Letters to the Editor: Iran, LeBron and the Partisan Media Blackout

Two women walk along the sea front as heavy winds blow dust and sand across a main road in Gaza city, January 6, 2019.

Verdict on Iran needed in elections

Israel will go to elections for the Knesset and a new government on April 9. The topic of Israel’s defense has never been a major election campaign issue because all parties in the past have agreed that where and when it is necessary, Israel will act to protect the state and Jews. Therefore it is unlikely that Iran will be mentioned in the election campaigning to attract votes.

But that doesn’t distract from reality. The next prime minister and defense minister, together with the new chief of the Israel Defense Forces, will have to decide on a preemptive or preventive war against Iran, and this so far has been lacking. Iran is constantly working on its missile program, nuclear ambitions and gaining the upper hand in controlling all territories north of Israel. The situation in Israel’s north has deteriorated; there are Hezbollah tunnels and the United States is withdrawing from Syria, scrambling the geopolitics of the Middle East. Iran could now link Shi’ite partners in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in one long and large geographical front and menace Israel. In Syria, Iran and Hezbollah could strengthen a military presence near the Golan Heights. All actors will be forced to reassess their relationships. The result could be a series of new balancing acts: Israel trying to tilt Russia against Iran, Turkey playing Russia and the United States off each other, and Syria balancing the Kurds against Turkey. President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria shows that Israel can only rely on its own national security credentials. And that means the end of the rule of the ayatollahs, for there is no other option that could ensure Israel’s security. The Knesset elections need to place this on the table.

Dr. Glen Segell

University of Haifa

Hold LeBron to account

LeBron James, followed and admired as a national icon by millions of young people, and who recently opened a middle school to support at-risk kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, gets a pass on anti-Semitism! This is just one example of how hate is spreading against the Jewish people in America, covertly and overtly. While the Democrats are electing anti-Semites who are openly calling for the annihilation of Israel as their chosen delegates and representatives, and while the Republicans are ignoring white supremacists and racism, hate for the Jewish people is permeating through America, sometimes in the guise of civil rights.

As a Muslim teacher in a Los Angeles public school system with kids, mostly Latinos and African Americans who have never met a Jew or a Muslim, I build empathy in my students by giving them the tools to identify hate, stereotyping and scapegoating. What better way to teach them American values than to show them that their Muslim teacher stands with a Holocaust survivor and talks about hate as a cancer we must stop. So when such icons as LeBron James are allowed to get a pass, without even a few hours of community service, hate is learned by millions and my job becomes much harder.

Nonetheless, I shall look into my students’ eyes and tell them that they will not become LeBron, they will be better than him; “they will go high, when others go low.”

Anila Ali

President, American Muslim Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council

Los Angeles

Palestinian unity will prevail

In response to “Mohamed Salah, Don’t Boycott Israeli Arabs. We’re the Only Reason Palestine Wasn’t Lost Completely” (Jawad Bulus, Opinion, Haaretz.com, January 3).

Mr. Bulus, I’m a Palestinian-American who admires your dedicated work in defending your people against injustices and discrimination. A tough practice in a Jewish state that declared itself a place just for the Jewish people. I’m a Palestinian who left in April 1948 as an 8-year-old with my family, while you and your family stayed behind. We as Palestinians, inside and in the diaspora, were victims that suffered from similar pain in different ways but for the same reasons. In my book “My Nakba – A Palestinian’s Odyessy of Love and Hope,” scheduled for publication in April, I remind fellow Palestinians that dispossession is not just about things. You can lose your house, your land, even members of your family, but if you lose your identity, your roots, dignity and history then you have lost everything. Unity that preserved these things for over a century of constant injustice at the hands of so many powerful entities – in some cases Arab ones – is a great achievement. That is why, for all the oppression and apparent hopelessness, I’m confident a just settlement will eventually prevail.


Via Haaretz.com

Indifference caused by media blackout

In response to “What Should Israel Be Doing While the World Isn’t Looking?” (Anshel Pfeffer, Opinion, Haaretz.com, January 4).

Anshel Pfeffer is burying his head in the sand in thinking or pretending to think that the world stopped looking at Israel’s actions. The printed and online media’s role is formation of opinion, and in the West the media has been extremely partisan in its coverage or, lately, non-coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The most partisan media is in Israel. There the media blocks from the Israeli public’s view the criminal behavior of the military and the settlers against the Palestinians in the occupied territories. Had the truth been shown regularly to TV and newspaper audiences in Israel and throughout the Western world, the presumed indifference would have turned into open revolt long ago. I propose to Mr. Pfeffer to undertake an experiment and publish objective reports from the occupied territories every day on the treatment of Palestinians at the hands of the settlers and the tacit involvement of the Israeli army in protecting the settlers during raids on Palestinian towns and villages, and get his colleagues in other papers and television to do the same for a number of months, and then assess people’s reaction and report it faithfully. News selectivity and outright suppression are well known to occur systematically in the established, “independent” Western media, not so much so in social media. Maybe more of an indifference curve can be gauged in the latter.

Isaac Cohen

Via Haaretz.com