Letters Jan. 4, 2018


Reality check on Jerusalem

Many thanks to Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch for speaking up about Reform Judaism’s ridiculous objections to the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (“My Reform colleagues were wrong on Jerusalem,” Dec. 28). As a member of a local Reform congregation, I was embarrassed to be identified with a proclamation that is positively Trumpish in its refusal to acknowledge reality.

The bulk of Israel’s government — its legislative body, its presidency, prime minister and most of its Cabinet positions — is located in Jerusalem. That is the reality.

Then there is the exotic notion that recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital may interfere with the peace process. What peace process? The reality is that no such thing is happening. Two key Palestinian factions can’t even make peace with each other.


Finally, there is the reality of time. As the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out, waiting for the time to be right almost always guarantees the time will never be right. Seventy years is time enough. The Reform establishment can do more to advance peace by accepting facts than by endorsing pretexts.


Add this to 2017’s Top 10

Although Josefin Dolsten has presented a very informative year in review (“The top 10 moments that matter most to Jews in 2017,” Dec. 28), I am disappointed that one other story did not make this list. This is the Trump administration’s acquiescence in allowing Iranian troops on Israel’s border in Syria.

Our apprentice president, Mr. I Alone Can Fix It, and the master of the “Art of the Deal,” ceded resolution of a cease-fire agreement in the Syrian civil war to Russia. As Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute wrote, “Iranian conventional ground forces operate in Syria, controlling many tens of thousands of proxy militias drawn from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Lebanese Hezbollah.”

The Israelis have already carried out a missile strike against one Iranian military base located 30 miles from its border. The moral of the story must be that Iran no longer needs nuclear weapons in order to threaten Israel.


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  1. Mr. Dwork, the Trump administration has not acquiesced to the stationing of Iranian troops and proxies on the Israeli-Syrian border. Nor has it encouraged Russian interference in the Syrian civil war. Those dubious honors go to the Obama administration and its feckless foreign policy.
    By ignoring its own red lines on Syrian use of chemical weapons, and by giving Iran sanctions relief and cold cash in return for a flawed nuclear deal, the Obama administration practically gave the Russians and Iranians an engraved invitation to intervene in Syria.
    Trump now has an extremely difficult task – to clean up the foreign policy mess left by Obama.

  2. Jonathan Grant , you missed my point. I was not suggesting sending US troops. What I meant is that with all of the criticism of Obama and the Iran nuclear agreement, Trump’s failure to get the Russians to agree to a withdrawal of conventional (not nuclear) troops means that the Iran threat now is not about nuclear weapons, but about CONVENTIONAL Iranian troops on Israel’s border in Syria. Obviously Israel can handle it. But as Netanyahu said, he didn’t want this to be this way in the first place.

  3. Marc Caroff, the point I’m trying to make is that Trump is the one who has always claimed to know how to bring about Middle East peace. We all know how he views the Russians, frankly in his own mind, more like allies than even the British.

    Plus the bottom line is that since Trump has been the president for one year, it is HIS RESPONSIBILITY to prevent further threats to Israel. Stop blaming the Obama Administration. At least Obama recognized that settling the Syrian conflict is complex. Trump pretends that all foreign policy issues have simple answers. He thinks that because he successfully reached deals in his real estate business, he can simply apply the same methods to solving world issues. It ain’t that simple.

  4. Barry, you are correct in one thing, it ain’t that simple. But at least President Trump has the backbone to take it on directly, instead of “leading from behind” as President Obama did which allows ‘not simple’ situations to become impossible or nearly so in their increasing complexity. Let’s remember that Obama was the one who called ISIS the “JV team” which then went on to make a mockery of him by exploding all over Euphrates River valley area in the most horrific barbarity that I have ever seen in my lifetime. TRUMP has allowed the generals to do what they’re supposed to do to and they have nearly entirely eradicated them in less than a year ! I’m not tired of WINNING yet. But it sure does feel great to be doing so again !!


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