Nary a mention
I was truly taken aback while reading “Middle Eastern studies scholars boycott Israel” (March 27). How ignorant must someone be in order to qualify to be called a scholar?!
Are they not aware that if they study historical texts they will not find any reference to so-called Palestinians prior to the 20th century?
The push to promote the idea of an Arab people called Palestinians only gained steam after the advent of the State of Israel in 1948; prior to the arrival of the 20th century, there’s nary a mention of them in any recognized texts.
So let these mock scholars find some other subject to which they can apply their scholarliness.
MICHAEL D. HIRSCHTzur Yitzhak
Regarding “Hebrew Union College could stop ordaining Reform rabbis in Cincinnati” (March 27): On June 30, 1973 the Vietnam War draft, which exempted seminary students, ended. In anticipation of the inevitable, HUC began enrolling women with their first woman graduate in 1972. When the draft ended, the number of male applications fell off a cliff. Today, the vast majority of HUC-JIR (Jewish Institute of Religion) students are women.
Some enterprising organizations realized how fungible the definition of the title “rabbi” could be, and got into the business of ordination to profit-grant the formerly prestigious title in only three years of part-time studies at substantially lower effort and costs for working students of all ages.
Potential candidates are also aware that the market for hiring liberal rabbis is shrinking as there is a rapidly diminishing population of Reform Jews and their temples. Similar shrinkage is being reflected in the Conservative Movement. Its American Jewish University is about to sell off its large glorious campus in Los Angeles for similar reasons.
In effect, the anticipated closure of the vaunted Cincinnati campus sadly represents the gradual demise of the American liberal Jewish movements as a result of their irreversible trends of extremely low intra-marriage, diminished Jewish commitment and low fertility.
GERSHON DALIN Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut
Condemned no matter what
Emily Schrader (“Reporting on Ukraine, obsessed with Israel,” March 22) has picked up on a disturbing theme in recent media reporting, i.e. a blame game against Israel for whatever response it has made to the Ukrainian crisis.
In its most benign form, Israel is accused of doing too much for Ukraine, or too little; of expressing unity with Ukraine, or playing it too cozy with Putin. More insidious are scattered implications, usually hastily retracted, of this war somehow being the fault of the Jews. One such statement by a member of the Ukrainian government was an example.
Even Israel’s extraordinary humanitarian efforts have been disparaged as disproportionately favoring Jewish victims. President Zelensky’s Jewishness has also been brought to the fore as having evoked either a too favorable response from Israel, or on the contrary, having revealed a laggardly response to the appeal of a fellow Jew.
It is almost, as Schrader implies, that Israel receives condemnation no matter what it does. It may be an obsession with history, but this brings to my mind the haunting memory of the Jew Suss.
We need to be aware of antisemitism no matter in what form it may appear.
MARION REISSBeit Shemesh
Citizens around the country and beyond are still reeling over the devastating terrorist attack in Beersheba last week. There was significant criticism for what some saw as slow police response to the terror attack. Police Commissioner Shabtai responded that “We can’t police every corner” (March 24). At face value, this seems like a somewhat legitimate response, and yet, the traffic police seem to have mastered this talent brilliantly. It seems as if nobody in any city who has forgotten to set or reset their Pango or Cello park apps gets any reprieve.
No matter who, where, and when the infraction is, it is always met with a ticket. These traffic/parking cops seem to be incredibly talented to always be at the ‘scene of the crime’ and to never be a minute late. My suggestion would be to have the traffic/meter cops train the criminal/terror police and give over their valuable secret which allows them to be timely and never miss an offense. Alternatively, let the police switch roles. That way the talented traffic cops could be on the scene of any crime if Heaven forbid they need to be.
It was good to read that “Israeli researchers find natural weapon for fighting cancer” (March 25). However, we already have long had a largely overlooked natural method of preventing cancer and curing it: shifting to plant-based diets and emphasizing simple unprocessed delicious fresh produce, preferably organic.
Many peer-reviewed studies in respected medical journals support this conclusion and discuss additional health benefits of reducing the consumption of meat and other animal-based foods.
This conclusion is also reinforced by the fact that, according to the Torah, humans were created as vegetarians (Genesis 1:29), and the modern scientific finding that we are far closer to herbivorous animals than omnivorous ones, in terms of our hands (for instance, there is no way we could kill a cow with our bare hands, is there?), intestinal system, stomach acids and other characteristics. I urge readers to do a computer search to verify the meat-cancer connection and then to shift to mainly or preferably all plant-based foods.
This would not only improve their health but also that of our endangered planet, as the production of meat is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, and uses huge amounts of water, energy and other increasingly scarce resources.
Douglas Bloomfield’s article “Not-so-great expectations” (March 25) reinforces the current conventional wisdom that Republicans are likely to take over both the Senate and the House of Representatives in this year’s midterm US elections. However, Democrats can win, and should win, in 2022 and beyond, by making the following arguments to voters:
Do you want to support a Democratic Party that is doing everything possible to combat climate threats, or a Republican Party that is in denial, and has done everything possible to end or weaken legislation designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
A Democratic Party that wants to get better healthcare for every American, or a Republican Party that supported legislation that would have taken away health insurance from tens of millions of Americans?
