November 10, 2015: The Baratz affair

Readers respond to the latest Jerusalem Post articles.

Envelope (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
The Baratz Affair
With regard to “I didn’t say I would reconsider Baratz’s appointment – PM” (November 8), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ill served by having media advisers who are indiscreet.
He is ill served by having advisers who do not understand that the world is not Israeli. Israelis think differently, and many times do not comprehend how the rest of the world thinks about Israel and judges it.
I would strongly urge the prime minister to use a media adviser like Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline B. Glick. She is brilliant.
She uses words carefully.
She is American by birth. She understands the subtleties of diplomacy and is so presentable in person that people will value her statements and integrity.
I wish the prime minister would assert his charm and love of the country and be aware of how important a media adviser is. He well knows the Jewish statement that life and death lie in the tongue.
The Baratz affair has been broadcast to the entire world and is not particularly good for Israel. It may not be that damaging – at least not as damaging as giving Iran a big bomb – but Ran Baratz’s statements were silly and pointless, maybe even childish.
So one has to ask how the prime minister could have imagined this man was a reasonable replacement for the splendid Mark Regev.
It is universally recognized that Israel’s competence at public relations could be matched by most 12 year olds. A major blind spot that all Israeli administrations have had is the ability to recognize that we are under constant attack from the hugely powerful global media, and that this blind spot has already cost us dearly.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may, of course, turn on a radio and hear something negative, and then turn it off with a shrug. But as with his predecessors, he has not, even at this late time, connected this media phenomenon to such outcomes as votes at the UN and the endemic bias against Israel and Jews in literally hundreds of millions of minds – all of which has been an enormous encouragement to the extremists among Arabs in Israel and in Arab and Muslim countries.
Israel must challenge every media distortion each day via a special agency set up by the government. It could be under the aegis of the Foreign Ministry or Defense Ministry. It should hire non-Jewish personnel who are attuned to nuances that the vast majority of Israelis simply don’t get. This is not an Israeli skill. Period.
It way past time for a counter attack.
If I recall correctly, the White House not too long ago trotted out some administration flunky to be interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic. The unnamed official weighed in on Goldberg’s appraisal of our prime minister and labeled him a “chicken shit.”
I do not recall anyone in the Obama White House distancing him or herself from this derogatory epithet, apologizing to the State of Israel or its elected prime minister, or exercising any punitive sanction against the interviewee.
No further comment is needed.
Synagogue razing
Your article “High Court delays synagogue razing in Givat Ze’ev” (November 5) highlights a situation in which many insist that the rule of law must prevail.
Just as a government may take over private land – with compensation – to build highways, so the Jewish state should be allowed to assert its sovereignty by preserving religious icons such as synagogues where and when deemed necessary. Otherwise, there is a betrayal of those who gave their lives to reestablish Jewish sovereignty over our historic national homeland.
Why not try to buy the land the shul was built on? To destroy it is more than a disgrace – such a thing should not happen in a Jewish country.
I was a youngster in Germany when, exactly 77 years ago, the shul in my hometown was burned down. But that was on order from the Nazis, not from Jews in Israel.
Petah Tikva
Climate crisis
With regard to “Extreme dust storms blanket country” (November 5), Prof. Uri Marinov is wrong to imply that global warming causes more extreme weather. This is one of the few areas of agreement between the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).
In 2012, the IPCC asserted that a relationship between global warming and wildfires, rainfall, storms, hurricanes and other extreme weather events had not been demonstrated. In their most recent assessment, released in September 2013, IPCC scientists concluded that they had only “low confidence” that “damaging increases will occur in either drought or tropical cyclone activity” as a result of global warming.
In 2013, the NIPCC concluded that “in no case has a convincing relationship been established between warming over the past 100 years and increases in any of these extreme events.”
Instead of wasting money vainly trying to stop extreme weather events from happening, we need to harden our societies to these inevitable events by burying electrical cables underground and reinforcing buildings and other infrastructure. Of the almost $1 billion spent globally every day on climate finance, only 7 percent of it goes to helping people adapt to climate change. This is the real climate crisis.
The writer is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC).
Letters about a letter
Reader Judy Bamberger’s belief that what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander (“Israel incites, too,” Letters, November 1) does not withstand even minimal scrutiny. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reassuring Palestinians that the status-quo on the Temple Mount was not under threat, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas used PA television to warn Jews not to put their “filthy feet” on the Mount. At the same time he called on Palestinians “to do whatever we can to defend Jerusalem.” Such inflammatory rhetoric could only end in an eruption of Arab violence.
Contrary to Bamberger’s tirade, the truth is that Israel has not been given a moment’s peace in its 67 years of its existence. The Palestinians have rejected its offers of statehood, squandered billions of dollars of development aid, waged incessant war on Israel from both Gaza and Judea and Samaria, and, most recently, killed off the Oslo Accords. They have also used their Israel-bequeathed control over the Temple Mount to enforce Islamic exclusivity over Judaism’s holiest site and to foment violence against Jews.
East St. Kilda, Australia
Perhaps reader Judy Bamberger could detail dates and times of Jewish mobs “marching through Palestinian neighborhoods chanting “Death to Arabs.” She could then compare the statistics with those of anti-Israel rallies, textbooks with anti-Semitic articles and anti-Semitic rants by imams who tell their congregants to take up knives and then provide them with techniques for stabbing innocent civilians. Come and live here, Ms. Bamberger.
I challenge you to leave your occupied” land (it is aboriginal land) and set up house in the land of your ancestors. I also suggest you go to Ramallah and “talk” about the Palestinian view of a Jew-free state.