February 4: Lost compass

The moral compass that was the UN’s byword has been lost.

UNHRC 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Lost compass
Sir, – Regarding “UNHRC: Israel may be sent to ICC over settlements” (February 1), how ironic that some of the most despotic regimes the world has known since World War II, such as Syria and Iran, are given license to continue their monstrous activities against their own people, and no actions are threatened.
Shame is too weak and ineffectual a word to describe this.
There should be more anger and disgust voiced over this double standard.
Once again the UN and its related agencies prove they are morally and ethically bankrupt.
But this is no surprise anymore.
The moral compass that was the UN’s byword has been lost.
BRUCE WEINSTEIN Netanya Respected partner
Sir, – Sarah Honig (“Netanyahu’s coattail effect,” Another Tack, February 1) accuses Naftali Bennett of having waged a slick and deceptive campaign to woo national-religious voters away from the Likud and into Bayit Yehudi.
That’s a rather simplistic explanation. I’m sure she has heard of the “beaten-wife syndrome,” whereby the abusive husband maintains control over his spouse by alternating the physical torment with gift-giving, soothing promises of better behavior and stark reminders that she has nowhere else to go.
For three and a half decades religious Zionism has played the beaten wife. In most of the elections since 1977 we have given a plurality, and even an outright majority, to the Likud.
Meanwhile, the Likud has initiated, abetted or tolerated: the expulsion from Gush Katif; the isolation of the Jewish community of Hebron; the closing of Arutz Sheva; the hostile rule of Ehud Barak over the Jewish settlements; an ongoing freeze on Jewish building over the so-called Green Line; the haredi takeover of the rabbinate; and the haredi sabotaging of religious- Zionist efforts to expand the conversion process and empower women denied a religious divorce by their husbands.
We nevertheless stayed with the Likud because the leftist bloc offered no reasonable alternative, while the religious- Zionist political scene outside the Likud was fragmented and impotent. And after each “beating” at the hands of the Likud we believed the promises with which it soothed us.
Not any more. This time we united behind Naftali Bennett and with our votes gave notice to the Likud that religious Zionism is determined to be a respected partner in the leadership of this nation.
ZEEV GOLIN Rehovot Bad company Sir, – No matter what side of the American political spectrum one roots for (and Caroline B. Glick has made it abundantly clear that she is no fan of President Barack Obama), categorizing Obama with the likes of those who present an outright threat to Israel is misleading, to say the least (“Where is Israel headed?,” Column One, February 1).
Are genocidal regimes with nuclear ambitions and anti-Semitic neighbors comparable to an American president who has given support, both financially and symbolically, toward Israeli defense and security?
AVIGAIL SUGARMAN Modi’in Taking offense
Sir, – Liat Collins took about 1,500 words to dismiss modern Brits based largely on two among the UK’s more-than 50 million opinions (“No offense, but...,” My Word, February 1).
In Parliament this past November, 17 MPs expressed support for Israel, citing many compliments, such as the 300 daily aid trucks going into Gaza even while rockets headed northward overhead. Sunday Times authorities denounced Gerald Scarfe.
London Times editor Daniel Finkelstein, in his moving personal article, denounced MP David Ward’s words. Indeed, last week at least one of several relevant Times articles was so understanding of Israel’s predicament that it was circulated throughout the Foreign Office. And Tim Montgomerie’s Times column frequently warms Israel-loving hearts with its refreshingly coined phrases highlighting the reality of this “most besieged country in the world.”
The racism of two individuals does not constitute the attitude of the country that Collins deemed “such a good place to leave” any more than Noam Chomsky characterizes the Israel he condemns from afar.
Givat Yearim
Sir, – While the Gerald Scarfe cartoon in The Sunday Times the previous weekend was disgusting, it was still a far cry from Liat Collins’s claim that anti-Semitism in Britain has turned “more sinister,” and Caroline B. Glick’s proclamation on her website that British Jews “are targeted by massive anti-Semitism.”
That Collins found UK society more culturally diverse than it had been 30 years before does not mean that the diverse communities cannot live together harmoniously, which in fact they do. Britain has a commendable history of saving Jews, including 10,000 refugees of the Kindertransport in 1938-39, and Jews in Britain today have equal opportunity to advance in any field of their choice. (Take, for instance, the current leader of the Labor Party.) Criticism of Israel’s actions and policies is not equivalent to anti- Semitism. Real anti-Semitism could be found in central Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. And if Glick abides by her announcement that she will never return to Britain, I doubt she will be sorely missed.
PAUL KOHN Herzliya
Mean attacks
Sir, – Our Law of Return would allow Washington pundit Douglas M. Bloomfield to live here. So it is insulting that, from afar, he thinks we are “intransigent and stalling peace,” and can falsely accuse us and our reelected leader of being the bad guys who need to be “convinced” by “critical and impatient” outsiders (“High hopes and low expectations,” Washington Watch, January 31).
Bloomfield and such experts repeatedly insult me, my friends, family and country by disrespecting the majority’s voice. Nothing good can come from his mean attacks on us.
ESTER ZEITLIN Jerusalem Tribal interests
Sir, – Reader Albert Jacob’s defense of the Israeli system of proportional representation as somehow being superior to the single-member pluralistic system of election used in Britain (“Ward’s comments,’ Letters, January 29) takes no account of the resulting fragmentation of Israeli political parties into tribal interest groups that make the formation of governments the regular nightmare it has become.
Although I am of the long-held belief that representative government is best achieved through proportionately elected electoral systems, the fatal weakness of the list system employed in Israel remains its inability to allow electors a choice between candidates within each party.
The result is evidenced by the loss of potential Likud voters who could not stomach Yisrael Beytenu’s Avigdor Liberman and his associates, the patent incompatibility evidenced between the leader and rank and file Labor Knesset members, and the creation by Tzipi Livni of her own party, which stands for what we know not.
Simply raising the threshold for election to the Knesset will not solve the problem of unstable, indecisive governments in Israel.
Israeli electors would be best served by a system that gives them the opportunity to vote for the candidate who most closely shares their concept of how Israel should conduct government policy for the foreseeable future.
CORRECTION The name of the writer of the first letter that appeared under “That cartoon” (February 3) was misspelled through an editorial error. It should be Yonatan Zlotnikovich.