A Democratic Party that has stressed the importance of getting vaccinated and wearing masks or a Republican Party that has often ridiculed such actions?
A Democratic Party that supports effective gun control, or a Republican Party committed to doing the bidding of the National Rifle Association?
A Democratic Party committed to honesty and transparency and democratic values, or a Republican Party that supports former president Trump, who told over 30,000 lies while in office, and is supporting the big lie that Biden won the 2020 election due to fraud in order to pass legislation preventing certain groups from voting?
A Democratic Party committed to passing legislation that would help all Americans, or a Republican Party committed to uniformly blocking such legislation, in order to gain political advantages?
RICHARD SCHWARTZ, Ph.DShoresh
I don’t recall any mention in his columns before, but deep down in Douglas Bloomfield’s typical rant against all things Trump, and/or the US Republicans, in paragraph eight, we find Hunter Biden’s laptop. This is the laptop that was seized by the FBI under subpoena in December 2019. Fifty-one former intelligence officials, including nine whose names were so secret that they couldn’t be disclosed, and despite their declared statement of not having any definitive knowledge, stated that the emails in the laptop “had all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
They did this based on their deeply held beliefs “that American citizens should determine the outcome of elections.” The New York Post revealed some of the contents in the laptop, and were instantly vilified by the majority of the US media: their accounts were frozen by Facebook and Twitter.
That all happened in the run-up to the presidential election in November 2020, which was won by Joe Biden. The New York Times has reversed its position in recent days, declaring that the emails were in fact authentic according to “people familiar with them and with the investigation.” As part of the continuing investigation into influence peddling by the president’s son, Hunter Biden has had to take out a loan for $1 million for related back taxes.
In a poll by Rasmussen of 1,000 American voters, 66% believe that the laptop story is important; 65% believe that President Biden was likely to have been consulted on the matter by his son. The 51 intelligence officers are mostly silent these days. I look forward to reading Bloomfield’s update on these and future developments in the case.
Regarding “Ukraine could happen here” (March 23), Gil Troy is correct. True peace will come from relationships that are “real, lasting, textured and bottom-up ties.” Thus, rather than being characterized as obstacles to resolving the conflict with the Palestinians, Israeli businesses located in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria should be lauded for employing both Israeli and Palestinian workers and serving both Israeli and Palestinian consumers. In other words, these businesses are the places where Israelis and Palestinians can get to know each other, forming precisely the kinds of relationships that could lead to the realization of the Israeli view of two states for two peoples – a Palestinian state coexisting, peacefully, with the nation-state of the Jews.
TOBY F. BLOCKAtlanta
Cut him some slack
Liat Collins complains about Ukrainian President Zelensky’s hyperbole and specifically his references to the Holocaust (“Zelensky’s misfired speech,” March 25). It seems to us that, in the circumstances he and the Ukrainian people face, when thousands of innocent civilians are being blitzed; over three million people, mainly women and children, have been forced to flee the country; and his country faces erasure if Putin gets his wish, we should cut him some slack when some of his analogies are not precise.
He is desperately seeking military help from every country that values freedom and democracy. Volodymyr Zelensky is an extremely courageous man who realizes that his country’s fate rests on his shoulders.
VICTOR & HELLENA GALLANTRa’anana
One key factor
Michal Cohen’s account of her encounters with antisemitism at American University (“Fight antisemitism or it’ll run rampant,” March 23) is as unsurprising as it is frightening. Jewish students cannot express feelings of solidarity with Israel, or even Judaism, without being targeted as racist killers. Not too many years ago, a Jewish high school senior would examine a college for its kosher food options, its Hillel or Chabad, its percentage of Jewish students, as key factors in deciding whether or not to attend a specific university.
Today, that has to change. A student must first check one key factor: Is there a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine on campus and how active is it? The presence of SJP is the indicator of a campus that is hostile to pro-Israel Jewish students. The more active the SJP chapter, the more antisemitic the atmosphere at the college. It also behooves parents, who are the ones paying the very expensive tuition, to look into that as well before writing their checks.
The euthanasia of Israel
The Middle Eastern Studies Association’s decision to boycott the Jewish population of Israel is not just wrong, it is euthanistic (“Lecturing for boycott,” March 23). Omar Barghouti, the founder of BDS, said as early as 2005 that the sole purpose of BDS is the euthanasia of Israel. A student of history, Barghouti knows full well that the Nazi T4 Euthanasia Program was the foundation of the Final Solution of the Jews as enacted in the Wannsee Protocols in January 1942. His use of the word euthanasia leaves no doubt he founded BDS to continue the antisemitic eliminationist mission formalized by Reinhard Heydrich and Adolf Eichmann at the Wannsee Conference.
Further – MESA, by embracing a boycott of the Jewish population of Israel, has emulated Joseph Goebbels and his Brownshirts’ boycott of the Jewish population of Germany. The Nazis had a word for the antisemitic world MESA now is committed to: Gleichschaltung.
RICHARD SHERMANMargate, Florida