Letters to the Editor November 22, 2020: Pollard: Free at last

Pollard: Free at last

The Jerusalem Post is to be highly commended for its articles, reports and excellent editorial by Yaakov Katz in support of Jonathan Pollard’s freedom from all parole restrictions over the past few days – let alone during all the years of Jonathan’s travails. It is truly a joyous moment that according to his attorneys, Pollard is now “free to travel anywhere, including Israel, for temporary or permanent residence, as he wishes.” 

While awaiting additional details, if any, regarding the lifting of Jonathan’s restrictions, the State of Israel and all Jews worldwide – especially us, the Pollards’ fellow American citizens of Israel – need to gear up to welcome them with open arms as they make aliya. We must provide them with the fullest support in every way: medical, emotional, spiritual, housing, financial – a whole outpouring of love and recognition with maximum facilitation, without politicization of their aliya, while giving them the time and space they need to decompress.

The remarks by President Reuven Rivlin tonight are most meaningful and welcome at this moment. Truly a time of simha and thanksgiving, worthy of a blessing to God, as Rivlin stated, of matir asurim (freeing the imprisoned). Special acknowledgment and heartfelt thanks go out to all those that have defended them and stood by their side through all these years: their attorneys, organizational leaders, past government officials and friends, Jew and non-Jew alike. 

This event is worthy of full-page, front-page news and banners waving across all major thoroughfares of “B’ruchim HaBaim, Welcome Home to Jonathan and Esther. We love you! Thank you!”

RABBI SHOLOM (SIDNEY L.) STRAJCHER

Jerusalem

Responses to a response

In “Response to Joel C. Rosenberg by an American Jew” (November 22), Adam Epstein repeated something that many have said. He accused the Republicans of hypocrisy by appointing Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court just before an election when they had refused to allow former US president Barak Obama to do the same four years before.

What he ignores is a significant difference between the two instances.

Obama was completing his second term as president. He was not going to be reelected because he wasn’t permitted to run for a third term. Therefore, this “lame duck”appointment could and should wait for the new president, independent of whether it would be a Democrat or Republican.

In the current case, US President Donald Trump was running for reelection. There was a reasonable assumption that he would succeed in that endeavor, so this appointment didn’t have the same implications. What Trump and the Republican senators did was to eliminate the risk that, even if Trump were reelected they might lose control of the Senate. Had they waited until after the elections to do this, that would have been hypocritical. Timing is important.

HAIM SHALOM SNYDER

Petah Tikva

Apparently Epstein has no idea whatsoever of how momentous the move was to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

What “troubles” did Trump bring on the American people? Strengthened the economy, lowered unemployment, kept illegals out of the USA? 

Corona mismanagement? America was built on individual rights and not group rights. So wearing a mask is an individual right. Feel free to use one. Trump funded research into developing a vaccine in record time.

He helped broker peace with the Gulf States and didn’t stab Israel in the back at the UN. All these “terrible” policies make many people “Trumpers.”

FREYA BINENFELD

Never cease to seek peace

Nadav Tamir is proud to be a member of the “peace” camp (“How to mend relations with the US,” November 22). He sees nothing wrong or wildly subjective in his abduction of the term “peace camp” to describe his own political philosophy and objectives. Those who do not agree with the “peace camp” and who propose “populist” ideas are apparently the “war camp,” prepared to use the military irresponsibly. 

Nadav is unwilling to lock horns with the fact, proven innumerable times in world history, that it is often necessary to go to war in order to achieve peace. After the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Nadav would have relied on negotiation to determine the boundaries of the Japanese empire in the Pacific just like he seems to believe that “peaceful” negotiations with the Palestinians, led by the “peace” camp can draw defensible borders for Israel. 

He also wants a more “rational” approach to dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue. Nadav, hear this: We are at an as-yet-unproclaimed war with Islamic/terrorist Iran. They are determined to wipe us out; that is why they want nuclear weapons. We cannot rely on the “peace camp” to save our hides. Attacking Iran’s presence in Syria is the rational approach.

