Letters to the Editor | January 25, 2023

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Survey results depend on the questions asked

Regarding “What do antisemites believe?” (Jan. 19), the results of the ADL survey are disturbing, as is the survey design.

Many of the survey items really contain two questions. The obvious one asks to what extent respondents hold particular, specific beliefs about Jewish people. However, the way the statements are worded also – covertly — asks to what extent respondents hold beliefs — any belief — toward all Jewish people. Isn’t this a significant part of the problem: that people have attitudes about all Jews?

If someone asked me to what extent I believe Bulgarians have/think/do X, my answer would be that I do not believe anything about all Bulgarians.

It is an attribution error to hold beliefs about all members of a group, and it is a design flaw to incorporate this into survey questions. Loaded questions introduce bias into the survey.

Rhona Bosin, Silver Spring

2023 is not 1948

Martin J. Raffel presents very persuasive and realistic arguments for constructive responses to Israel’s new government (Opinion, Jan. 19). While Israeli and American Jews may not be able to live with each other, we cannot live without each other, either.

As Raffel points out, we must pay special attention to the younger generations of millennial and GenZ Jews. We must also keep in mind that Israel faces different threats today in 2023 than it did during its founding in 1948.

Younger American Jews see enemies from within, such as the Israeli authorities perpetrating human rights violations against Palestinian civilians living in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, as testimonies by Breaking the Silence, a group of former Israeli soldiers who served in the above-mentioned areas, allege have happened.

The Israeli government must realize that one day they will need this younger generation of social justice-supporting Jews to lobby for U.S. military and economic aid.
Barry Dwork, Alexandria

Judge actual actions

Rabbi Michael Rose Knopf rightly extols “respectful” Jewish debate (“Why I’m not sure I’m right,” Opinion, Jan. 19). There is much to debate about Israel, though from prideful affinity and without rush to critical judgement, before a full investigation of facts of actual, not hypothetical, actions.

While understandable, concern about some ministers in the new government, the democratically expressed will of Israel’s electorate ought be respected. Israeli multiparty elections invariably result in coalitions. All parties make demands, but threats to leave usually ring hollow, given a next election’s uncertainty. As a highly seasoned politician, Netanyahu should be able to restrain unpopular proposals.

Controversial case in point: Israel’s Supreme Court. Its members effectively choose their ideological soulmate successors and can strike down Knesset laws as “unreasonable.” Altered division of power between those two bodies seems needed.

Richard Wilkins, Syracuse, N.Y.

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