Letters April 19, 2018


Op-ed unfairly blames Israel for Gaza woes
In his recent op-ed, Michael Koplow provides neither simple nor difficult answers, but instead maliciously blames Israel for the plight of Palestinians in Gaza (“The simple answers are the wrong ones in Gaza,” April 12). He states that Israel’s control over Gaza’s airspace and border has contributed to a “staggeringly awful humanitarian crisis in Gaza, thereby punishing 2 million people.” But the “crisis” is not the fault of Israel.

Hamas uses every means to smuggle weapons of destruction into Gaza to be used against Israel. Without control over the borders, Israel would be facing a greater threat to its existence.

Koplow fails to mention: Palestinians destroyed industries left intact by Israel when it withdrew in 2005; daily humanitarian aid is trucked into Gaza from Israel; and Gaza’s electricity and water comes from Israel. He makes no mention of the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which was formed to coordinate entry of resources for various projects like shopping malls, hospitals and housing. Tragically, Hamas is able to divert resources intended for civilian use to instead build tunnels through which to attack Israel and platforms from which to launch missiles.

There are no simple answers to the continuing conflict. So long as the charter of Hamas calls for the elimination of Israel, resolution cannot be “simple.” Progress can only be made when there is an honest evaluation of the impediments to peace, not when one side is unfairly blamed.



Israeli army is most moral, plain and simple
Michael Koplow’s op-ed goes off the rails when it criticizes the Israel Defense Forces and the Jewish state (“The simple answers are the wrong ones in Gaza,” April 12). Before rebuking the IDF, Koplow should review how America and its allies fought World War II.

A few unarmed Gazans were killed by the IDF. But the Allies killed thousands of civilians after Germany and Japan put them in an “untenable situation.” The Allies chose killing civilians over sacrificing their own troops and losing the war.

Should Israel sacrifice its troops and allow thousands of invading Gazans into Israel?
Contrary to the op-ed’s assertion, the IDF is “the most moral army in the world.” When confronted with implacable enemies, America has devastated the enemy’s cities and people. Were Israel a Christian or Muslim country there wouldn’t be a 70-year conflict — the victor would have simply destroyed the enemy.

Hamas and the Palestinians living in Gaza have chosen war over peace, and poverty is the result. They are not innocent victims.
Judge Israel by American standards. View Hamas and those in Gaza as if they were America’s enemies.
Silver Spring


B’nai Tzedek and its rabbi were well within their rights
I commend Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt and the board of Congregation B’nai Tzedek for refusing to be intimidated by J Street posturing (“How a leaflet led to a media fight over J Street,” April 5). Supporters of J Street are entitled to their views, but since when must a synagogue promote every Jewish organization or self-described “pro-Israel” group by distributing any of its material?

I read the Elsner and Weinblatt pieces in the Forward. I am offended by the false depiction of the synagogue, whose programs have included people of wide-ranging views and belie the outrageous claim it doesn’t foster debate. Suggesting that the synagogue is shutting down debate by not affirmatively promoting J Street is nonsense.

And it is far from the truth to assert that only opponents of a two-state solution have criticized J Street. I know of three examples.

J Street misled the public about the sources of some of its funding, eliciting strong criticism across the spectrum, including by this newspaper.

J Street shockingly undermined Israel’s self-defense in the midst of its response to persistent Hamas rocket fire during Operation Cast Lead. The then head of the Reform movement and two-state supporter, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, denounced J Street’s position as “morally deficient … and appallingly naïve.”

And when J Street suggested President Obama not veto a particular U.N. resolution in his first term, then-Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) disassociated himself from J Street. He called its position “the befuddled choice of an organization so open-minded about what constitutes support for Israel that its brains have fallen out.”

Early on, J Street announced that it was going to be Obama’s “blocking back” in Congress. Its twitter feed is awash in attacks on Israeli and U.S. officials and Israeli and U.S. policies, and occasionally opines on issues unrelated to Israel. One rarely, if ever, sees this organization tweeting about Israeli achievements in technology, the arts or social welfare. All of this is its prerogative. But this intensely partisan group has no moral right to insist on inserting itself in any private organization that judges it as coming up short when judged against its own values and mission.

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  1. Manison and Farber, realiable ZOA stalwarts, chime in with the customary bromides.

    If Israel’s plight is all that foremost with them, then they should do the honest thing and make aliyah, instead of serving as the Jonathan Pollard of the letters-to-the-editor page.

  2. Lee Bender’s nasty attacks on Manison and Farber are down right anti-Semitic. I question where Mr. Bender’s loyalties lie…..certainly not with Israel or the Jewish community. Maybe he would be more comfortable having tea with Linda Sarsour.


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