and economics were educated, affiliated with, or are now professors. Yet one is astounded by the magnitude of the homeless problem in Los Angeles where thousands of them live in plastic tents lining the sidewalks. California also has the perennial problem of huge forest fires. There is a myth that critical social and natural issues are solvable without sweat in advanced democracies.


Is Porky Pig kosher?

Dov Fischer discusses the connections and intersections between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, “Why anti-Zionism always in pure antisemitism” (October 17) but then digresses to suggest a similarity between these and anti-kosher. Why be against someone else living a more authentic Jewish life, he asks? But Dov misses the point. Anti-kosher means anti-the obsessive, meticulous restrictions on food consumption so central to his understanding of “authentic” Jewish life as if there are no other aspects of Jewish culture except for the extremism of kosherism. The battalions of kashrut supervisors, the added cost, the rigid adherence to outdated methods of animal slaughter to satisfy the craving for meat. Only recently the outlawing by the chief rabbinate of the use of the word “pork” as an adjective in a menu even if pork was not actually on the menu. Soon, very soon, we will have to raid the boydem and destroy all of our Porky Pig comics to maintain an authentic Jewish home. Can we brush our teeth on Yom Kippur - might not a tasty morsel of Colgate slip into our gullet by mistake? Anti-kosher is anti-extremism, any form of it. 


Flying frequently to South Africa

It is good news to read about flights to Europe, “Israel to ease travel through EU’s digital COVID passport program” (September 16). However, when will there be flights to South Africa?  El Al is/was the only airline with direct flights to South Africa who is no longer on the Red list. COVID restrictions there are still extremely stringent to which the population has to abide by. If one is fully vaccinated what are the reasons that one cannot fly directly (or maybe even indirectly) to South Africa.

My “frequent flier’’ card continues to gather dust!


Sugihara Survivor

Concerning the article “Righting a Grievous Wrong” (October 15), I am a “Sugihara Survivor” who lived for seven years as a child in Shanghai. I want to say Thank You! Also, my children, my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren say Thank you!


Using leverage in Jerusalem

Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz made a case, “A US consulate in Jerusalem extends the conflict” (October 15), for why there should be no US consulate in Jerusalem serving the Palestinian Authority. Then he concluded with an outrageous suggestion: Biden should use this as “leverage,” agreeing not to open that Jerusalem consulate if Israel agrees to go back to the negotiating table with Abbas. 

Katz had already acknowledged that Jerusalem is unequivocally the Jewish capital and will remain so. Why, then, should our government have to concede something in order to protect what is rightfully ours? Most especially something that is not in our interest, as would be the case in meeting with the terror-supporting Abbas. 

Consider the very different approach of law professor Eugene Kontorovich. There was an indication, he said, that the Americans were thinking of opening the consulate without the required Israeli consent, assuming Israel would just go along. Kontorovich advised:

“Israel needs to spell out now that it will not accept a fait accompli. A diplomatic mission needs many things from the host government, from diplomatic visas and license plates to security coordination. If Bennett and Lapid want to deter the United States from attempting hardball tactics, they should declare now that the government will in no way recognize a new diplomatic mission opened without its consent.”

How different from the left-wing perspective is this advice that Israel strand strong for her rights.


Certain proof that even a broken clock is right twice a day: note Yaakov Katz’s editorial. Yes, a US Consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem would be a terrible political loss for Israel. 

Since I have zero confidence that our over-eager-to-compromise government will handle this Biden effort to weaken us appropriately, the drama remains interesting. Perhaps it can adopt Katz’s error, buried at the end of the editorial, and offer up Abu Dis – proving, I guess, that Katz’s broken clock is right only once a day.


Ireland’s ingratitude

Regarding ”Ireland’s got a problem” (editorial, October 15): On July 4, 1917, General John J. Pershing, having recently arrived in France to lead the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, made a ceremonial visit the grave of Marquis de Lafayette in Paris. The highlight of the event would be a rousing speech by Pershing’s aide, Colonel Charles E. Stanton, whose concluding words were “Lafayette, we are here!”

Stanton’s one-sided conversation with a dead man proved to be a well-received expression of gratitude to the French people for France’s past diplomatic and military assistance to the United States.

The “top-down” percolation of antisemitism in Ireland from high political levels to the Irish populace at large goes beyond antithesis to Pershing’s graveside tribute to the deceased Lafayette. Ireland’s transition from a dominion of the British Empire to an independent republic was facilitated in no small part by Eamon de Valera’s close personal and intellectual relationship with Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog when Herzog was chief rabbi of Ireland. Rabbi Herzog, of course, continued his service as a noted rabbi after he made aliyah to the Mandate. Rabbi Herzog’s son would later serve as president of Israel, a position now occupied by Rabbi Herzog’s grandson following a notable career in Israeli politics.

Yes, Ireland does have a problem – a problem rooted in unbounded dissolute ingratitude!


Antisemitic or pro-Israel?

The article by Douglas Bloomfield headlined “Jewish Trump Wannabe cuddles with anti-Semites in senate race” (October 14) is riddled with innuendos, negativity and hatred. Josh Mendel is standing for election to the Senate for the State of Ohio. The author criticizes Josh Mendel for stating that he wants to bring up his children to be proud Americans, proud Jews and proud Zionists and that he supports Israel and that he has cousins throughout Judea and Samaria. How refreshing it is to find an American who is seeking public office with these values. Instead of lauding this statement the author finds this offensive as he believes Josh Mendel does not appear to have much regard for the Palestinians who also live there.

