February 23, 2017: Hailing Haley

Credit should be given to the American president for selecting such a forceful and correct-thinking individual to express his positive views of Israel.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hailing Haley
I was gratified to read “Haley at Turtle Bay” (Editorial, February 21) regarding US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s remarks on attitudes toward Israel in the UN Security Council.
After so much Trump bashing in your newspaper, maybe credit should be given to the American president for selecting such a forceful and correct-thinking individual to express his positive views of Israel.
Glick and Menendez
With regard to Caroline B. Glick’s “Senator Menendez and the Pollard effect” (Our World, February 21), there are few members of the US Senate who can boast a more positive record of support for Israel on so many levels, as well as a concern for the security of Israeli citizens, than Robert Menendez.
The senator’s leadership was instrumental in congressional recognition of Israel’s right to self-defense during the last Gaza conflict, and in funding for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. He remains steadfast as a friend of the US-Israel relationship in speaking out against the international BDS effort. And the Jewish federations in New Jersey have found in him a welcome advocate and leader in supporting programs of vital importance to our community, such as homeland security funding, initiatives to assist programs for seniors, Holocaust survivors, the disabled and our young in need, and a healthy social service network.
The treatment of Jonathan Pollard by the US is certainly “disproportionate punishment,” as Ms. Glick points out.
But to infer that Sen. Menendez’s line of questioning for President Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Israel is in some manner “state sanctioned antisemitism in America” is a disproportionate connection to the point she is trying to make.
Certainly, there are many other and more significant acts of deep hatred toward the Jewish community for which she could make the point.
Given Sen. Menendez’s unquestioned history of friendship with our community in New Jersey and his deep interest and compassion for our every concern, Ms. Glick does a great disservice to our relationship with him and erodes the credibility of future advocacy efforts to fight antisemitism.
Elizabeth, New Jersey
The writer is president of the New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations.
Caroline B. Glick’s attack on New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez deserves a response from readers – and an apology from her. Had she checked her facts instead of shooting from the hip, she would know that he is one of the strongest supporters of Israel in the US Senate (if not the strongest) and should be the last one to be branded an antisemite.
As a former resident of New Jersey and one who spends a considerable amount of time there, I can attest to Bob Menendez’s strong and genuine friendship for the Jewish community, from participation in Super Sunday fund-raising activities to his championing of legislation that has specifically bolstered Jewish social services in the state. He was the second Democrat in the Senate to break with former president Barack Obama and his own party to condemn the Iran nuclear agreement, and has since been made to suffer for it.
To malign him as an antisemite adds insult to injury.
Given David Friedman’s deep and outspoken commitment to the State of Israel in general, and to the Beit El settlement in particular, it is only right and proper that President Donald Trump’s nominee as ambassador to Israel be asked whether his “passionate feeling about Israel” might affect his ability to put the interests of the United States first. That it was Menendez who asked the question signaled its legitimacy, for no one (except Ms. Glick) could question his record of support for the Jewish people.
It is both ignorant and insulting to suggest that the senator was “trafficking in antisemitism” or that he implied that “Jews who are passionate about Israel cannot be trusted by their fellow Americans.”
What Ms. Glick in her own passion sees as Menendez’s “bigotry against Friedman” is a legitimate political question as to the latter’s suitability and qualifications for the job.
Sen. Menendez is owed more than an apology. He deserves that the record be set straight – but this, I suspect, is too much to expect from Caroline B. Glick.
I have not seen the transcript of David Friedman’s confirmation hearings and cannot account for Sen. Robert Menendez’s treatment of the ambassador- designate. However, as an American Jew in Israel on an extended visit, I feel a moral obligation to set the senator’s record straight.
Far from being an antisemite, Robert Menendez has earned a reputation during his career as a strong supporter of the Jewish community and providing help in every way for it. He is one of Israel’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill.
Last year, when a large percentage of Democratic senators yielded to then-president Barack Obama’s pressure for support by not voting against the nuclear treaty with Iran, Menendez was a leader in opposing it. He stood his ground even after the White House tried to demolish him by impugning his principles with accusations that he was opposing the treaty at the behest of his financial supporters, putting that support ahead of what was best for America.
His courage and steadfastness on our behalf should not be forgotten.
The writer is an American rabbi and was president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.
I am well aware that there are many Jews, as well as non-Jews, who pooh-pooh clear signs and dangers of antisemitism. But so too, there is a phenomenon of crying wolf and exaggerating what appears to be antisemitism, but might be more indicative of the need for “extremists” to act out.
I think that Caroline B. Glick is seeing signs of antisemitism where there are clearer indications of extremist deviance. I have the impression that the signs of antisemitism she sees are not genuinely tapping into where Americans are.
I don’t read or hear that current polls reflect any increase in antisemitism. Far from it, I see that there are far more Jewish members of Congress than is proportional to the Jewish population in the United States.
Lowdown on statins
Despite her good intentions toward keeping patients from discontinuing their statins (“Cardiologists’ council: Don’t stop taking your statins,” Health Scan, February 19), Judy Siegel-Itzkovich should not have prominently presented a list of scary and troubling purported side-effects of these drugs.
Statins are not only highly effective, they are remarkably well tolerated. Most double- blind, randomized studies with years of follow-up comparing statins with placebos have shown very similar side-effect profiles in both the statin and placebo groups. Unfortunately, with all the medical misinformation floating around on the Internet and in the print and broadcast media, patients have been made to feel that despite the benefits of statins, they should be taken only as a last resort.
Just yesterday, a patient asked me whether, if she started on a statin, she would ever be able to get off it, I told her she shouldn’t view taking a statin as a punishment or addiction, but as a gift that will allow her to stay healthier longer – an opportunity her grandmother never had.
The writer is a physician.