September 22: Put Abbas to test

I suggest that The Jerusalem Post give Abbas, say, two weeks to start condemning terrorist atrocities, otherwise denounce these peace talks as an empty sham.

Put Abbas to test
Sir, – The September 19 editorial in your paper (“Abbas’s first obligation”) calls on the Palestinian Authority president to “ban rank incitement from mosques,” “call his squares and streets after advocates of reform and reconciliation,” “end the fanning of [anti- Israel] flames in the media directly under his control,” and authentically condemn terrorist atrocities.
I suggest that The Jerusalem Post give Abbas, say, two weeks to start doing these things to a substantial extent. If he fails to do so, it seems incumbent on the Post to denounce these peace talks as an empty sham – and a debilitating one, as it is diverting the Israeli leadership from major security threats emanating from the Iranian-led bloc – and withdraw its support. If it doesn’t, then its words, too, are empty.
Sales understandable
Sir, – I share the chagrin of my fellow Israelis in hearing that Russia will be sending a new type of missile to Syria (“Russian plan to sell advanced arms to Syria alarms both Israel and US,” September 19). However, it should be noted that Russia did not begin the current arms race in the Middle East – the United States did! The US has been financing and shipping arms to the Lebanese army and the Palestinian Authority for years, and just announced its intention to ship new warplanes to Saudi Arabia.
I do not wish to sound like a defender of Russia, but from the Russian point of view it is understandable to want to get into the Middle East arms business again, and not leave it to America to be the region’s main arms supplier, despite the danger of these arms being used in a future war against Israel.
Bring ’em on!
Sir, – Skipping hurriedly, as I usually do, past the back page of your “Comments & Features” section, I was pleasantly surprised on September 19 to see a book review.
Not for me stories of jazz, rock, pop and assorted artists, but book reviews. Bring ’em on!
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion
Meaning, please
Sir, – Kudos to David Horovitz on his excellent column “Ten years later” (Editor’s Notes, September 17). Horovitz consistently articulates a centrist, logical and often positive position in every article he writes.
While my political leanings tilt more toward those of his fellow columnist, Caroline Glick, his understanding of the Jewish psyche and his ability to choose words to express meaning – and not meanness – is a trait many other opinion writers on his staff would do well to follow.
Derfner is right
Sir, – Larry Derfner has got it right (“Why Time magazine isn’t anti-Semitic,” Rattling the Cage, September 16).
He says “There are no anti- Semitic truths,” meaning that if the accusation is true, it’s not anti- Semitic. He’s also right on target when he agrees with Time that “Israel doesn’t care about peace.”
Many Israelis certainly care more about money or about Torah studies or about security than they do about signing a peace treaty with the Palestinians.
But then, many Palestinians care more about money, Islamic studies or getting more land for their planned state than they do about signing a peace treaty with Israel.
Certainly, this is normal (like Americans, as he points out), and certainly not Islamophobic.
But it’s surprising that Time didn’t have a cover story called “Why Palestinians don’t care about peace.” That would make very interesting reading.
Sign up here
Sir, – Reader Eliezer Whartman urges all Israelis who hold American citizenship to vote in the upcoming November congressional elections (“Grit your teeth,” Letters, September 14).
The American Israeli Action Coalition (AIAC) urges all US citizens who will be in Israel on election day, November 2, to vote, and has greatly simplified the process. By simply going to its website ( and following the simple instructions, one can register online and obtain an absentee ballot.
It should be noted that the final day for registering in many states is October 8.
HARVEY SCHWARTZ Jerusalem The writer is chairman of the AIAC
What really matters
Sir, – I read with interest the article “No one can challenge my Jewishness” (Features, September 14) and felt the need to tell my own story.
Way back in the late 1940s, my mother married my father and, after a couple of years, I came along, and then my brother. My brother and I were raised as Jews, went to synagogue, kept a kosher home, became bar mitzva and married Jewish girls. Both of us came to Israel, where we now live with our families.
What’s the connection? My father wasn’t Jewish. He came from a large London Christian family, but when he married our mother and she was ostracized by her father, he realized that the only way to repair the damage was for our family to lead a Jewish life.
In those days, conversion was, to say the least, exceedingly difficult in the UK, and wasn’t a viable option. Regardless, our home was 100 percent Jewish. My father was a loving, caring and dedicated parent. He was closely involved with the local community, was accepted and respected by everyone, was a member of the Jewish Ex-Serviceman’s Association, and paid his dues to the synagogue, and even to the burial society. My father lacked the official papers but he was more of a Jew than many Jews I knew and know now! There are two milestones in my life that are burned into my memory.
At the age of 13, I celebrated my bar mitzva. When the time came for me to read my portion, my father, the person who had insisted that we be raised as Jews and lead a Jewish lifestyle, wasn’t called up with me because he wasn’t Jewish. Instead, a family friend stood by my side.
I was too young to fully understand, and I cannot imagine how my father felt. He never told me.
He carried on smiling and was filled with pride. What’s more, he carried on being a “Jew” despite the slap in the face! Eight years later, my father died of lung cancer. Needless to say, this was a very painful time.
But it was made even more painful by the fact that he was refused burial in a Jewish cemetery.
No prayers were said for him in our synagogue, and even though we sat shiva, almost nobody from the Jewish community, including the rabbi, came to pay their respects.
And yet, my brother and I remained Jewish – that’s how powerful our father’s influence had been.
About four years ago, I took a group of high school kids to a Reform synagogue in Haifa.
During the course of the service, Kaddish was said, and I, at the age of 58, said in a synagogue for the first time Kaddish for my father. Until that moment I never realized how deeply I had been affected by the events that followed my father’s death. I simply broke down and cried like a baby.
Even now, as I write this, tears are streaming from my eyes.
A piece of paper isn’t what makes you Jewish. It is what’s in your heart and your soul. My brother and I are Jewish not because our mother was Jewish, but because both of our parents made a conscious decision to raise us a Jews.
I have nothing but praise for those individuals who decide to join the club, and the specific section of Judaism that grants them entry is totally irrelevant! To my mother, Millie Barney, and my father, Steve Barney, I want you to know that we love you and miss you. To my father I would like to add that one of the many regrets I have is that you didn’t live to know your seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren who live here in Israel because of you!
Beit Haemek