Letters, Feb. 25, 2015


All Jewish Virginians don’t share same views
As a Jewish Virginian, I am deeply offended that JCRC would lobby our legislators (“Jewish Virginians Lobby Legislators,” WJW, Feb. 12) that “our issues” are one and the same with the liberal agenda.  While support for Israel and the Virginia Israel Advisory Board have broad bi-partisan support, Jewish Virginians inhabit all parts of the political spectrum — liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans.  If these people want to advocate on their own behalf, that is their business.  But it is extraordinary chutzpah for a small group of attendees (out of a NOVA Jewish population of approximately 67,000) to show up in Richmond and tell our legislators that the Jewish community is in lockstep with liberal positions on legislation.  For example, to assert that Jewish Virginians as a group support “in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant children” is outrageous.  Maybe some Jewish Virginians would support that, perhaps many do, but there is no hard evidence one way or the other, and for JCRC to make that assertion to our legislators is wrong.

Moreover, lobbying on issues that are not uniquely “Jewish” issues is ultimately pointless and counterproductive.  Republican legislators know very well the diverse nature of their Jewish constituents.  How many legislators (particularly Republicans) have actually changed their votes on in-state tuition for those here illegally, or Medicaid, because of JCRC?  Other than Israel, which Republicans strongly support (sometimes it seems more than Democrats), when it comes to domestic issues, JCRC is perceived as just one more liberal advocacy group.  This is a tragedy, because what could be a unifying event for our community becomes a dividing one, and instead of concentrating on issues where Jews have a unique stake, these self-appointed representatives use our community’s good name to push their own pet causes.

Another rabbinical council is a bad idea
I find the idea of a second rabbinical organization to oversee kashrut in Washington to be a very bad idea (“Orthodox leaders create new council,” WJW, Feb. 12). Washington has had a mostly united rabbinical council of Orthodox rabbis for more than 70 years — longer than any city but St. Louis. Being united, its goal has always been to set standards that will satisfy nearly everyone in the Washington area. In that time it has learned great lessons and instituted procedures that constitute best practices in the kosher food industry. Competing rabbinical councils are usually created either because the founders think that the existing council is either too lenient or too strict; subsequently, kosher consumers take sides and before you know it, neighbors have to decide whether they are willing to eat in someone’s home because they eat at or shop at businesses under another council’s supervision. That kind of competition can poison cities, neighborhoods and friendships — something we definitely do not need.
Silver Spring

Jihadist photo and caption objectionable
You might have written, “ISIS fighters poised to murder Egyptian Coptic Christians.” However (“Is Iran a bigger threat than Islamic State?” WJW, Feb. 19), you called the murderers “radical jihadists.” Is there a distinction between “radical jihadists” and “conformist jihadists”? Had you written a truthful caption, you might have re-thought your decision to include this photo, which gives a hideous voice to evil-doers. Would you have considered running a photo of Charles Manson et al. just prior to their committing murder? Perhaps ISIS has a more adept press agent.


Missing the point
It is scandalous that an invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the Congress regarding Iran’s nuclear program has morphed into a heated political discussion regarding Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and the reason for the invitation (“To speak or not to speak,” WJW, Feb. 5). The uproar over the invitation could have been avoided had the president not acted petulantly and, instead, invited Netanyahu to the White House. It is even more scandalous to witness the lack of unity within the Jewish community in the face of increasing anti-Semitism and hatred directed at Israel.  What about the issues rather than the personalities?

Where is the discussion of the tremendous risk to Israel and to the world, should Iran, a designated state sponsor of terrorism, obtain a nuclear capability, and how close Iran is in achieving its goal?
In a recent speech, Dermer spoke proudly that finally, Jews have a place which can be called home and which can be defended. He talked about historical anti-Semitism, the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and why a nuclear Iran is a threat to all that Israel stands for. He stressed that Israel must not be silent and must speak the truth, fearlessly and unapologetically.  Netanyahu’s acceptance was not political.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, President Barack Obama believes that Iran can be negotiated out of developing nuclear weapons and has threatened to veto any congressional legislation intended to prevent this catastrophe. According to several reports, Obama was angry because he was not in the invitation loop (Would he have tried to stop the invitation?), leading to the suspicion that Obama fears Netanyahu’s testimony would compel Congress to override the threatened veto. Instead, he dispatched election operatives to Israel to work to defeat Netanyahu in the upcoming election. He has done nothing to quiet the uproar and is demonstrating once again his suspected disdain for Israel.

To quote the ambassador: “Israel has learned from history that the world becomes a more dangerous place for the Jewish people when the Jewish people are silent.” Wasn’t this the case in the 1940s when one-third of the Jewish people were murdered during the Holocaust?  Netanyahu is right to come to Washington.

Offensive crossword clue and answer
I’ve enjoyed trying my hand at your weekly crossword puzzle, until your shocking (Crossword puzzle, WJW, Feb. 19) edition. The clue for number 39 down – “Job for a JAP?” — was upsetting enough. I can’t believe you’d use that derogatory term for Jewish women in this day and age. But even worse was the answer to that clue – “nose.” Such anti-Semitic caricatures would seem more appropriate in a newspaper that called itself the Washington Anti-Jewish Week rather than the Jewish Week.

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