June 25 2017: Those who wait

Piece on Ethiopian olim lets the American Jewish community off too easily.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Those who wait
Tamara Zieve’s excellent “As dribs of Ethiopian olim trickle in, many wonder when their turn will come” (June 22) ably discusses the failure of Israel to implement government decisions mandating the rapid aliya of the Beta Israel remaining in Gondar and Addis Ababa. However, it lets the American Jewish community off too easily.
The principal cause of the suffering certainly is the heartless delay in aliya. However, the degree of suffering could be significantly ameliorated if the Jewish Agency and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee fulfilled their institutional roles to help Diaspora Jews in distress.
Neither of these organizations, nor Jewish federations, has thus far provided any assistance to the Beta Israel communities in Gondar and Addis. They have turned a blind eye to the suffering even though they were asked to provide assistance some months ago in a letter by the heads of the relevant Knesset committees and other MKs who had conducted on-site inspection tours.
Thus far, the only organization to respond to the MKs’ letter is the Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry (SSEJ), a small group providing medical care to children under the age of five in Gondar, and which will shortly provide supplemental nutrition to malnourished children under the age of three. Funding limitations prevent it from caring for all of the children.
In the past, the Joint Distribution Committee provided medical care to all of the Ethiopians awaiting aliya in Gondar and Addis. The Jewish Agency, when it ran the compounds, provided food for the children under age five.
Currently, these organizations provide no assistance. One can only hope that they will at last hear the cries of the children, and if not, that the Jewish federations will fund the SSEJ or any other organization willing to help until Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally allows these people to reunite with their families in Israel.
Lawrence, New York
The writer, an attorney, was a counsel to the SSEJ and a past-president of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry.
Suing SFSU
Shouting down speakers is one example of the threatening ugliness that regularly trumps civility and rationality in a variation of “might makes right” at SFSU (“NGO, group of students file suit against San Francisco State University for antisemitism,” June 21). The consistent “normalization” of this deplorable behavior at SFSU violates everything a university is supposed to stand for.
But then again, consider this statement, captured on video, of what university president Leslie Wong believes SFSU stands for: “GUPS [General Union of Palestine Students] is the very purpose of this great university.”
Perhaps those filing the lawsuit against SFSU disagree.
Davis, California
San Francisco State University is part of the California university system, and everyone knows that the system is rife with antisemitic diatribes. The best way to fight such blatant hatred is through the pocketbook. This works well everywhere, even at the UN.
I would further suggest that a lawyer as articulate and prominent as Alan Dershowitz be the one to make the case for the Jewish students and the Land of Israel. It would be a landmark in the way academia is forced to deal with freedom of speech for Jewish students.
No more discrimination against Jews and Israel.
Drawing conclusions
Gil Troy draws certain conclusions from two seemingly unrelated news topics: intermarriage and imposed academic restrictions (“Bring Judaism and freedom into the eternal fourth dimension,” Comment & Features, June 21).
With regard to intermarriage, he points out the futility of attempting to disrupt a romantic “liaison” between interfaith lovers.
This battle, Prof. Troy explains, should be fought “preemptively, decades earlier,” during the children’s nurturing.
The second issue relates to Prof. Asa Kasher’s proposed academic code of ethics, discouraging professors from politicizing the classroom. Though this proposal is laudatory, the chance of professors complying with it is as likely as growing hair on one’s palms. Prof. Kasher appears to be a babe in the woods to think that any code can restrict a professor’s free speech.
If it is an objective educational environment that he is striving to attain, a more logical approach would be to choose educators equally from both sides of the political spectrum (in place of the present preponderance of left-oriented professors). Then let our youth be exposed to the two sides of a given subject.
Familiar smell
Lindsay Gabow asks: “When does criticism of Israel become antisemitic?” (Comment & Features, June 20).
There is no need for intensive debate. One usually can smell it.
A practical example is the recent annual Al Quds Day demonstration in London, where no attempt was made to arrest protest leaders chanting that the Grenfell Tower fire had been the work of the Zionists, a familiar blood libel.
That such a demonstration was even permitted to take place at the instigation of the political wing of Hezbollah defies belief.
The UK government has promised to combat antisemitism, but instead it permits its police to stand idly by in the pretense (fed by the EU) that somehow there is a difference between the military and political wings of Hezbollah and its financial sponsor, Iran.
By permitting an antisemitic hate-fest in the streets of London, does Prime Minister Teresa May’s recent loss of a majority in the House of Commons have to be the complete collapse of any moral authority to govern?
Tel Aviv
Can’t be trusted
It is apparent that former prime minister Ehud Olmert again has made a laughing stock of our justice system, this time by allowing crucial classified documents out of his prison cell for the purpose of profiting from a proposed memoir.
Your June 19 editorial “Policing books” is too soft on him. He is a jailed felon and should be treated as such. In my opinion, he is a dangerous man armed with highly classified information to the detriment of the Jewish people.
How can an individual with Olmert’s corrupt background be trusted with such material?
There should be no sympathy for this charlatan who promoted bribery, greed and graft big time.
What a disgrace!
Whoever was responsible for organizing this year’s Jerusalem International Book Fair deserves to be sacked.
First of all, why did this event have to be located at the First Station rather than the far more accessible Jerusalem International Convention Center, its location in past years?
Second, why on Earth were two different events – the book fair and Hebrew Book Week – made to overlap in the same location? As a result, after entering the First Station, one had to walk a considerable distance, past the Hebrew Book Week stands, in order to find the glorified hangar in which overseas exhibitors displayed their books.
Third, why was no provision made for a kiosk selling hot or cold drinks somewhere inside? Anyone feeling thirsty had to schlep nearly all the way back to the entrance.
Further evidence of poor planning (or slight regard for the International Book Fair’s importance) could be found in the lack of advance publicity. Only advertisements in The Jerusalem Post by two publishers, Gefen and Koren, brought this event to my – and the public’s – attention.
What a disgrace!