Letters | July 8, 2020


The worst since Louis the First?

Regarding “Should St. Louis take down the statue of its anti-Semitic namesake?” (July 2): I am a native St. Louisian who thought I knew a lot about St. Louis history — apparently, not enough. Born a scant half mile from the statue of King Louis IX at St. Louis’ Jewish Hospital, I knew French fur traders Pierre Laclede and August Chouteau named the city after King Louis IX of France, who was given sainthood by the Catholic Church. But I knew nothing else about the king.

Most St. Louisians probably have no idea whose statue sits atop Art Hill or why it is there. Until the article on Louis IX, I had no idea about the king’s persecution of our people. While it will be up to the St. Louis regional jurisdictions (and not just the City of St. Louis) that fund the Zoo-Museum District whether the Apotheosis should be removed, if we removed every single statue of anyone who persecuted our people, how many thousands would we remove and who would we have left? Wouldn’t it make better sense to educate folks about how the namesake of the Gateway City persecuted our people?


Shades of Schlafly

Call it coincidence or synchronicity, but Alana Suskin’s letter (“You can’t just add women and stir,” July 2) was eerily reminiscent of arguments advanced by Phyllis Schlafly in her opposition to passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. And also, for that matter, by Salafi Muslims in defense of the hijab.


Secondly, while it is indeed correct, as she notes, that “the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism have not completely achieved equality,” such is a bug for the non-Orthodox denominations while it is a feature of Orthodoxy.

The irony in all this is that the halachic basis for segregated seating (mechitzah) is questionable and problematic: e.g., the first attested reference only occurs in the (medieval) Tosefot.


Softball with Biden

Once again, WJW disappoints with the editorial “Biden’s Challenge” (July 2) by turning it into a softball fluff piece about the Biden candidacy and the shift in the Democratic Party toward the progressive left. With the retirement or defeat of the long-term Jewish liberal Democrats in Congress, progressive Democrats are becoming a mainstream piece of the party. The party is not going from a pro-Israel position to a neutral position. It is going to an anti-Israel stance.


He’s no Ben-Gurion

Regarding “Negativity won’t pull you through” (Letters, June 25): Marc L. Caroff equates David Ben-Gurion’s Independence Declaration of 1948 with that of the current proposal of West Bank annexation. Both the Peele Commission in 1937 and the UN Partition in 1947 offered the Jewish state a pitiful fraction of what was originally promised in 1918 by the Balfour Commission. Ben-Gurion agreed to these offers not because they were fair or made sense from a security viewpoint, but because it allowed for achieving the fundamental Zionist goal of a Jewish and democratic state where the Jewish people would have self-determination after 2,000 years of exile and persecution.

With the impending annexation of Area C, the Jordan Valley and possibly beyond, Israel is sadly moving away from the Zionist bedrock of being both democratic and Jewish. More than 350,000 Palestinians live in these areas while 2 million live in the entire West Bank (as opposed to about 400,000 Jews). No matter what the annexation specifics will be, democracy and the Jewish nature of the state will be forever diminished. This is not what Ben-Gurion would do.


Israelis and Palestinians must accept each other

For the two-state solution to bring peace, it must include the majority of people accepting the essential nature of each state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has openly and explicitly rejected the existence of Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people. There seems to be little, if any, attempt to establish acceptance in the Arab or Muslim worlds. Would an independent Palestinian state turn into an additional neighbor intent on Israel’s destruction?

To berate Israel for its actions against creating a Palestinian state without also berating Abbas and the Arab world for their unrelenting opposition to Israel’s existence supports Israel’s enemies. Speak out against both, demand that all sides move the mindset of their people toward peacefully living side-by-side with respect for each other. A very tall order.


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