Letters, May 20, 2015

1

Geller’s conference probably saved lives
The recent editorial (“Muhammad as a red flag,” WJW, May 7) suggested ignoring Pam Geller.  It also asserted that the attack on the conference at which images of Muhammad were drawn was completely predictable.  Given the fact that the terrorists who attacked the conference were heavily armed, it is probable that, had they not attacked the conference in Garland, Texas, they would have attacked another event.  Since such a later attack would have given the terrorists more time to plan and train, and since few events are as well-guarded as the Garland event, it is likely the later attack would have resulted in multiple deaths to innocents. Since a lot of events that would trigger jihad terror attacks are held in the Washington area, it is quite possible such deaths would be to readers of this publication.
MARTIN WEISS
Potomac

Don’t ignore radical Islam
Your editorial about Pamela Geller and her group is completely off-base (“Muhammad as a red flag,” WJW,
May 7).


The American Freedom Defense Initiative is not, as you say, a “hate group.”  To the extent Geller is a “hate-speech peddler” (again, your description), the speech she peddles is quotes from ISIS, al-Qaeda and others.  Remember the offer Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson made to Republicans in 1952: “If they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them.”

As offensive as are the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church, its members arm themselves with placards, not AK-47s.  As for ignoring Geller, her message is: Ignore radical Islam at your peril.
N.I. SILVER
Bethesda

https://www.washingtonjewishweek.com/enewsletter/

A conversation we need to have
The Jewish community is calling for a national conversation about policing disenfranchised communities (“The debate on policing, WJW, May 7), report Ron Kampeas and Melisa Apter. The Jewish community they are speaking of is not mine. Mine is the one who attunes itself to Isaiah when he said, “Woe unto those who call evil good and good evil.”

Our men and women police officers are the good.  We don’t need a conversation about them or the miniscule number of them that may not be doing their jobs correctly. The actions of the thugs throwing bricks at the police, looting and burning are the evil. We definitely need a conversation about them.


We need to talk about why these mobs of our American young have such terrible values. We need a conversation about how horrible values have led to the murder of 200,000-300,000 of our young black men by other young black men over the past 30 years. Might it be because before progressivism got into full swing with the massive welfare entitlement state in the 60’s, most American young men like this grew up with a married mother and father at home?

Might it be that such leaders, teachers, politicians, media folk spoke, easily, naturally and fluently about our American values of respect for authority,  our Ten Commandments, our love of a God who demands things of us, love of country, hard work, marriage and respect for our police?

Might it be they cared much more about self-control than self-esteem? That’s the conversation this Jewish community thinks we should have. And if we don’t get the conversation right, it’s not
Baltimore that will be gone, it will be America.
HOWARD SACHS
Chevy Chase

To be pro-Israel, one must uphold Zionist principles
I was shocked to read in a recent issue that the JCRC-sponsored Israel Engagement Fellowship, a seminar for local high school students, includes “Palestinian narratives” as an integral part of its education program (“Changing the way we teach,” WJW, April 2). The question is: Does the fellowship program present the so-called Palestinian narrative as a credible version of events arising out of the Arab-Israeli conflict, or as the grossly distorted view of history which it is?

The fellowship was launched to teach students “there is no one way to be pro-Israel.” However, to be pro-Israel one must necessarily understand and uphold Zionist principles, the very same principles upon which the modern Jewish state of Israel was founded. Indeed, to be pro-Israel we must make sure our children appreciate that Zionism is, and has always been, a fundamental part of Judaism throughout our 3,500-year history as a people.

The essence of the Palestinian narrative is anti-Zionism: no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, no recognition of the historical bond between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, no recognition that Jews as individuals are entitled to the same civil rights and protections as any other people.

One would hope that the Israel Engagement Fellowship arms impressionable seminar participants with the analytical skills necessary to distinguish fact from fantasy while teaching them about the Arab-Israeli conflict and what it means to be pro-Israel.
MARC CAROFF
Silver Spring
The writer is the president, Louis D. Brandeis District Chapter, Zionist Organization of America

Underlying problems of unrest in Baltimore need addressing
In his May 7 op/ed (Voices, “Finding Our Way Back,” WJW), Joshua Runyan seems to have adopted the presidential mantra that the police are responsible for what is happening to the blacks in this country.  This position ignores the root causes of unrest in the inner cities and does not contribute to finding solutions.

