Herb Keinon (“Trump’s envoy, bareheaded, walks into the lion’s den,” March 15) and Shmuley Boteach (“Who is Jason Greenblatt, the president’s Middle East negotiator?” No Holds Barred, March 15) both note how Mr. Greenblatt’s black suede kippa is always in evidence as he accompanies President Donald Trump in the US.
It is, of course, ironic that a Modern Orthodox American can wear his kippa in the US, but when representing the US in Israel, the land of the Jews, he needs to remove one of the most conspicuous symbols of allegiance to Judaism.
What your reporter and columnist fail to address is what this says about Diaspora Modern Orthodoxy’s allegiance to the Land of Israel when confronted with the question of dual loyalty.
Let us hope that Greenblatt does not become “holier than the pope” and sacrifice his brethren on the altar of over-compensation lest we think his impartiality has been tainted by his religious beliefs.ALAN SHLOMO KOOR
Herb Keinon writes: “While whether or not someone wants to wear a kippa in public is very much a private matter and his own business, it was impossible not to notice.”
This is just so much gobbledygook.
Keinon prefaces this by writing: “The picture of [Jason] Greenblatt that has appeared over and over” since then-candidate Donald Trump introduced him “as one of his top Middle East negotiators” has been “one of him wearing a large, black kippa. In every picture, that kippa was prevalent.”
This says to me that the “Orthodox” Greenblatt is just one more of what I call “court Jews” who will sacrifice all pride to make an impression. What it proves to President Mahmoud Abbas is how little regard Greenblatt has for himself and his religion.
We are told that Greenblatt does not want to look as if he identifies with one side, and “it may be best not to look like you live in Beit Shemesh.” This is disgustingly racist and in very bad taste.
Then we read: “Pictures of a kippa-clad US negotiator shuttling between Jerusalem and Ramallah would do little to enhance Greenblatt’s credibility in the Arab world.” Wrong. It would indeed enhance his and Israel’s credibility in setting the tone for the legitimacy of the Jewish land for the Jewish people.
But that is not the intention.
Instead of former president Barack Obama, we have Trump. Instead of former secretary of state John Kerry, we have Greenblatt.
But the agenda and end game are the same: Make the deal and to hell with the consequences for Israel.
Kudos to Shmuley Boteach for his inspiring description of Jason Greenblatt.
One can be sure that Greenblatt (unlike President Donald Trump’s sonin- law, Jared Kushner) was not present Friday night at the inaugural ball. He deserves the title of “consistent Orthodox Jew.”
In this context, it’s worth taking notice of Bill Gates’s recent statement about an international computer expert who is a Shabbat observer: “It’s nice to have something which can’t be bought with money.”MORDECHAI SPIEGELMAN
A third way
With regard to “Police grill Israeli rights activist” (March 15), as long as the Palestinians do not have their own say, what does “Israeli rights activist” Jeff Halper’s BDS campaign hope to achieve? As Canadians, every decade or so, we have to endure our own national angst as we watch residents of the Province of Quebec decide whether they want to remain part of Canada. Maybe the Israeli government should do the same by allowing the “Palestinians of the West Bank” to have an open, free and democratic referendum on whether they want their own state or, like Mr. Halper suggests, to be part of a binational, democratic state.
My prediction is that the majority would opt for a third option – that of throw the Jews into the sea! MARK HALAK
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