January 15: Listen to Sen. Paul

The Republican senator from Kentucky said it was “none of our business” whether Israel “builds new neighborhoods in east Jerusalem or withdraws from the Golan Heights, and the US should not tell Israel how to defend itself.”

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Listen to Sen. Paul
Sir, – At last a voice of reason in a world that has gone mad (“Rand Paul: Construction in Jerusalem ‘none of US’s business,’ January 13). The Republican senator from Kentucky said it was “none of our business” whether Israel “builds new neighborhoods in east Jerusalem or withdraws from the Golan Heights, and the US should not tell Israel how to defend itself.”
How good it is to hear the truth. Why could our government not have thought of this? We would not be having Arabs threatening our existence and setting up tents on Jewish land, claiming it as their own, as they do our holy sites, to which they deny us any connection.
Paul also puts us straight on foreign aid, stating that the US gives more to Israel’s neighbors than to Israel. If the US gives 20 F-16 fighter planes to Egypt, Israel feels it needs to buy 25. If the US gives Egypt 200 tanks, Israel feels the need to purchase 300 to keep ahead of the game, all the time having to spend more and more money on armaments that should be spent in Israel for Israelis.
While Paul advocates cutting foreign aid due to America’s massive debt, he is talking first of all about aid to countries that are not so friendly to the US, such as those that are burning the American flag and chanting “Death to America,” which Israel can never be accused of.
He also cites Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his 1996 speech to Congress, in which he advocated that Israel gradually wean itself off American aid dollars. This would benefit Israel and its defense industry because it would not have to buy all its weaponry from the US. A curtailment of American foreign aid would also mean less money for arms for Israel’s neighbors.
Rand Paul talks a lot of sense and we would be fools not to listen and learn.
YENTEL JACOBSNetanyaWhy the surprise?
Sir, – Before the US elections, many Jerusalem Post columnists, including Isi Leibler, warned of, at best, colder relations and, at worse, dire consequences for Israel if President Barack Obama was reelected. So now that this has happened, it’s hard to understand Leibler’s fearful concern (“Hagel nomination conveys chilling message,” Candidly Speaking, January 13).
Obama’s foreign policy at the outset angered many close US allies, and his firm belief in engagement with one’s enemies, including Iran, and avoiding conflict as much as possible was nothing new. He made it clear way before the elections that the US had no problem with Iran using nuclear power for peaceful and civilian purposes. And despite boasts “that all options are on the table,” he and his entire security team made it clear time and again that the chance of any US military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities was virtually nil, not to mention their explicit warnings against even an Israeli strike.
Obama has been sending “chilling messages” to Israel since his first day in the White House, only it is Israel that seems to continue basking in wishful thinking by hoping that at the end of the day, as each crisis dies down (as has been the case in almost every US administration till now), Obama won’t dare to do anything really drastic against us.
This obviously is no longer a valid assumption, and former senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination is just one more proof.
Any new Israeli government will have a clear choice to make: Either begin giving in to many American demands regarding building freezes and giving up “land for peace,” or wean us away from massive US military aid and its accompanying dependency on American interests.
College and knowledge
Sir, – Atara Siegel’s explanation for Jewish students’ disillusionment about Israel (“Why Israel is losing support from Jewish students on US college campuses,” Comment & Features, January 13) illustrates how people who believe in a just cause can become demoralized by lack of perspective.
Every country harbors people who are insensitive or abusive.
Shining a spotlight on such cases can be used either as a mechanism for positive change or to delegitimize. For example, Nazi propaganda highlighted real or imagined Polish and Czech anti-German discrimination in order to make the Nazis’ evil aims understandable. The same techniques are being employed today by those who want to wipe out Israel.
The fact is, official Israel does not condone unlawful acts against minorities, and transgressions that do occur are often a source of public embarrassment.
Contrast that with the celebratory reactions to terrorism in Gaza, where a perfume was recently named M75 in honor of a missile meant to kill civilians. Meanwhile, in virtually every Islamic country, defenseless Christians are being humiliated and attacked with the tacit or overt approval of the authorities and silence from the press.
Israel is a moral country with some flawed individuals surrounded by immoral countries with some noble individuals. If students can’t figure that out, they are going to college but not getting an education.
DAVID KATCOFFJericho, Vermont
Vote by post
Sir, – Of course El Al flight attendants should be able to vote (“NGO claims that El Al flight attendants are being denied the right to vote,” January 11). But why blame their employers? In every advanced Western country election day is not a national holiday or an excuse for a holiday – it is an ordinary working day. Why not copy the way they cope with this issue, which is simply by giving the electorate postal votes. Or is there some in-built fear that Israeli society is too easily corrupted?
Lew as scapegoat
Sir, – I disagree with your January editorial “Mazel tov, Jack Lew!” praising US President Barack Obama for appointing a Jew as Treasury chief.
This is merely a sop for appointing Sen. John Kerry secretary of state, former senator Chuck Hagel secretary of defense, and John Brennan director of the CIA. All are unfriendly to the interests of Israel.
Unlike them, Jack Lew will be concerned with purely internal affairs. Even more to the point, in view of the enormous national debt – which is bound to rise in view of Obama’s dedication to socializing the country – Lew has a truly unenviable job.
When the economic situation deteriorates even more, he will be an ideal scapegoat. It’s something we’ve seen before: Blame the Jews!
Social engineering
Sir, – Regarding “Lapid’s rule for joining coalition leaves PM to choose: Shas or me” (January 10), is Yair Lapid’s statement – “...don’t say that what I’m saying is anti-haredi.... I don’t want anything for them that I don’t want for my children or myself” – a legitimate litmus test for whether we are against another societal group? If Lapid wants to make himself and his children the standard for the haredi population, he might very well be anti-haredi.
Equally troubling is the possibility that this same standard could be applied to justify the indoctrination of other groups to become little Lapids.
He says, “Don’t tell us it’s complicated. It’s not complicated.
Everyone has to enlist in military or civilian service, and everyone has to study the core curriculum and everyone has to work.”
He is right in that for him, imposing these things on haredim is not complicated.
The issues themselves, however, are, and complicated issues require complex solutions from political leaders who understand that social engineering is a lot harder than electioneering.