Finding solutions requires identifying the problems, which include: high unemployment rates for young people; the lack of two-parent households; low scholastic achievement whereby 8th graders are not proficient in math or in reading compared to the rest of the nation; and, rampant use of narcotics.  It was this last problem which basically led to the violence in Baltimore, whereby Freddie Gray, with a criminal record for drug dealing, ended up as the victim leading to unrest.

It is easy to blame one side in a dispute, as the president and many journalists have done, and ignore underlying contributions to problems. Let’s address the underlying problems.
WARREN MANISON
Potomac

Irony in Z Street editorial
I wonder if your readers caught the irony in your editorial “Free Speech on Z Street” (WJW, May 14).You hope that “in determining the bona fides of a tax-exempt application, the focus [will]… be on what the applicant does, rather than on what it says.” But you take Z Street’s side in a lawsuit that has thus far prevented the IRS from investigating what Z Street does, while the parties and the courts litigate the constitutionality of the process the IRS allegedly follows in deciding whether to grant exemption requests from Z Street and others similarly situated.

Thus far, the litigation has been about whether the local federal court now has jurisdiction to review that procedure, not over whether Z Street is “organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literacy, or educational purposes….” and is not engaged in propaganda or attempts to influence legislation or elections, the principal statutory criteria for tax exemption. The battle thus far has not even involved testimony or documents establishing and defining the challenged procedure, but has been based entirely on a single IRS employee’s loose language in a telephone conversation that Z Street attached to its complaint.  If Z Street wins in the court of appeals, the next step will be extended pre-trial discovery of the IRS followed by more litigation over the constitutionality of its procedure.

Z Street has spent four-and-a-half years litigating over the IRS’ process apparently to avoid providing the information the IRS feels it needs to reach a determination based on “what Z Street does,” “not on what it says.”  Being a litigator myself, I have to wonder what game Z Street is really playing – and whether you’ve been bamboozled into enlisting in its cause.
RABBI GEORGE DRIESEN
Bethesda

Writer’s mother was sent to Nazi camp for women
I was surprised to read that author Sarah Helm contends that Jewish women were not at K.Z. Ravensbrück after 1942 other than Jews passing as Christians (“Book documents horrors of Nazi labor camp for women,” WJW, May 14).

My mother, Alina Braun Rindler, writes in her memoirs that she was shipped to Ravensbrück in November 1944, together with the other women in her family. They were hardly passing as Christians; they came directly from the Polish Jewish slave labor ghetto of Piotrków-Trybunalski. They remained at Ravensbrück until being transferred to Bergen-Belsen in February 1945.  Besides the Piotrków contingent of Polish Jews, she mentions a group of Slovak Jewish women.
DON RINDLER
Potomac

Article on kayaker article praised
What a fantastic article about a kayaker trying to make it to the 2020 Olympics (“Gold on the Galilee,” WJW, April 29). I am a bocce champion. I do not give up in the Special Olympics. The kayaker will do very well if he keeps on practicing. The spirit of all sports is: Do your best!
NAN GOOTENBERG
Rockville

Hitler was fan of gun ownership
The feature “NoVA Jews are packing heat, while others seek stricter gun laws” (WJW, May 14) was a hoot. It quotes the editor-in-chief of the NRA’s monthly magazine as claiming that “Many Jewish gun owners are motivated by fear of anti-Semitic violence and memories of the Holocaust.”

The fact of the matter is that Adolf Hitler was a huge fan of gun ownership. In 1919 Germany passed a very restrictive gun law.  It was overturned by the Nazis in the 1938 Germans Weapon Act, which allowed rifles and shotguns and permitted ownership of ammunition on the private level (for Aryans).

Also, the minimum age for gun ownership was lowered from 20 to 18.

Can anything that Hitler, as a matter of principle, so avidly endorsed be good for the Jews?
GIDEON DONNELLY
Parkville

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1 COMMENT

  1. Rabbi Dreisen is spot-on regarding the game Z Street is playing.
    Z Street is a sock-puppet of the extremist Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). For the ZOA, pro-Israel is defined as pro-Likud/pro-settler/anti-two states/pro-ZOA.

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