The Jerusalem Post

Letters to the Editor September 27, 2023: Brazenly anti-Israel

 Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Brazenly anti-Israel

Reading “Reasserting Jewish ties” (editorial, September 19) brought me back to the previous day’s op-ed by Roz Rothstein, “The elephant in the room.” The editorial castigated the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for declaring ancient Jericho a World Heritage Site – in “Palestine.”

UNESCO disregarded all Jewish connection to the site and acted in “collusion with Palestinian efforts to not only erase the city’s Jewish heritage but claim it as their own.” As the editor avers: “For a UN body to go along with their distortions of history and their erasure of the Jewish people’s connection to its land brings shame on the UN and on the membership of the body in question.”

UNESCO is not unique. Several UN organizations have been brazenly anti-Israel with their distortions, lies, and defamation, raising the question: How antisemitic is the UN?

How is it, that at the UN, as Roz Rothstein would put it, “so many people who comment on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict blame Israel alone, while ignoring the ongoing deadly harm done by Palestinian leaders?” Or in the UNESCO pronouncement, why do they parrot the ridiculous Palestinian Authority claim that ancient Jericho is Palestinian?


The answer would appear to be that antisemitism runs through the UN. As Ms. Rothstein states, “there are malicious people who know the facts on the ground, but intentionally omit them in favor of blaming the one Jewish country in the world. Blaming the Jewish state is such a convenient way to promote ill will against not only Israel, but also against Jews in general.”

These same malicious people at UNESCO, by intentional omission, promote the PA falsehood and discredit the Jewish claim to the land, in the act, tuning out historical fact – cognitive dissonance.

Attributing antisemitism and its companion cognitive dissonance as factors in anti-Israel belief, Ms. Rothstein was, without pointing to the world body, describing UNESCO and, in general, the UN.




Sheer brilliance

Thank you for your concise and accurate article on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly, albeit to an almost empty hall (“Netanyahu: Saudi peace would create ‘new’ Mideast,” September 24). However, your report did not do justice to the occasion and to the man.

Those of your readers who were privileged to see and hear his speech and were witness to the many and various strategic meetings which he managed to fit into his tight schedule, cannot but be impressed, as I was, by the sheer brilliance of our prime minister, and by his statesmanship and diplomatic aplomb.

Like Abba Eban in his time, Bibi has no equal, certainly not in Israel and, in my opinion, not in the whole international diplomatic arena. His speech left me with a surge of national pride, that our country is represented by a man who is respected by every world leader, and who freely walks the halls of international relations with dignity and confidence.

I imagine that our enemies both abroad and within, also respect him; hate him maybe, but respect him certainly. No other personality on the Israeli political scene (as their cry-baby criticisms so clearly show) could have carried off such a brilliant representation of Israel, its creed, its principles, and its philosophies.

On the other side, my vocabulary is not rich enough to express my disgust and disdain for the mob of anti-Zionist hooligans who, as your coverage so aptly termed it, “dogged” Netanyahu at every move.



Superior privileges

The Duma murderer” (editorial, September 24), on the moves to ameliorate the punishment handed down to convicted murderer Amiram Ben-Uliel, appropriately spotlights a downside of the governing coalition’s efforts to impose some much-needed limitations upon the oft abused power wielded by the Israeli judiciary.

By invalidating laws enacted by the Knesset, the judiciary has tied the hands of the government and prevented it from carrying out its obligation to protect the Israeli public, notably including the recent Tel Aviv riots by the Eritrean factions.

The current scheme would, in the end, do little more than transfer the effective immunity from being held accountable now enjoyed by the judiciary over to the Knesset and to whichever faction or coalition may constitute the government. That the scheme would confer additional exemption from accountability upon the governing coalition is indeed “another element of the [Ben-Uliel] story that deserves consideration.”

All of that being said, the editorial is oblivious to an additional element of the story which also deserves consideration: the fact that convicts in Israeli prisons who have committed crimes far more egregious than that by Ben-Uliel enjoy superior privileges and conditions of confinement than does Ben-Uliel, including being paid salaries by terrorism sponsors, and better prospects of early release whenever the government negotiates with terrorists.

In addition to the need, as the editorial urges, for unequivocal assurances that Ben-Uliel “will continue to serve his sentence and pay for his monstrous crime,” there also needs to be visible and definitive actions addressing the inequalities in how the Israeli prisons are operated.


Petah Tikva

Religious dimension

Thanks go to Herb Keinon for his most perceptive analysis of the Netanyahu-Biden meeting, which finally took place on September 20 (“Shifting the conversation,” September 22). The meeting squarely pointed to the shift in focus internationally now toward the geopolitical issues involved in the prospect of a US-Saudi-Israeli entente, thereby eclipsing Israel’s internal political debates.

At the same time, the meeting was also remarkable for its religious dimension, however fleeting. As a board member of the Israel Interfaith Association, my antennas flicked up after Bibi said that he and Joe Biden have worked together for 40 years. As a believing Catholic, Joe then made the sign of the cross, advertently or not, symbolizing a moment of personal reflection to center his thoughts on God. In Judaism, it would be equivalent to saying “baruch Hashem” (“praise the Lord”).

