Letters | June 16, 2021


Jews and Muslims must work together

Regarding “JCRC’s overblown denunciation of Abrar Omeish chills interfaith relations” (Opinion, June 10): Thank you Walter Ruby and Gary Sampliner for speaking out in such a thoughtful way, as well as for the ongoing work that you do. It is essential that our Jewish and Muslim communities work together for interfaith harmony and to stem the hatred against minorities in this country. Let’s focus on compassion, empathy and respect for the human dignity of all.


Where the big tent ends

Mira Sucharov is spot on in “I love Israeli and Hebrew culture, and am committed to Palestinian solidarity. Where is the group for me?” (Opinion, June 3). There are plenty of us who agree with her. The issue is that much of the organized Jewish community does not welcome people who disagree with how Israel treats Palestinians, and rarely publicly criticizes Israel.

It is time for mainstream Jewish organizations to stop using security excuses as a reason to defend Israel no matter how she treats Palestinians, and use objective standards we would with any other country. The time of rubber stamping aid for Israel is long over.



Netanyahu and Begin

WJW’s articles in the June 10 issue describing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin were not only educations in history, but a fortuitous contrast in profiles of character (“The tragedy of Benjamin Netanyahu” [Opinion], “‘Upheaval’ captures Menachem Begin’s essence” [Arts & Culture]). Both men spent years as head of the Likud Party, both very nationalistic. But, which one is identified more with integrity and honesty? Which is identified more with being a uniter than a divider? Which is identified as being more of a leader than a dealer? Which is identified more with being allied with democracies than dictatorships? And which is identified more with focusing on the greater good than himself?

Being a man of principles provided Menachem Begin the credibility to gain support and respect by almost all political perspectives as an honest broker and leader of Israel when he agreed to a peace deal with arch-enemy Egypt. Maybe it will take similar principles to help Israel to, at least, become less fractured. Menachem Begin showed that it could even be implemented by a nationalist party.

Silver Spring

Fortunate community

As you pointed out in “Back to the office? Jewish agencies say, ‘Not yet’” (June 10), since early in the pandemic, Gil Preuss, CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, provided leadership and support to all of our community organizations on working virtually, planning for remote and socially distanced classes and client services and adjusting to new post-pandemic norms of Jewish communal service and learning.

For those of us who needed to continue working onsite at our organizations, Gil ensured that we were continually informed, supported professionally and personally, aware of funding opportunities, and met regularly (on Zoom, of course) to share experiences, frustrations and successes.

Our Greater Washington Jewish community is fortunate to have a cadre of agency and synagogue professionals and educators bolstered by supportive and dedicated lay leaders who inspire donors and members to be highly engaged and contribute generously.

Executive Director
Garden of Remembrance Memorial Park

Proactive measures against antisemitism

WJW states in the editorial “Antisemitism in America” (June 3): “Any meaningful legislative effort to deal with antisemitism must stay focused on antisemitism. The issue is deadly serious. We join those who insist that it be addressed directly and clearly.”

While referring to proposed legislation, this language is absolutely true and essential in all respects. Antisemitism should be called what it is “directly and clearly”: Jew hatred. We are all familiar with the increased number of Jew hatred acts in our country and abroad. It is time to respond with measures that are proactive to prevent these acts as well as the lies and myths about Israel and Jews that promote and sustain them. #EndJewHatred, The Lawfare Project and other partner organizations are doing just this type of critical work. It is time to stand up, be seen and support those who advocate for our civil rights and safety.

North Potomac

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  1. Mirele Goldsmith says ” It is essential that our Jewish and Muslim communities work together ” for the common good. That goes without saying! She also compliments Walter Ruby and Gary Sampliner for their Voices article (“JCRC’s overblown denunciation of Abrar Omeish chills interfaith relations,” June 10). In my opinion, it is Abrar Omeish, not the JCRC, who has put a chill on interfaith relations by making deeply offensive anti-Israel remarks in a number of public forums. As I pointed out last week in an online comment to the Ruby and Sampliner article, the type of anti-Israel propaganda that Omeish propagates meets the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of Anti-Semitism. Hopefully, Omeish’s anti-Semitic views, expressed as anti-Zionism, are not shared by the majority of the American Muslim community. It would be encouraging to see some courageous Muslim residents of Fairfax County speak out against Omeish’s vile remarks for the sake of interfaith relations. In any case, the JCRC’s condemnation of Omeish’s remarks were certainly not overblown, and members of the Jewish community should understand that those remarks are divisive, and totally counterproductive to strong interfaith relations.


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