May 21, 2017: Up to Putin

I think that neither Israel nor the United States should take action against Assad. Rather, it should be the Russians.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Up to Putin
I take issue with some of the opinions in “Witnessing genocide” (Editorial, May 18).
What Syrian President Bashar Assad is doing is not genocide. It is an atrocity, but not every atrocity, even if it involves mass murder, is genocide. He is not wiping out a particular ethnic or religious group. He is murdering prisoners captured in the country’s civil war. Calling it genocide might make some people feel more strongly about it and even act against it, but I suspect that anyone in a position to do anything serious about it won’t be fooled.
Assad’s use of a crematorium to burn the bodies of his victims is deplorable. However, the crematorium is used to destroy dead bodies – the people have already been murdered. Murdering them is far worse a crime, so why be so enraged about the crematorium? Is it that it reminds you of the Nazis, of the Holocaust? If so, that’s not a good reason. If the crematorium were destroyed, would that stop the murders?
I think that neither Israel nor the United States should take action against Assad. Rather, it should be the Russians.
If Israel were to attack, it would be the best thing that could happen to the Syrian president – he would spin it and show that his war is really against Israel, and that the rebels are on Israel’s side. Given the intense antipathy toward Israel felt by virtually all sides in the conflict, such a portrayal would only weaken the resolve of the rebels.
Nearly as great is the anti-America feeling. Again, Assad would spin a US attack on him as western imperialism. This would strengthen his side and undermine the resolve of the rebels.
The Russians surely know about the murders, the crematorium, the chemical attacks and all the other atrocities. Assad would have a much harder time spinning Russian interference as something that could strengthen him and weaken his opponents. The Russians are also in a better position than Israel or the US to stop at least some of the atrocities. After all, they are already in Syria, and Assad seems dependent on them.
Would the Russians do it? Are they perhaps even committing some of the atrocities themselves? I don’t know. But perhaps President Vladimir Putin could be persuaded that he might be able to improve his image as an autocrat whose critics tend to fall off balconies and eat poisoned food.
Lofty promises
With regard to “Trump in Israel – what’s the plan?” (Comment & Features, May 18), politics has always had a pejorative connotation. Rabbi Gamliel warned to “be careful in relations with government; they draw no man close to themselves except for their own interest.” And yet the stunning upset victory of a political novice, Donald Trump, brought reason for hope to Israel.
With bated breath, Israelis noted the dramatic change of tone and content from the newly elected US president. He reaffirmed our right to build in Judea and Samaria and said he would move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. He expressed skepticism for a “two-state solution” and threatened to abrogate the US-Iran nuclear deal. Furthermore, he surrounded himself with pro-Zionist advisers, people like Niki Haley, David Friedman and Jonathan Greenblatt, not to mention his own daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. It almost seemed too good to be true.
Sure enough, in recent days, we’ve read about a gradual whittling away of candidate Trump’s lofty promises. Press releases stating that the Western Wall is not part of Israel, a delay in the moving the embassy and a demand for a settlement freeze are noted daily.
The jury is still out. Let us hope that these recent communiques are “fake news.” Let us hope and pray that Mr. Trump is a true friend of Israel and will come to realize that perhaps he has come to his position of leadership “for such a time as this.” But he should rest assured that history has confirmed that if you betray Israel, “relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place” (Esther 4:14).
My body shakes with rage and my blood thickens at the thought of Donald Trump possibly laying a ceremonial wreath at Yad Vashem. Just by setting foot on the hallowed ground of Jerusalem, the confluence for three great monotheistic religions, Trump commits an outrage with his hypocrisy, vested self-interests and moral bankruptcy.
I hope leaders in the area cancel his visit to the sacred site, which stands as a testament and memorial to the victims and the righteous under Nazi atrocities.
South Hadley, Massachusetts
In your May 17 editorial “Tempest in a tea pot,” you say: “Journalists and advocacy groups do their job by asking tough questions. Ensuring that this president [Donald Trump] – or any other official – is clear on the issues important to Israel and the Jewish people is legitimate. But smear campaigns, by their nature, tend to lack concrete proof, and that must stop.”
Then you do just the opposite by publishing the worst smears possible, including name calling and totally unsubstantiated innuendo against him. Day after day, article after article, insult after insult, hysteria after hysteria, Jerusalem Post readers are bombarded with the complete character assassination of the president of the United States. You print some of the most disgusting opinions and disrespectful and slanderous statements I have ever seen in a supposedly responsible newspaper.
Thoughtful and relevant opinions are allowed in the comments section. However, this constant, obnoxious slander of democratically elected officials is unacceptable in civil society.
Where’s the ministry?
We hear hair-raising stories about teachers being physically attacked by pupils (“Survey: More than half of all teachers subjected to violence,” May 17). What has our education system come to, and where is the Ministry of Education?
How about a complete reconstruction of the education system whereby pupils will enjoy going to school, where there will be an emphasis on discipline and other ways to make studying a pleasure? How about the ministry taking a closer look at what goes in schools?
Where is the Ministry of Education?
Petah Tikva
Beit Shemesh
In response to reporter Jeremy Sharon’s “Spitting, cursing, harassment a matter of course in Beit Shemesh neighborhood” (May 17), where are the Beit Shemesh police? As someone who lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef, I’ve experienced haredim calling me shiksa, pounding on my car or throwing stones at my car while I’m stopped at crosswalks to allow pedestrians to cross the street.
The direct route from Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef to anywhere else in Beit Shemesh is the main artery, Nehar Hayarden Boulevard. During the week, drivers use it to reach the municipality, health care services, the public library, the local gym, grocery stores and malls. On Shabbat, pedestrians, including youth groups, use it to get from the Alef to Bet neighborhoods.
Haredim verbally assaulting, physically threatening or committing terrorist attacks by throwing rocks at people should be charged for their crimes, even on Shabbat. Terrorists – Arabs or Jews – should be arrested. How many more victims will be traumatized, injured or hospitalized by violent, rock-throwing haredim?
Beit Shemesh