Iran deal, one year on
The editorial “The Iran deal’s anniversary” (July 14) was reasonably balanced until the final paragraph containing the phrases “what is needed is continuing vigilance over Iranian behavior, coupled with a credible deterrence against a nuclear breakout.”
Those opposing the original deal expressed concern that we would lack the capability to meet the two criteria specified.
As noted earlier in the editorial, the International Atomic Energy Agency is unable to provide the in-depth reporting normally accompanying statements on a nation’s compliance with nuclear agreements. This is because under the terms of the Iran deal, it is precluded from conducting the intrusive inspections normally required to satisfy such compliance.
Having spent more than 50 years working on nuclear offense and anti-ballistic missile defense, I can claim some understanding of what constitutes credible deterrence. Throughout the Cold War, deterrence was achieved through Mutual Assured Destruction because the Soviets, the United States and its allies were rational. Once proliferation of nuclear and missile technology occurred, the certainty that hostiles could be deterred by the risk of retaliation diminished. It was, however, recognized that the addition of ABM defenses could provide another layer of insurance.
Effective deterrence now depends on the United States convincing hostile opponents that we possess a reliable stockpile, coupled with the will to use the systems if required, with the added insurance that if attacked we have a means of intercepting missiles. Sadly, the messages opponents receive are far weaker than we sent during the Cold War. Our stockpile of nuclear warheads has aged, our willingness to use them is doubtful and we have not demonstrated we have effective ABM defenses.
Had we had leaders with the ability to negotiate an effective agreement with Iran, we might have been in a better position. Sadly, the agreement made was weak and so is our current deterrent posture.
Irony of recent editorials
Your July 7 editorials evoked some serious doubts and a bit of irony. In the second, “Sharanksy’s dark prophecy,” you take him to task for his Paris statement that “there is no future for the Jews in France.” Yet I have frequently heard such comments from French Jews, so Sharansky is hardly alone. If instead of 2016, this had been 1933 and a significant foreigner was similarly warning German Jews, would that also have been wrong? No one knows the future, but the signs/trends are not good. “It can’t happen here” has failed with frequency, and sometimes a serious wake-up call is critical. Yes, as you note, exodus may weaken local Jewish communities, but it could also save many lives. The issue is far more complex than the editorial suggests.
You also allege “a disquieting social engineering quality to such pronouncements.”
However, your lead editorial (“The stew of demonization”) does exactly that, most appropriately urging the Palestinian leadership to stop demonizing Jews and Israel. Implicitly, this is also a demand for changed student textbooks, modified sermons at the mosque, the end to hate graffiti, etc. That sure sounds like social engineering to me.
Star used to identify Jews
Many recently published media articles have described Donald Trump blaming the “dishonest media” for the many tweets of the Star of David superimposed over a picture of Hillary Clinton, the entire image surrounded by $100 bills (“Donald Trump blames ‘dishonest media’ for Star of David tweet,” July 7). This image appeared to originate from anti-Semites and white supremacists.
After Trump deleted the tweet and replaced the star with a circle, he defined it as a sheriff’s star. What most media publications failed to mention is that a Star of David, often yellow-colored, was used by the Nazis during the Holocaust as a method of identifying Jews.
Following the German invasion of Poland in 1939, all Jews in that country were ordered to wear yellow badges in the form of a Star of David on the left side of the breast and on the back. If a Jew was found not wearing the star in public, he or she could be severely punished. As the Nazi occupation spread, Jews over age 6 in all occupied countries were required to wear this star, with the word for “Jew” of the respective country inscribed.
Inasmuch as all Holocaust historical documents record that 6 million Jews were murdered and many rescued, a great many Jewish stars, not sheriff stars, undoubtedly were worn.
World Heavyweight Champion Max Baer, a Jew, fought with a Star of David on his trunks as well, notably for the first time, as he knocked out German boxing hero Max Schmeling in 1933; Hitler never permitted Schmeling to fight a Jew again.
