March 11, 2020: Knesset representation for the PA?

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Knesset representation for the PA?
In the editorial “Unity Needed” (March 9), you write, “The elections might not have provided an end to the Israeli political stalemate, but the campaigns of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White head Benny Gantz succeeded in doing one thing: uniting the country’s Arab voters.
“That’s right, the negativity towards the Joint List, the delegitimization of a government resting on the support or backing of the Arab party, had a huge unintended consequence: It brought Arab voters out in record numbers, and gave the Joint List a historic victory.”
While what you are saying is true, you, like many others, ignore the underlying reason for so much antipathy to the Joint List.
I have no argument with the need for representation of Israel’s Arab citizens in local government around the country and in the Knesset, but there is an important fact that many Israelis – Jewish and Arab – choose to ignore. The Joint List does not actually represent the interests of Israeli Arabs. The Joint List actually represents the PA in the Israeli Knesset. They openly oppose necessary Israeli military actions against our Arab enemies and advocate for policies put forth by the PA.
It is about time that this situation was thoroughly examined and corrected. If there is no room in the Knesset for “racist” parties such as Rabbi Meir Kahane’s party, then there should be no room in the Knesset for disloyal parties such as the Joint List.
Knesset representation for Israel’s Arabs? Yes! Knesset Representation for the PA? No!
Making sense of it all
Ex-editor-in-chief Jeff Barak’s seething hatred for Prime Minister Netanyahu – and others – leads him to offer gross perversions and distortions of the truth that would not be published in most other newspapers.
His latest piece (“Netanyahu refuses to do the math,” March 9) regarding the “mathematics” of the recent election distorts the meaning of the Arab vote within the framework of the country.
The Jewish population of Israel gave an increased vote of approval for centrist-right parties. That does NOT condemn Arab votes to the “trash heap.” On the contrary, the large Arab vote obligates the government to respect those voters, and to make sure that such a large minority receive the services that a government is obliged to provide for all its citizens in response to the privilege it has been given to govern. And those services must be at the same level in quality, the best possible that can be offered, as provided to the rest of the population. They must be provided fairly, decently, with full respect as that due to any minority. That is what the Arab vote means, and how it must be accepted with grace and how it should be responded to.
Whether the Arab leadership can reciprocate in the same manner on behalf of their constituency, remains to be seen.
Fake peace proposals
I am amazed at Gershon Baskin’s view of Prime Minister Netanyahu as evil incarnate and his unflinching belief that the Palestinian leaders really do want to make peace.
Not everyone who feels Netanyahu is being treated unfairly by the court is an unquestioning Likud lackey. Arthur Fergensen, an American attorney and former federal prosecutor, speaking on Mark Levin’s television show in December 2019, stated that the 93-page, 330-witness indictment document is a clear case of the judiciary attempting to criminalize politics and prevent the government from functioning.
While Baskin is shocked that anyone would make such accusations against the Israeli judiciary, he openly states that he believes that Israeli proposals that could have led to the establishment of the first-ever Arab State of Palestine (and, indeed, the Oslo Accords) were simply tricks to prevent the emergence of a Palestinian state. Reading the article, I wondered how the Palestinian leaders could have been so gullible as to allow Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu to trick them into firing missiles at Israeli population centers, digging tunnels under Israel to facilitate the abduction and murder of Israelis, sending incendiary kites into Israel to set crops ablaze, and prioritizing paying stipends to people who’ve murdered Israelis (and/or their murderers’ families) over paying their other bills.
And, to sum it all up, Baskin dreams of one state for all its citizens. He is right that Palestinians don’t want to be “subservient and unequal.” He doesn’t seem to realize, though, that Jews would have to be “subservient and unequal” to survive in the Muslim-majority state he envisions. If he needs proof, let him ask the Coptic Christians in Egypt, the Baha’i in Iran, the Yazidis in Afghanistan, the Christian Palestinians who have been run out of Bethlehem, and the descendants of 1,000,000 Mizrachi Jews who were thrust from their homes in the Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa following Israel’s rebirth in our ancestral homeland.
Atlanta, GA
The impact of a fat bonus
Mark Sabi’s “Fixing the System” (March 8) provides a thought exercise in reworking recent electoral results under a different system of arithmetic, but one problem is that if the system were different, not only the count would differ, but the public would vote differently.
The proposal, to award a fat bonus to the largest party, would obviously spur voters to behave as if the vote were a direct first-past-the-post election for prime minister. To vote for a smaller party, whether a loyally allied one or an independent one, would be to risk winding up with the “wrong” prime minister and government.
Forcing the voters into the major parties might be an attractive idea if it promised good, clean, wise government. Unfortunately, today’s major parties in Israel cannot serve as a shining recommendation for a system that crowds out everyone else. Neither, for that matter, can the major parties in the USA.
