Boteach, Booker, Klobuchar...
Regarding “Cory Booker’s Jewish enablers” (February 12), Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s remarks about Cory Booker are valid. Booker’s recent voting record on Israel is a big disappointment to the pro-Israel community. Similarly, other former friends have moved closer to the more radical progressive wing of the Democratic Party and have aligned themselves ideologically with Bernie Sanders. They include Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
They have all thrown their hats into the 2020 presidential race. Clearly, they feel that they must sacrifice Israel on the altar of their presidential ambitions.
On the other hand, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, who has also tossed her hat in the ring, has remained a steadfast friend of Israel. She represents the fact that the Democratic Party is not totally lost. AIPAC has undertaken with much success nurturing a relationship with many progressives in the Democratic Party.
Boteach spoils his article with unnecessary mean-spirited attacks on three outstanding American Jewish leaders: Ben Chouake of NORPAC, Rabbi Menachem Genack of the OU, and Rabbi Shmully Hecht of Chabad of Yale. These represent a longstanding personal vendetta of Boteach. The article drips of narcissism and ego. Boteach is an excellent writer and has written important pieces in the past in defense of Israel. This article is a disrespectful attempt to make himself look good at the expense of respected leaders in the American community.
RABBI HESHIE BILLET
The PA and the murderer
The headline and first paragraphs of the article “Israel turned criminal into freedom fighter” (February 15) are misleading. The real story here is not that Israel correctly labeled the despicable rape and murder of Ori Ansbacher by Arafat Irfaiya a terrorist attack – a hate crime against Jews – rather than a criminal offense. Therefore, according to the Palestinians, Israel is responsible for changing the status of Irfaiya, making him “eligible” for recognition as a “freedom fighter.”
The real story is that the Palestinian Authority is actually refusing to express support for the vile murderer because he raped his victim before he murdered her. Had he simply murdered her, he would have been acclaimed a hero of the Palestinian cause and he and his family would have been rewarded with a stipend for life. This is what should have been headlined in your article. The fact that this kind of behavior on the part of the PA is tolerated by Israel and the world is beyond belief. This is the same PA entity to whom Israel will apparently soon be required to make concessions according to reports on US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.
It is also disgraceful that successive Israeli governments have not put an end to the situation in which the PA finances terrorists who murder Israelis, and terrorists’ families, to the tune of millions of shekels (as you mention in another place in your newspaper). The fact that Israel has the ability to stop this outrage and has not done so yet is appalling.
Olmert in the limelight
Regarding “Olmert to ‘Post’: Netanyahu can and will lose election” (February 15), should the public be expected to show interest in the opinions of someone who, entrusted with a high office and a high income by the citizens of Israel, betrayed our trust, accepted bribes (as mayor of Jerusalem), and lied about it in court? What if the same person had later been convicted on charges of fraud, breach of trust, and tax evasion in a separate case?
The page one banner headline about disgraced former PM Ehud Olmert’s predictions regarding Israel’s elections should be a source of embarrassment for The Jerusalem Post, its editors and its staff. Someone so venal – and so unrepentant – should not be sought out by journalists as a font of political insight. He should be shunned.
Facebook effaces party
In “Facebook removes Otzma Yehudit’s page” (14 Feb), I object strongly to what has become normal: to call Otzma Party members Itamar Ben-Gvir, Baruch Marzel, Benzi Gopstein and Michael Ben Ari extremist activists.
The late Rabbi Meir Kahane was banned from the Knesset on the grounds of the same “extremism” – in other words, anyone who has the faith and courage to speak out for keeping the Jewish Land for the Jewish People, opposing ongoing concessions and refusing to destroy our enemies so that we can walk freely without fear is an “extremist.”
Is it better to allow the ongoing carnage, as experienced in the recent murder Ori Amsbacher while walking in Jerusalem’s Ein Yael forest? It happens she was from the “extremist” left-wing “settlement” of Tekoa, which advocates coexistence with the terrorists.
If we are to survive in this, our one and only historic Jewish land of Israel, we must be willing to listen to people whose opinions about the challenges we face may differ from our own; let’s not be so quick to demonize, silence and remove them.
A story of Chinese Jews
I read “Tiny Kaifeng Jewish community faces Orwellian future” (February 15) with great interest, having visited Kaifeng several years ago as part of a tour led by Rabbi Marvin Tokayer. We saw the street sign in Chinese and English: “Torah Learning Way,” which described a number of residences and small shops displaying items of Judaica, including paper cuts of the great synagogue that had burnt down. We learned that the Jewish community was still active as late as 1910. It asked the London community to send them a rabbi to replace the one who had died. The request was never fulfilled and the community gradually assimilated. Nonetheless, each person’s identity card to this day displays the word “Hebrew” instead of the more common”Han” as the ethnicity.
Greeted with fanfare, speeches, song and dance, we were told a young man from the community had been given permission to study in a yeshiva in Israel and that with gentle persuasion, others might be allowed to follow.
However, we were reminded that in China, the government exerts total control over the lives of the people, and as if to prove the point, we were told that the head of the local Communist Party was sitting next to us.
There is an active Jewish Studies department at Nanjing University. We met one of the scholars there, Xu Xin, who authored The Jews of Kaifeng, China.
How sad that these beginnings seem to have been stifled. Perhaps with appropriate encouragement from abroad they may be rekindled.
