Letters to the Editor: Bibi a RINO?

The huge smile on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s face during and after the visit does not reflect the reality of the situation (unless Netanyahu is really a RINO – right-wing in name only).

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Bibi a RINO?
Thank you, Caroline B. Glick, for bringing us back to reality on the results of the visit by US President Donald Trump (“Netanyahu’s challenge with Trump,” Column One, May 26).
The huge smile on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s face during and after the visit does not reflect the reality of the situation (unless Netanyahu is really a RINO – right-wing in name only).
Unlike most of his Likud and Bayit Yehudi cabinet ministers, Netanyahu still stands with his two-state solution and acceptance of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as his partner for peace. His pushing through the cabinet of further concessions to the PA, including the ability to build in Area C, is evidence that Netanyahu has not seized the opportunity to change the failed policy of the past, as Ms. Glick suggests.
President Trump has returned to the US to deal with the coming year’s budget, his new tax plan and the replacement of Obamacare, not to mention the efforts of the Democrats and the media to impeach him on the “phony” Russian issue. Meanwhile, the task of moving the Arab-Israeli problem will be led by Jason Greenblatt, who seems to have taken the role of messenger.
The comments of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the departing flight from Tel Aviv show he will be a factor – and are not encouraging. The other key officials involved are Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. None of these three is known as a friend of Israel.
Netanyahu’s over-optimism suits his political needs. He wishes to show the nation that his close relationship with Trump cannot be replicated by any other Israeli politician. Bibi did not offer a more realistic plan, since any change to the two-state solution might jeopardize his current standing. The status quo has always worked for him.
This is a dangerous strategy, as we all know that Trump can change positions rather quickly, as shown by his refusal to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
Words matter
While US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman made his first stop in Israel a visit to the Western Wall and was thanked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his act of solidarity, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, H.R.
McMaster, made it clear that Trump’s visit to the Wall would be neither religious nor political (“US president’s NSC head avoids calling Western Wall part of Israel during briefing,” May 17).
McMaster was also quoted as saying that Trump was “going to the Western Wall to connect with three of the world’s great religions and to pay homage at each of these sites.” Apparently, he was unable to say that the Western Wall was one of Israel’s and Judaism’s holy sites. This may have been out of ignorance, a slip of the tongue or the deliberate use of alternative facts. Whatever the reason, words matter.
Tinton Falls, New Jersey
What about Pollard?
Jonathan Pollard’s ticket to Israel should have been a slamdunk from the get-go of Donald Trump’s accession to the White House. That this act of justice and compassion remains on hold four months into the allegedly Israel-friendliest-ever US administration is nothing if not exacerbated by the release, after serving only seven years of a 35-year sentence, of US Army Pvt. Bradley (now known as Chelsea) Manning for providing Wikileaks with 750,000 classified documents, videos and battlefield accounts, constituting the largest breach of military secrecy in American history.
Pollard was quoted by his wife as pleading “don’t forget me” to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a day prior to the latter’s meeting in Jerusalem with Trump. If reports that Pollard’s name never came up during these discussions are true, it amounts to a two-fold tragedy: the prime minister’s unwillingness to risk any meaningful portion of his political capital on terminating the continued, heartless persecution of a Jew who has more than paid for his crime of espionage on behalf of an American ally, and the opportunity Netanyahu might have given Trump for a “Harry Truman” moment.
Not so different
Regarding “A failed trip to Jerusalem” (Comment & Features, May 24), I had a similar experience, but in the US.
My husband and I traveled to North Carolina and failed to find an office where we could get a Global Entry card, so we flew to Houston, where we had an appointment. We had to go out of the security zone and then in again.
All I had with me was hand luggage. When we arrived, there was no one else, and the TSA workers in charge of security checked me as if I had diamonds inside! They checked everything manually, then twice through the X-ray machine, then sent me to an isolated room where a woman checked me again. My husband decided to look for a supervisor, who finally let me go.
Let’s stop blaming Israel for everything. The US is not so different.