March 14: An act of stupidity

It takes a unique act of collective stupidity to slap the face of the vice president of the United States.

An act of stupidity...
Sir, – It takes a unique act of collective stupidity to slap the face of the vice president of the United States – a major figure from our most loyal (and almost only) ally.
It matters not what views one holds about expansion in Jerusalem. Only a person with a desire to further harm our nation would allow this act of stupidity to occur. Even the most ardent proponent of a right-wing position should have had intellect to know that this timing was absurd.
It was clear that a major purpose of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit was to discuss approaches to the unusual risk Israel faces regarding Iran. To muddy the waters, as this announcement did, only weakens our position. Anyone who fails to understand that does not have the maturity or common sense to be in a senior position in our government.
    STEPHEN J. KOHN     Ra’anana
Sir, – Thursday’s editorial describes the present government as being “dysfunctional.” I can think of another three adjectives to add to this analysis: foolish, arrogant and dangerous.
If it is true that the prime minister had nothing to do with the ill-timed statement, then he should apologize to the Vice President and put any decision on the status of Jerusalem on hold until the end of negotiations. This incident has nothing to do with the status of Jerusalem, and much to do with the little mouse that roared. The prime minister has done more to undermine the position of Israel in the eyes of the Americans than most of his predecessors. He should truly be ashamed.
    PAUL BERMAN    Shoham
...but the blame is misplaced
Sir, – Thursday’s Jerusalem Post contains several articles and an editorial all accusing the government of insensitivity or even incompetence in announcing the approval for expanded housing in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo during the visit of the American vice president (“From smooch to smack in 24 hours,” “Dysfunctional government,” March 11). This assignment of blame to the government and understanding for the vice president’s display of anger saddens me. It strikes me as one more example of the terminal ghetto mentality that stymies Israel in its efforts to be viewed as a sovereign state.
It is Mr. Biden who should be criticized for his behavior. If he is truly a friend of Israel, he should understand the position held by a large majority of its citizens – that Jerusalem is the eternal and indivisible capital of the nation. Jerusalem was explicitly excluded from the building moratorium that was granted as a large concession under American pressure to facilitate resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians. It is now clear that the only effect of that concession was to whet the Palestinians’ appetite for further concessions.
Mr. Biden vented his pique by criticizing Israel publicly twice, and also by being an hour late for dinner with the prime minister. Apparently he forgot that the major purpose of his visit was to coordinate America’s policy on Iran with that of its strongest and most reliable ally in the Middle East. He lost his cool when that ally was not in total lock-step with the latest American position vis-à-vis the almost-defunct peace process.
If Mr. Biden’s anger is justified, and our government has been “dysfunctional” by moving forward with providing needed housing in its capital after careful review, then perhaps it is time to get out the maps and start dividing Jerusalem in earnest. With luck, our American friends will stand by us to assure that some small part of the city is kept under Israeli sovereignty. Maybe they will even recognize that rump neighborhood as the capital of the Jewish state. But of course, that can only happen if we keep our heads down and don’t assert our rights too loudly.
    ARNOLD I. KISCH     Jerusalem
Sir, – While the timing of the housing plan announcement in Jerusalem might be considered unfortunate, suggesting that it “undermines trust” is beyond comprehension, given the full picture. When demands are made only of Israel – to freeze building needed for her citizens, to open roads to Arab traffic when terrorism has been the reason for restriction, when Israel is pressured repeatedly to take steps to prop up PA President Mahmoud Abbas – there is no truth that there is a “peace process.” That expression implies give and take on both sides, and this is nonexistent.
What has the Obama administration – as well as previous ones – required of Palestinian Arabs, who have used terrorism as a weapon against Jewish communities even before the re-creation of Israel in 1948, and since then have refused any Israeli offers to settle the conflict? Where is their well-deserved rebuke from those who would condemn Israel for simply providing living accommodations for its families? Indeed, the demand that Israel stop building is in itself outrageous.
Uttering words of assurance to Israel regarding the US-Israel relationship is simply not enough. Both countries have common values that include democracy. Israel is the bulwark of that democracy in a region that is infested with the roots of terror in the world at large. Considering that the US and nations of the West are engaged in an effort to help Iraq achieve democracy, it is incongruous that a terrorist apartheid state be created through a fictitious process that would lead to the destruction of Israel.
This reality must be conveyed to Mr. Biden, who has, no doubt, come to Israel with the best of intentions.
    CHANA GIVON     Jerusalem
Speaking for whom?
Sir, – In her letter “Still building – for Jews only” (Letters, March 11), Judy Bamberger may have some valid points in contrasting the apparent differences in the treatment of Palestinians and Israelis, as far as housing is concerned.
However, she oversteps the line when she says “How dare we do this?” Just who is the “we” she refers to?
Perhaps if she left the comfort of Australia she would have the right to make such comments, but not until then.
    MOISHE VEEDER     Netanya Insults...
Sir, – How long must we continue to take insults from such people as Arab director Scandar Copti and the restaurant in Haifa that refuses to serve soldiers on its premises (“ACRI: Haifa eatery broke no laws by banning IDF soldiers in uniform,” March 11)?
    ISSY HASS    Ra’anana.
...and Oscar failures
Sir, – The article exploring Israel’s failure to win Oscars ignored the true explanation – one that also serves to explain those same films’ successfully being nominated (“Why Israel can’t enter the promised land,” March 11).
It’s a simple fact of life: Nobody trusts a defector. The films and their directors are part and parcel of the Israeli Left’s constant attempts to curry personal favor with international audiences by attacking our country and its willingness to defend itself. That attitude will win adulation – but never respect. Europe and Hollywood will show love to any Israeli who hates Israel, but intangibles are all you’ll get out of them.
US President Barack Obama continually encounters the same problem. His policies, which are designed to deliberately run counter to those of former president George W. Bush, are wildly popular in the rest of the world, and thus so is Obama himself. But all that popularity hasn’t helped him bring the Olympics to Chicago, increase NATO support for the war in Afghanistan, or convince Russia and China to support sanctions against Iran.
Kowtowing to the world might get you nominations, but it will never get you the gold.
Misnomer at the UN
Sir, – The headline of an article written by E.B. Solomont reads“Shalom at the UN: It’s time to impose crippling sanctions on Iran”(March 10). I thought once again that this was a Purim spiel, until Irealized it was talking about Silvan Shalom. Just goes to show, youcan’t be too careful with your headlines.