January 21: Lose the hyperbole

There’s nothing unreasonable about mainstream Israelis who desire to know who’s funding NGOs that call into question Israel’s very legitimacy as a Jewish state.

Lose the hyperbole
Sir, – I’m a bit fed up with the intemperate use of hyperbole these days.
Between Alon Pinkas’s rant how Israelis despise each other (“Our love of hate,” January 19) and Gershon Baskin’s piece stating that we’re a repressive society (“To be suspect,” Encountering Peace, January 18), along with a few letters objecting to Ashley Perry’s “Best decision I ever made” (“Put down those glasses,” January 18), it seems we’ve lost a bit of perspective.
Forget about a cup that is half-full – Israel’s cup is, by any objective measure, practically brimming over, at least for those with eyes to see and hearts to feel.
Of course, we have improvements to make in our security approach and services, and we have our divisions and enmity, but really, a bit of moderation in the discourse, please.
There’s nothing unreasonable about mainstream Israelis who desire to know who’s funding NGOs that call into question Israel’s very legitimacy as a Jewish state and demonize its leaders and the IDF. The parliamentary committee in question, reflecting a public demand for transparency by NGOs, neither attempts to nor can stifle legitimate debate in Israeli society, and is not a symbol of a new “illiberal” trend.
Attempts to portray it as such are not only demagoguery – they smack of defensive propaganda.
What’s truly illiberal is the attempt by NGOs to deny or distract attention from these sources while adopting the antagonistic language and agenda of their sponsors, from labeling Israel an “apartheid” state to advocating BDS tactics.
As for Pinkas’s related reflections on supposed animosity within Israeli society, methinks he’s spent too many years abroad. Perhaps his diplomatic talents should remain focused on his (excellent) work with foreign governments, as his observations on Israeli society don’t reflect the reality on the ground upon which I and most of us live every day: where Sephardi/Ashkenazi/Left/Ri ght/Center/religious/traditional/ less-observant Jews and Arabs work together, socialize, communicate and enjoy a standard of living and freedom of speech, religion, expression and the like that is unparalleled not only in the region, but in the world.
Beit Shemesh
Different system
Sir, – I don’t know where Jeff Barak has been living since he left his job at The Jerusalem Post. But his piece on January 17 calling for the dismissal of Avigdor Lieberman (“Enough is enough,” Reality Check) sounds as if he’s been in the US and has forgotten anything he might have known about Israeli politics.
Unlike in the US, ministers here do not serve at the pleasure of the president and cannot be dismissed without endangering the continuity of the government. In Israel we have a coalition government.
Lieberman’s party represents a large segment of Israel’s population and its point of view deserves and needs to be expressed, even if it appears to contradict Netanyahu’s “soft” policy toward the Palestinians.
Barak appears to want to silence all those who differ with his own soft attitude.
Focus on terrorists
Sir, – Regarding “Turkel panel delays flotilla findings” (January 17), the findings will be incomplete unless they highlight the profiles of the 50-odd terrorists among the large number of pacifists demonstrating against the blockade on Gaza.
The terrorists embarked at a separate location, were not subjected to passport control, and fervently expressed hope that they would be able to attack any boarding party and in the process be killed as martyrs and proceed immediately to paradise.
The full backgrounds of the terrorists, especially the nine who were killed, should be given full coverage to remove all doubts that there was any connection between them and the protesters.
Kiryat Ono