YIGAL HOROWITZ

Beersheba

Show 2334 the door

Regarding “Secretary Pompeo: Read UNSC 2334 – Settlements are Illegal” (November 19) by Daoud Kuttab, perhaps Mr. Kuttab is not aware that on November 19, 2019, Secretary Pompeo responded to UNSC 2334 and announced at the State Department, “After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with President Reagan. The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.” 

Mr. Kuttab should read the full transcript at https://go.usa.gov/xp8G2

Just because the UNSC decided that Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria are illegal does not make them illegal! Prior to the 1948 War of Independence, Jews had a right to settle on any public lands in Judea and Samaria. They never lost that right as a result Jordan invading Israel and conquering that area. In 1967, Israel preemptively attacked Egypt and pleaded with Jordan to stay out of that conflict. Nonetheless, Jordan attacked Israel. In a defensive war, Israel regained control of Judea and Samaria and Jews regained the ability to exercise their right to settle in that area. 

Many international law experts agree: it’s legal!

RAYMOND ARKING

Modi’in

Regarding “156 nations affirm settlements not part of Israel” (November 20), it’s time for these 156 nations to stop throwing around false claims of “international law” when criticizing Israel. They clearly do not know what they are talking about, or are intentionally misinforming their audiences.

Here is the actual “international law” that established the Mandates for Palestine, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon after WWI. The Plenipotentiaries at the Peace Conference, January 21, 2019, (The San Remo Accords) recommended:

• That there be established a separate state of Palestine.

• That this state be placed under Great Britain as a Mandatory of the League of Nations.

• That the Jews be invited to return to Palestine and settle there.

The League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (1922) ratified the accords.

That is the “international Law,” meaning that Israel includes Gaza, Judea and Samaria.

Article 80 of the United Nations Charter (1945) states that the UN cannot transfer these rights over any part of Palestine, vested as they are in the Jewish People, to any non-Jewish entity. This means the UN cannot override existing “international law.” For example, UNSC 2334 and former president Barack Obama’s devious last-minute abstention, is not legally binding.

Article 80 allows for Israel to share territory with another entity (such as the PA) under mutual agreement.

LEN BENNETT, AUTHOR OF UNFINISHED WORK

FOGOs 1, Registrar 0 

There are about a dozen organizations registered in Israel that are “mostly funded by foreign governments” and we know who they are because their political activities are well-reported: Gisha, Adallah, Bimkom and the like. (“Gov’t not enforcing transparency law on NGO foreign funding,” November 17). 

Why is it so important that the Transparency Law be enforced against them?

They regularly file petitions to the High Court of Justice in which their goal is primarily to overload the judicial system, not necessarily to win. They hold demonstrations, lobby the Knesset and public officials and publish reports and briefings that are widely distributed. Two were just involved in the confrontation about the tender to build housing in Givat Hamatos.

In all of these actions, they are expressing the foreign policy views of their donor nations and attempting to influence public opinion here. Talk about foreign interference! They are not NGOs (non-governmental organizations) nor are they human-rights organizations They are FOGOs – agents of foreign governments. They do not express the views of the Israeli public and are a threat to our democratic institutions.

The Knesset felt that the public should be informed about the true identity of these groups, and enacted the Transparency Law of 2016, which requires them to disclose the foreign source of their funding in clearly specified ways. The Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations is responsible for enforcement.

Since they are so public and there are so few of them, enforcement shouldn’t be too difficult. But sadly, that is not the case. 

The Oct 14, 2020 Knesset Research Report indicates that the Registrar has failed to effectively enforce compliance and does not seem to understand that this unique small group of FOGOs has special legal disclosure obligations because they are well-funded by foreign governments. 

This passive dereliction of duty is astounding, but hopefully it can be cured by creating a separate task force in the Registrar’s office to enforce the Transparency Law on the FOGOs.

Failure to enforce this law is a national disgrace – and harmful.

DR. JAN SOKOLOVSKY

The gall of the DeGaulle remark

Ehud Olmert’s remark that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is no de Gaulle (“Bibi, you are no De Gaulle,” November 20) is ironic, coming from the first prime minister who ever sat in an Israeli prison. 

