Worn-out formulas


Worn-out formulas
Alan Elsner asks a pertinent question (“For peace, if not now, when?” WJW, May 16). Unfortunately, his answer takes no account of the real challenges faced by a democratic Israel amidst a sea of belligerent, autocratic regimes.

Secretary of State Kerry’s peace mission is based on worn-out formulas that have proven to be unworkable. Kerry uncritically accepts P.A. President Abbas as a legitimate peace interlocutor, but Abbas is clearly no peacemaker. Abbas, like his predecessor Arafat, has proven to be a master of duplicity. Recognizing Abbas as a responsible elected official, when his term of office expired years ago, lends him undeserved legitimacy.

Kerry has chosen to follow a blueprint based on what has been called a “two-state solution.” To the extent this calls for creation of an independent Palestinian state, it has not, and will not, work because it will effectively deny Israel defensible borders. Furthermore, if Jews are denied the right to reside in a Palestinian state, as Abbas insists, anti-Semitism, not democracy, will be its guiding principle.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin clearly stated that any Palestinian entity created on the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) would need to be “less than a state.” Present Prime Minister Netanyahu, following a similar theme, has insisted that any such entity be, of necessity, a “demilitarized state” – certainly something less than an independent state.

Back to failed policies of the past will not work to establish a viable peace between Israel and Palestinian Arabs. Instead, we will need to go back to the drawing board. Since the Obama administration seems fixated on resurrecting unworkable peace plans, we will need to wait awhile longer before a semblance of sanity returns to U.S. policy relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
President, Louis D. Brandeis Chapter, Zionist Organization of America


J.R.’s doors
I enjoyed the well-deserved article and praise of B’nai Israel Congregation (“Bima: B’nai Israel Congregation,” WJW, May 23) which is a model congregation with a long history of involvement and engagement by its members, clergy and staff. While I do not attend often, I have been a member of B’nai Israel for nearly 30 years and had the good fortune of working there for a few years.

But after 30 years, I can no longer resist sharing the relatively unknown history of those “Large inviting doors…” that you mention in your article.

When I arrived at B’nai Israel in 1984, the exterior doors were the original, wood doors that had aged, peeled, warped, and weathered from its western exposure. The search for new replacement doors began by a talented group of lay leaders on the House & Grounds Committee. Several options were rejected until I suggested the doors pictured in your article. As a fan of the old TV show, Dallas, I noticed one night that the doors on J.R. Ewing’s office would look great as our synagogue front doors. I called the show’s producer to find out the source of the doors and a month later they arrived from the manufacturer in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Now, every time I enter through those welcoming doors, I enter with a knowing smile while being welcomed by the warm members of the congregation.
Chevy Chase

Critique of Chabad?
Andy Luterman (“Make aliyah,” WJW, Letters, May 16) is to be commended for his powerful, if oblique, critique of the Chabad movement.

Luterman’s charge to American Jewry was: “… if you care so much about what happens here in Israel, you are welcome to come down from the cheap seats and get in the game (make aliyah).”

On the one hand, Chabad-Lubavitch is no fan of Zionism or of the current Jewish state. Accordingly, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson forbade his followers from singing “Hatikvah,” and, when the bodies of their shlichim were flown to Israel after the terrorist attack in Mumbai, Chabad protested when the coffins of the deceased were wrapped in the Israeli flag.

At the same time, meddling in Israel’s internal affairs, Rabbi Schneerson, from his perch in America, was the behind-the-scenes mastermind of the Israeli Knesset’s 1989 “Who is a Jew?” legislation and campaign aimed at delegitimitizing the Reform and Conservative movements.

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