April 9: The message and the means

We have recently seen two frightening examples of the Obama administration’s refusal to take responsibility for its own actions.

The message and the means
Sir, – We have recently seen two frightening examples of the Obama administration’s refusal to take responsibility for its own actions.
When asked whether the administration would abstain on a possible UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel, a White House official responded only that no such initiative was before the Council (“US officials say they are not pushing east Jerusalem resolution at UN,” March 31). Abstention – the vote of the weak – is the same as a “yes” vote on any measure that already has a majority.
In effect, the administration has invited the UN’s anti-Israel crowd to sanction the Jewish state. When it’s all over, the White House defense will be, “Don’t blame us. We didn’t vote for the resolution.”
Then another senior White House official observed that the issue of Jerusalem construction was “forced” onto the agenda of Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks by Israel’s announcement regarding Ramat Shlomo (“Jerusalem was only to be debated in direct talks, White House official says,” April 4).
There is every indication that the administration eagerly awaited the appropriate moment to increase pressure on Israel to cease all construction in the disputed territories – especially in Jerusalem. Having achieved its goal, however, the administration does not have the courage to admit that was its intent. Rather, it prefers to cite an error for which Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately and repeatedly apologized as the single cause of the worst crisis in US-Israeli relations in years.
Worse than the substance of these policies is the manner in which they were implemented. When the sole remaining superpower takes an unequivocal stance on issues of critical importance to its allies, those allies can at least respect the administration’s honesty and clarity, even while disagreeing. When, as here, the US hides behind the threat of abstention, its allies must seriously wonder exactly how reliable its security assurances really are.
    I. AARON COHEN     Newton, Massachusetts
Masters of our own fate
Sir, – I was pleased to see the response to the editorial “Rebuilding relations” (April 2) and am writing to commend the writers of the letters (“Obama should apologize,” April 7), as well as add my own feelings.
My husband and I were born in the States and resided there for all of our 60-odd years, with many trips to Israel. After being unable to look at my husband’s unhappy face any longer, we made aliya two years ago. We have never been happier.
As a new olah, I also want to condemn the abominable treatment of our Prime Minister by the president of the USA. This president, in one short year, has managed with his “wonderful oratory prowess” to alienate almost all of America’s most prized allies. When he gets tired of blasting one, he moves on to another. Prime Minister Netanyahu has finally shown the backbone to let the world know that Israelis, including “new” Israelis like us, are the masters of our own fate.
I only hope that the rest of the Jews in America, as well as Americans of all faiths, realize that this president is doing more harm for their country than any other president in recent history. Israel should never back down in its right to self-determination and self-defense.
    DEBRA FORMAN     Modi’in
Recalling a true friend
Sir,– Zalmi Unsdorfer’s piece about the passing of Sir Winston Churchill’sgrandson really brings to mind the inheritance that our forbears haveleft for us to savor (“Appreciation: Young Winston Churchill – a truefriend of our people,” April 7).
One reads this beautifullywritten article of wisdom with gratitude for the unswerving caring ofSir Winston, the selfless sharing of his grandson, and the satisfactionthat the author shared an important part of history with his readers.
    YOEL NITZARIM    Skokie, Illinois