February 15: Doing it ourselves

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s appeal to Hamas to release Gilad Schalit will not move the Islamists one inch.

Doing it ourselves
Sir, – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s appeal to Hamas to release Gilad Schalit will not move the Islamists one inch (“Pillay: UNHRC doesn’t single out Israel,” February 13). The Islamists care nothing for world opinion, no matter who expresses it.
It is strange that after such a long time we still do not realize that only we ourselves can bring about Schalit’s release.
If the present government, like previous governments, cannot agree to Hamas’s terms, let’s have a referendum. The overwhelming majority of our population, if called to vote today, would cast its votes to close a deal. The present government, and all previous governments, would not be held responsible, would not lose votes at the next election, and would not have to be held hostage by a small minority that decides government thinking.
Blundering ministry
Sir, – So once again, the nasty business of deportation raises its ugly head (“The wrong target for deportation,” Editorial, February 13.) Your writer seems to have it right on target: Our Interior Ministry’s zeal is indeed off target.
Here we have a young man from Germany who established his basic interests as being right in line with those of the State of Israel, and is being denied the right to become an Israeli citizen and stay. This seems to me to be a truly bad move by the ministry (a Shas stronghold) to keep Israel “pure” and free of gentiles. (One assumes the young man is not Jewish.) Blunder after blunder! May we hope that in the next election, we are able to form a government without Shas! LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya
Whitehall’s influence
Sir, – “UK university probes speaker who compared Israel to Nazis on Holocaust Day” (February 10) describes two disturbing incidents: addresses by Mike Prysner at Birmingham and Edinburgh Universities, where those attempting to challenge the veracity of his presentations were violently abused and harassed, and at Edinburgh, where a talk by an Arab-Israeli was cancelled because of pro-Palestinian threats.
I understand that incidents of this type are now widespread on British campuses. Even if the UK government’s rhetoric does not directly encourage these reprehensible activities, it certainly leaves an impression that vehement anti-Israel posturing is tolerable.
Foreign Secretary William Hague’s frankly stupid and unjustified criticism of Israel’s belligerence in the face of the Egyptian unrest is a typical example of the official pronouncements that fortify the sort of anti-Israel violence reported in The Jerusalem Post.
More so when he greets with deafening silence the genocidal utterances of Lebanon’s Nasrallah, Iran’s Ahmadinejad and Gaza’s Hamas.
But what the UK government seems not to realize or be concerned about is that the frightening increase in anti-Semitic incidents is a direct consequence of its predilection to obsequiously support the Palestinian narrative come what may, coupled with a failure to articulate or make clear Israel’s case and explain its perspective.
I am old enough to remember the era of Ernest Bevin and the policy he annunciated toward Jews in the period up to and following the establishment of the State of Israel. Although I am no longer a UK resident, I hope the policy of the present UK administration will not result in a repeat of that shameful period of British history.
Housing, not cinemas
Sir, – We elected Mayor Nir Barkat to create jobs in Jerusalem and to build affordable housing, not a movie complex (“Cinema city in the capital,” February 10).
Why does Jerusalem need 15 theaters when people are going less and less often, and many of the existing movie houses are closing? Land, especially in uncontested west Jerusalem, is extremely scarce. This site should have been used to build well-designed homes for young couples and the less affluent.
The mayor owes Jerusalemites an explanation.
Support for uprising
Sir, – Shmuley Boteach (“Israel is missing an historic opportunity to support Arab freedom,” No Holds Barred, February 8) thinks Israel should have supported the pro-democracy uprising in Egypt. Others suggested this too, and it does seem ironic that the only democracy in the region was not cheering on people who got fed up with their dictatorial government.
I do sympathize with the protesters and I wish their dream of a democratic Egypt succeeds. Yet I fully expect the Egyptian revolution to be hijacked by the Islamists, just like the Iranian revolution was, because the Muslim Brotherhood is the largest organized opposition in the country, and the most focused on its goals.
Today’s Iran – much more brutal, oppressive and dangerous than it ever was under the Shah – is in no small part former US president Jimmy Carter’s legacy.
It is ironic that an Egypt oppressed by Islamists may well become, in no small part, Barack Obama’s.
Sir, – I find it rather perplexing that in 2009, when tens of thousands of Iranians demonstrated in the streets of Tehran for regime change, the American government said (and did) nothing.
When the same occurred in Egypt, President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and other high-ranking officials almost immediately showed their support.
This, despite the fact that Iran is a self-proclaimed adversary of the US, while Egypt has been an ally.
Perhaps there is a lesson here for other nations that dare to be friendly to the US? STUART KATSOFF
Tel Aviv
Sir, – Israelis are so concentrated on their enemies that they no longer understand their friends.
This is dangerous.
How could an educated observer of international relations be surprised by the US support for democratic change in Egypt? The US has supported democracy abroad ever since the time of Woodrow Wilson. Although its track record has often been less than shiny, American support for democracy as a matter of principle has remained in place.
Israel seems to be the only American ally shocked by American action regarding Egypt. Estonia also relies on US support, but Obama’s actions have created no anxiety here. On the contrary, we see that the US still cares about democracy, and this reassures us.
Do Israelis still remember that democracy in Israel is a major reason of US support? So when Americans support democracy in Israel, why should they be against it in Egypt?
Tallinn, Estonia
The writer is a journalist
What’s so depressing?
Sir, – Regarding “Yoav Galant’s depressing defeat” (Our World, February 8), I don’t know how irreplaceable Galant is. However, his moral character has come into question. Aside from grabbing land he did not own, he lied about it. A commander who lies will not only lose the confidence of his soldiers, he might be prepared to lie to cover his tracks if he makes incorrect decisions in wartime – decisions that can be critical.
Caroline B. Glick equates hiring a foreign worker (Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein’s sin) to grabbing state land. Raise your hand if you agree. Weinstein fired the worker. Galant took years to return the land. Did Weinstein lie about it? Perhaps someone purer and equally competent can be found for attorney-general, but his statement of truth about Galant has not been impugned.