Letters to the Editor January 31, 2022: Alan Dershowitz responds

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Alan Dershowitz responds

Eliav Breuer misinforms his readers when he says (“Dershowitz’s article in the ‘Post’ was misleading,” January 26) that “[Dershowitz] fails to mention that [Virginia] Giuffre has not been accused by any of the victims as taking part in the crime and no one has accused her of doing so except Dershowitz himself.” 

If Breuer had done his homework, he would have discovered that the victim, Carolyn Andriano, who was 14 years old when she was trafficked by Giuffre, specifically did accuse her: “I don’t think she was coerced into doing anything.” “I don’t think Virginia deserves anything less than what Maxwell is getting because she trafficked me.”

Andriano testified that she was trafficked to Jeffrey Epstein by Giuffre when she was 14 years old and Giuffre was above the age of consent. According to Carolyn’s testimony, Giuffre started to groom her when she was a 13-year-old elementary school student. Giuffre would pick her up from school and smoke pot with her. “I trusted her,” Carolyn said. When she turned 14, Giuffre decided that Carolyn was ready to be trafficked, so she told her to dress sexy and lie about her age if asked.

She drove her to Epstein’s house, took her to his massage room, undressed, “climbed on top of [Epstein] and proceeded to have sex with him.” She had sex with Epstein in front of the 14-year-old, obviously to encourage her to do the same, which she did. In payment for performing this trafficking service, Giuffre was paid in cash. The government, in using Carolyn but not Giuffre as a witness in the Maxwell case, vouched for Carolyn’s credibility but not for Giuffre’s.

Why did Breuer not report these facts? A retraction is required.

Moreover, Breuer asks, “Why in the past did he [Dershowitz] help the prosecution against the partner of his client and former friend?” I never helped the prosecution. Years before [Ghislaine] Maxwell was even under investigation, I demanded that prosecutors investigate the false claim against me. In doing so, I provided them with tape recordings, emails and other writings in which Giuffre and her lawyers admitted that she had never met me and certainly did not have sex with me. Here, too, a retraction is called for.

ALAN M. DERSHOWITZFelix Frankfurter Professor Emeritus of LawHarvard Law School

Insult against God

Kudos to editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz for his article “It is time to combat settler violence” (January 28). As someone who made aliyah in 2016, I have found much to be proud of about Israel, and I recognize the importance of Israel staying strong and doing everything possible to avert Palestinian terrorism and other threats.

However, the horrific actions of this small number of violent people are a blight on Israel’s image worldwide, truly a desecration of God’s Name. Judaism teaches that every person is created in the Divine Image, and that any derogatory act against other people is an insult against God (Bereshit Rabbah 24:7). Authentic Judaism is “ways of pleasantness and paths of peace” (Proverbs 3:17).

The actions of these fringe elements are the antithesis of the Torah’s teachings and hurt the settler movement. They must be widely condemned by rabbis and other Jewish leaders and the violent persons involved must be punished to the full extent of the law.

RICHARD H. SCHWARTZShoresh

Once again Mr. Katz continues to use the term “settler violence” in his column thus blaming peaceful law-abiding citizens along with a handful of violent teenagers who have had enough of the Palestinian attacks on the roads (mostly unreported because it is a daily occurrence and to be “expected”) and decided to take the law into their own hands.

I certainly do not condone this teenage violence and fully agree that it must stop. However, the roads in the area should be patrolled more frequently so that the barrage of stones and other missiles thrown at cars every single day can be stopped too.

FREYA BINENFELDPetah Tikva

 Palestinians extinguish a fire in a field around the village of Burin, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, after Israeli settlers from the settlement of Yitzhar set it ablaze, according to eyewitnesses from the village council, Jun. 29, 2021.  (credit: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP) Palestinians extinguish a fire in a field around the village of Burin, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, after Israeli settlers from the settlement of Yitzhar set it ablaze, according to eyewitnesses from the village council, Jun. 29, 2021. (credit: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Digging our own graves 

Regarding “US Jewish groups denounce ‘ongoing terrorism’ by Jewish-Israeli extremists” (January 26), I know I’m taking an unpopular position here, trying to rationally explain settler actions, but abandonment by successive Israeli governments and the capture by Palestinians of Area C, earmarked and agreed upon by all sides as belonging to Israel, is a prime cause of our Israeli youth rebelling. Add that to the Sheikh Jarrah debacle and Negev retreat and it’s easy to see why Israeli youth are turning to violence as their only means available against Palestinian intruders. Frustrating and driving them, as well, the Knesset and the Supreme Court have no problem condemning and uprooting illegal and legal building by Israelis while all illegitimate behavior and action by the Palestinians goes unpunished and even rewarded. We even allow the antisemitic EU access to fund these self-destructive policies. Where’s the fairness and support for our side? Where can we turn to?

If the government wants to see an end to settlers’ violence, it needs to step up and protect all legal rights to our lands. Our youth feel disenfranchised and betrayed by their own. The American liberal Jewish organizations have no problem denouncing our Israeli youth but never seem to stand up for them while they’re suffering on a daily basis due to Palestinian violence everywhere, including and especially in Judea and Samaria. It’s great that this allows them entry into “woke” society but Jewish history shows that it won’t last. Good luck to them.

Facts on the ground count and by our inaction we are sadly digging our own graves. I hope there’s still time to reverse these miscalculations but certainly the hour is late.

