Letters January 5, 2017


Obama didn’t support Israel
In the article “Obama lights the menorah one last time,” (Dec. 22) the writer used the term “irony” to describe how two of these events (Chanukah holidays) fell exactly on the same day as other holidays, Thanksgiving in 2013 and Christmas in 2016.

The true irony here is how President Barack Obama likened his eight-year presidency to the miracle of Chanukah when seven days later, he failed to support our Israeli homeland by not vetoing U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 (which condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank). It is irony that, on the very day we celebrated the rededication of the holy Temple, the U.N. declared East Jerusalem, the site of the Temple, no longer Israeli territory. And a mere four days later, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that Israel “can either be Jewish or democratic. It cannot be both,” echoing words spoken 2,500 years ago when the king of Syria (Antiochus Epiphanes) banned Jewish worship.

When will we learn who our friends are?

Symbolism of venue at issue
I was struck by how Bonnie Glick wondered why the American Jewish community “splinters over the tiniest disagreements,” (Voices, “Making the U.S. Jewish community great again,” Dec. 29) when Jewish organizations boycotted a Chanukah event sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations at Trump Towers. Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan, whom Glick cites as a supporter of Jewish outreach, is not Donald Trump.


As many fellow Jews and Americans in general know, President-elect Trump had run a divisive and exclusionary campaign. When someone such as Steve Bannon, a self-described white nationalist is appointed as chief strategist to the president-elect — that is not an example of outreach to the Jewish community.

The Anti-Defamation League has produced a report documenting how Trump supporters sent out 19,000 anti-Semitic tweets to journalists who were predominantly Jewish. Trump himself once told an audience of Jewish Republicans that he did not need their money, an anti-Semitic reference in itself.

Even though, as Glick wrote, Trump himself would not be in attendance at this Chanukah party, the mere symbolism of the venue, owned by the divisive president-elect, is the real issue. Why did this event need to be specifically held at Trump Towers?

A parting shot at Israel
President Barack Obama will not let historical fact and 50 years of bilateral trust stand in the way of personal pique. U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 disadvantages Israel, and only Israel, in any future negotiations. It declares Israeli sovereignty outside the Green Line illegal. Under 2334, it is a violation of international law that the Western Wall remains Israeli. Under 2334, Jews living in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem are illegals.

We can say Israel gained the territory in a war of self-defense. We can say this land was free of any independent Palestinian entity.

We can offer such proofs that the Geneva Convention does not, therefore, apply to Judea and Samaria. Such arguments matter little with Obama.

Immediately after the Six Day War Israel offered to return the lands in exchange for peace. The answer was “no recognition, no peace, and no negotiations with the State of Israel.”

In 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered to dismantle dozens of settlements. The other side would not agree to end the conflict.

In 2008 Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered to withdraw from roughly 94 percent of Judea and Samaria. The other side rejected the offer.

In 2010 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu froze settlement activity for 10 months. The Palestinians refused to engage in negotiations until the period was nearly over. They walked out when Netanyahu refused to prolong the freeze.

Palestinians can end the settlements policy any time they wish simply by agreeing to reasonable peace terms with Israel.

Why should they? Obama has encouraged the United Nations to throw its full weight behind the Palestinians. The resolution will entrench Palestinian maximalist demands and allow those who support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement to drape themselves in international legitimacy.

It’s a nasty parting shot truly characteristic of President Obama.

Obama’s disregard for Israel
What does it take for our Jewish community to realize that that the concept of voting Democratic is not equating to democracy?

What does it take to realize that the Democratic Party is not Israel’s ultimate friend?

What does it take to realize that even though we live comfortably in a free society of the United States of America, as Jews, one of our primary concerns should be the security of Israel (“Shemtov says remarks at menorah lighting not directed at Obama,” Dec. 29)?

What does it takes to realize that we are as safe and secure here as long as we keep Israel, the only real Jewish state, safe and secure?

What does it takes to realize that the notion of the historical principle that says Jews always did and should vote Democratic should be examined and is not to be followed blindly?

We Jews, by acting based on historical (and naïve) principle, actually helped propel someone to the one of the highest position in the world where he showed over and over again his contempt and disregard to Israel. And we did that not once, but twice. Now we see the true colors; now we see that this man has one mission: to ensure any way he can the destruction of Israel.

He started it with the horrible Iran nuke deal, and as the last of his days as president approached, when he didn’t need the Jewish vote any longer, he decided to stick the knife in all the way, as deep as possible. All that done on the eve of one of the most beautiful Jewish holidays, the Festival of Light.

Yes, we are American, but please, let us not forget that first and most of all we are Jews. The dream of Israel, a Jewish state, kept that faith, that dream, alive for thousands of years. Without Israel, we are really still in the Diaspora.
West Friendship

We have a history of debate
Bonnie Glick seemed more interested in putting political expediency and  niceities ahad of forthright dialogue  (“Making the U.S. Jewish community great again,” Dec. 29).

Contrary to her assertion that our ancestors would be “puzzled” by open disagreements among today’s American Jewish leadership, the old joke about “three Jews, four opinions” illustrates well our people’s grand history of argumentation. The Tanach itself tells of many disputes among our forebears in the presence of outsiders. The Talmud is full of debate, often over the most trivial points.

The tradition continues in more recent times too. Around the turn of the 20th century, much of Europe’s Jewish “establishment” rejected Theodor Herzl’s plans for a Jewish homeland at the same time as he and fellow Zionists were publicly debating and negotiating with civil authorities where that homeland should be. And our Congress looks positively boring compared to the shouting in the Israeli Knesset.

We are taught that sinat chinam — baseless hatred among Jews themselves — was responsible for the Second Temple’s destruction. But well before we sink to that depth, a respectful yet vigorous discussion of what is best for the Jewish people in America, in Israel and around the world should take precedence over what seems to be Glick’s biggest concern: what others might think of us.

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