Letters | Dec. 13, 2018


Local connection to ‘lonely guy’ comment

Reflecting on the legacy of President George H.W. Bush, there were many positive aspects as relates to Israel and the Jews (“Bush had mixed legacy with Jews, Israel,” Dec. 6). He was extremely helpful in the rescue of Ethiopian Jews (Operation Solomon) and persuading Hafez Assad to allow young Syrian Jewish women to leave Syria.

However, one fateful comment of his appeared on the cover of your publication on Sept. 19, 1991, “Some Powerful Political Forces Versus One Lonely Little Guy.” Many people believed that this statement fed into the slur of the all-powerful Jew and Jewish lobby, and may have found haven with anti-Semites.

The photos along with the headline make a powerful statement, as it shows four local women lobbying Congress for the loan guarantees. One of those women, Sarah Stern (my wife) had this experience catapult her into the political sphere in her subsequent work for the ZOA, American Jewish Congress and, over the last 14 years as its founder and president, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).


Nothing good about proposed headwear push

A proposed new rule to allow members of Congress the freedom to wear religious headgear while on the floor of the House of Representatives seems innocuous, but it is not (“Orthodox groups back Israel critic on headwear push in Congress,” Dec. 6).

Members are elected to work for the entire nation, and not for any religious group. Judges set the example by wearing a black robe to hide their individuality. Justice is blind and does not take sides. This should be true for members of Congress, and they should not openly show their biased feelings. They can do what they wish when not in a
government facility.

The next step will be to allow a member to wear a sport team shirt or jacket, and where do we go from there? Let us keep our representatives on a neutral path. It is now difficult enough.
Silver Spring

Israel is not monolithic, is more than Netanyahu

I am always struck by how Jewish supporters of President Donald Trump will back anything that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu favors (“At gala supporting Israeli settlement, plenty of love for Trump to go around,” Dec. 6). However, Israel is far more than what Netanyahu, the West Bank settlers and the haredi Orthodox Jews who control power in the government support.

Israel is also represented by great diversity, such as Druze and Bedouin citizens, many of whom serve in the Israeli military. A recent rally of 30,000 Israeli protesters against increasing violence against women represents another segment of Israeli society.

Most importantly for we Diaspora Jews who are neither haredi nor Orthodox, it would be highly beneficial, for example, if Israeli authorities would come to an agreement allowing pluralistic prayer space at the Western Wall sooner rather than later.
Alexandria, Va.

Democracy itself is under threat

Thank you for Michael Gelman’s article detailing a number of developments hampering the vibrancy and legitimacy of our democracy (“Do we still have a democracy?” Dec. 6). I have a few responses.

The idea of one person-one vote summarizes a tenet of our democracy, i.e., that everyone’s vote carries the same weight. The article shows that gerrymandering, voter suppression and uncontrolled spending are shenanigans that tarnish that tenet. Other shenanigans (unsecured voting systems, misaligned ballots for some and not others, and post-election re-writing laws to benefit the losers) create Goldilocks governments — having representatives and laws be just right, rather than reflecting our citizens and institutions.

As for the Census citizenship question, all measurement instruments must adhere to, among many requirements, the validity of the instrument. This includes focusing on what the instrument is supposed to measure and not measure. If it is to count residents, then its questions cannot compromise counting residents.

Silver Spring

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