Letters to the Editor: Biden, Listen to B’Tselem

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks  before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2021.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2021. Credit: MANDEL NGAN / AFP

Post Trump Stress Disorder

In response to “The Worst Man in America Is No Longer President”

We’re all suffering from PTSD – Post Trump Stress Disorder. We may never fully heal from it, but in time we may hopefully learn to manage it. A fine piece, Bradley! Your writing as usual is eloquent and powerful. It truly projects the catharsis so many of us feel and need toward recovery.

Fundamentalist Israel is no longer Jewish, says Avrum Burg on Haaretz Weekly podcast. LISTEN

I always relied on one of Churchill’s famous quotes during the last five years of Trump, “If you’re going through hell, go through it!” Well, maybe we’ve just done that or at least gotten past the very worst part of it. I’m ridin’ on Biden and hoping for the best!

Avshalom Beni

Via Haaretz.com

Redistribute wealth during pandemic

The situation is critical, but the burden is not being shared equally. It has fallen entirely on a portion of the population: on those who have lost their jobs and lost their businesses. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Israeli families have appealed to the welfare authorities for the first time, and those who receive aid are being asked to live on 3,000 shekels ($917) a month, which is impossible.

While these people are suffering, the rest of us, at least those who have remained healthy, are living as we always have. We are receiving our salaries, or our incomes are otherwise assured. This is brutally unjust and unfair. The rest of us, including people like myself, who continue to draw our salaries or pensions, should be asked to share the burden, and to be at all effective it will have to be compulsory, not voluntary.

People like myself and many whose incomes are much larger and who are much wealthier must be taxed a small portion of their monthly income. It may be 5 percent, 10 percent or more, according to ability, and it should be progressive, i.e. graduated according to income or wealth, as the income taxes are.

This is urgent! It is criminal that a significant portion of the population is suffering terribly, unable to pay their rent, mortgages or bills, some unable to feed their families, while the rest of us remain all but entirely unaffected. Everyone who can afford it should pay a small, manageable temporary tax for the duration of the crisis. If all who can afford it are taxed in this way, a significant amount of money would be added to the unemployment benefits fund or some other fund, which would distribute this money as a supplement to the monthly allotments those who have been seriously disadvantaged by the pandemic are currently receiving.

This should make a significant difference, both financially to those who need it and as a way of telling them they are not alone, that the rest of us, at least in some measure, are sharing the burden.

Bill Freedman

Professor emeritus of English

University of Haifa

Biden, listen to B’Tselem

AP wrote on January 12, “A leading Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, has begun describing Israel and its control of the Palestinian territories as a single 'apartheid' regime ...” It quoted B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad saying, “This is not democracy plus occupation. This is apartheid between the river and the sea.”

We can hope that President Biden will correct this egregious foreign policy blunder – which is NOT in the interests of the United States – via a reevaluation and reformulation of our foreign policy in the Middle East, with a recognition that the historic character of Palestine represents the common heritage of Christian, Jews, and Muslims; that the United States rejects claims for the completely autonomous political and cultural development of any one religious/cultural group in Palestine; that Christians, Jews, and Muslims have a cooperative, co-equal, semi-autonomous share in the political and cultural development of Palestine.

No group has the “right to exist” at the expense/destruction of another group.

Francis Saitta

Tucson, Arizona

B’Tselem taken over by anti-Zionists

In response to “So it's apartheid, not occupation. Now what”

The Law of Return is totally legal under international law. Both the UN Convention on the Elimination of a All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Council of Europe’s Venice Convention state clearly that there is a difference between privileging a category of citizens and a category of immigrants (a hostage has no obligation to be culturally neutral or neutral in its immigration policy). I’m not surprised that B’Tselem sees the Law of Return as a symptom of apartheid. It has been taken over by anti-Zionists. They can count on useful idiots like Ilana Hammerman (who blames Israel alone for the absence of peace, as if the Palestinians had not rejected numerous peace plans calling for a two-state solution based on the 1967 border, and as if they had not increased terrorism when the Israeli left was in power) to promote their agenda.

B. Bohbot

Via Haaretz.com

It’s not good, but it’s not apartheid

Ilana Hammerman writes: “There is not a single principle of an apartheid regime that has not been implemented in Israel since 1948.” So how come the Arab citizens can vote in Israeli elections? The ANC in South Africa always demanded “one man, one vote.” How come “one man, one vote” is exactly the situation in Israel, where every citizen 18 and older can vote? The author doesn’t fight only occupation, she fights the Law of Return, which means she fights the right of self-determination for the Jewish people. What the author describes in the territories is occupation, which is dangerous, yes (and yes, the Israeli right is populist and dangerous nowadays), but it’s important to use the right words. Yes, there is discrimination in the Israeli democracy, but that doesn’t make it apartheid, otherwise many democracies are apartheid. In France, a former prime minister said there was apartheid in France. Mistaken use of language often brings about tyranny. So please, be smart.


Via Haaretz.com

Are the Palestinians free of blame?

In response to “The Education Minister Is Afraid of the Truth: Israel Is an Apartheid State”

Doesn’t Mr. El-Ad see how he is acting paternally toward the Palestinians by assigning all the blame to Israel and never asking what the PA and Hamas have done to build the state they claim to want? In doing so, Mr. El-Ad is abetting the true oppressors of the Palestinians, their own leaders.

Toby F. Block

Via Haaretz.com

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Dr. Claris Harbon in the neighborhood where she grew up in Ashdod.

A Women's Rights Lawyer Felt She Didn't Belong in Israel. So She Moved to Morocco

Mohammed 'Moha' Alshawamreh.

'It Was Real Shock to Move From a Little Muslim Village, to a Big Open World'

From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid's Journey: From Late-night Host to Israel's Prime Minister

Lake Kinneret. The high water level created lagoons at the northern end of the lake.

Lake Kinneret as You’ve Never Experienced It Before