Letters for Jan. 28, 2015

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Off-balance
When it comes to plays produced by Ari Roth about Israel, each one has the Israeli as the villain and the Palestinian as the victim (“Why Ari Roth was fired,” WJW, Jan. 1). Anyone know of the
reverse?

In a play he wanted to produce called “I Shall Not Hate,” a Palestinian doctor rises above hatred of Israel, despite the loss of three children in the 2009 war between Israel and Hamas. Roth claimed it would be cathartic. For whom? No one in D.C. was involved or should feel guilty. Hamas attacked Israel. Dr. Abuelaish’s children were casualties of war, regrettable, but a war precipitated by Hamas and, as far as I know, he didn’t blame his children’s death on Hamas as he should have.


Where are the plays about Israelis or Jews who, despite the murder of their children by Palestinians or Nazis, also rise above the hatred? Missing from Roth’s selections is balance. He prefers vignettes that fit his biases – look Jew, you think Israel is perfect and the Palestinians villains, I’m here to show you that Israel is really the villain, while the Palestinians are virtuous and innocent victims of evil Israelis (read Jews). Is that artistic impression or propaganda?

I am not afraid to hear the truth about Israel’s past or present. In fact, I want a fair airing so those who are otherwise inundated by Roth-style, anti-Israel propaganda will hear the full story.

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

Unfortunately, the world and Roth, by fear or agenda, are unwilling to tell the truth about Palestinian atrocities and hatred towards Israel.

I guarantee any accurate accounting of death, destruction, terrorism and ethnic cleansing would show Israel’s actions to be far more humane and justified not only in comparison to Palestinians, but to all Arabs, Europeans, Christians and yes, Americans.
MELVIN FARBER
Silver Spring


J Street does disservice to Yitzhak Rabin
J Street official Steven Krubiner was quoted as saying that “it is impossible for Israel to simultaneously control the West Bank, maintain a democracy and keep the Jewish character of the state.” (“Clear choice, J Street ramps up Israeli political coverage ahead of March elections,” WJW, Jan. 8).

That doomsday forecast does a disservice to the vision of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Back in 1995, Rabin “took risks for peace” by withdrawing from the cities in Judea-Samaria (the West Bank) where more than 95 percent of the Palestinian Arabs reside. Since then, they are ruled not by Israel, but by the Palestinian Authority. They run their own affairs, and vote in their own elections, as do the Palestinians who live in Gaza, from which Israel completely withdrew in 2005. All they lack is the right to establish their own army; naturally Israel does not want a hostile, full-fledged army on its doorstep.

It’s time for the J Street camp to honor the memory of Prime Minister Rabin by recognizing that he ended the occupation of almost all the Palestinian Arabs two decades ago. The real debate now is not about the non-existent “occupation;” it is simply whether or not the de facto state known as the Palestinian Authority should be allowed to create an army.
MOSHE PHILLIPS, president
BENJAMIN KORN, chairman
Religious Zionists of America
Philadelphia

Campaign for Holocaust exhibit
In “Robert Wolfe:  history’s gain and loss” (Forum, washingtonjewishweek.com, Dec. 18), the death of Robert Wolfe, archivist of Nazi records, was reported.

The item brought to mind what might be an interesting historical footnote: After the “Holocaust” miniseries was broadcast in 1978, my wife and I phoned the National Archives and spoke to one of the archivists in charge of Holocaust materials at the time (probably not Mr. Wolfe).  In light of the widespread interest in the subject due to the miniseries, we asked if he might consider a display of documents and artifacts on the subject. The archivist said, no, such an exhibit would only bring out “the kooks and nuts” and he also said that nobody would really be interested in such a display.  We said, well, which is it, bring out a lot of people or no people?  He didn’t answer.  We asked what it would take to convince him that such a display would be beneficial to the public, and he said it would take a real groundswell of expressions of interest.

That was all we needed to hear.  We called a dozen friends, told them the story and told them to contact the archives and to spread the word.  It worked!  Within a few months the Archives put on what The Washington Post called “a small but important exhibit” in the lobby of the building.  It became so popular that they eventually added a Sunday opening of the lobby, and the exhibit ran for over a year. The archivist never knew about our campaign.

Years later we attended a showing of newly curated Holocaust films, narrated by this same man.  In his introduction, he commented that he had viewed such materials dispassionately through the eyes of a professional archivist, until something happened that changed his life.  As a result, he had become a passionate student of the Holocaust. Our “campaign” took place just months before President Carter began plans of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
ARNOLD AND MARY HAMMER
Rockville

Uproar over Roth firing
When, after six more years of his “artful falsehoods,” to borrow from Maureen Dowd, Ari Roth was fired, an uproar ensued (“Why Ari Roth was fired,” WJW, Jan. 1). The latest exhibit of this righteous indignation is a full page ad in the Jan.15 WJW, signed by at least 90 women.

By lending their names to this campaign, they support not freedom of speech and artistic expression but misogyny, hate, and filth. And it is thus their names will be remembered for generations to come. How sad.
BORIS FELDBLYUM
Potomac

Rabbi should be commended
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld should be commended for his courage to speak at Washington Mayor Bowser’s interfaith prayer service (“Rabbi’s church appearance stirs scrutiny,” WJW, Jan.8).

On Dec. 4, I completed a long project with (Israel) Prime Minister Netanyahu to rebury the cremains of Col. John Henry Patterson in Avihayil. Col. Patterson was the Christian godfather of the IDF. He was also the godfather of Jonathan Netanyahu.

The Rabbis in Israel found a way to, halachically and respectfully, bury the colonel with his men of the Jewish Legion, as was his wish. It was a long overdue proper honor and repayment of a debt to a good man who sacrificed everything for the Jewish people.

There are good people who are Christians, and there are bad people who
are Christians — much the same as with Jews.

In the letter from the prime minister to me, thanking me for my part in the project, he quoted Ze’ev Jabotinsky: “Never in Jewish history has there been in our midst a Christian friend of his penetration and devotion.”

Patterson was one of a number of Christians that God placed in unique position to help midwife the birth of the modern State of Israel. As Golda Meir said of the Rev. John Stanley Grauel from the Exodus…“He did what no Jew could do.”

It is proper to recognize good people from different paths who God created in his likeness, just as He did with all of us.
JERRY KLINGER, president
Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation

New kosher restaurant
Thank you for covering the opening of a new kosher restaurant (“Mangiare!” WJW, Jan. 22).
This is one of the reasons I read the WJW.
STEVE KALIN
Alexandria

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