Race to recruit racists
One can now draw a straight line from Bernie Sanders’s engagement of the enemy to Benny Gantz’s. In a last, desperate attempt to siphon off some of the African-American vote from Joe Biden, Sanders has hired for his campaign one of America’s most strident and outspoken antisemites, Philip Agnew. So much for Bernie’s proclamation of being a proud Jew.
Gantz is already proving that he cannot be trusted to mitigate the Joint List’s anti-Israel rhetoric and action if they are included in his coalition or if he enlists their backing to secure a minority government. He tried to skirt the most extreme Arab party – Balad – but caved in to the demands of the other three Joint List parties to include them in current coalition talks. If he can’t stand up to them now, imagine how he’ll be cowering as they threaten to bring down his government.
Like almost every other politician, Sanders and Gantz have proven they’ll do anything to get elected, even if it means partnering with outrageous antisemites who preach the destruction of the Jewish state. For my taste, that is a red line I naively hoped wouldn’t be crossed but to some, obviously, integrity be damned for power at any cost.
Los Angeles, CA
In “What now?” (March 10), Susan Hattis Rolef puts herself beyond the pale for backing and agreeing with that self-hating Jew, Senator Bernard Sanders, who has called our prime minister a reactionary and a racist. This kind of name-calling is disgusting. She exposes her hypocrisy when she does exactly what she accuses Netanyahu of doing.
If Netanyahu is against the Joint List, it is only because they want to dismantle the Jewish State and cleanse it of Jews. That is not what anyone would call racism. If there were bitter words between Likud and Blue and White, it is what to expect in political campaigning. This is not something new. Didn’t Gantz want to topple Netanyahu by accusing the Prime Minister before he is found guilty and presumed innocent of the charges against him? Neither one is more guilty of name-calling.
We, who believe Bibi is the only one who can navigate the ship of Israel through the present treacherous waters, who has the trust of the most powerful man today and who is making friends with several Arab countries (so much for his racism), cannot tolerate or condone such muckraking journalism.
Rishon Lezion
A good response to the baseless accusation made by US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and by extension anyone who supports him) is racist?
A headline in the March 10 Jerusalem Post pretty much says it all: “Sanders hires top adviser who says Zionism is ‘racist, exploitative and exclusionary.’”
The fact that Sanders is “excited to welcome [him] to our team” is beyond disturbing. The fact that there are Jews who defend Sanders and refrain from holding him to account for this is just plain puzzling.
The Vatican role in genocide
Regarding “Pius XII attitude towards Jews will remain controversial, experts say” (March 3), as a Serbian American who lost dozens of relatives during WWII in the Nazi-puppet “Independent” State of Croatia (NDH), I would like the Vatican to confront its role in organizing and supporting the Croatian Ustashe well before the outbreak of WWII and encouraging them to murder some one million Serbs, Jews and Gypsies and forcibly convert some 200,000 Orthodox Christian Serbs to Catholicism in the NDH.
To date, the Vatican has never admitted its role in organizing this genocide and has never apologized to or compensated the victims’ families. The Croatian Catholic Archbishop during that time, Alojzije Stepinac, like Pope Pius XII, never publicly condemned the genocide in Croatia and did nothing to help persecuted Serbs, Jews and Gypsies who resided in the NDH. He was convicted as a war criminal by the Yugoslav government after the war, and despite this, the Vatican has been recently seeking to canonize him as a “saint” just as they are seeking to do with Pope Pius the XII. Why?
This genocide is the single most unresolved reason why the Balkans is so unstable.
For the sake of establishing a lasting peace in the long-tormented Balkans, I call upon the Vatican to examine and open to the public all of its archives during this time, acknowledge the gravity of the Magnum Crimen committed in the Catholic Church’s name, and to seek forgiveness for these unspeakable sins from the victims’ families.
Henderson, NV
Overdue recognition
I write in support of the article “Time to Reject the Myths of Andrei Sheptytsky (March 7). I was hidden by  Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky and the Studite Order of the Greek Catholic Church for two years (1942-1944) during the German occupation of Poland. I, my three children, and my seven grandchildren owe our lives to these great and righteous priests who risked their lives in the belief that they were indeed their “brother’s keeper.”
As the article mentions, three of these brave men have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem but their leader, without whose express permission and encouragement they could not have acted, has so far been denied this recognition. This omission is evidence of unfairness and ingratitude and is a blot on Yad Vashem and, by extension, on our entire people’s reputation. It is time to rectify the situation and apply the same criteria for recognition and not be influenced by Soviet propaganda. The withholding of this recognition says more about Yad Vashem than it does about Metropolitan Sheptytsky.
Hartford, Connecticut