June 1, 2017: Greek to her

As a liberal critic of US President Donald Trump, I still don’t know why he isn’t as much up for Middle East peace-dealing as any other president.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Greek to her
Yoseff Shachor truthfully writes that “if you really want to affect Israeli policy, move to Israel” (“No disrespect, American Jews, but come on,” (Comment & Features, May 30).
Mr. Shachor is a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, the international Jewish university fraternity. Zeta Beta Tau and Sigma Alpha Mu were also Jewish university fraternities of note, but another, Sigma Chi, banned Jews from its ranks.
Many are the academic brightlight logicians who’ve preferred membership in B’nai B’rith, Hadassah and the ZOA to joining Greek-named entities, although they earned membership for high scholastic achievement in the honorary Phi Beta Kappa. But, that’s all Greek to me now.
So much more
Lee Caspi’s “Loving the stranger: The timeless message of Ruth ” (Shavuot supplement, May 30) is flawed. He employs the Book of Ruth to demonstrate Israel’s need to better treat our non-Jewish immigrants.
Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, was a wealthy leader at the time of the famine. He and his family fled because “now the entire nation will come to my door [for assistance ]!” (Midrash Ruth Rabbah). He is hardly a poor person seeking refuge from persecution, but rather a rich leader running from the his Jewish obligation to give charity. He failed as a role model for his poor Jewish brethren.
Elimelech, Naomi and two sons, Machlon and Kilyon, settled outside Israel. Elimelech died (because he agreed to remain outside Israel), and the two sons continued to sin by staying married to Moabite women.
Ruth is believed to have been converted properly (Berachos 9a). Therefore, she is not just a stranger, but a Jewish member of our people. It is indeed true that King David was descended from her, however the heroes of the Book of Ruth are Naomi, who returned her people; Ruth, her devoted daughter-in-law; and Boaz, who restored the family lineage.
Yes, we can always improve our care for the strangers in our midst, but the story of Ruth is so much more.
Not much unity
“A prize for unity” (Shavuot supplement, May 30) informs us that President Reuven Rivlin is bestowing an award in the Diaspora category on the network of Jewish learning known as Limmud, which was founded in the UK.
It should be known that, sadly, the British branch of the organization has not had anything to do with “promoting mutual respect the world over” for Israel and for half the world’s Jewish population who live in the Jewish state. During the 14 years I attended the annual conference in the UK, I found that speakers (e.g., Robert Fisk of the Independent) were given a platform for lies and slander against Israel and its people in lessons about its history and behavior toward minorities. There were also lies and slander in films and other “educational” programs.
Over the years, some presenters who sought to put the record straight (e.g., Mitchell Bard) were hampered by members of the audience who attempted to shout them down.
So much for unity.
PA and glory
With regard to “World shows less tolerance for PA glorifying terrorists, says senior diplomatic official” (May 29), reporter Herb Keinon says that a mere three days after US President Donald Trump met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Norway’s foreign minister, Borge Brende, “slammed” the naming of a Norwegian-funded women’s center in the West Bank after female terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who in March 1978 joined in the brutal Coastal Road massacre of 38 innocent people.
The first of those people massacred was 39-year-old American Gail Rubin, a niece of US senator Abraham Ribicoff, killed, apparently by Mughrabi, while photographing wildlife on the coast, where the terrorists had landed.
Trump’s administration should emulate Norway’s call for funding to be paid back forthwith, in this instance, money provided by the Norwegian government for the women’s center.
Mideast and Trump
Your May 29 article “World shows less tolerance for PA glorifying terrorists, says senior diplomatic official” mentions a Channel 2 report saying US President Donald Trump yelled at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting last week in Bethlehem over PA incitement.
Is Trump surprised to see the obvious? Leopards don’t change their spots, and business skills do not always overlap with political and diplomatic abilities – although real businessmen learn fast.
While the blood and tears in Manchester haven’t yet dried, President Trump sounds like he believes that hatred, violence and bloodshed can be eliminated by establishing an additional terrorist state. His successful deals with leading Arab countries might bring many benefits to the US economy, but I doubt the Arabs are interested in and prepared to become fair allies and brokers in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As a liberal critic of US President Donald Trump, I still don’t know why he isn’t as much up for Middle East peace-dealing as any other president. He ran a worldwide business empire and knows how to deal internationally.
In the South Carolina primary, Trump talked about being neutral between Israel and Palestine. In contrast to former president Barack Obama’s admired calm, Trump’s effusiveness toward Israel and instinctive understanding of its risky existential situation, and his equal effusiveness toward Palestine and the Arab world, might be better appreciated over there than here in cool, more modulated New England.
Trump’s desire to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem could reassure the Israeli Right, but not doing it, as well as his opposition to the settlements and firmness about the Green Line, have reassured the Palestinians and the Arab world.
Meanwhile, one has to be amused by Caroline B. Glick’s comment that “Trump is maintaining Obama’s policies on Israel and the Palestinians,” which “were substantively all but indistinguishable from those of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush before him” (“Netanyahu’s challenge with Trump,” Column One, May 26).
What Glick is affirming is that the views of America’s Democratic and Republican parties, and our five current and former presidents – including those as different as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Republican Donald Trump – share an equally profound lack of any belief in the Israeli farright’s fallacious claims.
Trump’s desire for a peace deal, his remarks about neutrality and his warmth and respect shown to both sides and their leaders may give him at least one venue, like Richard Nixon’s China, where, if he makes progress toward security and peace, he just might be able earn himself some respect and bring a measure of that respect home to the United States.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
A hope too far
I am the opposite of an expert, but it appears that the Arabs who live in Israel, Judea and Samaria are unwilling to live in a little Palestine, and the Jews who live in Israel, Judea and Samaria are unwilling to live in a little Israel. A grand bargain would require both sides to accept it, and both seem to prefer the status quo to a peace that would require them to abandon their goals.
Any peace talks should be continuing meetings instead of grand affairs, and should focus on maintaining the status quo of low-level war and avoiding large-scale, long-lasting wars.
New York