Letters | Nov. 6, 2021

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Zemmour’s critics are not engaging in dialogue

In your Nov. 4 edition, you published without comment “A far-right Jew could make political history in France” (Feature story) regarding Eric Zemmour, the Jewish right-of-center commentator who is contemplating a run for the French presidency and is currently in second position in the pre-election polls. That article noted that Haïm Korsia, France’s chief rabbi, referred to Zemmour as “an antisemite,” and the article favorably cited Bernard-Henri Lévy’s observations about Zemmour, effectively suggesting that Zemmour is not entitled to call himself a Jew.

I have the highest regard for Rabbi Korsia, whom I know and consider a friend. However, I believe that his characterization of Zemmour as an “antisemite” is entirely inappropriate. Similarly, Lévy’s attack on Zemmour is unacceptable.


It is clear that Zemmour’s political positions are not in keeping with those of the majority of the French-Jewish leadership and French-Jewish elites, but that cannot be grounds for attempting to exclude him from the Jewish community. Actually, many less-affluent Jews in France fully share Zemmour’s positions on many of the issues confronting France and support him. But the critical point to remember is that any Jew (and Zemmour is a practicing and proud Jew) has a right to express political points of view, including through the articulation of controversial positions, without being maligned on a personal level by our religious authorities or intellectual elites.

The use of ad hominems by Jewish leaders, French or otherwise, to express disagreement with political positions is contrary to our long-standing Jewish tradition of dialogue and dialectical analysis. The attempt to use cancel culture against a fellow Jew is simply wrong. You should have made that point.
GERARD LEVAL
Washington, DC

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

Eddie Jaku’s transformational experience

I was so saddened, but heartened, to see the obituary “Holocaust survivor who called himself ‘The Happiest Man on Earth’ dies at 101” (Oct. 21).That incredibly special man, Eddie Jaku, peace be upon him, was indeed one person who made an indelible impression on all who were privileged to have met him.

I am one of those privileged persons. For the past 15 years, I have spent much of each year in Sydney, Australia, the land of most of Eddie Jaku’s life since 1950 following the Holocaust.


My contact was only to be in his presence, close to him, to see him and hear him. That is sufficient to be transformed by the experience.

Weeks before the announcement of his death, I stood in the Amazon Bookstore in Bethesda.

I didn’t know that I was standing exactly in front of the new Eddie Jaku book of his life. All of a sudden, a salesperson approached me, asking if she can help me find something. I answered, “no.” As she left, I looked on the shelf directly in front of me, and there he was — Eddie Jaku’s unforgettable portrait on the front cover was looking right at me.

I was so captivated by it, I immediately purchased this beautiful book. Since then in my home his portrait has faced outward, so that Eddie Jaku can keep me company. His memory is indeed for a blessing.

RABBI DR. SANFORD H. SHUDNOW
Silver Spring

Support written in Jerusalem stone

The letter from Akiva Aronson of Toronto (“5 ways to provide resolute support” Nov. 4) accused Rabbi Amy Schwartzman’s views of “completely missing the mark and are partially to blame for the lack of connection of younger people to Israel.” He went on to accuse her of “wavering and not understanding the complexities and realities of Israel well enough to educate the community.”

A harsh and completely false accusation! As a past chair of Temple Rodef Shalom’s Israel Committee and longtime temple member, I am outraged by these dire and specious remarks. Schwartzman and our full clergy have instilled a love and support of Israel through trips, sermons, partnership with a congregation is Israel and sending staff and congregation members to a weeklong study program in Israel. She presents Israel’s successes and dilemmas in sermons and study groups and encourages dialogue. She educates. Our temple, built with Jerusalem stone, is a testament to our support and continuing learning about this beloved nation.
NORMA TUCKER
Bethesda

There’s a museum for that

“Admiral Becker talks about Jews in the military” (Nov. 11 – a truly appropriate date to make this point!) makes clear that Jews have always done our share in defending the nation. In doing so, he exposes as myth the idea that Jews do not serve.

We should also be aware that our city has a wonderful asset where we can learn far more about this subject.

The National Museum of American Jewish Military History, under the auspices of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A., tells the stories of the many patriotic contributions by Jews who served in the armed forces. The museum is located on R street, NW, a short walk from Dupont Circle.
PAUL CHANDLER
Falls Church

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