March 15, 2017: ‘Magnífico’ indeed!

I think it is obvious that these days are filled with Jewish pride for a change.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
‘Magnífico’ indeed!
Regarding “Magnífico! Team Israel upsets Cuba at World Baseball Classic” (March 13), with this, as well as the recent picture of Ivanka Trump baking hamantashen with her children (“Baking for Purim,” March 12), the term venahafochu takes on a whole new meaning.
Hamantashen baked by the daughter of a sitting president of the United States? Israel doing well – great, actually – in a baseball championship? I think it is obvious that these days are filled with Jewish pride for a change (not that we Jews lack for reasons to be proud, the biggest source of pride being the State of Israel and its people).
I can just imagine the Arab complaints at the UN about Team Israel’s advancement, claiming the Israelis stole bases along the way. (I am sure that the Israeli team’s motto “Never leave a man on base” resonates with other teams as well.)
Can you imagine if the Arab world fielded a baseball team? The term “sacrifice fly” would take on a whole new meaning. So, tfoo, tfoo, tfoo, let the Israeli team continue!
Ma’aleh Adumim
This is not a game
I read with interest Prof. Ilan Troen’s “What is wrong with the ‘Entry to Israel Law’” (Comment & Features, March 13).
I have no doubt about his sincere opposition to the BDS movement. But is it really so simple? In the interests of free speech, can one advocate for the destruction of the State of Israel but also expect to travel to Israel, see the sites, visit the relatives, enjoy great meals at restaurants and perhaps claim that we are an apartheid regime... and then expect or deserve no reprisals?
Where does one draw the line – if at all?
Let’s suppose that a BDS member advocates that the Israeli prime minister be arrested and brought to The Hague for prosecution over alleged crimes against humanity. This person is also a distinguished academic (even a member of the Association for Israel Studies) and is part of a group invited to the home of the prime minister. Has the prime minister the right – no, the duty – to refuse hospitality in his home to a BDS member who is advocating his arrest, prosecution and imprisonment? After all, it’s all in the interests of free speech and academic freedom.
We are not in some sort of game. We are in a life-and-death struggle. Many other democratic nation-states faced with the ongoing terrorism of the BDS movement (and I use the word “terrorism” purposely) would arrest BDS members attempting to enter the country, try to convict them on various clauses and try to convict any BDS advocate holding one of their passports of treason.
The BDS movement does not fall under the category of the “free and unfettered exchange of ideas.” It is not an “idea” to claim that Israel is an apartheid regime – it is a vicious lie, and anybody who supports such atrocious lies should be met with the full fury of the Jewish people, irrespective of the short-term outcome.
The writer is an emeritus professor of physics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Keep them apart
With regard to “God Bless Israel?” (Editor’s Notes, March 10), I was just 10 years old when I wrote my first letter to the editor. It was to the Denver Post. I was supporting the separation of church and state.
Looks like the problem is still with us and, despite the fact that I live in a religious community, I am still in favor of keeping the two apart.
Ambitious agenda
Your article “Like Israelis, Palestinian women earn less than men” (March 9) says that Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, in a video posted on his Twitter account on the occasion of International Women’s Day, “did not mention any actions” that the Palestinian government was taking to achieve the goals of women’s empowerment.
This statement is utterly inadequate and fails to capture the core message of the video.
Prime Minister Hamdallah highlighted in the video the commitment of the Palestinian government to advance the principles of gender equality. In particular, he referred to National Policy Agenda 2017-2022, which identifies specific and tangible actions to support women’s access to senior management and important decision-making roles. One of the aims is to remove hindrances that obstruct the full participation of women in community and economic development and public life. A major focus is the implementation of programs to empower women and fully leverage their skills as active participants in both the public and private sphere.
The ambitious agenda also specifies actions to develop job creation programs for graduates, particularly ensuring equal opportunities for women. It also concentrates on the integrated delivery of, and fair access to, judicial services, particularly for women and children, and other actions deemed necessary to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls.
In previous statements, Prime Minister Hamdallah reiterated that the government shall continue to invest in gender equality in order to eliminate all forms of discrimination against all women. Currently, there are three women in the Cabinet of Ministers, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs works with other government bodies to improve the situation of Palestinian women through enhancing their abilities to actualize their potentials.
The writer is a policy adviser to the Palestinian Authority prime minister.
Smearing the ZOA
Douglas Bloomfield, who has a record of smearing and mischaracterizing the Zionist Organization of America, has done so again (“Trump keeps Jews in Democratic camp,” Washington Watch, March 9).
In appropriately opposing Oslo and the Gaza withdrawal, predicting they would lead to more terror, not peace, the ZOA is merely taking a rational, centrist position. Our position that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel is a mainstream position, as is our concern that a Palestinian Authority state could be less than peaceful.
Our sin this time is to have stated that US Rep. Keith Ellison’s Israel record in Congress has been, as Alan Dershowitz wrote, “among the very worst.” We are grateful that Ellison was defeated for the Democratic National Committee chairmanship despite Bloomfield absurdly writing that he had a good pro-Israel record.
In fact, Ellison:
• Opposed funding the Iron Dome missile defense system
• Publicly accused Israel of “collective punishment” of Hamas-run Gaza
• Proclaimed at a 2010 fund-raiser that the “Jews have too much influence”
• Addressed the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Saudi-Islamist lobby whose leaders have been implicated in terrorism and funneling money to Hamas
• Lied that his former employment with antisemite Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam was “brief” and that he “didn’t realize Farrakhan was antisemitic.” Ellison was actually associated with Farrakhan for at least nine years.
Ellison was widely opposed as chairman of the DNC, including by staunch Democrats and liberals like NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind and Jonathan Greenblatt, director of the Anti-Defamation League, who are as concerned as we are at the direction the Democratic Party is taking. Conveniently, Bloomfield forgot to note this, since it didn’t fit with his smearing the ZOA as partisan and “right wing,” something he does every chance he gets.
New York
The writer is national president of the ZOA.