Letters | Feb. 24, 2021

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Can an anti-Semite be a political moderate?

Dylan Williams of J Street (“Biden Gets It,” Opinion, Feb. 18) called on the Biden administration to “rebuild the U.S. relationship with moderate Palestinian leaders.” Where’s the evidence that such “moderates” exist?

In a speech on April 30, 2018, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Jews have “no historical ties” to the Land of Israel; he said there has never been an anti-Semitic incident against Jews in Arab countries (“Not even once in over 1,400 years!”). And, most notoriously, he said the Holocaust was not the result of anti-Semitism, but rather was caused by the Jews’ own “social behavior, [charging] interest, and financial matters.”


J Street said it “strongly condemned” Abbas’ remarks, which it said consisted of “absurd anti-Semitic tropes and deeply offensive comments on the history of the Jewish people and Israel.”

If, less than three years ago, Abbas was — according to J Street — an anti-Semite, how is it that he is now “moderate”? If J Street wants us to believe its opposition to Palestinian anti-Semitism is sincere, it must insist that Abbas publicly admit that what he said was wrong; withdraw the Holocaust-denying book he wrote in 1982 from circulation; and eliminate anti-Semitic statements from the PA-controlled media and schools.

https://www.washingtonjewishweek.com/enewsletter/

Only when the Palestinians, starting with their leaders, genuinely give up their anti-Semitism, can we take seriously claims by Dylan Williams and J Street that “moderate Palestinian leaders” exist with whom the United States should interact.

MOSHE PHILLIPS
The writer is national director of
Herut North America (U.S. Division) –
The Jabotinsky Movement


Jan. 6 must not be forgotten

The conclusion of your editorial on the future of the Republican Party was off the mark (“Beyond Donald Trump,” Feb. 18). Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to deny the former president the publicity he craves. Yet we need to understand what happened on Jan. 6. That day must not be forgotten.

From a tactical standpoint, we need to understand how the breach occurred so that our Capitol and local police are never put in that horrific position again of trying to defend against a rioting mob. At a more strategic level, we need to understand how such blatant lies as the “stolen election” gained traction and were believed — and so strongly as to cause that mob and others to act.

Nothing less than the future of our democracy is at stake. Free and fair elections, as well as the right to peaceful protest (such as the Women’s March after the 2017 inauguration) are the hallmark of this great nation and must be preserved.

HARRI KRAMER
Bethesda

Some tragedies are bigger than others

David Fishback’s letter (“If you will it, the dream gets complicated,” Feb. 18) fails to sufficiently distinguish between “nationalism” and self-determination. He paints “nationalism” as having a “tragic” history. If nationalism has also resulted in some peoples who had earlier been “displaced” achieving self-determination, is this not good? Was it not the case that the Jewish people, who had lived on their own land for millennia, were also displaced and suffered a more “tragic” history than the Arabs of Palestine? Fishback writes that “the Jewish state was founded on territory that, for well over 1,000 years, was the homeland of people who were not Jewish.” Did Herzl, Balfour or The League of Nations ever indicate that the new Jewish state should not contain Arabs, as Mahmoud Abbas says of the Jews in his hoped-for Arab state?

KENNETH M. DAVIS
Bethesda

Republicans blame Trump, too

Regarding “Nikki Haley broke with Trump. It could make her a Jewish GOP favorite in 2024” (Feb 18): Ron Kampeas writes “Trump’s inflammatory post-election rhetoric, which Democrats argue culminated in the deadly Jan. 6 riot…”

I want to point out that it was not just Democrats who blamed Trump for the attack.

What about those Republicans, including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican legislators, who also publicly blamed Trump? To say that only Democrats blamed him for the attack makes it seem like a purely partisan stance, and ignores the great number of Republicans who agree that the former president caused this riot by his words in the preceding months and days.

DAVID POTASZNIK
Rockville

Correction

Sue Rexford’s first name was incorrect in “5 things a high school junior (and their parents) needs to know about the college search” (Feb. 18).

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