Sanders’ speech was inspiring
Unlike the inflammatory headline, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ J Street keynote address was thoughtful, voicing mainstream Jewish values and reviewing faults of many nations and leaders, including Israel and the United States (“At J Street, Sanders blames Israel for Gaza clashes,” April 19).
He noted threats to Israel’s security like Hamas and the rise of anti-Semitism. He called on all parties to address the dire situation in Gaza, referencing reports from Israel’s leading human rights group, B’Tselem. Quoting The New York Times, he expressed Israel’s obligation to use restraint in its response to protests in Gaza. In classic form, he called out the Saudi crown prince for pledging only $50 million, “no small sum,” to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, noting the prince recently spent $500 million on his yacht.
It was a friendly, enthusiastic crowd, but I came away thinking his framing was carefully honed to lead the broader American-Jewish public. It was inspiring.
Falls Church, Va.
Real fascism is not a product of the right
In a recent issue, a long section discusses former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s presentation of her book, the title of which includes the word “fascism” (“Albright draws crowd at Sixth & I,” April 19).
Albright considers fascism a phenomenon of the right. This is ironic since, in the United States, the leftists by and large rule the colleges and universities. In numerous cases professors who dare to propose — or allow others to propose — a hypothesis that annoys the left are verbally or even physically assaulted. Consider, for example, the case of Amy Wax at the University of Pennsylvania’s law school or those of Bret Weinstein at Evergreen State College, Allison Stanger at Middlebury College (she was physically assaulted and hospitalized) or Josh Blackman at CUNY.
Sadly there are more examples. If the definition of fascism is, per Albright, censoring opposing viewpoints, it is the left in academia where incipient fascism exists.
Op-ed makes the wrong moral judgment
Shame on WJW for publishing Michael Koplow’s April 11 denigration of the Israel Defense Forces (“The simple answers are the wrong ones in Gaza,” April 12). He used language and memes usually seen only in anti-Israeli media such as the Guardian, BBC and The New York Times.
Koplow contends that “Hamas has not fired a rocket in 14 months.” In 2017, there were 17 missiles fired from Gaza and five from the neighboring Sinai. In 2018, there were missile and mortar attacks on Jan. 1 and 3, and on Feb. 2, 17 and 18. Hamas rules Gaza and is responsible for what happens there no matter which Gazan fires the rocket or mortar.
Worse is his lengthy dismissal as “an indefensible platitude,” in words and style used by Israel’s worst defamers, that the IDF is the most moral army in the world. Israel’s military demands its soldiers repelling the attempted invasion from Gaza to use deadly force only when absolutely required, to an appropriate degree and with precision.
War is hell, but simply put, the IDF’s training and actions do make it the most moral army in the world.
Double standard reigns at U-Va.
The student Minority Rights Coalition (MRC) at the University of Virginia engaged in hypocrisy when it denied membership to the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) based solely on the presence of Hoos for Israel in the JLC (“U-Va. student diversity council rethinking ban on Jewish group,” April 5). This is because the Middle East Leadership Council, a MRC member organization, has for years contained the group Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine. Six former JLC leaders and former presidents of Hoos for Israel, including myself, wrote an op-ed in the Cavalier Daily student paper a few weeks ago saying as much.
The longtime embrace of one group coupled with a decision to exclude JLC and Hoos for Israel implies a severe double standard. The newly elected MRC student leaders must accept the whole Jewish community as full members. No other reasonable path treats the minority Jewish population with the respect granted to the current minority groups in the coalition.