August 7, 2019: New Testament antisemitism

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

August 6, 2019 21:36

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 New Testament antisemitism 

In “Is the New Testament antisemitic?” (August 6), Shmuley Boteach demonstrates that the New Testament is rife with instances of antisemitism, if you want to view as such. Yet Boteach neglects to mention that much of the NT was originally written by Jews for Jews, not by Christians, and just as the front page of this newspaper shows, Jews are not shy about criticizing each other. 
While virtually every Christian denomination has been guilty of antisemitism, claiming all the blessings for themselves while leaving all the curses to the Jews, the Jews conveniently forget that although the blessings of the Tanach (the Hebrew Bible) were for them, so were the curses, some of which seemingly foretell antisemitism very accurately. 
Unfortunately humans can, and do, interpret anything based on their own prejudices. The NT didn’t create antisemitism, but it did reinforce existing held prejudices. 
Growing up in the US, I have personally suffered multiple physical and verbal assaults at the hands of Christians throughout my life. I have been told manifold times that I am a “Christ killer” who will certainly go to hell, as the New Testament (which I have read and regard as nothing more than a sometimes clever and sometimes clumsy Christian marketing document) clearly states that there is “one way” only to God – and that is through belief in his humanoid son.
Thankfully, I now live in Israel and no longer suffer from such hostile encounters.
The antisemitism that is central to the Christian Bible is largely responsible for 2,000 years of killing; the result is that there are but a mere few million Jews left in the world today – instead of a probable billion.
Still, that being said, I appreciate the support for Israel of the many kindhearted and fair-minded Christians around the world today. Without that support, tiny Israel would be hard-pressed to survive the constant armed and diplomatic warfare it unfortunately faces from its implacable and unrelenting Goliath-sized enemies.


The core issue

“We should demand a real election debate and answers to our questions” (August 2) raises a grave consideration that will determine the future of our country, and should occupy time in every debate and speech: What plan will the candidate bring to the Knesset to lower the high cost of living and reduce the paucity of affordable housing?
The combination of low wages and the high cost of living forces many Israelis to choose whether to struggle economically all their lives or emigrate. All too many choose the latter, including the best and brightest. The two negatives have also forced olim to give up and depart when they realize they just can’t make it. A third loss to population growth, even more tragic than the others, fostered by inadequate income paired with excessive prices, is the destruction of thousands of viable fetuses annually. When faced with the inability to support another child, abortion becomes a choice, no matter how painful for the parents. Preventing the need for this alternative is in itself sufficient to eradicate these economic determinants.
Our population is our most valuable resource. We must not, continue to lose any portion of it. Yet, every Knesset and government fail to adequately address this disaster. 
Those who ignore this social and economic challenge, or are unwilling to fight the interest groups responsible for high prices have no place serving the country. We need MKs and ministers courageous enough to take the necessary steps to make economic life livable in Israel.

A town with residents

Regarding “Israel to advance plans for 2,430 settler homes” (August 4), I would like to express my displeasure over the continued inaccurate use of the word “settlement” to describe my town, and “settlers” to describe me and my fellow Efrat residents (who are Israeli citizens). 
Please stop politicizing the issue and issue guidelines to your reporters to use the accurate and appropriate nomenclature. 
Alternatively, I have no objection to your using the words “settler” and “settlement” when also describing all Arab locales and residents of Judea and Samaria and/or Israeli locales and residents throughout the entire country (i.e. the “Jewish settlers living in the Tel Aviv settlement” – since that is how our enemies seek to portray the entire Zionist enterprise). 

Lapid: Zero relevance
In “We’re not stupid” (August 2), Blue and White #2 (Yair Lapid) puts forward his views; the title of his column is meant to imply that if readers are not stupid they will vote for his empty platitudes.
Recently, I attended a wonderful two-day conference in Jerusalem, devoted to three troubling topics, Hezbollah, Hamas and BDS. Speakers with military and legal backgrounds made excellent contributions to understanding and defending against these entities.
In addition, there were two Israeli political guest speakers, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett. Bennett went straight to the point, the missiles facing us from Hezbollah, the severity of the problem and what might be done about it. 
Lapid’s speech? “Netanyahu is bad; Israeli democracy is under threat” A speech that could have been given in Acre, Ashdod, Holon or anywhere in Israel, but bearing zero relevance to the conference theme.
That was stupid.

Lapid’s article was vague – deliberately I suspect – but his notion that either all the residents in the areas of the Palestinian Authority be given a vote or Israel is no longer a democracy, is nonsense. Various creative solutions have been proposed that retain Israel as a functioning democracy in which loyal Arab citizens have all the voting powers and opportunities for professional self-expression, while those who support the Jew-hating Abbas-Hamas approach, support terrorism, and consistently refuse to accept a State of Israel, do not have such privileges in the State of Israel, but only in their own autonomous areas.

