Week of January 16
Netanyahu and Mandela’s funeral
In its quest to be a “little bit edgier,” I hope The CJN does not alienate one segment of the Jewish community in order to placate or appeal to another. I thought the raison d’être of this paper, which prides itself on being a mouthpiece of this community, recognizes that said community is broad and diverse, and as such, it should represent all voices, including conflicting ones, and wherever possible, to find some common ground.
A case in point is the editorial (“Netanyahu’s Lame Excuse,” The CJN, Dec. 19), which lambasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not attending Nelson Mandela’s funeral. I personally would have preferred if he had been there, though I recognize that there are those who agree with his absence. One can take a principled editorial stance, whether popular or unpopular, with a calm voice that does not denigrate the intelligence of those with whom one disagrees. To cite a Yiddish phrase that, sadly, has gone out of style, “Ess passt nisht” – “It’s not becoming.”
* * *
The CJN’s editorial writer should have done a little due diligence before he made the assumption: “That’s why Netanyahu stayed away.” It is common knowledge that South Africa’s security service is not exactly a model of competence and integrity, and that the shredded rump of the Jewish branch of the Communist party planned a major embarrassment to “welcome” the Israeli prime minister.
Nor should it be assumed that Israel would have been given full rein to implement its own security requirements, regardless of cost, as U.S. President Barack Obama was allowed to do, and with whom Netanyahu wished to avoid any contact that would have turned into a “misunderstanding.”
But most of all, South Africa’s increasingly embittered and aggressive Muslim communities planned a series of pro-Palestinian demonstrations that could easily have gotten out of hand, as things so often do on that unfortunate continent.
Canada’s Jewish community now has plenty to contend with arising from Canada’s inevitable confrontation with Quebec and a large dysfunctional Muslim community of our own. Who are we to second guess from a great distance the decisions that other leaders cannot avoid?
Norman L. Roth
* * *
Settlers are not terrorists
Arie Raif (“Israel must act to avoid civil war, The CJN, Dec. 19) has put forward illogical, pathetically appeasing and scare-mongering ideas in his article. He wrongly equates “price tag” gangs with settlers. They are not the same, and they don’t want to start a war with other Israelis. What they have in common is that they both retaliate or defend themselves against the violence of the Palestinians. That violence is, however, not mentioned in the article, leaving the reader to wrongly assume that the Jews are originating the violence, while the Arabs are sitting in their fields smelling the flowers. If there is a civil war, it will be between the Arabs and the Jews, not between Jew and Jew as in Raif’s examples.
Raif says that “Israel must take pre-emptive action against Jewish terrorists whose doctrine of arrogance, messianism, militarism and nationalism will lead to a civil war.” If Raif were truly a Zionist, he would have said, “Israel must take pre-emptive action against Arab terrorists whose doctrines of arrogance, violence, militarism, Islamism, and the destruction of the Jewish state will lead to an internal terrorist attack against Israel.”
* * *
Israel must lead on human rights
I have to say that this was a very one-sided article. (“Israel’s critics often ignore its unique predicament,”The CJN, Dec. 26).
One of the major themes is why Israel is picked on with boycotts for human rights violations when there are other nations that are worse than Israel. Paul Michaels says Israel is better on this count than Syria. Wow! That’s a pretty low benchmark.
Israel is also better on this count than North Korea, South Sudan, Zimbabwe and many other nations. Israel always makes the point that it is the only democracy in the Middle East. Israel should be held to a high standard in all of its endeavours, particularly human rights, not the lowest common denominator.
Peter P. Farkas