May 2: A conference too far

The Jerusalem Post Conference was one big platform for the remaking of exprime minister Ehud Olmert as a credible “statesman.”

A conference too far
Sir, – The Jerusalem Post Conference (“Tehran Obama hot topics at first-ever ‘Post’ conference in New York,” April 30) was one big platform for the remaking of exprime minister Ehud Olmert as a credible “statesman,” and for former Mossad head Meir Dagan to undermine Prime Minister Netanyahu’s approach to Iran.
Olmert was self-serving but very theatrically appealing as he defended his “accomplishments” as prime minister before his resignation under a cloud of alleged corruption. It was Olmert at his best, and unfortunately Post columnist Caroline B. Glick was cast as a “prop.”
Dagan did his best to undermine all that Netanyahu effectively did in his speech before the US Congress. He has sown confusion into how Israel should deal with the Iranian nuclear threat. What were his motives? Did he understand the consequences of his very public statements? I hope the other “theatergoers” saw this performance for the farce it was.
Sir, – The Jerusalem Post is supposed to be a Zionist newspaper.
Would someone please explain why a Zionist newspaper holds a conference in New York instead of Israel? As far as I know, New York has no particular Zionist attachment.
Your newspaper in the past has criticized Zionist organizations for not having their conferences in Israel. Now you are doing the same. It sounds very hypocritical to me.
CHAYA GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit
Sir, – What was the point of holding your conference in New York? Some of the people selected for your panel discussions where unfortunately part of the elements in Israel that project extreme controversy.
These panels could really have been held in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Haifa.
We should be able to have a conference abroad that enhances the unity of the Jewish people and makes the general public aware of the tremendous friendship and security relevance between Jerusalem and Washington. Discussions that are basically disagreements we have enough of here in Israel.
Sir, – I for one am disappointed that The Jerusalem Post decided to have its conference in New York instead of Jerusalem. Possibly, some of the Israeli “dignitaries” might not have been attracted to a local event, but I cannot imagine the New York Post having its conference anywhere but in New York City or the Washington Post hosting a conference anywhere but in Washington.
What do they expect?
Sir, – This story of a liberal Jew seeing one video of an Arab being arrested, sparking a book and a huge controversy, is symptomatic of the times, allowing superficial and shallow liberal Jewish views to be given full media coverage (“The Palestinian family that sparked the Jewish controversy,” April 30).
What do Peter Beinart and others like him expect? That a country can be born and developed without getting your hands dirty? We have many enemies and we have to fight them with whatever means are available.
Jews have never been good at expediency, allowing sentiment to rule. Sentiment is very good if you are several thousand miles away, but if you actually live here and want to survive, the perspective looks quite different.
If I or any one else wanted to write a book about how well Israel is doing and concluded that there was no crisis in Zionism, it would be impossible to get it published.
So I say to Beinart, spare us your liberal Jewish angst. To others, simply don’t read this nonsense.
It simply can’t
Sir, – In his elucidation of the unsustainability of the haredi way of life, Jeff Barak ends by saying that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government has shown it is unwilling to deal with the problem (“Knesset contretemps,” Reality Check, April 30).
I submit it would be more fair to say that the government is unable to deal with the problem because of the coalition’s dependence on ultra-Orthodox parties.
The problem can be remedied by, first, several politicians showing their willingness to join the coalition for the benefit of the country rather than their own political ambitions, and, second, by a major change in the electoral system. The latter can be achieved if there is agreement by politicians from all sides of the political spectrum.
Collective punishment Sir, – Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On is exhorting the courts not to delay the destruction of Jewish homes, legally built with government support, in Migron and the Ulpana suburb of Beit El (“Meretz to petition High Court against state’s Ulpana request,” April 29).
At this time it is not clear that any crime has been committed in the building of these homes (other than the Arab injunction against selling land to Jews), and if a crime has been committed, finding a reasonable remedy is within the realm of possibility. This is not to say that the miscreant who signed off on the order to build is not to be punished, but it should be clear to any reasonable person that the wholesale destruction of the homes of people who bought them in good faith is nothing less than collective punishment.
I don’t expect more of our Meretz stalwarts, but in these troubled times it behooves our arbiters of the law to exert great care against opening the court to charges of hypocrisy.
Behind the scenes Sir, – Regarding “How good a friend of the Jews was Harry Truman?” (April 29), this is a misleading headline since it fails to identify the irreconcilable policy differences between Truman and his secretary of state, George C. Marshall.
Even though support for the partition of Palestine had become official US policy – and to avoid any ambiguity Truman instructed the State Department to support the plan – Marshall and other officials there conspired to double-cross the president, emphasizing that the US was not committed to supporting the creation of a sovereign Jewish state.
The sometimes bitter conflict within the Truman administration is detailed in A Safe Haven – Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel by Allis Radosh and Ronald Radosh.
Everyone’s behavior Sir, – Kol hakavod to Herb Keinon for his column “Being so Ashkenazi” (Out There, April 29).
If behaving in a decent, civilized manner and being considerate of the existence of other people is being “Ashkenazi,” so be it – but it is indeed a great pity that more Israelis do not behave this way and are generally considered to be loud, rude and uncaring about how their behavior affects others.
I have been told that in Israel, rules and laws are only suggestions and need not be complied with, as they are hardly ever enforced. The no-smoking laws have been enforced, however, and today there is general compliance. The same should be done with cellphones.
If the number of deaths on the roads were caused by terrorism we long ago would have taken action, but the authorities do very little to cut down the number of accidents and enforce safe driving. We have to educate drivers that there are laws and rules of the road that will be enforced, and that there are other people on the roads, too.