What’s in a name
Sir, – Regarding “IDF hits Gaza terrorist cell, killing two”
(November 4), if Israel decides to take wider action against the Gaza Strip to
stop attacks on soldiers and civilians, may I appeal for a name less bombastic
and arrogant than that given the last action – Operation Cast Lead.
pity of it is that this name has been mentioned thousands of times in the world
media and gives no idea at all of what Israel did and why. I would hope that the
name for a future action more accurately expresses the reason for it and thus
helps the world understand why Israel is forced to take such
Englewood, Colorado There’s good news
Caroline B. Glick’s “Delegitimizing the delegitimizers” (Column One, November 4)
is excellent and contains very important information about UNESCO and the Obama
administration. However, I would like to suggest that there is more than
“only one way” to deal with the delegitimizers.
In Europe, most people
have been exposed to indoctrination against Israel for over a decade, and many
have developed strong emotional bonds to the Palestinian cause. They are
unlikely to be moved by arguments concerning Israel’s historic rights and the
justice of our cause.
A new, radical approach is desperately needed in
order to stop them from thinking solely about the conflict and associated issues
where we have already lost the narrative.
People need to be presented
with irrefutable details of the work that Israel is carrying out on everyone’s
behalf and how it benefits the daily lives of millions. Promoting all the
great things our country is achieving to make the world a better place will make
people say wow! This powerful emotion will counterbalance their engrained
sympathies for the Palestinian cause.
So let’s not focus only on
counter-attacking; let’s promote Israel in a new light.MICHAEL ORDMAN
Netanya The writer produces a weekly newsletter at
www.verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com and is a regular blogger on
jpost.com Define ‘Conservative’
Sir, – In commenting on Dr. Steven
Cohen’s research into attitudes of rabbinical students toward Israel, Elliot
Jager (“Are young rabbis turning on Israel?,” Jewish Ideas Daily, October 31)
deduces that Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) students today have reconciled
their Zionism with “universalist ideals and, in extreme cases, Left-liberal
dogma that is anti-Zionist.”
Reading the same report, I accepted Cohen’s
conclusion that rabbinical students are “no less connected” and committed to
Israel than previous students, although more critical of the current government.
The reason for the difference between my interpretation and that of Jager may
well be that for him, liberalism is to be frowned upon while for me, liberalism
is a positive value that defends human rights, freedom of speech and conscience,
and other democratic values.
In his concern that if its future rabbis
hold liberal political positions the Conservative Movement will no longer be
able to “occupy the center” position in religious Judaism, Jager confuses our
centrist theological position with a conservative political
Conservative Judaism is not a political movement and has never
been characterized by conservative political positions. Its most outstanding
theologian, Abraham Joshua Heschel, was not only a leader of Zionist activities
and the movement to free Soviet Jews, but was heavily involved in the American
Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War protests.
If rabbinical students are
critical of some of Israel’s policies today, that only places them together with
Israeli citizens who make up the opposition to the current government. Does this
make all the parties to the left of the Likud, beginning with Kadima, liberal
and anti-Zionist as well?
There is no basis for stating that “Seminaries and
professors have been unable or unwilling to provide their students with the
moral compass needed....” Certainly, professors such as the current chancellor
of JTS, Arnold Eisen, cannot be accused of neglecting morals and Jewish- Zionist
values in their teachings and writings.
Conservative Judaism has always
stood for an attempt to preserve the Jewish tradition and Jewish law – hence the
term “conservative” – while at the same time adapting Judaism to new times and
new knowledge. That is where it stands today, and Zionism still forms a
central part of its ideology, as it has since the days of its founders, Zecharia
Frankel and Solomon Schechter.REUVEN HAMMER
Jerusalem The writer is a
former president of the Conservative Movement’s International Rabbinical
Assembly and a columnist in
The Jerusalem Post Magazine Nothing academic
I was shocked by Prof. Julio Pino’s malicious outburst at Kent State
(“Kent State president lambasts Israel-bashing professor,” October 30). Shouting
“death to Israel” in an academic forum is utterly unacceptable and comes
dangerously close to endorsing a hate crime.
Political slogans constitute
freedom of speech, but “death to Israel” does not constitute a political slogan.
“Death” implies violence against one or more persons and is not used in American
politics when discussing institutions and states. More importantly, “Israel” is
not merely a state: It is a concept intimately tied to Jewish
history. “Israel” is also a people, an ethno-cultural community – not
just a place on the map.
If Pino rejects Israeli statehood, he should say
so, using precise terminology rather than invoking the violent language of
jihad. As a professional historian, he should understand this. If he does not, I
question his academic credentials.
Shouting “death to Israel” may be
interpreted as an endorsement of genocide. Neither the First Amendment of the US
Constitution nor academic tenure constitutes a license to propagate hate
Wilmington, North Carolina The writer is an
assistant professor of Jewish history at the University of North
Carolina/Wilmington The few, the proud
Sir, – This past Shabbat’s Torah portion,
“Lech Lecha,” fits in well with the 236th anniversary of the US Marine Corps,
which will be marked on November 10.
We read that Abraham, with 318 men
he had trained, made a night raid and routed the forces of three kings who had
overrun the kingdoms of the Dead Sea valley and taken all the chattel, as well
as Lot, Abraham’s nephew.
Abraham returned victorious and returned the
captives and the loot to the King of Sodom, who offered him all the possessions
he had captured. Abraham’s reply was: “Nothing for me, but food and reward for
the men who went with me.”
The Torah portion’s relation to the Marine
Corps is that, like Abraham, Marine officers, from platoon leaders on up, are
bound by the Corps tradition that officers go first and eat last.
is justly proud of its Marine Corps and those who serve are justly proud to wear
the globe with the anchor and eagle.RAPHAEL BEN YOSEF
Ramat Gan The
writer is an ex-US Marine.Here’s the proof
Sir, – Regarding my letter to
the editor of November 1 (“Where’s the proof?”), it has been brought to my
attention that Gershon Baskin is in possession of a letter of thanks from our
While I have not seen it and it has not appeared
anywhere, such a letter would merit my apology for presuming a lack of
corroborating evidence for Baskin’s claiming a key role in the release of
soldier Gilad Schalit.J.J. GROSS