June 24: Journalistic License

Greer Fay Cashman’s “Peres confers Presidential Medal of Distinction on Bill Clinton” was slathering in its obsequiousness.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Journalistic license
Sir, – I spent my Shabbat afternoon browsing The Jerusalem Post and luxuriating in Greer Fay Cashman’s superb article (“Oak trees from little acorns grow, Grapevine, Observations, June 21). I kept waiting for the magic to wane and give me an opportunity to move onto something else, but no, I got to the end and was disappointed to find it wasn’t continued on the next page.
Fortunately, YouTube provided videos of some of the magical moments she mentioned – information and laughter in equal doses.
On a human level, what I gained was a better appreciation of President Shimon Peres’s contribution to Israel and a need to “get over” the original $500,000 speaking fee from KKL-JNF to Bill Clinton.
Many thanks to Greer for the time she must have spent putting the article together.
Herzliya Pituah
Sir, – Greer Fay Cashman’s “Peres confers Presidential Medal of Distinction on Bill Clinton” was so slathering in its obsequiousness that one could barely help from laughing out loud (June 20).
It wasn’t enough that Cashman in a previous article, “Party of all parties for Peres” (Grapevine, Comment and Features, June 19) had already ludicrously described Clinton as having “the wisdom of Solomon” for deciding not to take the $500,000 fee for a 45- minute speech extolling the virtues of his supposed pal, Shimon Peres.
Here, Cashman indulges in extreme journalistic license to imagine “a lump in the former president’s throat” when he voiced appreciation for the Medal of Distinction and goes to great pains to include Peres’s bizarre description of Clinton as the “the most beloved leader on earth.”
As for the former president’s candid admission of mistakes, Cashman reports without comment Clinton’s nonsense that the “mass killing in Rwanda took place so quickly that there was not even a meeting at the White House to discuss how to stop it.”
Actually, the Rwandan Civil War went on for almost four years— and the greatest part of the genocide took place over the course of three months in 1994 when nearly 1,000,000 Rwandans were massacred. One can only guess what Clinton was up to in the Oval Office while Rwanda was consumed in horror.
Sir, – The comments made by some right-wing MKs concerning President Shimon Peres’s 90th birthday celebration are both disrespectful, and stupid coming from the likes of Moshe Feiglin, Orit Struck, Tzipi Hotovely, and most of all from Uri Orbach, who compared it to an event that the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu could have held (“Right slams Peres’s pricey, ‘pretentious’ birthday celebration,” June 20).
What have these eminent politicians contributed to the country? In comparison to Peres, their actions and words are deepening a growing rift between Israel and the Diaspora, especially in the US. All those above need not worry – should they hopefully reach age 90, no doubt they will also see the affection shown to Peres.
Many should ponder the phrase, “silence is golden.”
Sir, – The love affair the organizers of the presidential birthday celebrations and the Israeli media have with former UK prime minister Tony Blair contrasts very badly with how he is viewed in the UK.
For some peculiar reason, Blair is raised on a pedestal in Israel by the vast majority of Israelis. Every statement he makes is considered the honest truth – composed of intelligent advice based on his experience – not only by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and most of his government, who seek kudos, but also by the Israeli man in the street.
Contrast this to the UK, where Blair is hated and despised, not only for the Iraq debacle, his open doors policy on EU immigration, but also how he authorized selling of the UK gold reserves when the price of gold was at its lowest.
It is time Israel was no longer fooled by the ideas Blair has spun out to Netanyahu, including that improving the economy of the PA, removing defensive road blocks and forming joint ventures will lead to the ever-elusive peace. It has not, and like Blair’s previous UK initiatives, has only done harm.
It is high time Israel recognized Blair for what he is – a spin merchant out to gain world headlines, but really incapable of achieving any good for anybody except himself.

Making lemonade
Sir, – I have a suggestion for mitigating the damage caused to Israel by the nasty acts of vandalism known as “price-tag” attacks (“Village of Abu Ghosh hit by massive ‘price tag’ attack,” June 19).
What if a group of decent people took it upon themselves to show up immediately after each such attack and help to replace tires, clean up graffiti, etc. They would be there when the press showed up, providing positive pictures to counterbalance the negative ones of senseless destruction, and maybe even succeed in making lemonade out of the “price tag” lemons by fostering neighborly relations between Jews and Arabs.
Sir, – As a self-proclaimed militant right-winger, I can understand “price tagging” in Yehuda and Shomron. In Abu Ghosh, it was cowardly, criminal and likely thoughtless copy catting with malice.
I live in Telz Stone, which is adjacent to Abu Ghosh. While there have been sufficient problems with youth there that we have had to have a separate bus line to especially protect the children traveling to Jerusalem for school, we have had no notable problems with the adults – who own the cars.
In 1948, Arabs from Abu Ghosh assisted Israel to survive.
In addition, the possibility that the rampage was home grown should not be dismissed.


Telz Stone
Sir, – The Jerusalem Post wrote in its story about the attack in Abu Gosh that, “Dib Ali Uthman, a resident of Abu Ghosh, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that on Monday night there was a fight in the village between Arab youths and young Jews who came from outside. There was a disagreement and at one point the Arab youths threw rocks at the Jews. He added that he thinks the price tag vandalism was a response to this skirmish.”
This should have been in the lead of the story, not at the end of the article on another page.
It should never be forgotten that when Arabs throw rocks at Jews it is usually with intent to kill, and as we know, often does.
It behooves our police and our prime minister to make sure that those perpetrators are dealt with, with the full force of the law and do so with the zeal in which they go after the “settlers.” It cannot be that we sit idly by and watch this government make one surrender after another and wonder why the young people would want to strike back.

The bumper sticker
Sir, – Alan Baker’s article about PA leaders’ goalpost-moving is correct about the legalities of starting points for discussing borders between their schemed-for state and our actual one (“The ‘1967 borders’ and ‘a settlement freeze’ preconditions have no basis in law or fact,” Comment and Features, June 19).
Unfortunately, political atmospherics are another question. With erstwhile “friends” of Israel like US President Barack Obama also having chimed in that the 1967 cease-fire lines should be the basis for future borders, and the mighty chorus of people echoing that false “truth,” it will be quite a challenge to make his absolutely correct view stick. The “madness of crowds” has always defied facts.
Of course, when and if actual negotiations start, legality will reassert its primacy. But in the murk until then, ‘67 will be the bumper sticker.

Tags Tony Blair