September 22: Full contact

What qualifies Peter Beinart to claim that some American leaders don’t interact with Palestinians in the US?

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Full contact
Sir, – With regard to “Talk about talking” by Larry Snider (Comment & Features, September 17), “from Haifa to Eilat, Jenin to Hebron...” we’re not isolated from, but are in contact with, Christian and Muslim Israelis in hospitals, clinics, shopping malls, parks, pools, universities, public transportation, the Knesset and shared housing. We do not need international financing for coexistence.
And what qualifies Peter Beinart to claim that some American leaders don’t interact with Palestinians in the US? If sharing felafel and Turkish coffee with peace-seeking “others” in suburban Philadelphia and elsewhere will promote peace between us and our neighbors, we hope to be so advised.
Let’s not obfuscate
Sir, – In commenting on the birth date of “Yeshua,” reader Colin Nevin (“Real DOB,” Letters, September 17) ends his discourse by repeating the traditional Christian denigration of the Jewish leadership of the time. He states: “Jesus Himself [sic] said of the religious people of His [sic] day that they ‘prefer to keep the traditions of men, which make the word of God of non-effect.’” Please, let’s not obfuscate. The writer needs reminding that it was the later Christian leaders who assigned December 25, the winter solstice, as Jesus’s birthday. They didn’t do that because of religious reasons. It was a political decision to attract more pagans who worshipped their gods on that day.
It is their Bible that states that shepherds were still in the field, regardless that they historically brought their flocks down from the hills at least a month earlier because of the inclement weather.
It was their religious leaders who condoned Christmas trees and the balls hanging from them – pagan symbols that, according to the Hebrew scriptures, God despises.
It was their religious leaders who condoned purely pagan Easter egg hunts when Ishtar was a pagan goddess of fertility who laid eggs.
Regardless of who Jesus really was in his lifetime, Christianity is under very increased stress by the findings of the so-called Jesus family tomb in Tel Piot. Dr. James Tabor is prominent in that discovery.
Solomonic wisdom
Sir, – For 35 years Jews have tried to hold on to Homesh. Did we not learn that giving up land means “weakness” to the Arabs, and that therefore they will reward us with more violent attacks in all parts of Israel (“A-G: Palestinian farmers can return to Homesh,” September 16)? Where would Israel be now if we gave up the Golan Heights to Syria? Arabs always speak about all the land belonging to them and that they intend on conquering it all.
Now, with the so-called peace talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry, President Barack Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas understand that our prime minister can be pressured to give Abbas what he feels is rightfully his.
Remember: King Solomon’s definition of the true mother is the one who would not cut her baby in half.
Rights on the Mount
Sir, – It appears that there is at least one person (and one would hope that more will have the courage to support him) who is prepared to challenge the disgraceful lack of Israeli control over Judaism’s holiest site (“Feiglin to challenge Wakf’s legal authority over Temple Mount,” September 16).
Feiglin has never backtracked or given up on his ideology or his faith in what is right.
Sir, – Until 2000, Jews went up freely to the Temple Mount with prayer books and prayed at will.
There was even a distinguished group of rabbis who prayed there every Rosh Hodesh. Then, Ariel Sharon visited with a large retinue of police and rioting broke out.
The Israeli government capitulated to this bully-like behavior and changed all the norms there.
Is that what we do with schoolyard bullies – react to their behavior by agreeing to their demands? In an interfaith group I once belonged to, an Arab student from Al Kuds University asked me why Jews care about the Temple Mount. He said he knew that the Jewish people are interested only in graves, like Rachel’s Tomb, Joseph’s Tomb and the Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron, which has been shared with Muslims since 1967. He asked me what connection we have to the Temple Mount – which has only Muslim graves! And so I say to our government: Take a stand and make it clear that we do care about the Temple Mount even more than grave sites. Return the norms there to those that existed for more than 30 years after 1967. Stop allowing the Wakf to monitor Jewish activity there, and stop Israeli police from collaborating and checking whether Jews have prayer books.
In a politically sensitive but very clear manner, send a powerful message. But do it now. It is almost too late for the current generation of Arab youths, although the sooner, the better.
Matter of presentation
Sir, – I had the privilege recently to hold an extensive conversation about the upcoming intergovernmental conference between Greece and Israel, as well as crucial regional issues, with the distinguished foreign affairs columnist of your newspaper. To my surprise, what ultimately appeared on the front page of your esteemed newspaper the day after in “Greek ambassador: Despite apology, Ankara nixes Israel-NATO cooperation” (September 12) was only a brief exchange of views on Turkish- Israeli relations that we had at some point in the interview, presented in a way that did not do justice to the overall balance and content of our discussion.
To put the record straight, I would like to reiterate that the Greek position, but also my personal view, is that Turkey is and should remain part of those few elements of stability existing in our troubled region, like Greece and Israel or Cyprus.
As for the hypothetical question whether Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan could be branded as “anti-Semitic” because of his comments on Egypt’s bloody events and the upheaval at Taksim Square in Istanbul, I could not possibly know what an important foreign politician believes in private. Certainly, he has repeatedly denied such allegations.
Also, I would like to point out that Turkey as a matter of fact, especially at the time of the Ottoman Empire, was a haven for numbers of Jews who were persecuted elsewhere in Europe.
It is clear that under no circumstances has it been my intention to verbally attack the prime minister of a friendly, neighborly country, our ally in NATO, Turkey.
The writer is ambassador of Greece to Israel
Pope’s promise
Sir, – We were glad to read that the pope met the president of the World Jewish Congress and discussed with him the ban on ritual slaughter in Poland (“Pope Francis meets with Ronald Lauder at Vatican,” September 3). You also wrote that the pontiff appointed someone from the Vatican to investigate the issue.
Good news it was – so you might imagine our surprise and disappointment when we received information that the Vatican has denied this.
The ban on ritual slaughter in Poland is a delicate and complicated matter. Misleading information is the last thing needed.
APOLOGY The Jerusalem Post apologizes to readers over the errors and misquotations in “Boutique living in Baka,” which appeared in the Real Estate supplement published on September 18. We will run a corrected version of the article in an upcoming issue of the paper.