How one man, Elie Wiesel, made a difference
Elie Wiesel, who was an acquaintance, in my belief built a post-Holocaust life to make a difference. He exemplified what one person can do to make a difference (“Wiesel gave Holocaust a face and the world a conscience,” July 7). Through him the world was educated to the tragedy that we know as the Holocaust — a term he allegedly coined, whereas before him, it was referred to as “the final solution.”
In “The German Jew — his share in modern culture,” by Abraham Myerson and Isaac Goldberg, published as early as 1933 by New York publisher Alfred A. Knopf, the ending of the book on the plight of the German Jews in the first months of the Nazi regime concludes with the following: “We write the final pages of this book on May 10, 1933, the day devoted by Hitlerism to the public burning of Jewish books and other volumes proclaiming the spirit of liberation. From these ashes of old, the Jew — the Phoenix of peoples — will arise. These are but the embers of an ancient holocaust. Together with the silenced Germans who regard this persecution with shame we watch the inglorious flames. Together with them we know that this is not only a conflagration of Jewish books; on these pyres burn, too, the lost liberties of the German people. And that liberty, too, will rise, Phoenix-like, from these ashes.”
Little did the authors, of course, know that the holocaust of the burning of the books would presage the gassing and burning of 6 million Jews and that one of the survivors would rise to the fore never to forget the Holocaust.
The question seems now: Where is another like person or organization who will perpetuate the work of Elie Wiesel, of blessed memory? I am in mourning for a man who made a difference.
FRED A. KAHN
The Star of David is a Jewish symbol, best known to most people from its presence on the Israeli flag. The Star tweeted by the white supremacists was not yellow, so the Nazi reference is a) extraneous; and b) the fact cited by Mr. Rosen that the Nazis forced Jews to wear a 6-pointed star is well-known to anyone with the least bit of familiarity with World War II, or even anyone who has seen a film about the Holocaust- let alone the educated readership of the WJW!
Thus, why the WJW has chosen to expend its limited, and therefore precious, space on publishing it- instead of a more insightful and propulsive comment- baffles me. An example of such an insightful, propulsive and unique observation on this subject is the following, submitted by a friend of mine, and rejected by the WJW:
The current Trump campaign Star(of-David)Gate (July 7, “Donald Trump blames…) * brouhaha has laid bare, once and for all, in total transparency and utter lucidity, the true nature and function of the organization known as the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC). The rabbinic principle is shtiqa ka-hodaa: silence is concurrence, and the RJC’s silence on this issue has been deafening.
Which is understandable from a Republican perspective -in light of the GOP’s present internal divisiveness – but unintelligible, and inexcusable, from a Jewish one.
For the RJC is not a Jewish advocacy/defense group that happens to vote Republican; it’s a GOP organization that targets Jews for outreach. In other words, the objective of the RJC is not to raise Republican awareness of a Jewish community consensus on a given issue, but to persuade Jews to accept the Republican consensus. And these days, that “Republican consensus” is in total turmoil as a grass-roots Tea Party wing dukes (David Dukes pun intended) it out in a quite uncivil civil war with the Establishment forces of elite moneyed interests and neoconservative hawks.
Indeed, the RJC is a “Jewish” organization the way that Jews for Jesus is a Jewish organization. Namely, while its membership is ethnically Jewish, its agenda does not have the best intrinsic interests of Judaism and Jewry at heart. As reported by Pro Politico, the RJC even admits that its function is to “educate the Jewish community” about (the GOP line on) domestic and foreign policy issues,” not to- in addition- educate the GOP about Jewish communal interests and social values.
Further, as to the contention that Trump campaign’s actions cannot be accused of being anti-Semitic because he has a Jewish son-in-law: Hogwash. I recall a letter to the editor of (now defunct) Baltimore EXAMINER many years back which adamantly insisted that – despite Jules Isaac’s Teaching of Contempt, the Jewish experience in Europe, and even apologetic Church pronouncements on the subject- no Christian, past present or future, could ever be anti-Semitic, because Jesus was a Jew!