Letters for Oct. 23, 2014


Disrespectful to humanitarian work

Regarding the article “Kerry urged to probe UNRWA” by Dmitriy Shapiro (WJW, Oct. 16), I would like to address some specific claims made by the author.

First, the primary topic for the article is a letter from members of Congress to the secretary of state regarding violations of United Nations neutrality in Gaza during the most recent conflict, and more specifically the occasions when we found munitions had been placed in three of our schools.

Regarding those incidents that were the focus of your article, UNRWA itself discovered the weapons as part of our robust system of inspections across the agency conducted by international staff who are funded by the U.S. government. The world knows about this story precisely because UNRWA staff inspecting UNRWA schools that were closed for summer break reported these incidents, and we proactively informed all parties and issued public statements on the matter. We explicitly condemned those who have abused the sanctity of our premises as a flagrant violation of international law.


We also believe that it is absolutely critical to note that in a number of incidents UNRWA schools sheltering civilians were directly or indirectly hit by Israeli fire, resulting in significant loss of life and damage to U.N. facilities.

Shapiro’s article also makes the claim that three IDF “soldiers were killed when Hamas militants detonated an UNRWA clinic where the soldiers were investigating an entrance to a smuggling tunnel.” It appears that Shapiro did not adequately research this as this incident never even happened. The IDF itself has retracted the story stating that the building in question was not an UNRWA clinic.

Finally, his article ignores the huge sacrifices made by UNRWA staff in Gaza who were assisting the 290,000 civilians seeking shelter in our facilities. Minimizing this with the stroke of a pen is disrespectful to the very nature of humanitarian work.


Washington Liaison Officer, United Nations Relief and Works Agency


Hellfires were delivered

Two letters appeared in the Aug. 28 issue of Washington Jewish Week, one by Renee Y. Lease (“No Hellfires”) and the other by Robert Berman (“Intentional delay”). Their letters were in response to a WJW article in the Aug. 21 issue, which said that the Obama administration held up Hellfire missile deliveries to Israel. Lease claimed “that since Obama is anti-Israel in every way, the Hellfire missiles will not be delivered.” Berman’s letter claims Obama held up the delivery in order “to falsely blame Israel for increased damage” because Israel will now have to use less accurate missiles than Hellfire.

I know it will come as a shock to Ms. Lease, but the Obama administration actually delivered the Hellfire missiles to Israel. So much for your totally unrealistic prediction and your claim that Obama is anti-Israel. Mr. Berman, your claim that Hellfire deliveries were held up on purpose so that Israel would increase “collateral damage” in Gaza is so far-fetched and outside the world of reality that it only reflects one thing – your hatred of Obama. Did you know Mr. Berman, that in his first term, President Obama increased the amount of American supplies prepositioned in Israel to nearly $1 billion dollars. That is double the amount of what other American presidents did.

I was quoted in Dmitriy Shapiro’s original Hellfire article in which I said that this is a “tempest in a teapot,” and the Hellfires will eventually be delivered. I was correct.




What about the kids?

I have no problem with a gay rabbi (“I have come to understand that I am gay,” WJW, Oct. 9). I do have a problem with someone breaking up his family with three minor children. Everyone praising the rabbi for his courage should ask, where was the courage to try to keep the marriage intact until his children are older?


From washingtonjewishweek.com


We’re all human

To be arrested doesn’t mean to be guilty (“Prominent local rabbi arrested for voyeurism,” WJW, Oct. 16). If found guilty, he must be referred to a therapist and we must not forget we are all humans and some have bigger problems than others.


From washingtonjewishweek.com


Judgment should wait

Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan. If he is guilty, he will be punished and will need therapy (“Prominent local rabbi arrested for voyeurism,” WJW, Oct. 16). I still hope that his friends and colleagues will reach out to him and his family. I am not defending him, merely asking that judgment wait until all the facts are in.


From washingtonjewishweek.com


Sad for Jewish community

How sad for the Jewish community (“Prominent local rabbi arrested for voyeurism,” WJW, Oct. 16). We hold ourselves to a higher standards – or, we should. Freundel is ruined, regardless of the outcome of the accusation.


From washingtonjewishweek.com



Great role model

Re: “You Should Know … Julianna Goldman,” (WJW, Oct. 2), thanks for being a great role model for young women everywhere.


From washingtonjewishweek.com


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