Letters | July 25, 2019


A view from the detention facilities

It occurred to me with regard to “Jews protesting ICE are just getting started” (July 18), that these young Jews are not fully aware of what they are protesting. Having been to the detention facilities, I can state that children are not placed in cages. These facilities are in large hangars with separations by family group, gender, age etc.

Yes, the separation is done using chain link, but that is to make sure that the detainees are safe and under observation. Remember that these are temporary holding facilities. Since Congress was very slow in approving extra funding for the facilities, the processing slowed down and there was a jam up in detention.

Further, with regard to children detainees and family separations, it would be good to take a look at the Flores v. Lynch, a 2016 Ninth Circuit Court ruling which mandated that children are separated from parents if the parents are placed into mandatory detention.


And please, stop referring to the Border Patrol and ICE as Nazis. The Patrol, which is 65 percent Hispanic, consists of brave men and women who guard the borders day and night from terrorists, drug smugglers and, of course, illegal entry. I suggest that these young misled Jews find something more constructive to do.


Dictator talk

Just a couple of points of clarification about the members of Congress who were subject to President Trump’s tweets (“Republican Jewish Coalition: Democratic reps are communists who hate Jews and America,” July 18):

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Minn.) Wikimedia Commons

First, despite his attempt to portray Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), as rabidly anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist, Pressley should not be included in that classification. She has not said or done anything that is anti-Semitic or anti-Israel. Her district (my home district) has a large Jewish population, including Brookline, and she has always had strong ties to the Jewish community. She has, in fact, been very supportive of the Jewish community when anti-Semitic incidents have occurred.

Second, I saw the video that Ocasio-Cortez put out about her use of the term “concentration camp.” She noted that the term was in use long before the Nazis, and meant basically a detention center to hold people, supposedly for national security, though often for racist reasons. She very clearly distinguished between the traditional meaning of the term and what she called the Nazi death camps, and stated equally clearly that she was not making any comparison to the Nazi camps or the Holocaust. I suspect she used the term to grab attention, however, despite her explanation. Although she is technically correct, when many people hear “concentration camp,” their first thought is of Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Third, while the president seemed outraged that these women talk about how the U.S. government should be run, I would note that all are American citizens (three from birth), and that as members of Congress, that is their job. The concept that anyone who disagrees with the president, or who doesn’t think everything is wonderful, is un- or anti-American is classic dictator talk.


Are we in biblical times?

There are some who believe that events that that we experience today were foreshadowed in the Bible. Last Shabbat’s Torah reading, Balak, uncharacteristically makes prominent mention of the heathen prophet Balaam’s female talking ass (“The sorcerer who couldn’t see,” D’var Torah. July 18).

I wonder how many other worshipers associated the female talking ass with the events in Washington last week that were dominated by the four Democratic members of Congress who have been collectively called “the Squad.” One commentator likened them to four noisy horseladies of the apocalypse.

Like Balaam’s ass that attempted to change her master’s path, the Squad appears to be pulling the Democratic Party well to the left of the path its own leadership wants to take to the 2020 election. Whether that is good for the party or the country will be judged by the electorate.

I see humor in the similarity with the biblical story: Balaam’s intended curse of Israel offended God and the Squad’s behavior offends many.


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