Letters to the Editor: German Conservatives, Jason Greenblatt and Aid to Israel

FILE PHOTO: U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Allen Grenell stands beside a wreath in Berlin, Germany, May 12, 2018.
\ STRINGER/ REUTERS

German conservatives are not ‘neo-Nazis’

In “What We German Jews Hear When the U.S. Ambassador Says He Wants to ‘Empower’ Toxic Populists’,” (Haaretz, June 7) Charlotte Knobloch misquotes, misinterprets and unfairly maligns Ambassador Richard Grenell – a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people in Germany and throughout the world. Ambassador Grenell merely spoke about empowering “conservatives” and stated: “I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left.” Ambassador Grenell did not endorse any party or anything resembling neo-Nazis, as Knobloch says she “hears.”

One cannot equate “conservatives” to neo-Nazis today. Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council Of Jews in Germany, the umbrella group that speaks for Germany’s Jews, explained in an interview that anti-Semitism in Germany has changed since the Nazi era, and now comes from Arab immigrant families, political extremists, and “in the middle of society,” often in the guise of anti-Zionism – in other words, from many directions.

Further, conservative policies of limiting unvetted immigration from Syria and certain other majority Muslim nations align with Jewish concerns with reducing one of the major sources of anti-Semitism in Germany, and protecting women and others.

Indeed, the Central Council of Jews in Germany called for limiting the number of Syrian immigrants; Josef Schuster noted that such immigrants “come from cultures where hatred of Jews and intolerance are an integral part. Don’t just think about the Jews, think about the equality between men and women, or dealing with homosexuals.”

Morton Klein

President

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)

New York

Israelis and Palestinians deserve more than Trump

In “The Palestinians deserve so much more than Saeb Erekat” (Haaretz, June 10), Jason Greenblatt has shown once again that the United States is placing the blame for the current diplomatic impasse squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinians. In doing so, Trump’s envoy is risking the total collapse of the U.S. president’s questionable “ultimate deal” and, through his scathing attack on Erekat, further undermining the standing of the already shaky Palestinian political leadership.

No respectable Palestinian official can take the advice Greenblatt doles out, basically calling on them to abandon their core positions – which Greenblatt dismissively refers to as “talking points” – and accept President Trump’s delusional vision of the road to peace in which the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel created “a realistic basis for negotiations” and “economic peace” is mistakenly considered a sufficient substitute for Palestinian realization of the right to self-determination.

While Greenblatt speaks of the need to create better lives for the Palestinian people and uses the term “peace” some 18 times, nowhere in his column does he refer to the foundation on which such peace must rest: the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel, with Jerusalem as the capital city of both.

Greenblatt calls on Erekat to stop telling his people lies but the truth is that the leader who is lying to his people is Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minister never misses a chance to say how great things are, how the regional states are accepting us into the fold, how the world is coming to recognize that we are the good guys in this 70-year conflict. He speaks with such conviction that when reality bites – as in Argentina’s refusal to take part in the dog-and-pony show – the Israeli public doesn’t understand what hit them.

We, however, concerned Israelis who are watching our government trample human rights, restrict freedom of speech, and take our country down the road to apartheid look to the U.S. administration to pursue a fair and balanced foreign policy that will hold Israel accountable for the occupation and bolster the moderate Palestinian leadership rather than destroy it. Sadly, reading Mr. Greenblatt’s column, we have no reason to believe that the policies of the Trump-Netanyahu duo will produce anything other than an escalation of violence and further loss of life.

Susie Becher,

Member of the Israeli Policy Working Group

Trump, why don’t you cut aid to Israel too

Trump told the G-7 Summit in Quebec that America will no longer be the “piggy bank that everyone is robbing.” I can’t agree more with the president!

What about Israel “fleecing America,”Mr. President? Is aid to Israel going to be cut?

The $3.7 billion or so that Israel receives each year from the U.S. amounts to about $450 per Israeli, including its non-Jewish citizens. This breaks down to 10 million U.S. dollars every day the sun rises.

Since it was founded in 1948, Israel has become the largest single recipient of U.S. foreign assistance — a total of $121 billion, almost all of which has been in the form of military assistance. Let’s stop aid to Israel too, Mr President!

Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Westerville, Ohio

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