ALLAN KANDELLos Angeles

Missing again

Thank you Gil Hoffman for your headline piece “Pluralists outraged over Bennett ruling out Kotel deal” (January 30). We are outraged and aghast that Bennett would back out of this commitment to finally honor promises long made to the non-Orthodox population that voted for him and other members of the coalition. We are the ignored, continually dumped politically Masorti, Reform and other non-Orthodox population that the politicians feel they can walk all over because we don’t scream and holler and make constant threats if we don’t get our way.

Looks like Bennett is jockeying to move back into a right-wing coalition and betray the present one, as your paper has speculated, so he’s using us as the scapegoat to prove his right-wing bonafides. But betrayal will have its costs and one of them will be to never vote for Bennett again. I speak not just for myself but also for my Masorti congregation, which struggles daily and yearly for some form of equitable treatment from our government, morally, ethically and financially.

But it looks like Bennett is ready to sell us out again, just like our previous prime minister. Where is Jewish honor and respect? Alas, missing once again!

JANICE GAINESNetanya

This “outrage” is a tempest in a teapot. Traditional Jewish prayer and the Jewish people have stood the test of time for the last 3,000 years. A small group of pluralists have tried to stir up the proposition that the majority of the world’s Jews are being distanced from Israel because of the Kotel’s traditional orientation. FIrst of all, most European Jews belong to traditional congregations if they belong to anything. Read the Pew report. In the US, Conservative and Reform synagogues are selling their properties because of lower membership, especially among the younger element. Most American Jews hardly go to synagogue at all.

Half of American Jews have never even been to Israel. Those who have, have spent about 20 minutes at the Kotel. If the “millennials” are disenchanted with Israel it is not because of the Kotel. Who comes on aliyah in the greatest numbers? Who sends their children to yeshivas and seminaries? Who comes to visit children and grandchildren and for Passover and Sukkot?

Who is the fastest growing Jewish community in the US and England? Not the pluralists with their 70 % intermarriage rate. If you want to know where the future of the Jewish people lies, it is with these same Jews who have unconditional love for the Land of Israel which doesn’t depend on the latest “woke” culture. I don’t see anyone trying to “reform” the Vatican or Mecca.

Leave the Kotel be; everyone is welcome there as long as they respect our hallowed traditions.

CHAVA LEBOWITZJerusalem

Dead wrong

Amotz Asa-El contends that Israel must not take sides in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. He is dead wrong. For two reasons. Russia is part of the new authoritarian/totalitarian axis consisting of Russia, China and Iran in which Iran is an existential threat to Israel. So it would be quite hypocritical to ignore one aggression and then expect others to condemn Iran when it threatens with the annihilation of Israel. 

Second, Israel is a democracy and should side with democracies against dictatorships. Wars are very rarely fought between democracies. NATO is not a threat to Russia and never has been. It was formed as a defensive alliance and Putin is manufacturing the threat to justify the intervention in Ukraine because a democratic and successful Ukraine would be an example that Russians would want to emulate.

The whole situation eerily reminds me of the Sudetenland crisis in 1938, and the reaction of the West has not been much better today than it was then.

MLADEN ANDRIJASEVICBeersheba

Great show

I enjoyed reading Lahav Harkov’s interview with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (“‘We did big things – it’s only the beginning,’” January 28). I’ve been his supporter all along and first met him when he was head of the Yesha Council.

There were little things I noticed in the interview, like using the correct craft/verb when describing his kippah as crocheted. But his politics is more important. It’s amazing that he managed to put together this unlikely coalition especially when his “dowry” is miniscule. He’s a full generation younger than Bibi, which shouldn’t be forgotten. Bennett doesn’t need to work, having made his fortune very, very young in hi-tech.

Bennett doesn’t claim to have a right-wing government, but the policies aren’t very different from decades of Likud. Please don’t forget that there’s hardly a Likud prime minister, if any, who didn’t destroy Jewish communities, and that started with Menachem Begin. Bibi was no different. I remember hearing him say that although he talks “Right” he believes that as prime minister he needs to be in the Center. So I don’t miss him and his mafia.

Bennett seems to have good control over the various issues Israel faces. I’m more nervous about when Lapid takes over. We’ll see what happens. On the whole, I’m happy that the Bibi mafia is out. They found a way to stay in power “safely” by being perpetual “interim” governments sans coalition. Bennett and his coalition partners out-maneuvered them by doing the “impossible.” Remember that the pundits claimed it wouldn’t last a month.

I’ve been following Israeli politics closely for over half a century, and it’s a great show!

BATYA MEDADShiloh

Ad nauseam

I question your editorial judgment on this one. Why did Friday’s Jerusalem Post have a front page article (“Meet the TikTok Daf Yomi star,” January 28) about a TikTok user who is reacting to Daf Yomi with expletives? This TikTok post is old news; it has been posted and re-posted ad nauseam. Were there no other events from last Thursday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, that better deserve front-page attention?

How about Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy, who delivered an impassioned speech in Hebrew before the German Bundestag last Thursday? That was relegated to page three. Jerusalem Post policy apparently deems that TikTok comes first.

ESTHER BEHARHashmonaim

Pray together

I would like to thank Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz for his article on “The moment of truth” (January 26). It makes sense that the Reform Movement has ulterior motives in its battle to change the policies at the Western Wall. I can’t think of any other place, especially of a religious nature, where people visit and publicly break the rules set by the governing body.

Like the rabbi said, the Western Wall is supposed to be a place where we can all peacefully pray together. It’s not a place to “express one’s unique truth” as these activists have said. I beg these people, follow the rules!

SUSAN SHALEMJerusalem