February 18: In Jerusalem’s best interests

Finally we have a mayor in Jerusalem who has a plan

In J’lem’s best interests
Sir, – Finally we have a mayor in Jerusalem who has a plan. It seems to be a plan that would respond to the needs of Jews and Arabs without continued conflict. Without declaring Beit Yehonatan as legally constructed and without accepting illegally built Arab homes as legal, he recommends that both should be accepted as a compromise for the peaceful settling of differences and for the sake of the larger plan for the area.
State Attorney Moshe Lador demands that the mayor “honor the law and the court’s orders” (“Lador repeats demand that Beit Yehonatan be evacuated and sealed,” February 15). It seems to me that he does that by not declaring these structures legal, but proposing that a rigid interpretation of the law would serve only to heighten tensions.
I hope State Attorney Lador will reconsider his judgment in light of the interests of both Jews and Arabs in the area.
    R. EHRLICH    Jerusalem
NGO transparency
Sir, – The claim by certain NGOs that the new Knesset bill requiring them to report funding by foreign countries would “limit free civil society in Israel” is controverted by historical fact (“Israeli NGOs say bill on foreign political funding is pointless,” February 16). I was privileged to participate in the drafting of the bill from the beginning, and it was intentionally patterned after the American law Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938. That law was adopted to combat Nazi propaganda in the US in the period just prior to World War II, and has been in effect since then, without any apparent damage to free civil society in America.
    DR. JAN SOKOLOVSKY     Jerusalem
Iran first
Sir, – I am writing to support the contention of Tawfik Hamid of “Iran first” (“Iranian defeat first, Israel-Arab peace later,” February 15). Why has Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not been able to restart negotiations with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and why has he erected preconditions that prevent talks, even with massive US pressure on him? The answer is that half of the Palestinian people in Gaza are under the control of the Islamist Hamas, which is supported, armed and trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. And Abbas fears that any agreement with Israel will lead to his downfall and a Hamas takeover of the West Bank. That is why the Obama administration’s policy on the Israeli-Arab conflict has failed, and that is why they now have to “Quick, look busy!” as Barry Rubin says in his analysis (February 15).
And why has the new Lebanese government under Prime Minister Saad Hariri been unable to exercise its sovereignty freely? Because of the power of Hizbullah, which is controlled by the Iranian regime and armed through Syria. This is also why Syria cannot make peace with Israel (“Syria must be a top priority,” February 15) unless the grip of Iran is first removed from its throat.
    JACK COHEN    Netanya
Who will take on China?
Sir, – All praise to you for publishing “Iran’s Chinese shield” (February 11), which points an accusing finger at China.  People usually blame Iran for its sins. They do the same to Sudan and North Korea. But who dares blame the nation that is their chief protector? Does being one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council put China beyond criticism? Does its economic size and military power put it beyond reach? These questions need to be explored.
The nations should be considering ways not only to induce Iran to change course, but to induce China to do so as well. The latter change may have to come first.
What nations will take the lead in this direction? Probably not the US. Preoccupied with the move of the American industrial base into China, big business does not want anything to disturb the flow of profits that is coming out of it. And big business has a disproportionate influence on American public opinion through its ownership of the major media and its campaign contributions to politicians.
What about Britain or France? Would they be willing to open up the subject? Would
Israel? What about Australia?    
    JOHN HULLEY     Mevaseret Zion
A reply to ‘Palin’...
Sir, – Barry Shaw obviously misunderstood my letter (“‘I prefer Palin,’” Letters, February 17). I, too, prefer Palin (I did vote for her), and certainly agree that she is “a breath of fresh air.” My letter (“Palin and American Jewry,” Letters, February 16) was in reaction to what I consider Caroline Glick’s naive attitude toward the vast majority of very liberal and, yes, quite anti-conservative American Jewry, and her seemingly self-evident assumption that it might or even should shift rightward because of Palin’s unequivocal support for Israel.
Unfortunately, neither anecdotal or statistical evidence support any shift in American Jewish voting patterns, despite amazingly friendly Republican presidents like George W. Bush and never-ending attempts by Jewish Republicans to foster such changes.
Even more dismaying, President Barack Obama’s at best equivocal, and at worst hostile, attitude toward Israel has generated no protests or even discussion among liberal American Jews. And unless the midterm Congressional elections bring about a major shift in American politics and policies, I fear that in terms of both Israel and US domestic policies, the worst is yet to come.
    GERSHON HARRIS    Hatzor Haglilit
... and to the ‘Daily news’
Sir, – Like Judy Telman, I was just about “finished off” by Caroline Glick’s column praising Sarah Palin, but then felt good about the redemptive ending of her letter, that there are “people who volunteer to help others... people who don’t care how or if you practice your religion, or where you come from or what language you speak” (“Daily news,” Letters, February 15). But after reading the next letter, I was back to nearly being finished off (“Language barriers,” Letters, February 15).
The writer asks about the article “J’lem rape crisis center fails to help Arabic-speakers” (February 10), “Why is the onus upon the English-speaking professionals to help Arab youths in crisis who do not speak Hebrew?” In other words, rape victims should not be helped if they speak Arabic?
No wonder the initial letter-writer wondered if she had “moved to the pre-Civil War United States.” And that she was struck by the irony that in the same issue, a piece could “wonder how to improve Israel’s image abroad.”
    JAMES ADLER     Cambridge, MA
Sir, – Let’s examine Judy Telman’s litany of complaints in her letter to the editor.
The cream of our youth give up the most energetic years of their lives to protect us from an enemy that continues to try and destroy us.
Notwithstanding that enemy’s clearly stated intentions and its constant manifestation of them, we continue to foster a Supreme Court that coddles that enemy, in an effort to promote a universal system of justice.
We continue, despite worldwide pressure, to enact the injunction to build Jerusalem.
We struggle to try and get along with the haredim because we remember that we have been enjoined by God to be an am kadosh.
And all she can find to praise is “Waste not, want not?”
    CHAIM A. ABRAMOWITZ     Jerusalem
Get with the program
Sir, – When will you include a tab to install a Jerusalem Post toolbar on my computer?
    JERRY BORIS    Philadelphia
The letters editor writes: Your suggestion is an intriguing one, and worth consideration. We’re glad to have found such an avid fan.