Letters Aug. 23, 2018


Survivor negotiators also deserve recognition
I was happy to see the recent article about Claims Conference funds being increased (“Survivors will see increased funds,” July 19). Stuart Eizenstat has been a champion for survivors alongside the others pictured, such as Greg Schneider of the Claims Conference. Year after year they have continued to defy the odds and obtain additional funding from Germany for survivor support.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the picture on page 11 that shows my father, Roman Kent, next to Eizenstat. However, I was disappointed that there was no mention in the article of survivors who are active participants in the negotiations, such as my father and his close friend, Marion Turski, from Poland. In their ninth decade of life, they are still fighting to help other survivors. They deserve recognition of their efforts.
North Potomac


A Corbyn government would be a disaster
There is now ample evidence that Jeremy Corbyn is not only anti-Israel but anti-Semitic, based on statements from leading British Jewish newspapers and members of his own Labour Party (“Problems with Labour,” Aug. 2). The problem now is the question as to how long the shaky coalition of the current ruling coalition headed by Teresa May can remain in power.

Certainly a transition from the Conservative Party being in power to Labour under Corbyn would be a serious blow not only to British foreign policy but also domestic policy focused on British Jewry. Let us hope that the Labour Party comes to its senses and forces out Corbyn as head, or in the absence of such an occurrence that British Jews keep their luggage packed.
New York City



American Jews’ nation is the United States
In the discussion of Israel’s new “nation-state” law, an important point to be made is that, despite its claim to be the nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel is not, in fact, the nation-state of American Jews (“Stating the obvious,” July 19).

Claiming that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people rather than a state of all its citizens — more than 20 percent of whom are not Jewish — has a number of problems. And the Israeli government repeatedly calls it the “homeland” of all Jews, the majority of whom are citizens of other countries.

The homeland of American Jews is the United States, and whatever the Knesset passes into law is completely irrelevant to Jews in other countries. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government may believe that Jews are a nation and that those Jews living outside of Israel are in exile, this view is not shared by the overwhelming majority of American Jews.

The reality is that the Eastern Europeans who founded and settled Israel had no understanding of the American experience, where religious freedom for all is written into law in the First Amendment. Israel, for its part, has no such idea of religious freedom or separation of religion and state. Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist rabbis are forbidden by Israeli law to perform weddings, preside over funerals and conduct conversions. A Jew and non-Jew who wish to marry must leave the country to do so. Indeed, this leads to the question of whether Jews support religious freedom only when they are in a minority and it serves their interests to do so.

American Jews are American by nationality and Jews by religion, just as other Americans are Protestant, Catholic or Muslim.
Israel would do well to confine itself to speaking in the name of its own citizens, as other countries manage to do. Its dream may be to be the nation-state of all Jews, but this has no relationship to reality.
American Council for Judaism
Alexandria, Va.

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