February 26: Enlightened stance

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon’s “The courage to say ‘no’” (Comment & Features, February 24) espouses the position of those who refuse to entertain any possibility of a two-state solution.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Enlightened stance
Sir, – With regard to “Bennett: We should have zero tolerance for any national identity besides Jewish” (February 24), perhaps Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett should take direction from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
When faced with a similar issue in October 2010, Frau Merkel was quoted as stating: “We feel bound to the Christian image of humanity – that is what defines us. Those who do not accept this are in the wrong place here.”
Perhaps Israelis could be so bold as to apply a similar way of thinking in their society. After all, if it is good enough for the enlightened Europeans....
Pure boilerplate...
Sir, – Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon’s “The courage to say ‘no’” (Comment & Features, February 24) espouses the position of those who refuse to entertain any possibility of a two-state solution. The comments are pure boilerplate and reflect the stance of others who are against a Palestinian state at any cost. Had Danon wanted to show some original thought, his piece would have been headlined: “The courage to say ‘yes, but...’” What this shows is a dysfunctional government in which not only deputy ministers, but even ministers openly oppose the stated policy of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and a majority of his government.
Bibi is known as a great admirer of Winston Churchill (regretfully, though, he is no Churchill). But from Harry Truman he could learn about political courage and strong leadership (“The buck stops here”). He must fire the Danons, Bennetts and others and show strong resolve.
This will calm the game. If it doesn’t, he could follow the example of Ariel Sharon and form new alliances.
HENRY WEIL Jerusalem
...hand it out to all
Sir, – I congratulate Danny Danon on an absolutely splendid article.
So far he is the only one who has addressed the subject of who our peace partner is, and has gone into it at great length. No one ever does this. It’s all about what Israel should do, never a mention as to whom we are dealing with.
I also agree that it takes courage to expose the truth. In my humble opinion, copies should be made of this piece and given out to all people in high places who visit Israel so that they will understand the real situation immediately.
It should also be sent to some of our politicians, especially those dealing with the peace process, and to American Secretary of State John Kerry, whom I respect for his sincere efforts to find peace.
It should also be made available to all young Israelis going abroad, being handed out to them at the airport.
Plea was no bargain
Sir, – While I am in agreement with the premise of the piece on why Jonathan Pollard should be released (“The case of Jonathan Pollard: A legal analysis,” Comment & Features, February 24), it is only fair to point out the major reason that the federal government violated its end of the plea bargain.
As Edwin Black reported in 2002, Pollard was the first to violate the agreement by appearing on Wolf Blitzer’s show to advocate for himself. Instead of scrapping the agreement outright and taking Pollard to trial, the prosecutors decided to have defense secretary Casper Weinberger testify before the judge, knowing that what he said would likely provoke the judge to a hand down a life sentence without their having to directly advocate for this.
HOWARD GOLDRICH Skokie, Illinois
Sir, – We have good reason to be ashamed of ourselves. We have been horribly remiss in not having launched a worldwide campaign to release Jonathan Pollard.
I urge The Jerusalem Post to take the initiative and launch a campaign in a well designed, modern and easy-to-read format that will enable masses throughout the world to append their signatures in support of Pollard’s immediate release.
HERTZEL KATZ Ramat Hasharon
Szold’s affiliation Sir, – In “The Hadassah of Henrietta Szold” (Comment & Features, February 23), David Geffen characterizes Rabbi Benjamin Szold as “a noted Reform rabbi.”
He is following the description provided in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
Rabbi Szold was much closer to Conservative Judaism. In the more recent Encyclopaedia Hebraica, Szold is described as having been influenced by Zechariah Frankel, considered a forerunner of the Conservative movement. Szold’s daughter, Henrietta, certainly received a very intensive Jewish education, more than daughters of Reform rabbis received at the time.
Aunt Liz, Uncle Phil
Sir, – I hesitated to respond to your recent article reprinted from The New York Times about the British royal family (“Britain’s welfare queen,” Comment & Features, February 23).
It is very difficult for people who have never lived under a monarchy to understand what it is like.
It is rather like trying to explain to someone who has never lived in a family what it means to have a brother. It doesn’t matter if he is good or bad, or whether you like him or not. He is your brother.
That is how we feel about the royal family. The royals do not have to be good.
Apart from these feelings, there is a practical side to having a monarch rather than a president.
There is no political baggage and, most important of all, monarchs have no power.
As for the oft-mentioned cost, it is minimal compared to the costs for any other type of head of state. For example, US President Barack Obama came to Britain for three days with an entourage of 200 and a huge fireproof vehicle.
The cost of transporting just the vehicle was probably more than the cost of any of the royal family’s trips. And the goodwill generated by members of the royal family, wherever they go, cannot be measured in financial terms.
The key word in all this is family, as well as the feelings one has for family. Good or bad, now or in the future, it is family.
RENEE BRAVO Aseret/London
Define ‘impeccable’
Sir, – Alon Pinkas’s vigorous defense of US Secretary of State John Kerry (“The State vs John F.
Kerry,” Observations, February 7) described the secretary’s Israel-related voting record as a senator, including the period in which he was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as “impeccable.”
Missing from Pinkas’s paean to Kerry’s affection for Israel are no fewer than 10 major congressional initiatives from 2010 to 2012 for which Kerry did not join overwhelming majorities of his Senate colleagues in co-sponsoring pro-Israel legislation or signing pro-Israel letters. The letters included one that was critical of Hezbollah and signed by 75 senators; two Iran sanctions letters signed by 92 and 80 senators; and a letter to the president supporting Israel’s right to self-defense, which had 84 signatures.
In addition, while Kerry chaired the Foreign Relations Committee, all sanctions legislation on Iran that originated in the Senate had to go through the Banking Committee for initial action, unlike in the House, where it more appropriately went to the Foreign Affairs Committee.
While not questioning whether he had his own country’s and Israel’s best interests at heart when it came to dealing with the threat of Iran, Kerry’s most recent record as a senator should certainly not be described as having been “impeccable.”
The writer is a former executive director of AIPAC, which, he says, “keeps accurate records of the actions described above”