March 7: Coalition pains

The current “negotiations” to form a new coalition remind me of a suggested etymology of the word “politics.”

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

Coalition pains

Sir, – Seeing Naftali Bennett’s euphoric countenance on your front pages so often (“Bayit Yehudi ‘rolling up sleeves’ to help prime minister build coalition,” March 5), I’m awaiting his picture with the caption, “Why is this man smiling?” We might soon know.


Sir, – The current “negotiations” to form a new coalition remind me of a suggested etymology of the word “politics.”

It was said to be derived from the Greek poli, meaning many, and tic(k)s, which are bloodsucking parasites.
Many a true word is said in jest.
Salford, UK


Takes two to tango

Sir, – According to “Kerry meets with Abbas in Saudi Arabia” (March 5), Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatened that if Israel doesn’t release prisoners and freeze construction in the settlements, the Palestinians will refuse to sit down and talk to us.

What else is there to talk about if they get everything they want without sitting down at the table? It takes two to tango – does Abbas honestly think we haven’t any requests of our own for them? Negotiating with someone who received his doctorate in Moscow on denial of the Holocaust is beyond realistic for us, especially if the PA pals up with Hamas in Gaza, which threatens to fight us to the end.
The Palestinians definitely underestimate our power and intelligence. That is why there has not been a peace agreement for 65 years, and it looks as if there never will be.
Herzlia Pituah

Different message

Sir, – J Street representative Mark Zivin (“Hear your neighbors,” Letters, March 4) is obviously so enchanted by the plaintive words of the Palestinians he met during the recent junket through Israel and Ramallah, that he advises Josh Hasten to also listen to his neighbors. What chutzpah! Does Zivin, from Illinois, really think that he understands real Palestinian intentions based on a few sweet words spun to him in a briefing with Palestinian leaders, and that he understands it better than Hasten, who lives his life here and has his ear to the ground? May I advise Zivin and all American J Street advocates to carefully listen to what the same Palestinian leadership is telling its own people in Arabic, and to take that as the truth rather than be seduced by what they hear in English.

If they do not understand Arabic, Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch will be happy to provide them with an accurate translation of everything Palestinian leaders are telling their own people at official ceremonies and through their official media. I can assure Zivin that it is not the message he heard in English.


Out of proportion

Sir, – In “‘Time has come for Pollard to go free,’ says prime minister” (March 5) you quote Binyamin Netanyahu as having said: “The time has long since come....” That’s a far cry from your headline. There is a huge difference between “the time has come” and “the time has long since come.”

All of us (except, obviously, the US administration) agree that President Barack Obama’s failure to even so much as acknowledge the numerous pleas on Jonathan Pollard’s behalf belies the sincerity of his support for America’s one and only staunch ally in this part of the world. (How’s that for a gesture of courtesy to the people of Israel?) But being the people we are, we’ll roll out the red carpet for the president when he comes.
While the US, UN and EU keep on admonishing Israel about “disproportionate force,” don’t we want to talk with Obama about “disproportionate injustice?”




No big deal

Sir, – With regard to “Beauty and the bears” (Comment & Features, March 5), what’s the big deal about Jews controlling Hollywood? It only goes to prove that they must be doing something right.

Why is that portion of the Academy Awards broadcast deemed anti-Semitic? So what if Jews control Hollywood.
Nobody died, there doesn’t seem to be violence and it looks like everyone is having a good time.
Let’s focus on more important issues.


Yahad and the ZF

Sir, – I refer to David Newman’s column “The Zionist Federation policy of exclusion” (Borderline Views, March 5).

The Zionist Federation (ZF) has been in existence for over 110 years. Its members represent a wide variety of views. Discussions are animated, and democratic procedures are at the core of its being.
Any organization applying for membership is reviewed by the ZF’s Constitution Committee.
In the case of Yahad, the committee reported that the application could not be recommended. Even so, the application was put forward to the National Council for a vote, and by a clear majority was not accepted.
There is a right for applicants to reapply after six months.
Newman did not note that Herut UK went through the same difficulty but made changes and was subsequently accepted. Was this omission because Herut is a right-wing organization and that does not fit the script? Democracy sometimes does not suit everyone’s views if they don’t get their way.
The chairman of the ZF has publicly extended his hand to Yahad to discuss issues and try to reconcile them. Yahad should take up his offer.
The writer is a member of the ZF National Council and a former chairman of the ZF

Sir, – As a past executive and honorary officer of the Zionist Federation, I fully agree with the decisions of the present executive. Past executives would have made the same decision.

I also noticed that a lot of the work of the Zionist Federation was missing from David Newman’s column, such as the campaigns for missing IDF soldiers, the Pollard campaign, anti-Semitism, community security, Jerusalem Day celebrations and, the most important one, aliya, as a result of which many of us and our families are living in and contributing to the State of Israel.
So please, Mr. Newman, don’t worry about the Zionist Federation. It does not need your advice. But what I find worrying is the fact that people like you, with your left-wing views, are lecturing in universities where some of our children and grandchildren are studying or will be studying.


Highway debate

Sir, – I wish to offer my heartfelt thanks to reader Julie Rosenzweig (“End Begin,” Letters, March 4) for a most professional contribution to the debate over the proposed highway through Beit Safafa in Jerusalem.



CORRECTION The reader’s letter “What about Pollard?” (March 6) should refer to Michael D. Siegal, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America, and not as stated.