December 3, 2017: A grandson's rhetoric

Our readers respond.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A grandson’s rhetoric
I was disappointed to read about Mandla Mandela’s comment (“Mandela’s grandson on ‘historic visit’: Israel is worst apartheid regime,” November 29). His respected grandfather expressed very different views when he addressed a meeting of the Board of Deputies of British Jews in London in April 2000.
In his speech, Nelson Mandela declared that Israel could not be expected to cede territories won in the Six Day War, “territories it legitimately conquered when the Arabs wanted to wipe it off the map,” unless the Arab states in turn recognized the State of Israel and established full diplomatic relations.
He looked forward to Israel playing an important role in the Middle East “using its skills for the entire region.” He made no accusations of “apartheid”; he saw Israel as a valuable ally.
Nelson Mandela’s vision was of a future of peace, with full acceptance of the Jewish state. A pity that his grandson doesn’t have the same grasp of history, geography or reality.
One needs only to read the comments of Mandla Mandela to know why peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors remains so elusive. His statements may convey the strength of his feelings, but they are also absurd.
Arab judges have sent high-ranking Israel government officials to prison. About 20% of the students at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology are Israeli Arabs – a percentage that is roughly equal to the percentage of Israeli Arab citizens of Israel.
As is true in so many countries, Israel wrestles with problems of inequality. It is morally reprehensible, however, to diminish the suffering of South African blacks by falsely equating their circumstances to those of Israeli Arabs.
Sadly, Mandela’s comments underscore a tragic truth: Adherence to extreme narratives that portray Israelis in demonic terms ensures that the compromises needed to arrive at a stable and secure peace will remain elusive. One can only hope that Palestinians leaders will find a better messenger to advance their people’s interests.
Brookline, Massachusetts
I read with great interest your front-page story about South African MP Mandla Mandela. His moronic, counterintuitive and ungrateful stance on the State of Israel shows how far he and his country have buried themselves in the mire of antisemitism.
I would strongly suggest that embedded in his rhetoric, he include his recommendation to stop using all of the technological, medical and agricultural advances developed in Israel and shared unselfishly with the rest of the world.
Fort Lee, New Jersey
Achievement overlooked
With regard to “Three Israeli universities ranked among world’s 100 most innovative” (November 29), here’s a more fascinating fact that was not reported by the Israeli press, including The Jerusalem Post: the awarding of the distinguished Knuth Prize for major contributions to computer science to Israelis for two years in a row.
The prize was given in 2016 to Noam Nisan of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and in 2017 to Oded Goldreich of the Weizmann Institute of Science. For a small country to receive this recognition in two consecutive years is a remarkable achievement.



Moderation in moderation

Missing from the superb and inclusive “A tribute from a professor to his late mentor: How my teacher activated philosophy for a lifetime” (Comment & Features, November 29) is that in addition to the injunction “Know thyself and be moderate,” moderation itself must be moderate and balanced to attain valid goals.
Today’s crucial challenges make this principle more necessary than ever.

No one can blame them
Caroline B. Glick tells us in “The State Department drops the ball” (Our World, November 28) about the misdeeds of the terrorist dude Mahmoud Abbas and the feeble response of the US State Department.
Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, made clear long ago that he had no intention of acceding to the demands of US President Donald Trump, even when he was nicely asked to stop paying money to terrorists and their families for murdering Israelis.
Unlike Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his minions, who collapse in fear whenever Trump makes demands, Abbas has no problem – he knows only too well the desperation of both Trump and Netanyahu to make a deal. The constant begging and groveling of Netanyahu for the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table – and please recognize our legitimacy in the land – along with Trump’s acceptance of Abbas as a “man of peace” and someone with whom he can make his deal of the century, have not gone unnoticed.
The latest fiasco, where Trump almost immediately retracted his threat to close down the PLO office in Washington, was a brilliant success for Abbas. It seems like he just can’t lose – and now he even has control back over the Gaza Strip while Hamas makes it clear that it has no intention of giving up control of its arms, which it will use to continue to fight the “Zionist entity” and end the “occupation of Palestinian land.”
One can hardly blame Hamas for its aspirations, nor Abbas for his intransigence.
Remove the lens covers
With regard to MK Amir Peretz’s “Homegrown terrorism” (Comment & Features, November 27), domestic violence is not “terrorism,” just as a mass killing is not a “Holocaust” and a nondemocratic act “Nazism.”
We trivialize these terms by including them in our everyday rhetoric. Peretz again proves that he has as yet failed to remove the lens covers from his binoculars.


Database for Israel-haters
I read Melanie Phillips’s “Worried about Jew-baiters? Give it straight back to them” (As I See It, November 24), where she says that instead of trying to explain Israel’s position to our enemies, we need to take an aggressive approach.
Some time ago, I suggested in a letter to The Jerusalem Post that a public database be set up to include all Israel-haters. The entries would include a short description of their activities and hate-mongering.
This would also become “part” of their CVs, which could be a problem for them when they need a job or a university needs funding.
Unfortunately, nothing came of my suggestion.
But this is a necessary attack on these people.
It would obviously require funding, manpower and organization, but Israel is up to the challenge.


Change in narrative In retrospect, there is one glaring omission in all the present discussions of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty (“When Sadat showed the way,” My Word, November 24): the change in the narrative.
The former editor of Commentary magazine, Norman Podhoretz, pointed out the change in the aftermath of the treaty as follows: Whereas before the treaty the narrative was a conflict between Israel and Arab states, where Israel was the victim of Arab state aggression, after the treaty the narrative was successfully converted by Arab propaganda to an Israel-Palestinian conflict, where the victims were the Palestinians.
This narrative left the Arab states out of the conflict although they continued their war by other means (e.g., boycotts and international diplomacy).
It is mainly because of this change in narrative that Israel has failed to win the battle for world opinion and international legitimacy. This is an unfortunate, unforeseen consequence of the “historic” Egypt-Israel peace treaty.