February 28, 2017: Glick on Menendez

There are genuine antisemites out there – too many – and this false, insipid mislabeling of such a good and friendly senator gives cover to the real antisemites and alienates those who are decent.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Glick on Menendez
Publishing Caroline B. Glick’s defamatory, poorly reasoned column “Senator Menendez and the Pollard effect” (Our World, February 21) did your fine newspaper and the cause of the Jewish people a serious disservice and harm, with Ms. Glick’s ill-informed, ignorant mislabeling of the senior senator from my home state an antisemite.
Anyone familiar with Sen. Robert Menendez knows he has a long, prominent track record that is second to no other American politician of his time as a sincere friend of the Jewish people and an enemy of antisemitism in particular, and bigotry of all stripes. He has all along been a vocal, effective and courageous supporter of Israel as America’s great ally, and has been a most dependable and forceful advocate against anti-Jewish sentiment or action domestically and in the international sphere.
Sen. Menendez has done more for the Jewish cause than ever was or will be done by Ms. Glick.
There are genuine antisemites out there – too many – and this false, insipid mislabeling of such a good and friendly senator gives cover to the real antisemites and alienates those who are decent.
West Orange, New Jersey
Caroline B. Glick’s column was not a profile of Sen. Robert Menendez, and therefore did not include details of his record vis-àvis Israel. It dealt in the main with Menendez’s negative reaction to the news that David Friedman, who is very pro-Israel, is President Donald Trump’s ambassador-designate to Israel.
It was certainly not “right and proper,” as one letter writer recently claimed, for Menendez to ask Friedman to assure the senatorial panel that, in spite of the fact that he is very passionate about Israel, his loyalty and commitment lie with the US rather than with Israel. It is sheer nonsense and insulting to Friedman to imply that the love of an American for Israel could hinder him in loving America and being totally loyal and committed to its best interests.
Ms. Glick, while condemning the request to Friedman as smacking of antisemitism, did not accuse the senator himself of being an antisemite.
In my view, the nomination of David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel is one of the best things to happen to Israel in a long time.
The column by Caroline B. Glick has an important implication: that the Jew will act in accordance with his passionate love for Israel.
That is a misconception of the antisemite. The standard of a citizen’s behavior, whether Jewish or not, should be in accordance with a blessing in our daily Jewish prayers: “Blessed are You, Lord, King, lover of righteousness and justice.” Righteousness and justice should be the principles to which each person is committed.
It is not a question that “loyalty and commitment lay with the US rather than with Israel,” but that loyalty and commitment are holy matters and are rooted in undisputed human values.
I entirely agree with Caroline B. Glick.
Sen. Robert Menendez is of Cuban descent. What would have been his reaction if he were asked a similar question had he been proposed as US ambassador to Cuba? I suspect the question would not even have been asked.
Sleep habits
A message for those 24% of Jews who voted for President Donald Trump: People who go to bed with xenophobic white supremacists should not be surprised when they wake up with antisemites.
Highland Park, Illinois
More on HPAs...
I was very interested in, impressed by and agreed with most of what Hadassah Fidler wrote in “Should prenuptial agreements be compulsory? (Comment & Features, February 23). However, her statement that a halachic prenuptial agreement (HPA) “may not count as the most romantic gesture on the eve of a wedding” is misleading.
An HPA should be written before the couple gets engaged or married, when there’s no presumption of duress and both sides can end the relationship before it’s halachically/ legally contractual.
A scenario of disagreeing on basic issues is a precursor to disagreements during the marriage.
They can arise due to a change in circumstances (e.g., receipt of an unexpected inheritance, a reversal in finances, issues in dealing with respective biological/mutual children, etc.), and if the married couple then decide to do a post-nuptial agreement, there’s a presumption of duress. That’s why post-nuptial agreements are costlier and require signing before a rabbinical court.
HPAs do not “exclusively deal with the provision of a get [Jewish religious divorce] without addressing financial arrangements postget.” They are contractual and can state whatever the two parties agree to adhere to them before, during or after marriage.
It is also not true that “making HPAs a prerequisite to getting married... could be problematic from a halachic point of view...” because “a get must be granted willingly, and forcing people into a prenuptial agreement may invalidate it.”
No unmarried couple is “forced” into marriage, since they can easily not get married if one party doesn’t agree to sign. The presumption of duress exists only once they are married and decide/need to do a post-nuptial agreement. In fact, there are many Orthodox rabbis who will not perform a wedding ceremony without a prenuptial agreement in place.
The writer is a halachic estate planning attorney who executes pre- and post-nuptial agreements.
...and avoiding divorce
The most encouraging news in terms of preventing marital breakdown appeared on your front page (“Tax breaks for premarital counseling?” February 20). As reported by Jeremy Sharon, legislation is proposed by Likud MK Yehuda Glick offering incentives for engaged couples registering for premarital counseling courses.
Some 20 years ago, the Shalshelet Marriage and Counseling Center provided premarital counseling courses for engaged couples to reduce the alarming rate of divorce (though unfortunately without the benefit of legislation and tax benefits). A longitudinal study found that there was indeed a reduction in the divorce rate among those who participated as compared with those couples who did not.
However, an important element was that couples were given premarital counseling in groups. During 12 sessions that covered issues found to lead to divorce based on a study by Prof. Nachum Rackover, couples also made long-term friends. Shalshelet’s method also included participative dynamics in which couples shared their cultural norms on topics ranging from budgeting to spare-time activities and attitudes toward child rearing.
So let’s take out the question mark. To MK Glick, go for it! It’s a long overdue development that can not only prevent family breakdowns, but enhance marriage.
The writer is a psychotherapist and founder of the Shalshelet Enhancing Relationships Center.
Propaganda trap
An invaluable friend of Israel, Alan M. Dershowitz nonetheless falls into a propaganda trap (“Trump: Palestinians must earn a two-state solution,” Comment & Features, February 20.
By quoting Abba Eban as saying that “the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” he unintentionally distorts history by backdating the success of the Palestinian Arabs in styling themselves as “the” Palestinians and as independent diplomatic players. What Eban actually said was that “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
Eban knew what it meant to be a Palestinian before 1948, and it didn’t necessarily mean to be an Arab.