Letters, Jan. 20, 2016


Story behind Nixon’s resupplying Israel
Aaron Leibel’s review of the recent Richard Nixon biographies (“Three books paint portrait of Richard Nixon,” WJW, Jan. 7) refers to Nixon’s order to resupply Israel with needed defense equipment when it ran short during the Yom Kippur War. What is generally not known is how that decision came about. My good friend, the late Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, who served as chief of naval operations from 1970 to 1974, shared that information with me.  It should be more generally known.

Given the reports that the Pentagon received during the first days of the war about Israel running out of needed defense equipment, Zumwalt became greatly concerned. He had viewed Israel as a “U.S. stationary aircraft carrier” and was concerned both about the U.S. position in the region, as well as about Israel as a democratic ally.

Henry Kissinger, who was then serving as secretary of state and national security advisor, was opposed to providing the resupply requested by Prime Minister Golda Meir. Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger was uncertain. Nixon was preoccupied with the problem posed by Vice President Spiro Agnew’s resignation, which had occurred two days after the start of the war. These were the circumstances that caused Zumwalt to decide that he needed to brief Sen. Henry Jackson, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on the danger that Israel faced. Jackson familiarized himself with the data and then called Schlesinger, telling him that if the resupply were not ordered immediately, he would go public with a call on the White House to proceed with a major resupply effort. It was in response to that call that the action was taken that saved Israel. It was thus Zumwalt’s briefing of Jackson that brought it about.

NGO funding law not objectionable
How can anyone find Israel’s NGO law objectionable unless they do not want the public to know that their activities are being funded by foreign governments (“Proposed law is hypocritical attack on left,” Voices, WJW, Jan. 14)? If they have nothing to hide, why object? Or are they afraid that their true intentions will become evident? Why is Israel’s so-called human rights community receiving its funding from European governments and other foreign sources and not from private Israeli and other Jewish sources? Obviously, because their agenda does not resonate with most Jews who don’t agree with them and see through their anti-Israel bias.


The New Israel Fund talks about “inevitable human rights abuses” under occupation. First of all, the Palestinian Authority has control over most of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria and they are the ones abusing human rights, not Israel. The hypocrisy is clearly on the part of the New Israel Fund and their ilk whose agenda if carried out would not only not result in “an honest, free and democratic Israel,” it would result in no Israel. Ask them to name any other honest, free and democratic country in the region.

They can’t because Israel is the only one.
West River

Another Marylander with ties to Israeli lacrosse
I was thrilled to see the article about lacrosse in Israel this past week (“Taking Maryland’s quintessential sport to the Holy Land’s playing fields,” WJW, Jan. 14). The Greater Washington area has yet another connection to Israeli lacrosse. Our own Dr. Stuart Milner, a former high school lacrosse All-American and Maryland native, is the Israeli team’s nominated referee for the World Championships, having gone the extra mile in helping establish the officiating for the Israeli league and national team. He plans to go back to Israel this coming year to continue his work. His craft was recently on display when the Israeli national team played Stevenson University in Baltimore. While the Israelis lost a hard-fought game, the refereeing was exceptional.

Ad questioned
Here we go again:  I question the appropriateness of Washington Jewish Week, which should be promoting Shabbat for its readers, accepting an advertisement from Parvizian (WJW, Jan.14) displaying its 50-year anniversary three-day auction and celebration, including 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16 with a rare antique and masterpiece carpets preview two hours before I hope to be engrossed in the parsha Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:6) at my shul of choice. A $5,000 door prize will be given — can a Jew ethically apply and accept this no purchase necessary gift on Shabbat? Don’t blame me for any plague of spiritual darkness to Shabbat participants.

Another look at the distasteful video
Any response to Susie Gelman’s call to American Jewry to “break our silence” about what we may find distasteful about “societal trends” in Israel as extrapolated from the “wedding of hate” video must examine in a more precise fashion the criticism (“Breaking our silence,” Voices, WJW, Dec. 31). Gelman is troubled by Justice Minister’s Ayelet Shaked statement that she “regretted” the release of the video as it “hurts the State of Israel.”  It seems Gelman believes it is very much the behavior shown in the video that truly hurts Israel, but the airing of the video across the world and the need for subsequent denunciation by American Jews accomplish something positive.

Perhaps I don’t understand the apposition of the two thoughts. Shaked, along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the vast segment of Israeli society, viewed the actions of an extreme minority with revulsion and loudly proclaimed repugnance.  The government is looking into legal action against the participants. So what silence is there for American Jews to break?

As to Shaked’s claim that the worldwide showing of the video hurts Israel, do we following Gelman’s lead — simply dismiss it out of hand or somehow tied to the suppression of free speech? Is it wrong to consider that the video as utterly misrepresentative of Israel’s core gives additional fodder to those on our college campuses who wish to associate the actions of a few Israelis with all of Israel? Does it not give misapplied resonance to those Americans who look to conclude that there are crazies on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide, so why should Israel be favored?

As part of acheinu kol beit yisrael, Gelman is correct that we are all family and have a right and even duty to talk to each other.  And within the family, it’s fair to ask: Is the wedding hate video really anything more than a small stain on a single item rather than an emblematic blotching of everything within the whole basket?

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