Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
UNESCO and Jerusalem
I am sure that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu felt he had to make a gesture toward the United Nations in the wake of UNESCO’s statement on Jerusalem (“UN balks at PM’s offer of seminar on Jewish ties to Jerusalem,” May 8).
An organization of useful idiots with a bi-fold motto of “Ignorance is bliss” and “Don’t confuse me with the facts” is clearly not interested in a fact-filled seminar.
Nice try, Mr. Netanyahu.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization solemnly affirms that the Jews have no history on that place in Jerusalem that has been called the “Temple Mount” by Jews for 3,000 years, and by Christians for 2,000 years (“UNESCO fiasco,” Editorial, April 19).
Furthermore, avers UNESCO, all those baths outside the Temple Mount are not Jewish ritual immersion baths, but Roman baths. The terraced hillsides were not created by Jews, either.
According to UNESCO, the Jews have no history in Jerusalem.
It should be made to explain, then: Who killed Jesus? Everyone knows Jesus was killed in Jerusalem. The Palestinians assert that Jesus was a Palestinian.
If the Jews were never there, they could not have killed him. For most of the past 2,000 years, Jews were persecuted and murdered en masse for having killed Jesus.
In all that time, why did the Palestinians not stand up and call this a ridiculous accusation? The logical answer would be that the Palestinians killed Jesus, but why wake that sleeping dog? It is striking that several of the countries voting for the UNESCO resolution have histories of brutal anti-Jewish massacres every Easter Sunday to avenge the death of Jesus. Not to name and shame, Heaven forbid, but it is striking nonetheless.
Taking revenge
With regard to “Smotrich: Gov’t should take revenge on Palestinians” (May 8), where did Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich go to yeshiva, and who were his teachers? Turning the other cheek may be a classic Christian value and is certainly not accepted by Judaism, but revenge for a wrong done to either an individual or the collective is defined and forbidden not only in the Torah and by the prophets, but also in Jewish law.
Even for the most heinous acts of cold-blooded murder perpetrated against Jewish individuals or entire communities, the wording of any memorial prayer includes the plea “May God avenge his/her/their blood,” clearly expressing that revenge is the prerogative of God, not man.
If Smotrich thinks that revenge is indeed “an important value and moral” in Judaism, he is either using a very different meaning of the term or frighteningly ignorant of Jewish law, values and morals.
G. BEN SHMUEL Hatzor Haglilit
I continue to be gobsmacked by MK Bezalel Smotrich’s brand of Judaism. I try to understand how an educated, so-called religious Jewish man can make and justify his positions, but I fail! Smotrich asserts that revenge is an “important and moral value,” that it can be taken “in legitimate ways” and that it’s “the influence of twisted Christian morality” that has erased the word. My Jewish learnings taught me that revenge is about as Jewish as eating pork stuffed with crab meat and smothered in cream sauce! • “Don’t take vengeance, and don’t bear a grudge against the members of your nation; love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).
• “The righteous person will refrain from taking any action, and not escalate the dispute” (Talmud).
• “Taking revenge is an extremely bad trait. A person should... rise above his feelings about all worldly matters” (Maimonides).
• “Vengeance belongs to Me [God]” (Deuteronomy 32:35).
Revenge is not a Jewish value.
It is prohibited. Period! JUDY BAMBERGER Tulkarm/O’Connor, Australia
Moral compass
Your May 6 editorial “Jew and gentile” supports the unanimous vote by the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly to nullify certain laws enshrined in sources such as the Shulhan Aruch, Gemara, Mishna and Torah. Why not go farther and brand the Creator vindictive and the learned discourse of the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi invidious, and include complaints about the punishments for marital infidelity and Sabbath desecration in a piece about equality for non-Jews under Jewish civil law? It is ironic that on the day after Holocaust Remembrance Day, you would write a strong polemic in favor of “a major overhaul of Jewish sources” so as to align Judaism with universalistic moral sensibilities. It was, after all, enlightened Berlin that was once viewed by some co-religionists as a suitable substitute for Jerusalem.
Of course, that dream proved horribly misguided.
At the end of the editorial, you exhort the country to respect minority rights because the United Nations made this a condition for the creation of the state. In judging the Torah by the values of western humanism, and the State of Israel by its compliance with the dictates of the UN, you choose some very dubious yardsticks.
I would recommend relying on the Torah as the Jewish moral compass.
Bodes ill
You quote a security source as saying: “We have an interest in the Gazans living with dignity....”
(“Erez Crossing to Gaza to open for transport of goods” May 3). Pity that the Gazans don’t have the same interest in the dignity of the Jewish people.
Are they not the same people who party whenever our people are murdered? Of course they are, so why are we behaving as though we owe them something? They already occupy our land, yet we behave as though the opposite were true.
The decision to open the crossing point was taken in recognition that the truce that ended the 2014 war against Hamas was holding. Once again, defeatism and lack of resolve show their ugly faces by suggesting that our enemies actually play a role in our security. If that’s true, why do Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon hold Hamas responsible for terror attacks? This is just another humiliation. It shows a lack of pride. Together with crossing, yet again, one of Netanyahu’s “red lines,” it bodes ill for the Jewish land and our people.
Makes no sense
I usually admire Seth J. Frantzman, but with “Time to liberate the world from international law” (Terra Incognita, May 1), he is anti-western, implicitly anti-Israel – and wrong.
What is his complaint? He doesn’t note that the ideals of Israel’s own founders came from western Europe – and make Israel what people often call the only democracy in the Middle East. He complains about national borders.
But the old Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia reorganized its borders. Scotland can if it wants to. Could Africans, oil-wealthy Middle Easterners and others do so democratically and peacefully? Nobody is stopping them or would object. But they don’t.
So why does he bash western Europe? It’s where non-westerners want to flee to when their own societies fail.
JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts
Won’t be the same I am so sad to read that you will no longer be printing Weekend magazine. It was so informative and colorful! I found what films and shows were on, what places to stay or just visit, and lots of great recipes. Thursdays just won’t be the same.