July 28: Right thing to do

Now is the time to prove that the US-Israel alliance is vibrant and meaningful, an alliance of equals.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Right thing to do
Sir, – Regarding “GOP, Dem senators unveil rival plans to limit debt” (July 26), Israel has benefited for decades from the largess of the Americans to the tune of billions per year. Israel is now a strong and independent nation, militarily and economically, and the US is on the verge of economic catastrophe.
Now is the time to prove that the US-Israel alliance is vibrant and meaningful, an alliance of equals. Now is the time for Israel to say to America that it is with great reluctance but enormous pride that we forgo the billions of dollars they grant us every year.
These billions are needed by the American people to put their economic house in order. It is the correct and smart thing to do for both America and Israel.
I urge Prime Minister Netanyahu to announce this to the Israeli and American public, in clear English, today. Now.
The nation of Israel will achieve true independence and the gratitude and respect of the American people.
Relevant flicks
Sir, – I am surprised that an article on Kirk Douglas that focuses on his Jewishness (“‘Happy to be a Jew,’” Arts & Entertainment, July 26) would make no mention of his starring role in the 1966 film “Cast a Giant Shadow,” or of his lesserknown film, 1953’s “The Juggler.”
Both of these wonderful films focus on the birth of the State of Israel (one from the viewpoint of an American soldier fighting in the War of Independence, the other from the viewpoint of a concentration camp survivor arriving in the new nation).
The significance of these movies should not be omitted from any article about Douglas.
Millennia of hatred
Sir, – People like Shmuley Boteach (“Surround by Christians who love Israel,” No Holds Barred, July 25) should be very careful not to allow their naivete to becloud their good judgment.
Sure, Evangelicals say that their love is pure and not motivated by any ulterior motives of eventual Jewish acceptance of Jesus, their Christ, and I could believe them. But can they expect a Jew like me to trust any Christian by weighing only a few decades of purported love against millennia of hatred, persecution and murder? Furthermore, does Boteach really think the Jesus who actually was can be accepted by Jews today in view of the Jesus the Gentiles have made him into? Why, indeed, should Jews alter their view of Jesus at all? He may have been a Torah observant Jew in his day, but so what?
UNRWA is important
Sir, – I write to thank Caroline B. Glick for her column (“Squandering Israel’s limited influence,” Our World, July 25). It makes clear the importance of the refugees in any peaceful dispensation and the importance of continued generous American support for UNRWA’s efforts to promote human development and universal values in this key constituent for peace, until a just and durable solution can be found to their plight, based on international law and UN resolutions.
The notion that the blockade of Gaza is legal and that Gaza does not experience any “blockade- induced” shortages is without any basis in fact. The ICRC has described the blockade as “a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.”
UNRWA itself is attempting to implement a $660 million reconstruction plan and we have been able to take into Gaza around five percent of what we need. That is just one example among many that put the lie to this gross misinformation.
Glick’s assertion that UNRWA has given “consistent support for the Palestinian war against Israel” is also unsubstantiated because there is no evidence to support this wild claim. As if to prove the point, her attempts to influence US Congress with this specious argument have been unsuccessful, as the paragraphs from the House Foreign Affairs Committee Bill, which call for a withdrawal of American support, have been removed, a fact of which Glick appears unaware.
The Israeli government and responsible pro-Israel advocates in the US demonstrated to the committee chairman the negative impact on Israeli national security interests that would have resulted from the retention of the anti-UNRWA provision.
Glick’s thesis failed to make its unsubstantiated point among members of Congress who know better.
She also gives too much credit to a minority group of members of Congress who claim that without Israeli objections they would have eliminated UNRWA funding already – just like they’ve “eliminated” the UN and a list of others. UNRWA has received strong bipartisan support over the years from both the executive branch (the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations) and the legislative branch because responsible US officials understand, as do informed Israelis, the important humanitarian and stabilizing role played by UNRWA.
CHRIS GUNNESS Jerusalem The writer is UNRWA spokesman
Over-the-edge ed
Sir, – The editorial on the Norway tragedy (“Norway’s challenge,” July 24) is deplorable and, in my opinion, a new low for increasingly anti-liberal and - democratic Jewish thought.
It takes the view that the real issue behind the killing spree is not the radical, Islamophobic and ultra-nationalist context from which Anders Behring Breivik emerged, but rather Europe’s multicultural opening to immigrants (which, of course, is code-speak for Muslim immigration).
The editorial warns that the Muslim population in Norway will increase from 3 to 6.5 percent by 2030 (thus exaggerating the significance of the trend). Most disturbingly, though, its call for the protection of unique European cultures and values sounds like it came directly from a speech by Jean Marie Le Pen or Joerg Haider, and it eerily echoes the ideologies of Euro-fascism and Aryan purity.
Your editorial actually concluded that the violent rampage should serve as an opportunity to seriously reevaluate policies for immigrant integration in Norway and elsewhere. By saying this, you pointedly suggest that the 3% of Norway’s population that is Muslim is to blame for Breivik’s terrorism.
In essence, it stakes a position in line with the killer’s ideology, drawing conclusions akin to those he wrote in his 1,500- page manifesto before setting off to kill his victims.
If this type of editorial came from the likes of a European right-wing daily, it would not be so noteworthy. What maddens me is that The Jerusalem Post chose to voice such a view.
Sir, – It is tragic to note that less than two years ago it was precisely this same Norwegian government and royal family that went ahead with a year-long celebration marking the life and work of one of the country’s best-known Nazis, writer Knut Hamsun (1859-1952), on the 150th anniversary of his birth.
Worse still, while today the Norwegian royal family is rightly consoling the families and friends of the victims of the recent terrorist outrage, two years back it was precisely the queen who presided over the gala launching of the program commemorating Hamsun – despite numerous requests not to do so from the international community and the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.
In 2009, the foundation pointed out that it was “up to the Norwegian government to put an end to this offensive vindication of Nazism and live up the standards the world has come to expect from it or live with the consequences of such unacceptable behavior.”
Two years later these words have turned out to be tragically prophetic.
New York