Letters | May 20, 2020

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A divinely inspired mistake?

I differ with “Coronavirus and religious freedom” (Editorial, May 14). Contra this editorial, when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blamed “the Jewish community” for haredi violations of mass gathering public health regulations connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was simply echoing the haredi claims to being the sole authentic benchmark of Torah-true Judaism. And, accordingly, the belief that divinely inspired traditional practices necessarily take precedence over man-made law.

Ironically, in this respect, the haredim are taking a page from their right-wing Christian evangelical brethren in employing the First Amendment as a venue in which to cloak claims of entitlement and privilege. The term for this is “assimilation.”
STEVE WEISSMAN
Baltimore


Annexation is Israel’s decision

Why is annexation a mistake? (“Annexation is a mistake,” Editorial, May 14). Is it a mistake because Democrats (and I am a Democrat) and Biden support annexation.

The Arabs, Europeans and Israel’s critics everywhere have objected to annexation of Jerusalem, annexation of the Golan, recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and stopping payments to UNRWA. After decades of failed peace proposals, doing nothing is the real mistake.

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

Annexation doesn’t block a two-state solution. If Israel must wait for approval from the Palestinians and Europeans, nothing will ever change.

It is time to take a critical look at the so-called two-state solution and whether there is any solution to the conflict. Regardless, it is Israel’s decision as they and not us will suffer any consequences. We should stand with Israel and not lecture Israel, whichever direction they choose.
MELVIN FARBER
Silver Spring


Banning Holocaust denial is a mistake

In response to “Louise Lawrence-Israëls on the dangers of being a Jew (Last Word, April 16): Yes, Jews have reasons to be afraid, but shouldn’t let that control our lives. Lawrence-Israëls mentions that she used her language skills to tell “her story to combat deniers and hatred” and that is exactly what needs to happen. If Holocaust denial was banned, hate wouldn’t go away; but the cause for hate would be concealed and wouldn’t be able to be fought.

Banning Holocaust denial initially seems like a good solution, because it removes the problem. But banning denial doesn’t erase the issue of anti-Semitism and makes it hard to educate people. It also gives fuel to those who believe the Holocaust is some conspiracy. If  the government bans it, deniers are going to turn around and think that the government is trying to hide something instead of just showing all of the horrific evidence that proves that the Holocaust did happen. To combat hatred, we must face it head on rather than hiding behind censorship.
MAREN BERMAN
Brookeville

What would Tom Paine say about
annexation?

Sadly, Daniel Pipes and the WJW Editorial Board (“Annexation is a mistake,” Editorial, May  14) have joined the ranks of Summer Semites and Sunshine Zionists, paraphrasing the words of the great American patriot, Thomas Paine.

WJW has shamefully forgotten that the Jewish state has a biblical, historical, moral and legal imperative to exercise sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have explicitly supported and even encouraged the Israeli government to begin exercising its sovereignty over these areas as part and parcel of the Trump administration’s bold new Middle East peace plan.

Your use of inapt and misleading terms such as “unilateral annexation,” “the occupation” and “two-state solution” demonstrates a lack of credibility and balance.

Finally, your almost total reliance on views expressed by Israel’s fair-weather friends in the Democratic Party is truly pathetic. Although they may once have been trustworthy friends and allies, objectively speaking many if not most of them have caved to the “progressive” radical left wing of their party.

When it comes to determining Israel’s national borders, I would hope that WJW will do its part to help bridge the gap in knowledge, experience and understanding that exists between the majority of American Jews who blindly adhere to the Democratic Party platform and the majority of Israeli Jews who support the Trump “Peace to Prosperity”  plan.
MARC L. CAROFF
Virginia Beach

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