Letters February 2, 2017


Words of wisdom
Regarding the article “Golf club decides to welcome Ex-President Obama” (Jan. 26), in the words of the late Abba Eban, “Men and nations behave wisely when they have exhausted all other resources.”

Helping Trump-Kushners relocate
Having just finished reading “Dear Ivanka and Jared” (Editorial, Jan. 19), I very much like your idea of welcoming them to town.

Providing this basic information to them and to others who relocate to our Jewish community is a great service provided by this paper. It is wonderful to read that this committed family is likely to enroll in a Jewish day school.

Luckily, they are moving to an area with some great choices. For some reason, the article omitted one of our K-8 day schools, Gesher Jewish Day School, located in Fairfax.  In fact, the lovely article on page 4 entitled “Aryeh Kalender’s Baltic adventure” highlights one of the school’s outstanding graduates.
President, Gesher Jewish Day School, 2008-2011
Editor’s note: WJW is sorry for the omission of the Gesher Jewish Day School from the Jan. 19 editorial. It was an oversight.


Solid ground for moving embassy
Richard Schifter has made a little known but extremely valuable historical contribution to the debate over moving our embassy to Jerusalem (“The unique location of the U.S. Embassy in Israel,” Voices, Jan. 19).

He correctly points out that Jerusalem never became a separate entity as envisioned by the United Nations. It follows that since Jerusalem has never been the capital of any other nation-state other than Israel, there is solid legal and historical precedent for Israel to determine that Jerusalem is its capital.

Locating our embassy in West Jerusalem does not determine the final status of its eastern portion. Merely changing the sign on our current consulate in West Jerusalem should not be as big a deal as Israel’s detractors make it out to be.

Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as Jewish state
Burrowing out from a near-suffocating avalanche of verbiage, one historical truth emerges as the reason that a resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict remains out of reach.

Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert both required specific references be made to Israel as a Jewish state as a condition for recognition of a Palestinian state (“Jews respond to John Kerry’s speech with West Bank solidarity tour,” Jan. 5).

But Saeb Erekat, the top Palestinian negotiator, insisted that the “Palestinians will never acknowledge Israel’s Jewish identity. … There is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined.” Negotiator Erekat seems blissfully unaware of the existence of the Islamic Republics of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

And according to The New York Times, “On recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas said, ‘This is out of the question’.”

In 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress that international law already declares Israel a Jewish state, but, importantly, he seems unwilling (or unable) to require Palestinians to recognize international law.
Davis, Calif.

Inauguration Day prayers disturbing
The inauguration of President Donald Trump included prayers by five Christian clergy and by Rabbi Marvin Hier. I was disturbed that there was no inclusion of Muslims or members of other faiths, and that most of the Christian clergy prayed in the name of Jesus, instead of a more inclusive message.

I was also disturbed by the prayer given by Hier, in which he quoted Psalm 137: “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.” The reference to Jerusalem was without context, and came across simply as a political message, perhaps connected to moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or the U.N. Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. He surely understood that he would be perceived as a representing the Jewish community.

However, many American Jews do not share his political views and have concerns for America far greater than this issue he chose to highlight. His blessing appeared trivial and not worthy of this important day.

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