What’s behind the chilling silence
The headline of Barbara Dobkin’s Feb. 3 op-ed, “Jewish women are leaders on abortion rights,” makes the same mistake as the article itself — the word “some” is missing from the beginning. She states that 83 percent of Jews favor abortion rights, according to the Pew Research Center, assumes they are completely pro-choice and does not even consider that the reason so many people are not campaigning for “abortion on demand and without apology” is because they do not think it should be.
They may feel that they have the right to their views, or (correctly) that if they express even the slightest hesitancy about abortion they will be glared at or even shunned.
One hundred years from now, when shame-faced people are pulling down portraits of current leaders of Jewish feminist organizations, people will remember the “chilling silence” of “the vast majority of American Jewish organizations” in a very different way than Dobkin thinks.
Abortion is a complicated issue about which reasonable people can disagree. However, no one can really believe that it is ”pikuach nefesh” (saving a life), when the entire point is to end one simply because it has not been born.
The Commanders will help fell other racist mascots
Regarding “Change your name, change your fate” (Jan. 27):
On Feb. 2, the professional Washington Football Team changed its name to Commanders. The new name has nothing to do with Native American names or imagery. This victory took decades. Native American advocates including Suzan Harjo and Amanda Blackhorse worked tirelessly for this day. Rebrand Racist Mascots (formerly Rebrand Washington Football) was proud to be part of this.
But victory is still a long way off. There are upwards of 2,000 high schools that need rebranding. There are professional sports teams that still brandish Native American stereotypes. We hope that the change for the Washington Football Team creates momentum for change. We will be working to help rebrand other harmful mascots. You may see us outside Nats park when Atlanta comes to play, asking that team to rebrand.
I think every day how the use of stereotypes and names has hurt us Jews. That’s why Jews should fight these mascots.
The writer is co-founder of Rebrand Washington Football.
It’s the religious who need freedom from fear
I appreciate that Montgomery County has made grants available to Jewish institutions for additional safety measures (“MoCo grant helps synagogues increase security,” Feb. 3). In announcing the grants, County Executive Marc Elrich stated, “Freedom of assembly is a sacred constitutional right, and it should be free from the fear of violence.”
What an odd remark. These grants were not made to political organizations whose freedom of assembly has been subject to hate crimes. They are made to religious organizations whose free exercise of religion has been subject to hate crimes. That right is a sacred constitutional right as well. It is listed first in the Bill of Rights and unlike freedom of assembly, it is directly implicated by antisemitic attacks on houses of worship, which often occur when no one is present at the facility.
I believe Elrich’s remarks reflect a growing trend, almost a self-parody, among our leaders to downplay the importance of religious freedom in our society and the role of government in protecting it.
Muslims and Jews together must defend democracy
Regarding “Muslim-Jewish alliance in America must not be derailed by the Israel-Palestinian conflict” (Feb. 3):
Sabeeha Rehman and Walter Ruby have written a sobering piece about an imperative for Americans who are neither white nor Christian to recognize they share a common fate. Neither a Muslim ban imposed by the Trump administration, nor the chants of “Jews will not replace us” by the Charlottesville white supremacists, should make either group feel as if they do not belong as rightful citizens of this country.
As the authors point out, Muslims and Jews, as the two largest minority faith communities, must redouble their efforts in defending pluralism and democracy, values that “Make America Great Again” supporters reject. Both communities may reduce incidents of tension and vitriol by developing clearer and mutually accepted distinctions of what constitutes anti-Zionism, antisemitism and anti-Islam.