Sir, – I am proud to serve as a member of the Claims
Conference Board of Directors.
In a series of unrelenting attacks on the
Claims Conference – its leadership, management and board – you have disregarded
journalistic standards resulting in a gravely negative impact on survivors of
Rather than checking with the Claims Conference the stories
and “facts” that were fed to you, you chose to print them and repeatedly
Worse still, you published incorrect and unsubstantiated
narratives of events that transpired at a closed meeting.
manufactured the possibility of scandal undefined, then left it as an open
No one disputes the facts of the fraud perpetrated against the
Claims Conference, some of it by Claims Conference employees.
feels more keenly the responsibility of serving the survivors than the Claims
No one disputes that justice was served in the 100 percent
conviction rate of the guilty.
No survivor suffered any diminution of
services. The German government made whole the stolen money. None of this was
headlined in the ongoing drumbeat against the Claims Conference leadership. That
Finally, there is the damage to survivors. Will you
explain that the Claims Conference, which has delivered billions to them for
over 60 years, continues to obtain increased aid from Germany to provide
improved care to survivors in 40 countries? Will you reassure them that in no
way was the work of the Claims Conference compromised by the fraud? The
leadership slate unanimously accepted by the board should be seen as it was
intended – the affirmation of jobs well done and a vote of total
In this season of Tisha Be’av, let us act on what unites us
as Jews rather than allow divisiveness to overtake us. The Claims Conference
board voted to move on to further its mission.
Let us hope that all
concerned can adopt this positive position.
WILLIAM D. HESS
The writer is immediate past president of the American Zionist Movement, a
founding member of the Claims Conference Meet the Amalekites
Sir, – I was hoping
to catch up casually on the news. So far, so good. Then I read the rantings of a
“leader” of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages (“‘These people are Jews?’” asks Shas
rabbi about national-religious camp,” July 15).
In his view, and possibly
that of others on the council, not only are the wearers of knitted yarmulkes,
like myself, not Jewish, they are actually Amalekites.
Anyone who has
read Exodus 17:16 will know that the Amalekites are the eternal enemy of our
How on Earth can a leader of a group, ultra-Orthodox or
otherwise, make such a statement on the eve of Tisha Be’av? It is no less than a
repetition of the enmity that destroyed the Second Temple.
I cannot think
of anything further to say.MOISHE VEEDER
Sir, – What an
exquisitely-timed demonstration of the tragic origin and continued persistence of
Tisha Be’av as a day of universal Jewish mourning! The underlining cause of the
destruction of the Second Temple traditionally has been ascribed to sinat hinam,
baseless hatred, among Jews. Yet Rabbi Shalom Cohen, a prominent member of the
Shas Council of Torah Sages, has now had the unbelievable audacity, while
twisting Torah text, to call national-religious Jews “Amalekites” and question
their status as Jews.
Whatever qualifications he might have for his high
position, Cohen seems seriously deficient in ahavat yisrael (love of
Israel).RICHARD D. WILKINS
Syracuse, New York Relevant day
Sir, – For
those wondering why Tisha Be’av remains so relevant today, one might consider
This year on Tisha Be’av, some Jews and most Muslims
fasted while most Jews and some Muslims ate. On a particularly significant day
for the Jews, they were banned from their most holy place,while on a not
particularly significant day for Muslims they were allowed to enter the Jews’
most holy place.
Muslims freely entered shopping malls in
Jewish-controlled areas, whereas Jews did not even consider entering shopping
malls in Muslim-controlled areas.
Haredim were free to roam wherever they
pleased, while in haredi areas observant Jewish soldiers were harangued at best
and physically attacked at worst.
Surely such a plethora of conundra
deserves a fast day! ALAN SHLOMO KOOR
Sir, – After the IDF conquered
Jerusalem in 1967, the famous words of Col. Motta Gur – “Har habayit beyadeinu”
(the Temple Mount is in our hands) was heard worldwide.
This year, on the
day before Tisha Be’av, when I wanted to go up to the Temple Mount, I and others
were delayed by over an hour, and then, when finally allowed to go up, we were
met by Israeli policemen who summarily told us to leave because they were afraid
of the Arab reaction.
The Arabs have learned very well that all they have
to do is yell a little and the police will buckle and not allow Jews to enter
I submit that if Jews are not allowed in the area, Arabs should
not be allowed either. If Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount,
Arabs should be restricted from praying there, too.
Our government bends
over backward not to do anything that will upset the Arabs without ever getting
mutual respect from the Palestinians, let alone from their leaders. Their idea
of give and take is we give, they take and then ask for more.
for this nonsense to stop is now, and the place to begin is the Temple Mount. It
is time for us to say “Har habayit beyadeinu,” and to really mean
Jerusalem Forget frustration
Sir, – Yuval Diskin contends
(“Israel near point of no return on two-state solution,” Commentary, July 14)
that anyone who doesn’t agree with him as to the supposedly vital need to
establish a Palestinian state believes mistakenly that one can “freeze
The conflict abides not because of
“Palestinian” frustration, but because Palestinians (and most of the wider Arab
world) do not accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state and, unable to destroy
it in a general war, work for its eventual elimination.
under existing conditions of Palestinian non-acceptance of Israel as a Jewish
state and support for terrorism against Jews, creating a Palestinian state
offers no solution.
The fantasy of creating a Palestinian state in
existing circumstances does not mean that Israel is doomed to become a
binational state. Not only do demographic studies show a rise in Jewish
fertility and decline in Arab fertility that project a Jewish majority well into
the future, but Israel no longer occupies the Arabs of Gaza or most of those of
Judea and Samaria.
Palestinians may well be frustrated that they cannot
destroy Israel today, but that is no reason for Israel to make concessions to
them under prevailing conditions. To the contrary, Israel can make concessions
only to a Palestinian society that accepts its legitimacy as a Jewish state, and
ceases to teach its children that they have a religious and national obligation
to kill Jews in pursuit of destroying Israel.
Like others insisting on
the necessity of a Palestinian state today, Diskin is essentially arguing that
Israel yield territory, assets and security, regardless of what the Palestinians
actually think, say and do.MORTON A. KLEIN
New York The writer is
national president of the Zionist Organization of America