And that was not all. In the president’s opening remarks he referred to Israel as the dream of generations and stated: “I think without Israel, there’s not a Jew in the world who’s secure. I think Israel is essential.” And this, not from the mouth of an Israeli leader, but from that of a Christian, pronounced in full court. Biden knows that his Catholic Church has moved mountains in recent times to approach the Jewish people and Judaism as legitimate after two thousand years of animosity, at best.

He instinctively understands, as many Jews do not, that if the light of Israel were to fail, there would be almost no safe haven for Jews anywhere in the Diaspora, whether they had abandoned Israel or had never come. 



May I suggest that the attempt by Herb Keinon to extract euphoria from the meeting between Netanyahu and Biden contains much hyperbole but at this stage very little substance? An understanding/agreement with the Saudis might well be on the cards further down the line, but are unlikely before concessions to the Palestinians are forthcoming or let’s say forcibly extracted from this current right-wing government.

Therefore until such a time when Bibi would return from the US, stepping off the plane possibly waving his Chamberlain-style peace in-our-time paper, judicial reform will still be the name of the game, and the relevant demonstrations will keep it to the fore as the prime burgeoning home issue.


Tel Aviv

Final arbiters

The “pro-democracy” article by Reef Itzhaki (“Pro-democracy struggle: Israel’s most important export item?” September 26) is frightening in its certainty and belligerent approach to what it calls liberal democracy. Between the lines, Itzhaki is getting ready for war, as he states “the democracy defense campaign requires... a kind a war room.”

So certain that he is right, he and his supporters will stop at nothing until they overturn any government that they consider illiberal; how frightening it is that they are the final arbiters of what is and isn’t liberal.

But in Israel’s democracy, there was a free and fair election and the people rejected the Left’s message. Meretz could not even muster one seat in the Knesset. In a few years, the people can make their choice again; that’s how democracy works. In reality, Mitvim is an attack on democracy, and like all “liberal” movements displays an arrogant and self-righteous persona which is just as dangerous as the far-Right. Israel’s most important export is hard to define, but it’s certainly not this ideological left-wing bullying.


Zichron Ya’acov

State the obvious

From hope to despair” (September 22), about why the Oslo Accords failed, is really quite revealing. Yossi Beilin lays the blame on Baruch Goldstein, on Yigal Amir, on the building of settlements, on the fact that Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert, and Yair Lapid were not able to stay in office for long enough, and mainly on Netanyahu for thwarting Oslo during the years that he has been in office. He acknowledges that the Second Intifada also undermined the accords. Beilin then goes on to say that President Abbas could still be a negotiating partner with Israel, and that he believes that Marwan Barghouti will be the successor to Abbas and that Barghouti is committed to the two-state solution.

Dennis Ross blames the failure of the Oslo Accords on the assumptions that the accords were too ambitious. Ross states that the Palestinians thought that they were getting a state-in-waiting and the purpose of Oslo was to get it as quickly as possible. The Israeli view was that things needed to take place gradually.

Ross points out that the part of the Oslo Accords that prohibits unilateral changes meant different things to the parties. The Palestinians believed it meant no building of settlements, and the Israelis believed it meant that the Palestinians should not unilaterally declare statehood.

Both Yossi Beilin and Dennis Ross are intelligent and well-educated people. For some reason they are both unable to state the obvious. The main reason for the failure of the Oslo Accords was none other than Yasser Arafat. Arafat never had any plans for peaceful coexistence with Israel. He remained a terrorist and inveterate liar all his life. The Oslo Accords were seen by Arafat as the start of his plan to destroy Israel in stages. The vast majority of the Israeli public now understands this.

That is why in the last election, the Labor Party got four seats and Meretz did not meet the threshold for seats. Yossi Beilin and Dennis Ross still do not get it. Yasser Arafat was the main person responsible for the failure of the Oslo Accords. All the other reasons are secondary.  



Attracting a crowd

Regarding Prime Minister Netanyahu’s presence or absence at the upcoming annual Rabin memorial ceremony on Mount Herzl (“PM to stay away from Rabin memorial ceremony – report,” September 20), the issue is not only whether Bibi has the fortitude and statesmanship to sit through the sort of insults normally directed at the Israeli Right on such occasions.

It’s also connected to whether, following months and months of raucous, unruly demonstrations against him and his policies from here to California, Bibi could attend the ceremony without attracting a crowd that would turn it from a remembrance into a riot.



Many dire warnings

Regarding “Extreme heat could spell doom for humans – study” (September 26): Will this most recent of many dire warnings finally get us to do the most important thing we can do in efforts to avert a climate catastrophe: shifting to plant-based diets? This would have two very important impacts.

First, it would reduce emissions from cows of methane, a greenhouse gas over 80 times as potent as CO2 per unit weight in heating the atmosphere during the 10-15 years it remains in the atmosphere. Even more importantly, it would enable the reforestation of the over 40% of the world’s ice-free land now being used for grazing and growing feed crops for animals.

The additional trees would sequester much atmospheric carbon dioxide, reducing it from its current very dangerous level to a much safer one.

Shifting to plant-based diets is much easier today due to the abundance of plant-based substitutes with the appearance, texture, and taste similar to meat and the animal products. It would have the additional benefits of improving our health, and reducing the current massive mistreating of animals, as well as the inefficient use of land, water, fuel, and other resources.

It would also counter hunger, and the potential for future pandemics, making it far more consistent with basic Jewish values.