January 16: European attitudes

The Norwegian foreign minister displays intolerable effrontery and arrogance. How dare he dictate to a sovereign state whom it may or may not investigate.

letters thumb (photo credit: )
letters thumb
(photo credit: )
European attitudes
Sir, – Regarding “Norway’s FM slams Lieberman over NGO funding investigation” (January 13), the Norwegian foreign minister displays intolerable effrontery and arrogance. How dare he dictate to a sovereign state whom it may or may not investigate.
Jonas Gahr Store should be delighted that the NGOs his country supports are to be found squeaky clean with regard to contacts with terror groups. Of course, it is possible he suspects this might not be the case.
Sir, – In “Despite video credit, Spain denies sponsoring Palestinian ad to boycott Israeli goods” (January 13), the Spanish ambassador to Israel conspicuously fails to say what his country is going to do about this.
The problem with the reckless financial support for the PA that European governments have provided over the past 10 years is that it is given without any controls whatsoever. What will it take to wake up the Spanish government and have it act responsibly?
Complacency unwanted
Sir, – Unlike what Larry Derfner writes (“Still want to bomb Iran?, Rattling the Cage, January 13), Prime Minister Netanyahu was not expressing reservations about Meir Dagan’s assessment that Iran wouldn’t have nuclear weapons before 2015 because he wants to bomb Iran. He simply understands that an attitude of complacency, a collective sigh of relief, is precisely what is not needed now.
What is needed now is continued pressure on Iran, not simply from Israel but from all forces in the West to make it impossible for Iran to have nuclear weapons.
Boggles the mind
Sir, – The Israel Nurses Association has decided to stop admitting hospital patients who would be forced to lie in corridors due to a lack of space, or in departments where occupancy rates are higher than 100 percent (“Nurses: No more ‘corridor patients,’” January 12).
So many hospitals have patients in the corridor nowadays, and here the Treasury refuses to give money to Jerusalem’s Bikur Cholim Hospital so that it can remain open. All those hospital beds, doctors, nurses and equipment could be so well utilized, and the powers that be want the hospital closed. Mind boggling!
Giffords shooting
Sir, – Ray Hanania is right that Arizona shooter Jared Loughner, who is white, has been treated differently from Muslim killers (“Is this not terrorism?,” Yalla Peace, January 12). But it’s not for the reason he asserts.
Within hours after Loughner shot Rep. Giffords, many on the Left (and Hanania, in his column) rushed to blame the Tea Party movement, Sarah Palin and conservative talk radio, all without any evidence to support their allegations.
The facts – Loughner has no apparent connection to any coherent political movement or ideology, and has a history of mental illness – have not slowed their vilification of the American right wing.
Yet in 2009, when US Army Maj. Nidal Hasan murdered 13 people at Fort Hood in Texas, these same people loudly cautioned against a rush to judgment.
Even when Hasan was shown to have spoken approvingly of jihad and to have communicated with a radical imam known for preaching hate and violence, they fought against calling his actions “Islamic terrorism” for fear of tarring an entire religion.
Terrorism is the use of violence in order to engender fear in the general population, usually for purposes of advancing a particular ideology. Not every violent act resulting in multiple deaths is terrorism.
If I run your family off the road because you cut me off in traffic, I have committed a criminal act but not terrorism. If I run over your family while screaming “Allahu Akbar” as they enter a synagogue, I am a terrorist (even if I act alone).
To answer Hanania’s question: From what we know right now, Loughner’s actions were the despicable acts of a deranged criminal, but they were not terrorism.
The Fort Hood massacre was.
Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – I, too, pray for the full recovery of US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords – but not because she is a fellow Jew. She is not. Her mother is not Jewish, so Giffords is not Jewish.
Sorry, but religion comes with rules and regulations. Her paternal grandfather, who was Jewish, did what many assimilated Jews did and changed his last name. Her father made the choice to intermarry.
This takes nothing away from the congresswoman, who is many positive things, but not Jewish.
Highland Park, New Jersey
Richter isn’t alone
Sir, – In “Administrative carnage” (Comment & Features, January 12), Elihu Richter does not mince his words. His erudite article expresses the sentiments of so many of us who have battled for years against successive ministers of transport with agendas similar to that of Yisrael Katz. Instead of innovative thinking based on successful programs in other countries, all they attempt to do is reinvent the wheel.
There is absolutely no culture of accountability in our political system, and the outpourings of families who have lost loved ones in road accidents, like those bereaved by the Carmel blaze, reflects the pain and frustration of our public.
The apathy that surrounds this issue is crippling.
Tel Aviv
The writer is founder and former director of the METUNA road safety organization
All views welcome
Sir, – I am dumbfounded by Gershon Baskin’s attack on the University of British Columbia Hillel (“The view is clearer from here,” Encountering Peace, January 11).
During his trip to our campus, Baskin did not visit or make any effort to contact us, yet he makes the following utterly unsubstantiated and false claim: “The local Hillel has dismissed the tradition of Hillel, which encouraged openness, learning, inquiry and pluralism in favor of leading the campaign to purge the Jewish community of those critical of Israel.”
This is a complete distortion of the record of our Hillel, which has consistently welcomed students of all perspectives and speakers from across the spectrum, and promoted diversity of opinion and open debate on every Israeli topic. Our students have heard a diverse mix of Israeli speakers, including Ehud Barak and Peace Now secretarygeneral Yariv Oppenheimer, and enthusiastically promote Israel without demonizing Palestinians.
If Baskin had taken time to learn the facts rather than reiterate the same old criticisms of Israel, Diaspora Jews and Jewish institutions, maybe he would better contribute to the overall peace process.
We are an unapologetically Zionist organization. But within the Zionist movement, we welcome, reflect and celebrate every divergent view. Baskin should apologize to our students.
The writer is executive director of the Vancouver Hillel Foundation
Gershon Baskin responds: I am actually very pleased to read this.
I have obviously been misinformed by some UBC students. I apologize to UBC Hillel and to the Post’s readers.
Shades of gray
Sir, – I greatly appreciated Liat Collins’s January 9 piece on the Katsav affair (“Justice for all,” My Word). Unlike many other commentators, she dealt skillfully with shades of gray rather than the simplistic black and white so beloved by the media.
Adelaide, Australia