January 12: Simple transparency

If NGOs are going to act like super PACs, then transparency is vital for a functioning democracy.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Patient investor
Sir, – Irving Moskowitz should be commended for having delayed his project for so long (“Haj Husseini’s Shepherd Hotel in east J’lem demolished to make way for Jewish homes,” January 10). He bought the property in 1985 and delayed for over 25 years the fulfillment of his rights.
There are very few investors with his patience and tenacity.
People who comment on certain areas of Jerusalem as belonging to one segment of the population or another have no idea what this city really looks like.
Jerusalem is not like Belfast, which has clear Protestant and Catholic delineations, or Beirut, which had an east and west when Lebanon still had a Christian minority worth talking about.
There is no such geographical separation in Jerusalem. Whoever speaks of such is out to make his own agenda and refuses to see that Jerusalem must be a united city for all its population.
Sir, – There is considerable Jewish building activity in east Jerusalem. Jews have been successful in repossessing property they owned there via our courts.
Similar attempts by Arabs to use our courts to reclaim property they owned in west Jerusalem are for some reason blocked. It would be interesting to hear why.
The UN is at present compiling detailed claims of such properties in west Jerusalem, which are numerous and of great value.
These findings are likely to be made public in the near future, and at that point we will most probably be embarrassed.
There are Jews who lost property in east Jerusalem, and according to our courts they are fully justified in claiming what is theirs. But it would seem that such actions will bring a much greater counter-claim from Arabs, who owned properties in west Jerusalem far in excess of the properties Jews owned in the eastern past of the city.
The ‘I’ has it
Sir, – Tzachi Hanegbi’s Obamaesque style of using “I” wherever it can be shoehorned in is somewhat annoying.
In his most recent column, on departing Mossad director Meir Dagan (“Farewell to ‘Superman,’” Comment & Features, January 10), we find him writing: “In my capacity...,” “I was asked to weigh in...,” “I was fully aware...,” “I have closely and directly followed...,” “I served, by prime ministerial appointment...,” “I chaired...,” “I was continuously exposed to all the inner workings....”
I, for one, would be glad to say farewell to this superman.
Stand up, please
Sir, – In “Our comically insecure – even hysterical – establishment” (Comment & Features, January 10), Roi Maor says that Palestinians are standing up for democracy.
Really? He should cite his proof.
What evidence does Maor have to support such a statement? He should show us a quote, a speech, op-ed pieces and editorials by ranking Palestinians.
Abu Mazen wants a democratic Israel? The last time I looked he was holding up a map of Palestine that stretched from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. On that map, Israel did not exist.
Is that the definition of the democracy Maor wants for Israel?
TUVIA BRODIE Ma’aleh Adumim
Simple transparency
Sir, – All this weeping and wailing about McCarthyism is misplaced (“McCarthyism is here,” Letters, January 10). No one’s right to dissent, to protest, to work diligently for one’s selected social goals is at risk on either the Left or the Right from legislation that simply requires financial transparency.
The howls of outrage from leftwing NGOs are because they recognize that their credibility, their halo-effect as self-described do-gooders for Israeli society, would be nil if their funding is found to come from unsavory sources. However, such transparency is more in keeping with democratic values than secret bankrolling. It also puts foreign governments on notice as to how their NGOs’ tax-free monies are being spent.
If NGOs are going to act like super PACs, then transparency is vital for a functioning democracy.
Sir, – I am thoroughly sick of reading letters in the Post from people who live in safety and comfort abroad telling us simpleminded natives how to run our country. Let them put their money where their mouths are and come and live in Israel. Let them send their children to the army, and perhaps even live in Sderot.
Here they can run for the Knesset, and their children can become generals in the army.
Perhaps then they might say, to quote Arik Sharon, “What you see from there is not what you see from here.”
Liberalism and other ills
Sir, – The “Israel’s present tense” section of “Around the world in 12 months” (Comment & Features, January 9) certainly portrays the sad decline in Israeli optimism.
The writer bemoans the fact that his fellow liberals and lovers of peace have been discouraged in their efforts to make Israel more peaceful and more democratic.
However, perhaps he fails to see the weakness of the liberal position in Israel and the world.
He writes “...what it takes to live... cherishing liberal democracy, while in the countries around us women are being stoned to death for adultery, etc.” Does he not wonder, and should not our Peace Now generation wonder, why today’s hatred for Israel comes not only from that kind of fundamentalism, but from its strange alliance with the bastions of liberalism – namely, the universities, Europe’s social democracies, a radical US president, and tenured professors in Israeli universities who write that the Jews are not a nation and do not deserve a territory or a state, and that Zionism was an invention to rob the Palestinians of the land they deserve? How can the Left and the liberals adopt the effort to delegitimize Israel fostered by Arab and Muslim fundamentalism for half a century? Is it possible that giving up God does not automatically make for human progress, that the continuation of the anarchic radicalism of the ’60s does not bring enlightenment, love or peace to the Middle East or anywhere in the world, that pressing a rampant secularism upon Israeli society does not produce love of country, Jewish nationalism, or appreciation from our enemies? Jewish fundamentalism is not being advocated here. What is called for is less emphasis on the “now” in Peace Now; less guilt for Israelis defending Israel; challenging the Left to find as much fault with Iran and Saudi Arabia as it finds with Israel; asking why, of the almost 200 countries in the world, not one is faced with frantic efforts to delegitimize it.
Could it be that conservatism – not the religious movement in Jewish religion, but in the sense of world culture and politics, with its emphasis upon order, morality and respect for the past – is a better and more justified ideology than a liberalism that has failed to prevent the Islamization of Europe and which tolerates the open threat to destroy Israel, the only country in the world to have received its birth certificate from the United Nations even before it was born?
Appreciates PM
Sir, – While I like Foreign Minister Lieberman’s approach to many of our woes (“We will not be Turkey’s punching bag,” Comment & Features, January 6), I must commend Prime Minister Netanyahu for the difficult, sometimes nearly impossible decisions he must make to satisfy everyone while realizing that our enemies will accept nothing less than the “whole piece.”