December 12: Mandela’s legacy...

Mandela’s principles were compromised by maintaining warm relations with rogue nations and leaders responsible for numerous human rights violations.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Mandela’s legacy...
Sir, – With regard to “Obama: Nelson Mandela was ‘a giant of history’” (December 11), the former South African leader courageously guided the elimination of apartheid for his people. He obtained peace between blacks and whites by forming a government of national unity with F.W. de Klerk in 1994. The two also shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
In matters of foreign policy, however, Mandela’s principles were compromised by maintaining warm relations with rogue nations and leaders responsible for numerous human rights violations.
They included Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, whom Mandela called his “friend,” and Cuba’s Fidel Castro, with whom he was often photographed. He called trials in Iran “free and fair” despite a history of innocents being put to death. And he often sided with the Palestinians, naming Yasser Arafat “one of the outstanding freedom fighters of his generation.”
US President Barack Obama spoke at Mandela’s memorial, comparing him to George Washington.
The difference, though, is that Washington would have aided the world’s oppressed rather than seeking the counsel of dictators.
ANTHONY LEVATINO Rochester, New York
Sir, – US President Barak Obama hailed former South African president Nelson Mandela as a “giant of history,” and expressed how inspired he was by Mandela’s attitude toward forgiveness.
I urge President Obama to pardon Jonathan Pollard. He will give real honor to the memory of Mandela by emulating that attitude.
Sir, – Abundant thanks are due Nelson Mandela for his successful stand against apartheid. Now, what about the apartheid politics of our peace partner against Jews living in any future Palestinian state? RUTH BLOCK Jerusalem
Sir, – Thankfully, among the far-too-many articles praising Nelson Mandela, Michael Freund (“Misrepresenting Mandela,” Fundamentally Freund, December 10) portrayed the truth. Simply put, he hit the nail on the head.
This was a clear and honest review about Mandela, who was no supporter of Israel.
...and a flight too far
Sir, – With regard to “Edelstein leads delegation to Mandela memorial” (December 10), the response of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the invitation to attend the memorial service for Nelson Mandela was demeaning to Israel, damaging in many respects, and unbelievably short-sighted and non-diplomatic.
Sir, – In not going to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu missed the point.
He should have represented us.
We did not even look at the cost of such a trip the way we do his wasteful expenses. He could have used one plane for himself and maybe two or three representatives of the government. He could have explained that he was not bringing his wife, Sara, as a personal sacrifice to reduce costs.
He could have arranged the flight so that he would return home immediately after the service.
Netanyahu wastes many thousands of shekels on personal, often frivolous, things, and then sacrifices our interests to “save” money.
On his next visit to America he should use a scheduled flight and take just two or three advisers.
He should leave the press and his family here. Then we will believe he is serious about reducing costs.
Bibi, for your actions I give you an F.
Election fraud
Sir, – With regard to “Court order could be setback in Beit Shemesh election appeal” by Yona Jeremy Bob (December 11), the recent Beit Shemesh municipal elections were probably the worst case of election fraud we have experienced.
The fraudulent steps were many and very sophisticated.
One included an almost invisible cut in the challenger’s ballots; this probably would not be noticed by voters but would certainly disqualify their votes.
The biggest problem in our electoral system is the inability of voting station representatives to ensure without any reasonable doubt that the ID cards in fact belong to the people requesting to vote. The appearance of many of the voters in Beit Shemesh is very similar, and ID photos are often from years ago. Only an ID card that includes the bearer’s fingerprint can be relied upon.
With all due respect to the demands of the judges, there is no reliable ruling other than to declare new elections. If the mayor and his list are so sure they were legally elected, there would be no need for them to invest millions to stop a new election.
In a fraud of such great proportions in which the police have no chance in the short term to investigate, the best solution would be for the court to instruct the interior minister to appoint a temporary mayor and require all citizens of Beit Shemesh to be issued with the sophisticated ID cards now being offered to the public.
When this is done, hold a new election.
‘Deja Jew’
Sir, – Reading Daniel Tauber’s “The hunting season” (For Zion’s Sake, December 11) evokes a powerful and tragic sense of “deja Jew.”
Now as then, leftist elements, in a desperate rush to ingratiate themselves with powers that do not have Jewish interests at heart, betray those of us who are steadfast in our beliefs and our rights to our homeland.
Nowadays, however, when the ideological descendants of the old Labor yishuv have moved on to post-Zionism, the treachery is greater still.
No amount of empirical evidence showing how right the Irgun and Stern Gang were can deter a newspaper like Haaretz, parties like Meretz and foreign- funded NGOs like B’Tselem and Machsom Watch from championing ideas that can only spell our demise.
Indeed, had David Ben-Gurion and Chaim Weizmann prevailed in the saison there would be no Israel today.
As the Pslamist said, Al tivtehu b’nedivim (Don’t put your trust in princes). For those with a bit more faith, Yisrael, b’tah beHashem (O’ Israel, trust in the Lord).
J.J. GROSS Jerusalem
Perpendicular logic
Sir, – Regarding “The ‘stupid Israeli’ within me” (Comment & Features, December 10), I am aware that parking in Jerusalem has its difficulties, but I have always parked my car upright on its four wheels.
“Vertical” parking? Is this a new space-saving idea, like books on a bookshelf?
Capable of anything
Sir, – “Yadlin: Scope of Iranian retaliation to potential strike is ‘exaggerated’” (December 5) addresses the assessment by ex-Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin and Institute for National Security Studies researcher Avner Golov of Iran’s possible reaction to an Israeli strike on the country’s nuclear sites.
I believe Yadlin and Co. still think in the manner I call the “pre-Yom Kippur War syndrome,” whereby we presume our logic is the same as that of our enemies.
Nearly all the response scenarios Yadlin discusses use very Judeo-Christian, Western reasoning.
But we are dealing here with a fanatical Islamist regime that had no compunction in the Iraq-Iran war, for instance, against sending to their deaths hundreds of children bearing golden keys to heaven, by walking them through minefields, thus clearing a path for soldiers.
I can think of several responses not covered by Yadlin that would have a devastating effect not only on Israel but on Jews around the world.
The bottom line: Never underestimate your enemy.
I. SRUL ZUNDER Ramat Hasharon