March 14: No friend of ours

I know Obama “has our back” – which, if he wins reelection, is where he will try and put the knife.

Obama and wife Michelle at White House Hannukah party 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Obama and wife Michelle at White House Hannukah party 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
No friend of ours
Sir, – Regarding Jeff Barak’s “A true friend” (Reality Check, March 12), it is interesting to note that Barak, like a minority of Jewish Israelis, does not seem to pay any attention to the multiple times that US President Barack Obama has failed to support Israel.
He does not seem to remember that Obama’s secretary of state, until just recently, called Syria’s Bashar Assad a peacemaker, or that his national security advisor referred to the Muslim Brotherhood as a largely secular group interested in peace, or that Obama himself is trying to force Israel back to the pre-1967 lines.
I know Obama “has our back” – which, if he wins reelection, is where he will try and put the knife.
Sir, – Jeff Barak produced a totally one-sided column failing to mention any of the many points that have garnered Barack Obama the title of all-time worst “friendly” president of the US.
Just one example: How can it be that Barak overlooks Obama’s open display of disgust for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at their meeting in 2009? Barak, not known for being sympathetic toward Netanyahu, hereby provides an excellent example of the saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion
Sir, – On reading “A true friend,” I began to believe that Jeff Barak had made a very convincing case regarding President Obama as a good friend of Israel.
But I then thought of the other side: Who persuaded our prime minister to place a freeze on construction in the West Bank? Who allowed the Palestinians to make a further freeze a pre-condition for continuing peace talks? Who introduced the pre-1967 lines as an added pre-condition for the Palestinians? Who condemned Israel for approving new building in areas such as Gilo, a long established Jerusalem suburb? Who has not reminded the Palestinians that a right-of-return for millions of so-called refugees could never be accepted by any Israeli government?
I thus have reservations about the sincerity of Obama’s friendship and continue to hope that he fails in his bid for reelection.
Sir, – The question is not only if President Obama can be trusted to back Israel, as he promised in his AIPAC speech, but if his judgment can be trusted to know when sanctions are not working and that the military option must be exercise. His intentions may be very good, but we all know which road is paved with such intentions.
I, for one, am not willing to risk the very existence of Israel on this question, nor am I willing to risk the lives of my children or grandchildren on the estimate of American politics as to the right moment to strike Iran. I would certainly feel much more comfortable with the IDF’s judgment.
HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva
Sir, – Israel can trust President Obama like Egypt’s Mubarak could trust Obama – and may God have mercy with us.
Bigger picture
Sir, – Although Prime Minister Netanyahu and others have been telling US President Obama and the world that the nuclear bomb being produced in Iran is the major threat to Israel, the fact is that the major threat to us is the thousands of rockets and missiles being aimed at Israel by Hezbollah.
It is these rockets that are the most immediate as well as long-term threat to Israel rather than a future nuclear bomb of Iran. Why our government continues to speak of the threat of Iran’s bomb rather than the threat of Hezbolla’s thousands of rockets is a major error of government policy. It is us, the people, who will someday suffer thousands of casualties and major property damage because of the failure to alert world leaders to those weapons.
Sir, – Our head of Military Intelligence has said that about 200,000 missiles and rockets surround us. If there is an attack on Iran, it will attack us, as will Hezbollah and, if not Hamas, then the Islamic Jihad and others in the Gaza Strip.
This would give Syria’s Bashar Assad a way to save himself. He would attack us, and not just with conventional weapons, but with chemical and biological weapons. (He would also provide these to Hezbollah.) Our prime minister and defense minister don’t seem to care that 40 percent of the population doesn’t have gas masks. If Defense Minister Barak really believes that only 500 civilians will die, he’s an idiot.
Any deaths that occur will be on their heads. In my eyes they would be guilty of murder. An attack on Iran and its allies would be the second Holocaust.
Pole-vault diplomat
Sir, – I was surprised and pleased to read that Israel was represented at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul (“Olympic-bound Schwartz places 11th in Istanbul, Sports, March 12).
Pole-vaulting originated years ago as a means of getting over obstacles or rivers, and then evolved into a sport. Perhaps this achievement could be a start in bridging the gap in the Turkey-Israel relationship SALLY SHAW Kfar Saba
Principal’s game
Sir, – Regarding “Confessions of a ‘bad’ teacher” (Comment & Features, March 11), schools today are worried more about ratings than the education of students. This is true not only in the US but in Israel, too.
It is hard enough for kids to organize, focus and carry out tasks in a regular classroom. Children with any type of ADD or emotional problem need a shadow, the extra person in the classroom who gives them the security and ability to complete an assignment.
William Johnson and his class don’t have a chance without the support of the school administration. Rearranging desks just adds to confusion. A caring principal will not be concerned with fluff, such as bulletin boards. He or she will aid teachers in a constructive way.
Johnson is not a “bad” teacher. He just hasn’t learned to play the principal’s game. But if he truly loves what he does he should keep trying. I am sure he will have a positive impact.
H. MESSINGER Jerusalem
Druckman’s suitability
Sir, – With regard to “Rabbi Haim Druckman to be awarded Israel Prize” (March 8), my son and several of his friends who attended the Ohr Etzion Yeshiva headed by Druckman were disappointed at the way he administered the school.
I do not know whether he personally was a good teacher, but his choice of teaching staff was not of the highest caliber and may have contributed to the fact that the teachers were unable to inculcate a love of Torah learning and observance into a significant proportion of the pupils, including my son.
When at times during those years I attempted to arrange a meeting to discuss this problem, Druckman never answered my request. When I happened to cross paths with him in an elevator and made a personal request to meet, he turned away and hurried off, although I had introduced myself by saying that my son was studying at his yeshiva and I wanted to discuss an educational problem.
Whether his failure as an educator or administrator, or simply being impolite to a concerned parent, is sufficient reason for him not to receive the Israel Prize is a consideration I leave to the prize committee.
J.J. ADLER Jerusalem