April 7: The impact of US aid

If you cut off aid to Israel because you do not like its policies, then leaving aid to Egypt intact means that you do like Egyptian policies.

The impact of US aid
Sir, – Celestine Bohlen brings up an interesting question in “End Israel’s allowance” (April 6): If the US has issues with Israeli policies, would it not be better for both countries if US aid to Israel were cut off?
She suggests that the answer is yes, despite objections that she herself brings up and dismisses. But let us take a closer look at some of those objections.
Suppose the US cuts off the $2.7 billion in military aid Ms. Bohlen cites. That, she says, has an obvious, if not statistically significant, economic benefit to the US. But 75 percent of that must be in the form of American equipment – that is, $2b. that goes to employ people in the American defense industry. The Obama administration is busy spending money like there is no tomorrow, putting people to work fixing roads (one cannot drive for an hour without encountering a construction sign). Perhaps these newly unemployed hi-tech workers can be put to work fixing more roads with that money.
But it does not stop there. Ms. Bohlen mentions that aid to Egypt is $1.5b. If you cut off aid to Israel because you do not like its policies, then leaving aid to Egypt intact means that you do like Egyptian policies. “Tricky business,” Ms. Bohlen, points out, because Egypt is a “repressive regime.” But it is even trickier if one considers what Egypt has contributed to the peace process lately: It has been stirring up its populace against Israel. State television ran a miniseries dramatizing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and people who make contact with Israelis are disciplined or jailed.
Ms. Bohlen hopes that canceling aid to Israel will move the peace process along because the US will be accepted as an impartial broker by the Arab parties. But instead, the pressure on Israel has a ratcheting effect: With every step the Obama administration has taken to distance itself from Israel, the Arab demands have grown more absolute. Abbas could not go back to negotiations because, in his own words, it would make Obama more Palestinian than the Palestinians.
    JACOB GORE    Denver, Colorado
A justified comparison?
Sir, – From a different angle, there is nothing wrong in comparing the abuse of children by Catholic priests with Catholic anti-Semitism (“Papal failings,” April 6).
The pattern is the same: In both cases, the popes never saw, heard or said anything to prevent these terrible crimes.
    VELVEL ZEV WEISZ    Jerusalem
Norwegian ‘Greens’
Sir, – In the analysis “Why don’t the Norwegians take on Red-Green anti-Semitism” (April 2), your correspondent describes the “‘Red-Green Alliance’ – a fusion of Islamists (the Greens) and Leftists (the Reds).”
However, the “Greens” refers to Senterpartiet, a party that voices the views of farmers and people living in non-urban areas of the country. People who vote for this party are basically Christians – mostly nonpracticing, but hard-working people nevertheless who stand for traditional norms and values such as the family and the importance of a living local community.
These people can, in many ways, be compared to the farmers of Israel. They are as far away from Islamism as one can get.
Although this is a detail, I think the overall message transmitted in the analysis is off the mark, as seen from my perspective as a Norwegian citizen. As a veteran teacher of history, among other subjects, I can inform you that the Holocaust is taught thoroughly in both 9th and 13th grade.
The so called “white buses” have taken Norwegian students to Auschwitz  every year for the last 25 years, meaning that there are thousands and thousands of Norwegian students who have seen this concentration camp and others with their very own eyes. Several other excursions to concentration camps have also taken place, and keep on taking place. I personally have been with students on different occasions to Natzweiler-Struthof, Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald.
To have students from not only Norway, but from any country, visit concentration camps from WWII has been and remains important for present and future generations so the atrocities committed in these camps are not forgotten, and are thereby hopefully prevented from recurring.
    HENRIK PAASKE    Norway
Benjamin Weinthal writes: The term “Red-Green Alliance” designates the widespread alliance between Islamists and leftists in many of the Scandinavian countries, particularly Sweden and Norway. The “Greens” is not a reference to the Senterpartiet in Norway, but to the bond between Socialist Education Minister Kristin Halvorsen and Israel-haters among Norway's Muslim population. While visiting concentration camps and commemorating the victims of the Holocaust is indeed important educational work, the point of the analysis was to show that Norway is failing to combat modern anti-Semitism – namely, the intense loathing for and disparate treatment of Israel.
Obama should apologize
Sir, – The editorial “Rebuilding relations” (April 2) begins, “As the dust settles on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s troubled visit to America, it is time for him to take stock of the damage and embark on a diplomatic path that will rehabilitate relations with the Obama administration and shift pressure from Jerusalem to Ramallah, where it is needed.”
I would like to turn that around. It is the Obama administration’s job to make amends to rebuild our relationship after its disgraceful behavior toward the prime minister of the sovereign State of Israel. We are the ones who were insulted, and as such have nothing to apologize for – certainly not for building in our own land. Our prime minister should remember that the people who voted him into this privileged position did so on the presumption he would build and secure this land for the Jewish people, and not bend to outside pressure that can only end in our destruction. We must not allow the false allegations of demographics to undermine our resolve and detract from the justness of our cause. It is a grave mistake to believe we can separate Jerusalem from Judea and Samaria or any other part of the land. We are one unit, and only by keeping so can we survive.
Weak leadership prepared to give up land that belongs only to the Jewish people begets only ridicule, hostility and humiliation.
    YENTEL JACOBS    Netanya
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will go down in history as the greatest statesman of this millennium. He is the only leader in Israel for the last 60 years who refuses to kowtow to the United States, which desires only to parcel out Israel’s land piece by piece as consolation prizes to those who really want to take it all.
President Obama has thus far succeeded in cajoling and threatening in order to inscribe his name and legacy upon history. However, as he brings his list of demands to the world table, the unchecked snickering behind his back is no great surprise.
I can only warn and beg Israel not to fall prey to these cheap ploys, if for no other reason than Obama’s recent overt attempts to humiliate and isolate Netanyahu and Israel.
    Ardoch, North Dakota
Wilting roses
Sir, – I cannot understand in whose name our prime minister refused toaccept the 10,000 yellow roses that were being sent to the people ofIsrael in a gesture of goodwill by a very supportive group ofChristians, each of whom donated money for this (“The war of theroses,” April 1). Did he consult anyone? Whom? It is hard to believethat the cabinet would have voted in favor.
I wonder where the wilting roses landed up.