Letters, Aug. 20, 2015


No purpose for imprisoning Rabbi Freundel
Do you feel better now that Rabbi Freundel is locked up for several years (“Freundel to appeal,” WJW, Aug, 13)? Do you feel justice has been served? I don’t. Prison serves no purpose for him. He has a sickness no different than if he had cancer. He needs treatment.

Why should the rabbi be made an example of and suffer? And don’t tell me he must pay for his crimes, because he is paying dearly, but getting no treatment for his sickness. There is no joy in a fellow Jew’s suffering. He is still one of us.
Silver Spring

Spending choices
According to Melissa Apter’s fine recent piece (“Obama invokes Iraq War…,” WJW, Aug.6) AIPAC has raised between $20 and $40 million, and J Street $5 million, for media buys to influence the upcoming congressional vote on the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal.

Also, according to the Forward’s June 9 edition, $20 million has already been raised, with $50 million the overall goal, for a campus anti-BDS campaign headed up by mogul Sheldon Adelson.


So spare me the continual, agonizing lament about there being insufficient funding available in the community to support Jewish education and to help poverty-stricken Jews. Can you imagine the humanitarian benefit that an additional $95 million dedicated to medical research might yield?

Where there is a strategic will, a fiscal way will be found.

Let an undemocratic — and in the case of Adelson, anti-democratic — elite of superannuated machers continue to dictate the agenda in the collective name of American Jewry, and watch the best and brightest of our millennials decamp elsewhere, turned off by recklessly politicized financial priorities.
College Park

Discourse on Iran should be more civil
Much has been written, often with a lack of civility, by sincere advocates on both sides of the Iran deal controversy.  Most folks have concluded that the deal with Iran is imperfect at best.  While having great concerns, I’ve concluded that the imperfect or poor agreement is better than further delay in trying to get a better agreement or achieving no agreement at all with Iran, being fully aware of the dangers faced by Israel, based on the convincing analysis presented by Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

I’m concerned that we often can’t disagree, even understanding the potentially dangerous situation, without becoming ad hominem and accusatory.  One example appears in Paul Scham’s commentary (“Not in my name: Jewish institutions should stop their criticism of Iran deal,” Voices, WJW, Aug. 6).  A case can be made for supporting the deal with Iran without using patronizing, dismissive and cavalier terms such as “reprehensible”, “kowtow”, “condescending”, “betrayed” and “betray.”

There’s reason to believe that Iran will continue to try to cheat as it has in the past, but no one knows what will happen.  Considering that the vast majority of Jewish proponents on both sides of the disagreement want the best for Israel without resultant war, one would think that the discourse could be more civil.
Silver Spring

Life after the Iran deal
Peter Joseph, Charles Bronfman and Susie Gelman raise some clear thinking points about accepting a reality that many of us are passionately opposed to (“The forest, the trees and the Iran nuclear deal,” Voices, WJW, Aug. 6). If the Iran nuclear deal passes Congress, I agree that the U.S.-Israel relationship must be restored to one with bipartisan political support. Personal tensions between the two heads of state should be kept in private, behind-the-scenes conversations.

However, I disagree with the authors’ contention that a two-state solution will strengthen Israel’s position in countering Iranian aggression. A rough equivalent of a two-state solution already exists: Israel and Gaza. To borrow an expression, it takes two to tango. Since the Palestinians have been governing Gaza, there has been no cessation of violence against Israel, nor an end to anti-Semitic incitement in their school textbooks and official communications.

It would be nice to have cooperation and a normalization of relations between Israel and Arab states such as Saudi Arabia. However, if these Arab states share this desire, they should use their influence to change the behavior of Palestinian leaders vis-a-vis Israel. This could go a long way in bringing about a real two-state solution.

Editorial on target on administration’s end run
The editorial “End run around Congress” (WJW, July 23) was right to point out that by going immediately to the United Nations the Obama administration has undercut any decision Congress might make on the Iran nuclear deal.  Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine has now gone a step further by arguing that Congress actually contemplated that the president would go first to the United Nations when it passed the Iran [Nuclear Agreement] Review Act. The argument is specious because such an interpretation renders the 60-day review period in the legislation meaningless.  The case for the Iran deal is certainly not bolstered by disingenuous assertions of this sort.

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