In an ironic twist, the article clearly demonstrates the bitter-hate-filled world of Douglas Bloomfield and his twisted view of Zionism, Jewish identity and anything to do with Trump. Hold my tongue from speaking evil has not registered with Douglas Bloomfield. The article has no place in a newspaper with the reputation of The Jerusalem Post.


Recognizing Palestine

Gershon Baskin recommends that Germany recognize Palestine and if it does, other countries will follow leading to a new era of peace, “A message to Germans, Palestinians and Israelis” (October 14). The only problem with that is that countries need borders and because the Palestinians covet all of Israel, negotiating borders with the country they want to replace won’t be easy to accomplish. I suppose Palestine could be created with the national motto, we have a country but don’t know where it is exactly. One more thing. Palestinian leaders have announced that not a single Palestinian refugee will be allowed to be a citizen of Palestine. They must all go to Israel or live in limbo. Perhaps Mr. Baskin could tell us how the establishment of Palestine without negotiating with Israel the fate of the refugees, water distribution, mutual security and a myriad other issues could be achieved.


Gershon Baskin treats the Palestinian Authority and Hamas as though they were The Brady Bunch. He also plays fast-and-loose with history.

He suggests the Holocaust led to the birth of Israel. It did not. It was the San Remo Accords, 1920, that created mandates for areas of the Ottoman Empire that Turkey lost in World War I. The Mandate for Palestine was held as the reconstituted homeland of the Jews. When the Mandate ended in 1948, Israel was declared.

The Nakba was not the result of Israel’s birth. The Nakba had been ongoing for years, propelled by Nazi war criminal, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

The mufti’s first Nakba was the slaughter of the Jews of Hebron in 1929. Another was the Yemenite village of Shiloah, founded in 1882. Arab rioters decimated Jewish life, until in August of 1938, the British evicted the survivors. Illegal Arab settlers moved in and renamed it, Silwan. In June, 1941, the mufti instigated the Farhud, murdering hundreds of Iraqi Jews in Baghdad.

All these ‘Nakbas’ left the Mufti unscathed. Only when he planned to extend the Holocaust into the Middle East, in 1948, did he fail.

What ‘Palestine’ would Baskin like Germany to recognize: the 1920 one that included Jordan, the UN’s 1947 suggestion, the PA’s demands, the American Peace to Prosperity plan, or Hamas’s goal of killing every Jew?

I suggest the Palestinians (created in 1964 by the KGB) should listen very carefully to the words of the Abraham Accord members.

As for “occupation” and “settlements” being in “violation of international law,” that’s a fiction. Article 80 of the UN Charter states that nothing can negate what was promised the Jews in 1920 and ratified by the League of Nations in 1922, meaning Israel includes Judea, Samaria and Gaza, until such time as Israel decides otherwise.


High punitive damages

“IDF‘s top West Bank court calls for imposing high punitive damages in Palestinian terror murder cases” (October 14) explains how fruitless it is to have the Israeli court grant punitive damages when they are not paid.

There seems to be no recourse. Jewish people were murdered in Judea or Samaria and nothing can be collected. Excuses are absurd. Our government should correct this legislatively.

In the meantime I would like to suggest a “turn-about-fair-play” solution: The Palestinian Authority will pay (through deductions from VAT Israel passed back to them) for slaying Israeli citizens.


Aliyah or Nobel?

With respect to the comments of Joshua Angrist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics, as usual Herb Keinon got it right, “A dent in the aliyah message: The sweet and less sweet in a Nobel Prize” (October 13). Angrist explained that he left Israel and returned to the United States because of the fact that a professor of literature in Israel might receive the same salary as a professor of economics or computer science. As Keinon put it, Angrist apparently decided that “the sacrifices are (not) worth it for what is gained by living in the Jewish state.” 

Guess what - it is not news to anyone that a professor – or almost anyone else – can make more money in the US than in Israel. Too bad that Angrist wasted those precious years in Israel when he could have been given the bad news before his aliyah. But, in case he did not know this, money is not the reason we move here. You would think that by the time he reached the level of a Ph.D, he would have learned that. The challenge of living in and developing our Jewish country is a greater draw to some of us than making more money elsewhere. 

By the way, if I had to be isolated on a desert island with one other person (other than my wife), I would choose the professor of literature over the professor of economics every time. 

I’d like to make a bet with Angrist as to which of us will have Jewish great-grandchildren. But as an attorney, I’d have to advise him not to take such a bet.


Once again Herb hits the nail on the head. 

After having made aliyah 11 years ago from Los Angeles as a 55-year-old then, I believed then and still believe that living here in Israel is a zchut that not everyone merits. Sure, one can make more money and afford to buy more ‘stuff’ in America as I did, but you are lacking the experience of living in your own land, among your own people, only here in Israel. 

As my wife, Wendy, has said many times, “When you live in Israel you get a front row seat to history.” Not only Jewish history, but world history.

Maybe now that Professor Angrist has won the coveted Nobel Prize and will soon join MIT as a professor there, he will change his last name from Angrist to Happiest.