Sacks: Pro and con
Sir, – At last, someone has had the courage to say what many
current and former constituents have been thinking for years – that outgoing
British Commonwealth Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks failed dismally in his primary
task of standing up for Jews and the State of Israel against their
In “The chief rabbi who would not fight Israel’s enemies” (No
Holds Barred, July 16), Shmuley Boteach, who served as rabbi at Oxford
University from 1988 to 1999, points out the disconnect between the Jewish
leader who asked at his farewell dinner, “If there is anti-Semitism or anti-
Zionism in the future, who is going to fight it?,” and the leader who failed to
do so during his 22-year tenure as chief rabbi.
However, while he
correctly points to Rabbi Sacks’s feeble responses in the face of the alarming
increase in anti-Semitism and the vicious attacks against the State of Israel in
the UK and Europe, Rabbi Boteach, who was “awed by his writings,” did not go far
enough. He could have asked why the chief rabbi was spending so much time
increasing his fame through his writings on theology and
Instead, Rabbi Sacks could have been flooding the media with
writings slamming the aforesaid rising anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, and
challenging the British establishment for its weakness in tackling the former
and, by omission, encouraging the latter.
As a gifted orator and writer,
with unfettered entry to the highest levels of British society and government,
the highly respected Rabbi Sacks had an unparalleled opportunity to confront the
movements that seek to besmirch and delegitimize Jews and the Jewish state. It
is to our everlasting detriment that he failed to do so.SHIRLEY ZAUER
Sir, – Shmuley Boteach gets it absolutely right in describing the
absence of outgoing British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’s public stand against
anti-Semitism in Britain and the anti-Israel attitude of the
Applauded by segments of the Anglo community, sadly among some he
will be remembered for not attending the funeral of Reform Rabbi Hugo
Sir, – Shmuley Boteach has continued his
ill-judged and incorrect attacks on the outgoing chief rabbi, Lord Sacks. Had he
been properly informed, he would have known that Lord Sacks has been one of the
most vocal and active supporters of the work of the All-Party Parliamentary
Group against Anti- Semitism, which I chair.
Both before his ennoblement
and after, the Lord Sacks has given sage counsel and full throated support to MPs
of all parties about fighting anti-Semitism and, through it, other forms of race
hate. His effect has been felt in parliament, to the top levels of government
and beyond Westminster.
He worked with us to take student concerns to
parliamentarians and vice-chancellors, and by doing so has helped to engender a
more tolerant atmosphere on campus far from Boteach’s hysterical
If the central quality of leadership is “moral courage,” then
Jonathan Sacks has that quality ad infinitum. I am certain he will continue to
be an asset to our parliamentary group.JOHN MANN
Bassetlaw, UK The
writer is a Labor MP
Sir, – I have seen with my own eyes the ultimate literary
obscenity – Shmuley Boteach, a friend of Michael Jackson, bad-mouths Chief Rabbi
Jonathan Sacks in public, in print, and on Tisha Be’av.
The story of
Kamsa and Bar Kamsa comes to mind in this gratuitous display of sinat hinam
Poor job in Florida
With regard to “Zimmerman acquitted of Trayvon Martin killing” (July 15), were
the prosecutors and police in Florida trained by the prosecutors and police who
failed to bring a conviction against O.J. Simpson in Los Angeles almost two
decades ago? Not even a manslaughter conviction! They did a really poor
Time to toss the “Stand Your Ground” law. This was a miscarriage of
justice – and we’re not talking abortion here.
North Carolina Color and adoption
Sir, – I hope that everyone who reads “Should
skin color affect adoption?” (Comment & Features, July 15) feels the pain,
outrage and impotence of the Ethiopian Jewish family that lost their baby to
Here is a mother who realized she was unfit to raise her son
but that she had an accomplished, competent and willing sister to raise him
within his native family.
From birth onwards, the sister attempted
adoption but was deflected, deluded and denied by Israel’s social
The infant was relegated to an orphanage, and at the age of one
was given to strangers who had no apparent advantage other than being
These social workers must have known about the crucial need for
mothering in early infancy. Without it, babies do not have normal development
intellectually, emotionally or socially. Being in an orphanage actual harms a
child, often irreparably.
The coup de grace by the bureaucratic poobahs
was to permanently remove the child from his biological family with the
nausea-inducing argument that he would be better off remaining with his adoptive
This is the opposite of what is legal and compassionate. This is
a tragic and shameful account of the actual vicious decisions of Israel’s
oxymoronically- termed social service and judicial systems.
Jerusalem Oily dreams
Sir, – Drilling the Shemen well off Ashdod is
badly planned and unlikely to yield oil at commercial flow rates (“Beyond
natural gas: Does Israel have oil in its future?,” July 5).
volumes of oil are irrelevant because the well-flow rates are likely to be no
better than the failures of the earlier exploration wells drilled nearby many
years ago. The risk is not just the enormous well cost – the failure of the
third successive offshore oil exploration will most likely doom such activity
for years to come.
But it’s not too late if the operator acts in a
technically competent way. The well is planned to be drilled vertically, but
should be changed to high-angle-inclined; this would give the best chance to
cross as many of the productive vertical fractures as possible to achieve
commercial flow rates.
This is what Adira correctly planned in its
exploration well for the similar Gabriella structure nearby. While funding
problems unfortunately have stalled Gabriella, it would likely demonstrate the
correct way forward.
All this is a result of our dependence on local oil
companies having little experience and low technical competence.
all, they do not listen.
The result has been two exploration well
failures on the Sara and Myra licenses. And now we have Gabi Ashkenazi, whose
ex-chief of staff credentials supposedly qualify him to run an oil
There is a desperate need to attract major international
petroleum exploration and production companies in the face of prohibition by our
neighbors – a major political challenge! JONATHAN M. COHEN
writer is a retired petroleum geologist CORRECTION
In “Outrage after hundreds of
Jews and Christians denied entry to Temple Mount following worries over Muslim
rioting” (July 17), the quotes attributed to Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin
were actually said by Chaim Richman, director of the Temple Institute.