In France, former president Charles de Gaulle is often quoted as a historic reference in order to reach consensus. A few years ago, the right-wing candidate to the French presidential elections, François Fillon, was being questioned by journalists about the possibility that he would be investigated for public fund embezzlement. He replied, contemptuously, “Can you imagine de Gaulle being investigated?” Many feel that this answer cost him his political career. In the end, he was not the candidate and Emmanuel Macron was elected.

Olmert has no political career to destroy anymore, but he should be careful about who he considers as an example. De Gaulle is for sure not one for Israel, as history shows that, right after having despised the Jewish people as “elite people, sure of itself and domineering,” his political career went downward.

Analyzing recent international political events in Jerusalem such as the meeting between a US secretary of state and a Bahraini minister, both guests of the prime minister of Israel, it seems to me likely that, within 50 years, somebody might criticize a prime minister by saying “You are no Netanyahu.” What is sure is that nobody will say, “You are no Olmert.” 

LAURENT CUDKOWICZ

Jerusalem

Leaders sigh, people cry

Joe Biden’s victory brings Palestinians a sigh of relief” (November 19) should have been “Joe Biden’s victory brings Palestinian leaders a sigh of relief.” Nothing is going to change for the people while their leaders continue to seek a Palestinian state from which all Jews have been banished and an Israel that has been converted into a Muslim-majority state after Israel has been overrun by millions of people claiming descent from Arabs who fled Palestine in the 1940s and 1967 (because of Arab-initiated violence that the Palestinian leaders would like everyone to forget about).

The first step toward real peace will have been taken when Palestinian leaders begin preparing their people for life in a Palestinian state co-existing with the nation-state of the Jews: two states in which members of minority groups have full civil rights in their country of residence (as non-Jews have in Israel now).

TOBY F. BLOCK

Atlanta, GA

Drone zone

Regarding “Rocket fired from Gaza hits open field in Ashkelon” (November 22), the time has come for Israel to have armed drones on the border. As soon as a rocket or even a fire balloon is launched attacking Israel, we should fire a response rocket at the source regardless of who is injured.

Israel’s response to the hundreds of rockets shot at us with “targeted airstrikes” has brought us nothing but more rocket attacks.

SAM ROSENBLUM

Beit Shemesh

Yank “West Bank”

Regarding “Pompeo: Settlement goods can be labeled ‘Made in Israel’” (November 20), I trust that Jerusalem Post editors and columnists who do otherwise will learn from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to refer “…to the area by its Biblical name, Judea and Samaria” and refrain from continuing to use the propagandist, non-historical and incorrect name “West Bank.”

AVRAHAM FRIEDMAN

Ganei Modi’in

Eyesore uproar

True it is over the Green Line, but 40% of Israeli Jerusalem is over that line. 

There is no contiguity between Bethlehem and east Jerusalem. If anything, it would be much more feasible to build a highway between Bethlehem and Azariya connecting the large Arab populations. Building Givat Hamatos will not prevent Palestinian access to east Jerusalem as Palestinians who come from Tzur Baher and the Bethlehem area for work come via Derech Hebron and will continue to do so whether a Jewish suburb is built nearby or not. 

The Arabs living in Beit Safafa, who are Israeli Jerusalem citizens, don’t want or need the area to remain an empty eyesore.

FRANK BERGER

Jerusalem

Cockeyed apartheid

In his weekly diatribe against all things Israeli, Gershon Baskin describes Jerusalem as “an apartheid city” (“The equality struggle in Jerusalem,” November 19). In discussing the consequences of the divide, Baskin then paradoxically states, “More young Palestinians in Jerusalem are attending the Hebrew University and other Israeli colleges.”

 I wonder how many non-whites in South Africa were afforded the opportunity to attend South Africa’s leading colleges and universities. Baskin is playing far too loosely with the phrase “apartheid state.”

ARTHUR MILLER

Beit Shemesh



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