October 24, 2017: Blaming the victim

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Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Blaming the victim
I take offense at the conclusion reached by Joseph M. Bianchi in “Is the ‘new antisemitism’ gaining a foothold in Europe and America – and will it affect Israeli society?” (Comment & Features, October 22).
Whether or not a victim of bullying begins to doubt himself, the bullying does not end until the bully himself stops – for one reason or another. To make the blanket statement “If the new antisemitisim gets a strong foothold... it will be because the object of [the forces of evil’s] hatred looked inward and drew the wrong conclusions” is simply blaming the victim.
The Jewish people have always looked inward in order to endeavor to improve themselves.
That is the basis of behavior modification. If only the bullies were to do the same, the world wouldn’t be in such a state.
Zichron Ya’acov
The writer is a social worker.
Horrifying read
I was horrified to read Yaakov Katz’s comments about liberating the Jewish Quarter (“More of the same,” Editor’s Notes, October 20).
Visiting the Western Wall for the first time as a new immigrant six years ago, I was enthralled to soak up the atmosphere of such a holy place. The fact that Shabbat and all the Jewish holidays are celebrated here in Israel makes me feel proud to be living in our Jewish homeland. Secular Jews and tourists are able to visit on other days of the week, but there is a need for respect and certain restrictions on Shabbat and holidays, especially the High Holy Days.
Are we so desperate to abolish our historical background that restaurants need to be open on these special days, and cameras clicking? Maybe we should also have a band playing or circus performers to contribute to the atmosphere! Will these suggestions make Judaism more user-friendly?
Tel Mond
Middle Israel
Amotz Asa-El’s excellent “Labor and the settlements: Enemies, a love story” (Middle Israel, October 20) closes as follows: “To return where it was during Yitzhak Rabin’s landslide in 1992, Labor must now say: Oslo was the right deal signed with the wrong people. It was our idea, and it failed. It failed just like the Greater Israel ideal failed, as most Israelis, even Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu, recognized the need for a Palestinian state. Now let’s seek a way to move ahead jointly on matters of war and peace, while going our separate ways on everything else.”
I would wish to point out – again and, sadly, probably not for the last time – that while so many people on the Israeli side have “recognized the need for a Palestinian state,” the Palestinians still have not had that epiphany. Until they decide that they want a state and not just to deprive us of our state, there is no point in continuing the two-state solution charade.
I am generally a fan of Amotz Asa-El, but “Cry, beloved America” (Center Field, October 13) shows what he misunderstands about American-styled democracy – and, more importantly, how skewed his and the Israeli notion of democracy has become.
The major reason for Americans to guard the Second Amendment, even in modern times when the country has been fully settled, is the very same as when it was crafted and adopted: a general distrust in big government and its failure to represent the wishes of constituents. Asa-El would no doubt argue that it would be futile for any American citizen to fight the government with sidearms, but no sane person could deny that today’s bloated American government has intruded overwhelmingly, and often badly, in the lives of Americans.
I suggest that he reexamine his and that of most Israelis lassitude toward the nature of his own government, established by David Ben-Gurion to avoid having to listen to the people.
That is still the case today: To which representative can Asa-El or the rest of us turn with a problem? On what overarching constitution can we rely to redress a wrong? Even the Supreme Court is lost to us because it is self-appointing and has a myopic view of the world.
Yes, it is a tragedy when people are gunned down in America.
However the danger to us Israelis and to Americans is far greater from big government than it is from a nut, or even a terrorist, with a gun.
Mandate’s end
I appreciate the letters submitted by readers Edmund Jonah and Roslyn Pine (“Israel’s rights,” October 11) in reaction to my own letter (“Israel’s rights,” October 8). Their primary complaint is that in discussing Israel’s rights in Jerusalem and the territories, it is important to cite the Mandate and Article 80 of the UN Charter, which preserves the rights of parties “under existing international instruments.”
I did not refer to the Mandate and Article 80, and that was deliberate, because it came to an end in 1947-48.
The termination of a mandate was dealt with by the International Court of Justice in its advisory opinion in the South West Africa Status case of 1950.
The court declared that “competence” to “modify” the status of a mandate lies with the mandatory power “acting with the consent of the United Nations.”
This is precisely what occurred in the case of the Palestine Mandate. The United Kingdom turned to the UN General Assembly for a decision on the matter and acknowledged receipt of the partition decision adopted on November 29, 1947. With the departure of the British on May 15, 1948, the Palestine Mandate came to an end, and with it Article 80 of the Charter. Henceforth, the UN was functus officio, namely without authority in the Palestine question except with regard to the preservation of international peace and security.
It is worth remembering that Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion rejected any suggestion that it was the United Nations that established the State of Israel.
The partition resolution was merely an enabling act; it did not on its own establish anything.
The Jewish population seized the option that was offered by the resolution to establish the state. The legal consequence was that the mandate was terminated.
The foregoing analysis is drawn from two of my books: South West Africa and the United Nations and Jerusalem in America’s Foreign Policy.
The writer is the emeritus James G. McDonald Professor of American History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
It’s about time
Years ago, when the world was more agrarian, changing the clocks made sense. But in today’s world, where most food is grown by fewer human and more mechanized hands, is it still necessary for the majority to suffer in having to come out of the workplace in the dark? Okay. I can cope with long summer days (except in Europe, where it is almost impossible to tell when Shabbat begins or ends), but the short days of winter make life very difficult, when all of our after-work errands have to be carried out without a ray of sunlight.
As the date approaches for changing the clocks, I begin to shudder. For the past number of years I have been convinced that we have it all wrong: The days are too long in the summer and too short in the winter.
Isn’t it time to reverse the process?
Petah Tikva