September 22: Reykjavik’s boycott

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Rights on the mount
Unlike Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who writes with misplaced compassion (“The Temple Mount is in danger,” Comment & Features, September 20), I have no such feelings for those he describes as “my Muslim brothers.” They are my enemies and must be treated as such.
The Temple Mount is indeed in danger, and it is through the concessions that Rabbi Rabinowitz writes about that we see the distorted and shameful acts taking place on the Jewish Temple Mount. It is because of the pathetic attempt by then-defense minister Moshe Dayan to placate an enemy that had just tried to annihilate us, as well as the current government’s pathetic attempt to placate the same enemy, that we are suffering today’s indignities and attacks.
Do Rabbi Rabinowitz and the chief rabbis really believe that the God that brought us back to our ancestral land now wants to see His holy mount desecrated and His people humiliated and attacked? Or would He rather, as I believe, see His people fully reclaim their historic right to the land and its Jewish holy sites? Instead of millions of Muslims ascending our holiest site, it should be the Jewish people – not only ascending, but praying, as is our right and duty.
I would ask Rabbi Rabinowitz a question that has always puzzled me: What exactly are the duties of rabbi of the Western Wall and the area’s holy sites? Apparently, it is not to upgrade the status of his own people or keep them safe and accessible to Jews. Like his prime minister, it appears that his role is to accept the role of dhimmi (second-class citizen) under Muslim rule.
This is not the Jew that God sent out to conquer and settle the Land of Israel. It is a hybrid that disgraces Him and His commandments.
Buried inside
The Jerusalem Post obviously has no idea what’s important in the world of sports.
On its main page of September 20, it featured two boring, early-season soccer reports and a promotion of the upcoming final of the European Basketball championship. Buried on an inside page was the one of most sensational results in the history of sport – rugby powerhouse South Africa was beaten by rugby minnow Japan (“Japan stuns Springboks in World Cup”).
Rugby is played in 102 countries – a truly global sport – and the World Cup is the major sporting event taking place right now, and the Post puts it on an inside page?
Pretoria, South Africa
The Sports Editor responds: This story was far and away the global headline of the day, but due to deadlines – and with sincerest apologies – we were forced to relegate it to an inner page.
The succa’s walls
In a disconcerting and discreditable article, Arnold E. Resnicoff (“The Iran deal and the 2 1/2-wall succa,” Observations, September 18) seems to take great pride in explaining why he was one of the 400 rabbis “from across America’s denominational spectrum who signed a letter recommending support” for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran.
Rabbi Resnicoff quotes former Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon, former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy, former US secretary of state Colin Powell and questionable polls in order to justify the odious notion that capitulation to the growing menace of a nuclear Iran is “kosher.” Contrary to his statement that “the myth of the anti-deal consensus has been shattered,” the exact opposite is the case.
Each day brings more facts to light regarding the enormous danger of the deal, especially in refuting the safeguarding aspects of the inspection system. But most of all, one must object to the learned rabbi’s use of the succa as a metaphor for the deal.
Yes, the succa represents peace in Judaism. But to distort its spiritual concept with the equally valid idea of pikuah nefesh (sanctity of life) in regard to the Iranian deal is way out of line and intellectually dishonest.
Whether the succa has two and a half walls or four walls is not the issue. The issue is the defense and protection of every life that is threatened today by the evil mullahs in Iran.
Reykjavik’s boycott
Regarding “Iceland’s capital city to boycott all Israeli products” (September 17), although Reykjavik’s mayor now says he intends to update the resolution to refer only to products made in Israeli settlements, an appropriate response by Israel’s Government Press Office might be to buy up all available billboards and other advertising media in Iceland. The message would be a reminder that Israeli technology is to be found in every cellphone, computer and Internet hardware and software imaginable – and then an invitation to carry out the misguided boycott proposal to the letter.
While most boycotts of this nature would take the populace back to the Stone Age, in Reykjavik’s case I can only hope and pray that they will be taken back to the Ice Age.
Petah Tikva
I’m one of five Reykjavik city council members who voted against the boycott of Israel.
A councilman for the left-wing majority was resigning (to volunteer in Gaza), and tabled the motion as a farewell of sorts. It was tabled without much preparation or any public discourse. A majority of nine passed it as a gesture to their colleague, no less than to the people of Israel.
All four councilors from the conservative Independence Party opposed it.
Your readers might be interested in reading some of the points I raised against the motion.
We are of course obligated to condemn abuses of human rights, wherever they take place.
But a great number of countries carry out human right abuses, and if council members wish to boycott goods from a country for this reason, they must be consistent. China would be an obvious example, not least in Tibet, a country it has illegally occupied since 1950.
Reykjavik Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson (Social Democrat) has not let widespread and widely reported human rights abuses in China hinder him from going there on official visits at the invitation of the Beijing regime. Boycotting one country while finding nothing wrong with being regaled by the world leader in human rights abuses reveals utter hypocrisy and base duplicity.
Giving up Israeli goods would be no big sacrifice for the city, as the municipality procures few or no Israeli imports. Thus, it casts doubt on the majority’s professed love of human rights if they are ready to boycott those countries where it doesn’t really matter, but decline to table or approve similar motions against countries with which the municipality has considerable commercial interest.
Boycotts and sanctions are hostile measures. They are not to be taken lightly, but usually do not serve any great purpose, as they seldom have the desired effect.
The US embargo of Cuba for over half a century is a case in point.
Reykjavik, Iceland
The writer represents the Independence Party.
CORRECTION In “Education is the key” (Rosh Hashana supplement, September 13), Yair Seroussi, chairman of the board of directors of Bank Hapoalim, inadvertently wrote that in 1985, “the ratio of Israel’s GDP to its external debt was 280 percent, whereas today it is 67%.” The ratio should have been labeled “Israel’s public debt to its GDP.”