Seeking voices of reason
Your February 13 edition had two problematic articles.
1) In “Dear newly elected members of Congress…” Gil Troy seems to think these freshman Democratic congresswomen are just un-educated; all we have to do is show them our beautiful country and they will see the error of their thinking. I think those three women are malicious antisemitic Jew-haters of the worst kind. Just look at everything they have been saying and who their friends are.
2) In “Discordant voices aren’t going away.” Michael Felsen talks about the Boston Workmen’s Circle being 100+ years old. Right. As a charitable organization they did some good – running summer camps and paying for funerals for the indigent, but my late father had trouble with their same anti-Zionist attitudes back in the 1920s and 1930s when they preferred not to see the coming disaster for our people. They fought Zionism tooth and nail (their only saving grace was that lots of people back then didn’t see the oncoming Holocaust). But now, antisemitism is on the rise worldwide. Jews again are being physically assaulted from Paris to Berlin to Brooklyn; there is no excuse for the BWC to hide their faces this time.
The State of Israel is precious to the Jewish people. We walk its hills and streets happily and proudly. The BWC is aghast that we sometimes have to destroy an Arab’s house. We don’t do it just to be mean. What atrocity preceded such a punishment? Do they care? Do they even know that before the house is destroyed, the family of the murderer can take his case to our Supreme Court?
The idea that the Workmen’s Circle is up to its same shenanigans from 100 years ago – disregarding everything that occurred since then – just blew me away. How dare they?
It was truly refreshing to read Gil Troy’s open letter to three newly elected members of Congress whom he described as having already “commanded more attention than other rookie colleagues.”
He asks them to reconsider their positions and to recognize the great pain their animus causes to millions of people. Unlike so many of his peer journalists whose reporting focuses on the sensationalism of their public statements, Troy appeals to their sensitivities and conveys empathy and understanding of the prejudice and pain suffered historically by the minority groups to which they belong.
Who know how his words will impact their thinking and behavior? Will they make history and use their unique positions, identities and life stories to pursue peace and be bridge builders or will they continue to ignite violence and incite their publics “to follow with pay-to-slay bloodlust?” Hopefully, they will use their platforms to help find a solution.
In psychology, what Ilhan Omar is doing is called a “projection.” She accuses an entire country of being evil and hypnotizing the world when it is really her own country that is responsible for substantial amounts of evil in the world – and she is hypnotizing listeners by deflecting blame and denying facts about where she is from.
Somalia is one of the world’s cesspools for terrorism and al-Shabbab militants (the Somali wing of al-Qaeda) were recently taking responsibility for the ruthless politically motivated killings of tourists in the Thai-owned Dusit Thani hotel in Christian-majority Kenya.
Kenya, like Armenia, is a relatively powerless Christian country in a sea of Islamic hostility. She is hypnotizing her own captive audience of listeners by pretending there is no issue with militants and political malcontents in her own country and deflecting and projecting blame on to cliche 1930s-style antisemitism of shadowy elite Jews who secretly control the world with their money and influence.
Expelling Jews from Cyprus
“Rivlin: Cyprus is an island of friendship in a stormy sea” (February 13) reported on President Reuven Rivlin’s visit to Cyprus to mark the 70th anniversary of the detention camps for Jews in Cyprus. I would like to add that in 1939/40 the British government detained all Jewish males over the age of 18 in Cyprus, first in a prison in Nicosia and later in a specially built detention camp in Prodramos – which included my father and uncle.
In June 1941, the entire Jewish community of 430 people was evacuated via Palestine to Tanganyika and Nyasaland in east Africa. Only a few are still alive who were children at the time.
The story of the evacuation of the entire Jewish community in Cyprus by Joe Gellert is available Yad Vashem, Jerusalem; the Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem; Beit Lochamei Haghetait in the western Gallilee, the Chabad Lubavitcher Synagogue & Community Center in Larnaca, Cyprus and more.
In the electoral hot seat
“After record-breaking 2018, it could get hotter” (February 10) should be the latest of many wake-up calls to the urgency of making averting a climate catastrophe a societal priority. Based on an overwhelming consensus of climate experts, the headline should have been that “It will get hotter,” with the only question being, will it get so hot that catastrophic climate events will become a new normal?
Last October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organization composed of leading climate experts from many countries, warned that the world has only until 2030 to make “unprecedented changes” in order to avert the worse possible climate conditions.
While The Jerusalem Post has been doing an excellent job of covering the current Israeli electoral scene, I have not seen a report of any politician addressing the existential threat that climate change represents to Israel and to the entire world. You would do a great public service by helping get climate change onto the Israeli electoral agenda.
Where are the politicians ready to address this?
The Iranian threat
In the article “Iran threatens Israel, Netanyahu threatens back” (February 12), I find it strange that the reaction to the words “threatening to raze Tel Aviv and Haifa” was so muted.
This is a blatant statement that Iran wants to kill millions of Jews. Why not headline the fact? Why are we not questioning Europe on their silence? I would like our prime minister to be asked why he is not demanding that Europe and the UN react instead of using it as election material. It is time to shame our enemies. It is better to put the enemies on their back foot than to show how macho you are.
I implore The Jerusalem Post and our media to stop pandering to our politicians and start asking European politicians their media the hard questions – including why they are silent.
MICHAEL H. DAVIS
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