May 28: What Iran wants

Perhaps while talking, the G5+1 could ask Iran if its intention to wipe Israel from the face of the earth is still clear-cut.

What Iran wants
Sir, – With regard to “Israel watching, but making no comments, on Baghdad talks” (May 24), perhaps while talking, the G5+1 could ask Iran if its intention to wipe Israel from the face of the earth is still clear-cut. The answer might go some way toward clarifying the results of the current negotiations.
Sir, – The negotiations to persuade Iran to stop developing a nuclear bomb are an opportunity for the Islamic regime to demonstrate that it isn’t simply playing on the West’s naivety and genuinely wants to reach a mutually-beneficial agreement that will protect Western interests while avoiding economic sanctions.
For example, it could offer the West a special deal on amazing bracelets that magically protect the wearer from radiation (“‘No proof about anti-radiation bracelet,’” News in Brief, May 21).
Histadrut outcome
Sir, – Regarding “Preliminary results indicate Eini reelected Histadrut chief” (May 24), could someone please tell me where the millions of shekels spent to plaster Ofer Eini’s face all over the country came from? Did the money come from the union fees paid by poor, oppressed workers? How can the best-paid workers in the country, employed by the Electric Corporation, Mekorot and the ports, come to be considered “oppressed workers?” What are the salaries of Eini and his oppressed Histadrut officers? I have been unable to find out.
I wish I could defend the rights of the workers; it seems to pay very well indeed!
Sir, – The good news is that the Histadrut elections are over.
The bad news is finding out just how easily Ofer Eini and his cohorts managed to “manage” the results, the foregone conclusion being that he could hardly lose.
When will the lowly worker, who in such matters does pretty much as he is told, realize he has been “managed” and stand up for his rights? Let us hope it won’t take longer than the five years until the Eini era is over.
Married young(er)
Sir, – In “Super-sad – and true” (Arts & Entertainment, May 24), Louise Lasser is referred to as Woody Allen’s first wife. Lasser was his second wife.
Allen’s first wife was Harlene Rosen, a friend of mine from James Madison High School in Brooklyn. Their marriage lasted five years.
No monster, he
Sir, – On the very day that Judy Montagu tried to come to grips with people’s ability to act toward each other in an inhumane manner (“Monsters are us,” In My Own Write, May 23), there appeared the heart-warming story of a young Israeli mountain climber who gave up his dream of reaching the peak of Mount Everest – with only 300 meters to go – in order to save someone’s life (“Israeli Everest climber saves his Turkish ‘brother.’”) What stands out in both of these stories is that each and every individual has the ability to act in a manner that will either bring credit or shame on the society in which he lives.
The values of a society must be taught to its children by parents and teachers. Citizens in a society that respects its laws will be in a much better position to raise children who themselves respect the law.
P. YONAH Shoham
Hanania and history
Sir, – Ray Hanania’s “Palestinian financial problems” (Yalla Peace, May 23) is simply beyond the pale. Defying any inherent sense of decency and integrity (not to mention intellectual honesty), Hanania has the unmitigated gall to draw a comparison between George Washington and the base, coldblooded, ruthless murderer and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat.
Lionizing Arafat as “our leader” speaks volumes about Hanania, his values and his own moral compass.
In contrast to his unsupported narrative, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin et al pledged their honor and treasure to further the cause of establishing the fledgling republic. When that proved insufficient, they turned to affluent patriots like Haym Solomon to assist in financing the revolution. Solomon, by the way, died a pauper.
In stark contrast, the Palestinian Authority as been and continues to be the beneficiary of boundless wealth thrown at it by the United States, the European Union, various United Nations agencies and NGOs, all without accountability and transparency. Had this bounty been allocated to a growing, vibrant and healthy society we would see schools, libraries, hospitals and other trappings on the horizon. Where are they? Ignoring context, he accuses Israel of whimsically withholding “large sums from the Palestinians,” causing peril to their bloated bureaucracy. He conveniently overlooks the fact that Israel’s actions came on the heels of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ploy of seeking UN recognition of Palestinian statehood in contravention of the Oslo Accords.
Taking a page from Hanania’s playbook, it seems to me that unless and until Palestinian society produces men of wisdom, intellect and reverence for life and the common weal, that society will perpetuate its own failings and misfortune.
Sir, – Ray Hanania tries to whitewash the corruption in the Palestinian Authority that regularly results in vast wealth for its top leadership by distorting American history.
He claims that George Washington ran a kleptocracy just like Arafat and Abbas. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
America’s founders recognized that power corrupts and sought to design a government with a built-in separation of powers.
The federal government limited Washington’s funds so severely that he came perilously close to losing the Revolutionary War for lack of adequate supplies.
Hanania should study history rather than trying to rewrite it.
Disturbing echoes
Sir, – Benjamin Kerstein’s assertion in “Yes, all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic” (Comment & Features, May 21) includes disturbing echoes of the argument that some insular communities employ to hush up allegations of family abuse or sexual misconduct: Problems must be handled internally because of possible embarrassment before the outside world. But under this same rationale the recent social justice demonstrations qualify as anti- Semitic because they offer the opportunity for others to point out Israel’s social deficiencies.
In both cases, silence would allow indefensible conduct or inexcusable conditions to continue unchallenged.
The classic definition of anti- Semitism includes the use of a double-standard (treating Jews differently than others) to delegitimize or demonize the Jewish people. Kerstein himself favors a double-standard – avoiding even well-founded criticism of Israel whenever possible. This could actually generate more anti-Semitism, as some people will use it to prove that Israel believes itself to be above criticism.
Contrary to the ghetto mentality that enforces silence as a means of self-protection, Israel has the opportunity – indeed, the obligation – to act as a confident member of the community of nations. The social justice demonstrations and other reasoned criticisms of Israeli policy show that Jews are capable of introspection and peaceful dissent, as befits a moral, democratic society.
Far from being anti-Semitic, this is a true sanctification of God’s name.
EFRAIM A. COHEN Zichron Ya’acov