September 9: A party backtracks

It’s hard to imagine that US President Obama and his advisors didn’t catch a glimpse of the Democratic platform before the convention.

Letters 521 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 521
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
A party backtracks
Sir, – After failing to include mention of support for Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel in the Democratic Party platform (and even mention of God), US President Barack Obama insisted that the platform be amended.
Yet it’s hard to imagine that he and his army of advisors didn’t catch a glimpse of the platform before the convention.
What an embarrassment! It was an embarrassment that an amendment was even necessary, that it took three votes to arrive at a decision, and that although those who were against the amendment clearly won in a voice tally, convention leaders decided to railroad a yes-vote to save face with Jewish voters.
Which is more awkward? Clint Eastwood and an empty chair at the Republican convention, or a party caught flatfooted and a convention chairman who can’t count? With such math skills it’s no wonder the American economy is such a mess.
One could, I suppose, be grateful for small gestures, even as an afterthought – you won’t find a mainstream party anywhere in Europe that would mention God or Israel in a positive light. But when your existence is threatened with nuclear annihilation and your historical connection to Jerusalem is denied almost daily, it’s still not very assuring.
Sir, – Jerusalem Post readers might have been intrigued by the incredible turn of events at the Democratic National Convention last week. It now becomes apparent that the Democratic Party, once a hallmark of support for Israel, is divided on the very essence of our existence, our capital Jerusalem.
It is also interesting that we witnessed a correlation between the terms “Jerusalem” and “God” in the political turmoil of an American election campaign. There are those who would argue that it is no accident, either philosophically or grammatically.
It would, therefore, not be imprudent for American Jews who care about the security and future of Israel, with its eternal capital Jerusalem, to be very careful in choosing the next US president.
Sir, – Behind the Jerusalem debacle at the Democrats’ convention almost certainly lies the sinister hand of an unrepentant, pro-Arab State Department.
Shades of President Harry S.
Truman’s fight to overcome the Machiavellian tactics of his secretary of state, George C. Marshall, to torpedo the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan for Palestine and the subsequent US recognition of Israel. The unanswered question is whether Barack Obama has the same instincts as Truman.
Blind support
Sir, – Gil Troy makes a compelling and cogent argument (“Don’t make Israel a wedge issue in 2012,” Center Field, September 5). However, we do ourselves no favors by ignoring the slow but steady changes taking place over the past several years.
While both parties still officially consider Israel an important ally, the subtle changes taking place in the Democratic Party are not in Israel’s favor.
One need only look at the changes that were made to the final 2012 party platform – it no longer states that the US should isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, that the issue of Palestinian refugees be solved by settling them in a Palestinian state, or that it is unrealistic to expect Israel to return to the 1949 armistice lines.
At the same time that the Democratic Party’s support for issues important to Israel has been waning, Republican Party support has been on the rise.
There are many wonderful and extremely pro-Israel Democrats (both Jewish and not) who deserve our wholehearted support. But it is high time the American pro-Israel Jewish community stopped blindly supporting Democrats and started looking at the stances of individuals.
Migrants’ plight
Sir, – The humanitarian plight of the African migrants stranded on the Egypt-Israel border cannot be ignored by Israel, even if we are not obliged under international law to allow entry (“State says it is not obligated to allow entry of migrants waiting next to border fence,” September 6). At the very least we should be supplying food and temporary shelter.
Nevertheless, one must question why the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and others ignore Egypt’s responsibility. Egypt now has additional military forces in Sinai and we should demand that the UN require that it use these forces to protect the refugees.
Without in any way diminishing Israel’s humanitarian duty, it is Egypt’s responsibility, as a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, to protect the refugees who have come directly from a territory where their lives or freedom were threatened.
Sir, – The racist position taken by Interior Minister Eli Yishai is astonishing.
He has long had a habit of causing humiliation to Africans living in Israel without any justification, even though most Israelis don’t agree with him.
I am a refugee from Darfur. I arrived in Israel in 2008, when I was 15, and enrolled in an Israeli high school. I graduated two months ago and am now preparing to enter the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. But Yishai will always lurk in my dreams.
Under no circumstances would it be an African’s first choice to be in Israel, receiving constant abuse from Yishai and others who speak out against migrants and asylum-seekers. It is because of wars and dictatorships that we seek refuge.
Sending regrets
Sir, – The University of Witwatersrand student council recently decided to support the boycott of Israel (“S. African university’s student council votes to boycott Israel,” September 5). That same day, I received an invitation to join the Wits Web Mentoring Platform to “collaborate and share knowledge” with other “mentors, mentees and peers.”
Alumni should decline this invitation.
Jewish refugees
Sir, – The article “PLO’s Ashrawi: Jews who came to Israel from Arab countries are not refugees” (September 2) was shocking and offensive.
I was born in Cairo in 1940.
In 1958 my father’s industry was confiscated and my family was expelled from Egypt, with no explanation. We had to leave behind all our belongings.
That made us refugees, whatever Hanan Ashrawi might think.
Sir, – There is a positive aspect to Hanan Ashrawi’s claim about Jews forced to leave Arab lands.
She said: “If Israel is their homeland, then they are not ‘refugees.’” She’s admitting that Israel is their – and our – homeland! There it is, in black and white, for all Israel-bashers to see!
Absurd ad
Sir, – Doesn’t The Jerusalem Post believe it has the duty not to publish absurd ads like the one that appeared on Page 2 of its September 5 paper? “America will sink under the ocean’s water.... Israel will stretch over millions of square kilometers.... London, Paris...
will sink....” No self-respecting newspaper would publish this gibberish, even if it incurred a loss of finances.
YIGAL HOROWITZBeershebaThe writer is a professor of physics