Letters, Sept. 16, 2015


Tough questions and answers needed
In “A Muslim Zionist” (WJW, Sept. 3), we read about Ms. Farooqi, but few specifics in her views beyond the perfunctory that she supports Israel, but believes Israel oppresses the Palestinians.  Real questions were unasked:

As a Muslim from Pakistan how do you feel about the oppression, lack of human rights, lack of women’s rights, lack of minority rights, lack of gay rights and lack of religious tolerance in Pakistan and the rest of the Muslim world?

Given the above, why do you believe that as one Muslim out of over 1.6 billion in over 50 Islamic countries, you have anything to say to the 6 million Jews in one Jewish state about human rights and the risks they should take for peace?

What does being pro-Israel mean?


You have criticized Israel and Netanyahu. Where are your criticisms of Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas?

Do you support Israel as a Jewish State?

Do you support the Palestinian demand for “right of return”?

Why with all the wars and abuses within the Muslim world of over 50 states, why have you singled out Israel for criticism?

How do you view Palestinian terrorism, which existed before the so-called occupation and before Israel even existed?

With millions of new refugees seeking new lives, why are you not criticizing the Muslim countries [that] are generating those refugees or the Muslim and Christian countries denying them entry?

These are but a few of many unasked questions for Ms. Farooqi.  Making statements of support and peace are easy.  But, as they say, the devil is in the details — and the details determine what is and is not support for Israel and peace.
Silver Spring

First article was better
[JTA’s] article on the new Reform machzor you published on Aug. 27 (“Reform’s new prayer book is radically inclusive, WJW) was insulting. [The writer’s] mock indignation (“How can this be, you ask?”) and biases are apparent throughout. On March 25, WJW published its own thoughtful review of the new High Holiday prayer book (“Reform Jews to greet year with new prayer book,” WJW). You should have stopped there.

Iran deal is bad for United States, Israel
The July 30 issue of Washington Jewish Week includes a number of informative articles reflecting a diversity of opinion regarding the Iran nuclear deal (“AIPAC, J Street spend millions dueling over Iran deal,” “Rabbis take sides on nuke agreement”).

Lost in the welter of opinion is a fundamental fact that, in my opinion, should be paramount in the minds of American Jews in determining whether to support or oppose the Iran nuclear deal.

Fact is the overwhelming consensus among Israeli Jews is that this is a very bad deal indeed. That consensus applies across the board. Not only is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition four-square against the deal, but the defense establishment and every major opposition party is against it as well. To be sure, the deal adversely impacts the national security of the United States. Those who claim to be pro-Israel should also give due regard to Israeli public opinion on the subject.

A quarter-million Americans staged a massive rally on the Mall near the Capitol building in the 1970’s to demand liberty for one million Soviet Jews. It is imperative that we express at least the same degree of concern today for the safety of six million Israeli Jews who face threats of annihilation by a radical Islamic regime. If the Iran deal is not rejected and sanctions are removed, that regime will be empowered to carry out its threats by producing nuclear weapons in short order with the full acquiescence of the international community. For that reason, among others, the pro-Israel community must insist that Congress resoundingly reject President Barack Obama’s disastrous deal with Iran. In no uncertain terms, we must insist: Members of
Congress, Vote down this deal.
Silver Spring
The writer is the president of the Louis D. Brandeis Chapter, Zionist Organization of America.

Freundel’s jail term reflects 52 crimes
As your many articles about the crimes of Rabbi Barry Freundel have accurately pointed out, Freundel was convicted of 52 misdemeanor crimes and no felonies. The number of crimes, not the severity, brought about the long sentence.

Rabbi Freundel violated trust
As a woman, I am complexly dismayed and disappointed in Craig D. Yokum’s letter to the editor, (“Freundel deserves community service, not jail time,” WJW, Sept. 10) regarding Rabbi Freundel’s prison sentence.   He states “while a few of our Jewish family have struck him (Rabbi Freundel) below the belt for inappropriate voyeuristic behavior” and so on. Yokum forgets that Rabbi Freundel was in a position of trust to the Jewish community, not only as a rabbi, educator and leader but also as a husband and father.

He violated the personal space of the women he prayed upon.  For many of the women involved, I am sure it may feel like they have been raped.  They placed not only their spiritual lives in his hands, but the trust they could enter the mikvah for the purpose intended, not for Rabbi Freundel’s pleasure.   Yes, others in our society look at pornography and have affairs, but I too believe they will have their own days of reckoning.   I am dismayed that some people do not understand the depths of despair the violated women may feel.  They are the victims, not Rabbi Freundel.
Silver Spring

Rabbi’s apology would seem more genuine if he dropped appeal
The “personal statement of apology from Rabbi Freundel” (WJW, Sept. 10) seems like a positive step forward for him.   However, my lawyer instincts tell me his apology would be more genuine if at the same time he withdrew his pending appeal of the length of his sentence.  But who knows?  A good New Year for the innocent women who were abused … by the rabbi.

Printing Freundel statement was disservice
Rabbi Barry Freundel’s apology isn’t worth the ink it is printed with. You did a disservice to his victims by publishing it.  Shame on you for doing so. Double shame for using Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as the excuse. You can do better.

Broader perspective on crime sought
I found the article “Spike in violence alarms D.C. residents” (WJW, Sept. 10) extremely disturbing in its limited focus.

I have lived in D.C. for nearly 30 years. As a freelance writer covering the D.C. area in which most of these homicides are occurring, I have immediate and first-hand experience of homicide and communities suffering under its constant weight. To report of Jews worried about their own personal safety when so many others, including children, in the very same city, have been struggling for decades with violent crime and attendant trauma, is a missed opportunity.

Please consider the message it sends when the front page of a Jewish paper speaks only of the safety of a few Jews in a neighborhood which sees a small fraction, however frightening, of the crime experienced elsewhere in the same city.

I urge you to carry another story that gives a broader picture and shows some understanding and compassion for neighbors, Jewish and otherwise, who have been struggling with violent crime and the attendant trauma for decades.

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