Regarding “Netanyahu, Katz scramble to back Druze diplomat after ‘humiliating’ airport episode” (August 5), I know it is the month of August and there is not much news, but the article about the Druze diplomat is a shame for the name of your paper and its writers. 
The article clearly states the truth that the security girl did her job excellently and when she discovered who he was, let him go. She deserves praise for doing a hard job and keeping us safe. The diplomat, on the other hand, should know when to be diplomatic and keep his opinions to himself. Security applies to everyone; we have all been through it. As for the prime minister scrambling to back him, it shows how desperate he is to get any vote – even if in this case our security personnel did everything they are supposed to do.

Sadly, I can identify with the anger felt by Israeli Druze diplomat Reda Mansour, because of the insulting treatment sometimes dished out by the security personnel to arriving and departing travelers at Ben Gurion Airport.
Some years ago, when traveling with my passport that contained a slightly outdated photo, I was questioned for 10 or 15 minutes in a very rude manner. Throughout, I was polite and calm, but as the questions became intrusive I began to consider asking for the person in charge of the vetting of passengers. The security checker asked my children’s names, their army status, where I had learned Hebrew, etc. My passport showed I had been living in Israel for nearly 40 years. When I said my daughters had done Israeli National Service, she hostilely demanded to know just why my daughters hadn’t served in the army.
Additionally, I sometimes host visitors who are not Jewish, but are supporters of Israel. They have been subjected to a type of grilling that made them feel unwanted and forced to prove they were innocent of any malevolent intentions. It was only after they could provide our names, address and telephone number, all the while responding politely and quietly, that they were allowed to proceed.
I realize that the airport security checks are enormously important and are done for the safety of Israel’s residents and visitors, but why aren’t the checkers trained to treat travelers consistently courteously?

Acting in concert

Your editorial regarding the cancellation of the Baroque concert (“Shabbat in Jerusalem,” August 4) is correct in criticizing the person in city government who caused the damage to the orchestra and concert-goers. However, the same editorial illustrates exactly why this and similar problems will continue to arise.
Three times in the editorial, you refer to the person at the center of this issue as a “municipal official.” No name, no title, no office. Of course that person felt free to do what she wanted on her own volition. She knew that if there were any consequences, no one in Jerusalem would ever know the name of the person who did it. Decisions that affect hundreds of people are never made by a specific person, but always by “a municipal official.” If bureaucrats knew that they could not hide, but would have to take responsibility for their actions, maybe they would think twice before inconveniencing and damaging hundreds of city residents. 

Pollard persecution
Regarding “Jonathan Pollard asks PM to intervene with Trump (August 6), former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard has served a 30-year sentence in American jails in an exemplary manner. The conditions that have been imposed on him since his release are scandalous: unable to leave his apartment from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., forced to wear an electronic ankle alarm, computers monitored. No other person convicted of spying for America has ever been subjected to such conditions. 
The reason behind America’s decision to treat Pollard in this manner is well and truly buried beyond accessibility. Similarly, the reason why American Jews have and continue to remain silent throughout all his tribulations also remains a mystery. Maybe now, while his wife battles a serious illness, his fellow American Jews will stand up and be counted and assist him in his efforts to ease these crippling restrictions and therefore allow him to tend to his wife.
Mevaseret Zion

Clueless in Canada

Regarding “Canada court: West Bank wine ‘not made in Israel’” (July 30), Canada’s Federal Court is deceived, ignorant or biased.
In 1922, the League of Nations authorized the creation of the British Mandate for Palestine, which was to become a homeland for Jews. In 1947, as a result of Arab violence, the United Nations voted to split Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. The Jews accepted, but the Arab League launched a war of genocide against the Jews. The Arabs failed.
In 1967, the Arabs again attacked Israel to drive the Jews into the sea. They lost again. In victory, Israel sued for peace, but the Arabs refused.
Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank), Gaza and the Sinai came under Israeli control.
Under international convention, aggressors who lose wars are vanquished. Only Israelis offer those who tried to slaughter them a hand of friendship.
In the disputed territories, Israel and the Palestinian Authority share responsibility under the Oslo accords. Borders will be determined when the Arabs and Israel negotiate a peace treaty. 
It is not the role of Canada’s courts role to side with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, unless they agree with the founder of BDS that every Jew in the world should be “euthanized.”
Justice Anne MacTavish has tarnished the Canadian court.


Regarding “Sanders would use foreign aid as leverage on Israel” (July 29), the political spectacle conjured up by Israel-haters was given impetus by Bernie Sanders’s recent assertion during his election campaign that he would cut aid to the Jewish state. Sanders is effectively threatening to renege on president Barack Obama’s written commitment to provide aid to Israel for 10 years without reduction.
If Israel, the US’s closest ally, can’t count on the words of a written agreement – even one made by a blatantly anti-Israel president who revealed his ugly intent at the United Nations just before his term ended – why would any country trust the word of Americans? 
Israel’s enemies love this stuff.
Jewish supporters of Sanders should comprehend that they are supporting self-destructive behavior. While they might reassure themselves that they are upholding their “lofty principles,” they are surely smart enough to draw the line at suicide.
San Mateo, California

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