Letters August 4, 2016


Condemning Sanders akin to attacking Israel
“A fly (donkey?) on the wall: Behind the scenes of the Dem’s convention” (July 28)  quotes Adrian Schanker describing Bernie Sanders’  vision as “grounded in values that are very Jewish to begin with.”

Sanders’ hashkafa, his guiding philosophy, is that of democratic socialism: the ideology of the Founding Fathers of the State of Israel (not to be confused with the crony capitalism of the current Israeli government, whose policies have created an inequality gap exceeding that which currently afflicts the United States).

Right-wing condemnation of Sanders and his democratic socialism agenda amount to a full-throated attack on the origins of the Jewish state, which — in this age of BDS — qualifies as being anti-Zionist, anti-Israel, and hence (according to Zionist Organization of America logic) anti-Semitic.

As a people of memory, Jews should keep this in mind for the November and subsequent elections.


Politically conservative Jews, such as the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Orthodox community, who stood silently by while this calumny transpired, owe an apology to the Jewish community worldwide — as does the Jewish media, for not highlighting  this telltale historical link.

And what better time to render such a mea culpa than now, during the Three Weeks?

Article on Kaine biased
“Fair and balanced” does not describe the Washington Jewish Week’s coverage of current political events. You gave us a full-page beatification of Sen. Tim Kaine (“Clinton pick is Kaine and able to unite,” July 28), complete with glowing endorsements by one partisan Democrat after another. No Republican or independent of any stripe was asked to weigh in on Kaine’s record. In fact, many Republicans (and some Democrats) consider him just another undistinguished career politician, albeit one who happened to marry well to get where he is (his father-in-law is a former Virginia governor).

To complete your biased coverage, you relegated to the back of the article the fact that Kaine boycotted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress alongside some of the worst of the anti-Israel Democrats and voted to give the Iranian mullahs $150 billion in blood money when he supported to Obama’s disastrous Iran deal (which we now know from Obama’s own aides was hyped and oversold based on lies and false intelligence). Is it too much to ask for even a bissel of fairness and balance in your paper’s political coverage?

Palestinians hijack liberalism
On a recent Shabbat in Washington, young Jews ran a 5K to raise money for children in Gaza (“Runners give ‘Jewish presence’ to 5K race for Gaza,” May 26). Other American Jews traveled to the West Bank to protest the Israeli presence there (“Peter Beinart joins other U.S. Jews for civil rights-style protest in West Bank,” July 21).

Is this the fulfillment of Jewish values or something else?

Helping the helpless is imperative in Judaism, as is the rejection of violence. Jews infused everyday life with this spirit, creating a non-violent culture in which the struggle for social justice spans generations.

For the last hundred years, the American Jewish community has been soaking in the salty waters of assimilation and secularization, draining away, for many, Jewish practice and learning. The remaining Judaism, exemplified by Bernie Sanders, is often highly secularized. But the ideals of social justice and nonviolence endure.

Hence, Jews run for Gaza and hold Hebron sit-ins. We cannot fault them. They’re living their convictions.
The Palestinians play on this. They present themselves as underdogs, appropriating the language of human rights.
Israel is tarred as apartheid, racist and Nazi-like. The Palestinians speak of anti-colonialism, equality, civil rights and nonviolence. Some Jews find this seductive. They’re pleased to imagine the Palestinians share progressive values.
However, Palestinian actions show not only an acceptance of, but a celebration of violence.

I’m waiting for the day when we see Palestinian demonstrations against those who murder sleeping Israeli teenagers,  or those who butcher Israeli mothers or those who shoot Israeli families in their cars, or those who kill Israelis in chocolate shops or attack Israeli pedestrians with vehicles, knives or cleavers.

When that day comes, the larger Jewish community will eagerly help the Palestinians build a nonviolent society.
As long as Palestinians tout democratic ideals while still tolerating and justifying violence, I’ll regard them as having hijacked liberalism.

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