He will be missed
The passing of Edgar Bronfman, z”l (“Jewish world mourns Bronfman,” WJW, Dec. 26) reminded me of the day that the Six Day War broke out. Throughout the first day, news reports were that the Arab armies were making inroads into Israel and raised the fear that Israel was about to be decimated. There was a rally in downtown Montreal at a hotel. Inside were the leaders of the Montreal Jewish community, led by Samuel Bronfman.
The goal was to raise $20 million, a substantial sum in those days. Mr. Sam, as he was known, immediately challenged the community by providing $10 million, with the pledge that if the community raised $10 million, he would leave that amount. If it raised more, he would match the total. But if the community did not raise $10 million, he expected to be repaid the difference. Within two days, the community exceeded the $10 million, and, as I recall, the total reached close to $40 million.
Both of his sons have continued in his footsteps with their dedication to Jewish causes. We in the Jewish community will miss Edgar Bronfman, not only for his financial contribution, but for his leadership in strengthening Jewish unity and continuity.
Value of the polls
In “Polls divided on Iran deal” (WJW, Dec. 19), the writer explained that opinions were divided on the value of the six-month agreement between Iran and the so-called 5+1 nations.
The real question for me was what is the value of public opinion polls taken on highly complex topics, about which the public has neither the background, nor sufficient information to provide an objective response?
The nuclear objectives of Iran seem clear despite their constant denial that they are seeking a nuclear weapon capability. The principal objective of the allied nations was to stop Iran from enriching uranium, an objective fully in accord with several congressionally agreed resolutions. It is also broadly acknowledged that it was the crippling effect of sanctions that brought Iran to the conference table.
Given an understanding of these issues, it is puzzling that negotiators should have signed an agreement that satisfies neither primary objective. Judged by the public poll results, a significant percentage of those polled assumed if an agreement was reached it must be of some value.
The most outrageous comment in the article is attributed to an unnamed source in the White House claiming that any new sanctions could provoke Iran into withdrawing from the negotiation process. Secretary Kerry has made similar comments.
Sadly they are both right, but only because a meeting that was forced on Iran because of the effects of sanctions resulted is an easing of the very conditions that caused them to come to the table.
How many of those polled understood what was really being asked?
DR. STANLEY ORMAN
Is history repeating itself?
For centuries, the Jewish people have been kicked out of their homes, attacked, burned, gassed, and almost obliterated by bureaucrats whose benighted and cowardly decisions led to catastrophic casualties.
Jews couldn’t live in England for hundreds of years. The “White Paper” sealed death warrants for many trying to reach Eretz Yisrael. France emptied out its Jews half a dozen times, ending in Vichy’s round up of undesirables. Russia’s Pale of Settlement and pogroms, Stalin’s hunt for intellectuals and the Natan Sharansky decades of “refusenik” ordeals is almost forgotten. Germany’s Nuremberg Laws hardly mattered as a beaming Hitler hosted the 1936 Olympic Games. Two years later, Time magazine chose the fuehrer for its 1938 “man of the year” cover, as Czechoslovakia was being readied for dismemberment.
Is history repeating itself? These same countries just guaranteed Israel’s implacable foe uranium enrichment rights forever. No surprise. President Obama pledged in his Cairo speech a more benevolent American approach to the Muslim world. He kept his promise, Obama cares.
The president kept assuring Prime Minister Netanyahu “we have your back.” Yet, U.S. officials led by VP Biden met secretly with Iranians for almost a year. The Geneva P5+1 agreement actually legitimizes Iranian nuclear power within 12 months. An ignominious arrangement, it blindly ignores Iran’s determination to control significant activity in the Middle East and the destruction of Israel.
Unbelievably, Jewish fate lay in the hands of governments who put their trust in a brutal, Islamist regime. Mr. Obama’s delusional belief that the state of Israel will be safer is offensive. Ben Hecht would’ve called him an enemy “dressed in Democracy”s clothing.”
Factual event needed
As have others, I’ve been disturbed by the controversial dramatization of the alleged events at Tantura in the play The Admission, produced by Theater J and to be shown at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center (“Controversy at Theater J,” WJW, Nov. 21). If, as the author, producer and the Federation claim, the intent is to foster a discussion, then shouldn’t we start with a factual event, which no one disputes, or better yet with a play describing real atrocities before, during and after Israel’s birth?
This play, like other historical fragments, some true, some not, is a launching point for critics to further their view that just as Jews were the victimizers in 1948 of innocent Palestinians, so, too, today Jews are oppressing innocent Palestinians. For the critics there is a continuum of the alleged bad deeds of Jews in 1948 to the so-called occupation in 1967 to settlers building homes on disputed land. The critics ignore the continuum of Palestinian hatred, incitement and terrorism from 1948 onward.
The plays, lectures, writings and NGOs sponsored by J Street, the New Israel Fund and APN try to seek out the bad Israeli, real or imagined. They are blind to bad Palestinians. Terrorist organizations don’t exist. Terrorism spurred on by the incitement taught in schools, mosques and the Arab media don’t exist. Netanyahu is an extremists, while Abbas and Iran’s Rouhani are moderates.
If the Jewish Federation, the DCJCC or others really wanted to foster a valuable discussion, they would schedule debates on what support for Israel means, the role American Jews should play in the conflict, can Abbas deliver peace or merely a piece of paper and do Palestinians accept the legitimacy of Israel and Jewish rights or do they merely accept that Israel exists, but would actively support the destruction of Israel? Those are legitimate discussions. This play is not.
Obama and Kerry continue to promote an agenda of U.S. appeasement. Kerry has played a leading role in formulating and implementing an agreement with Iran to temporarily put a limit on Iran’s uranium enrichment program for six months. Iran can continue enriching uranium to 5 percent. In return Iran gets access to $7 billion in frozen funds, and more importantly, is able to get partial relief from the crippling burden of the economic sanctions.
Although inspectors will be monitoring the temporary agreement, Iran will probably continue a higher grade uranium enrichment program in secret facilities. As the end of the agreement approaches, it can stall and hinder negotiations and ask for the continuation of six-month temporary agreements until it has the nuclear weapons. Iran cannot be trusted.
While Kerry is appeasing the Iranians, Obama is busy appeasing China’s power play in the East China Sea. China has declared an air defense zone and wants aircraft to notify China if they enter that air space. Japan has refused to comply with the demand, but the Obama administration has asked U.S. commercial airlines to make the notifications.
The Obama administration continues to weaken our stature in the world through unbridled appeasement.
DONALD A. MOSKOWITZ