January 29, 2018: Dems, Republicans on Israel

The greatest threat to the US itself and its support for Israel is not Islamic terrorThe greatest threat to the US itself and its support for Israel is not Islamic terror.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Dems, Republicans on Israel
With regard to “Pence and Pew, present and future” (Column One, January 26), the content and statistics about the diminishing support of Democrats for Israel and the rise in Republican support come as no surprise. It is something that has been apparent for a very long time.
The greatest threat to the US itself and its support for Israel is not Islamic terror – though it certainly remains a priority – but the creeping and insidious evil commonly known in Democratic circles as the “progressive Left.”
It is nothing of the sort. It is the subversive Left and should be recognized for what it is and for the fact that it is being readily embraced by growing elements within the Democratic party.
Caroline B. Glick’s latest column contains a throwaway comment that reveals how one can construct a forceful and articulate argument that sounds convincing in the absence of scrutiny.
She calls for a policy whose content she doesn’t specify except to state: “Such a policy, which will involve applying Israeli law over large swaths of Judea and Samaria, is clear, easy to explain and will successfully ensure the civil rights of Jews and Arabs alike for generations.”
That’s good to hear, but if it’s so easy to explain, I wish she would explain it.
Is she advocating full equality, including citizenship and voting rights for all Arabs residing within these large swaths? Even discounting the dire predictions of some demographers, is she confident enough about demographic trends to gamble Israel’s continued Jewish character for the sake of the policy she advocates? On what is this confidence based? Ms. Glick’s critique of the two-state solution may be sound, but it’s impossible to know whether her proposed alternative is better without a clear explanation of what that alternative is.
Churchill or FDR: Whose fault?
The weight of historical evidence certainly agrees with Mordecai Paldiel’s conclusion in “Accomplices” (Comment & Features, January 26) that the Allies failed to respond properly to information about the Holocaust and bomb the gas chambers at Auschwitz when they had the opportunity. However, current research places most of the blame on US president Franklin Roosevelt, and not with British prime minister Winston Churchill.
I realize that an op-ed piece is not an academic paper, however the most recent and comprehensive work on the subject is Jay Winik’s 1944: FDR and the Year that Changed History (2015).
Winik notes that in 1942, Churchill delivered a message to a rally of American Jews in New York City in which he stated that Hitler had already murdered 1 million Jews and was seeking to annihilate all the Jews of Europe. Churchill discussed the ongoing murders at a conference with FDR in June 1943. On July 7, 1944, he urged Anthony Eden to have the Royal Air Force bomb Auschwitz. When the first camps were liberated, Churchill sent photographs of the piles of dead bodies to every member of his cabinet.
Should Churchill have done more? Should he have made bombing Auschwitz a priority in his discussions with Roosevelt? Absolutely. However, with the exception of the Operation Market Garden fiasco, the Americans were making the military decisions on the Western Front by early 1944 and the British could only lobby and prod.
The question has to be asked about US policy, as Winik so expertly does: Why weren’t steps taken to destroy Auschwitz? It’s a debate that goes on to this day, and FDR’s defenders make many excuses. Yet clearly this failure was a grievous historical mistake and, to paraphrase his successor, the buck stopped with Roosevelt – he was ultimately responsible for the failure of the US Army Air Forces to destroy the Auschwitz gas chambers during the summer of 1944.
The great Polish hero Jan Karski personally asked Roosevelt what he should tell the people of Europe. FDR replied: “Justice, freedom will prevail.” Unfortunately, for the hundreds of thousands gassed to death in Auschwitz in 1944, there was little justice and it came way too late.
Seeking some righteous Jews
With regard to “South Tel Aviv residents divided over African refugee crisis” (January 22), Israel has many apparently insoluble problems. But one problem, that of the infiltrators, is easily soluble – they are limited in number and the gates are closed.
There is much discussion about whether they are refugees or economic migrants. What difference does it make? Many of us here in Israel are refugees and/or economic migrants or the descendants of such and should be the last people in the world to make these judgments.
We should have a debate in the Knesset on the fate of the infiltrators and record for all time the names of those MKs who not only pray for tov v’chesed (goodness and mercy) for themselves but are prepared to show it to others, and those with hearts of stone.
At Yad Vashem, we record forever the names of the Righteous Gentiles who risked their lives and sometimes the lives of their families to save Jews. How about some righteous Jews who risk nothing?
Medical cannabis?
More research Your January 21 editorial on medical marijuana (“Cannabis and schizophrenia”) begs our government to “do what is right... for millions of patients suffering from diseases readily treatable with cannabis....” This implies that there are many conditions and illnesses for which marijuana has unequivocally been proven to be beneficial. In fact, opinions regarding the medical value of marijuana are divided.
In the US, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level; it is classified as a drug with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Some medical organizations support allowing access to medical cannabis, including the American Nurses Association, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Epilepsy Foundation. Others oppose this, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
The American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians take no position. Many groups and investigators decry the poor-quality evidence backing claims for the health benefits of medical cannabis and call for more quality research.
A recent review of the health effects of marijuana in a prestigious medical journal concluded that “many articles in the lay press have suggested to the public that marijuana use has cardiovascular benefits, reduces blood pressure, stabilizes blood sugar levels or improves cholesterol profiles.... Our review found insufficient evidence to support these claims.”
Thus, according to current evidence, the final verdict on medical cannabis is not in. It is misleading that your editorial suggests that it is a proven and clearly valuable drug.
The writer is a physician.
Support the Kurds!
It is incredible that our government has taken no official stand on the Kurds, who, in spite of having contributed a great deal in the war against Islamic State, are being completely ignored by the US and Europe. The Russians and Turks obviously have their own agenda, but what is ours? The Kurdish people deserve a state of their own, and we, more than others, should realize that. Are there no Israeli parliamentarians who feel this way or are they too busy with their personal squabbles in the Knesset?
Bar Yochai