Letters to the Editor December 16, 2019: Jersey City response

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Jersey City response
I am mourning Leah Minda Ferencz, Moshe Deutsch, and all other victims of the horrific terrorist attack in Jersey City. Make no mistake: they were targeted for being Jewish. Antisemitism is a cancer on the world and it must be stamped out wherever it rears its ugly head. This poisonous hate can never and will never be accepted in our communities.
I have requested that Congress immediately increase funding to protect religious institutions from targeted acts of violence like this. I am devastated that this security funding remains necessary, but we must act. The rise in religious persecution and domestic extremism can be defeated only by working together to identify people before they radicalize, and with comprehensive gun safety reform that washes our streets from the flood of guns. An attack on any person for their religion is an attack on every one of us.
Member of Congress (NJ-09)
Corbyn collapse
Regarding “British Jewry breathes huge sigh of relief after Johnson defeats Corbyn” (December 15), you published a letter of mine in July in which I wrote, “I sense a change in the air; for the first time in years, there is hope. “
And last Thursday, at three seconds past midnight Israel time, when the exit polls were revealed, I jumped out of my seat. Bravo, Boris! The Brits have re-found their soul and identity. The antisemitic Hezbollah- and Hamas-loving communist Jeremy Corbyn has been thoroughly defeated.
Ruth Smeeth was among the several defeated candidates blaming the leader for the humiliation.
“Corbyn’s actions on antisemitism have made us the nasty party,” she said. “We are the racist party.”
Boris Johnson’s command of the English language remind me of Churchill, but what is more important is that the British population has woken up just as it did during Churchill’s first term in office – their finest hour.
Many in the world can give a collective sigh of relief in the trouncing of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the UK election along with his agenda of extreme-left socialism. One can only hope for a similar change in sentiments in the extreme Left in the US. In a strange quirk of timing in the two great nations, there may also be a course correction in the coming weeks in America.
What a great UK election result. A massive vicTORY for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party and the worst Labour result since 1935. Surely a sign that Jeremy Corbyn’s party is no longer considered to be a Labour of love but rather a Labour of hate.
Fakin’ bacon
All is well in Israel (“Holy bacon! Burger King uses Orthodox ad to tout kosher version,” December 15).
Rocket attacks, enemy takeover of land, carnage on the roads – we can cope with all of that, especially now that we have not only Shabbat travel, non-kosher shops and restaurants, but we now have the food it seems Orthodox Jews have been waiting for all of their lives to go with the already kosher shrimps, lobsters, etc. What more could one want for the Shabbat table? Oy vey!
Immunity opportunity
In “The immunity election” (December 13), the writer says that even after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criminal indictment, about a million people will still vote for him in the March 2020 election “because he has managed to convince people there is no alternative to him.”
Well, no actually. The million or more people who will probably vote for Netanyahu, either directly or indirectly through right-wing parties, are not marionettes. They are intelligent folks who can think for themselves. They will vote for him because they believe that despite his faults, he is still the best we have. Also, many do not believe the charges against him. Retiring State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan himself admitted that defining bribery to include a demand for favorable press coverage sets a legal precedent that is being used for the first time ever – only against Netanyahu.
The article suggests that a prime minister under indictment should resign from office because he cannot function properly and people will suspect his motives for any actions he may take in the security arena. However, Netanyahu appears to be continuing to run the country perfectly effectively. Even Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has come out in support of some of Netanyahu’s actions against Iran and in Gaza. Israel also has a new defense minister, Naftali Bennett, who has say in defense and security decisions.
The article also makes a shocking accusation against US President Donald Trump that some of his recent remarks about Jews “can provide a foundation upon which real antisemites can build their ideology and act, whether in words or like happened this week in Jersey City.”
The murderers in the kosher shop in Jersey City were apparently connected to a fringe breakaway group of black Hebrew Israelites; a non-Semitic group that sees itself as the chosen people and regards actual Jews as impostors. While not all black Hebrew Israelites espouse these extreme views, the killers had reportedly made antisemitic remarks on Facebook before they went on their murder spree. There is no evidence that they were influenced by anything that Trump may have said. Antisemitism is rampant all over the world; any attempt to connect Trump with its rise does not hold water.
Regarding “Immunity bill would save country millions” (December 11), the writer apparently believes that anyone who stands up and salutes the flag with one hand and steals money/receives money or gifts in return for favors with the other deserves to be immune from prosecution.
Excuse me, but political leaders are obligated to be honest. They are role models for our children and for us. I see students paying off teachers to let them pass or cheat in their exams, contractors paying off government officials to get a foot in the door of a tender because they can do it with impunity. It seems that the writer wants to legalize dishonesty.
Or would the immunity law only apply to dishonest prime ministers and presidents?
Baskin math
In “Taking over the land” (December 12), Gershon Baskin complains that Israel is taking over lands in Area C including the Jordan Valley, which he says belong to the Palestinians under the Oslo Accords.
In 1993, the year of the Oslo Accords, Iran had not yet developed into a terrorist sponsoring jihadist country dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Would Rabin have agreed to relinquishing military control of the Jordan Valley under the present conditions? Obviously not.
In addition, in 1993, Hamas had not yet come to power in Gaza and Hezbollah was still a fledgling terrorist organization without 100,000+ rockets (provided by Iran) aimed at Israel. Baskin might argue that all this (Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah) would not have occurred if the Palestinians had been allowed their “peace loving’ independent state. Forget the PLO demands that millions of Palestinian “refugees” be re-settled in Israel – not a new Arab state.
As the old saying goes, “Everybody should believe in something; I believe I’ll have another drink.” You need more than another drink to fall in line with suicidal beliefs like those of Baskin.
Baskin’s claim of 90% Palestinian private ownership of the land has not been supported by any reputable data sources. 90%, being such a huge figure, should be easy to validate. Where is Baskin’s proof that most of the land “of the West Bank is privately owned Palestinian land?” When was it bought and from whom was it bought? The Ottoman Turks, the British or who?
The region has been meticulously monitored by successive Israeli governments, which have been very strict that every piece of land that the Jews, Arabs, or anyone own has properly constituted legal title. The land that was occupied by Palestinians equally has to be legally purchased, and Israel is prepared to honor those purchases made by local Arab inhabitants going back to 400 years of Ottoman ownership under Ottoman law.
The Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria were established only after exhaustive investigations making sure none were built on land privately owned by anyone.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 argues for “secure and recognized boundaries,” but the 1949 to 1967 armistice ceasefire demarcation lines have proven themselves secure. Of course, Israel needs to be responsible for security in Areas A, B and C. Would Gershon prefer Fatah to be safeguarding Jewish lives in the vicinity?
Baskin’s enthusiasm for the rights of Palestinians should surely extend to their rights in Jordan and Lebanon and under Hamas in Gaza, where there is much less freedom of movement and opportunity than there is under the Israelis. I await his pronouncements on liberation from occupation in these areas.
Hate targets Jews
I had an amusing time counting the number of puns that Liat Collins introduced into one her article “From rotting bananas to Auschwitz art” (December 13), which has a man going absolutely bananas for his art and gaining notoriety – and not a little of the green stuff on the way.
Less funny and more sinister is that we learn further on in her piece that there is a thriving trade in Holocaust memorabilia, including Birkenau beach towels and more with death camp motifs. Who wouldn’t want a shower curtain with an image of a gas chamber?
Yes, we rightly should be shocked by such disgusting merchandise, however, with recent antisemitic incidents unfortunately occurring on a regularly basis worldwide, some most violent as in the recent kosher deli shooting in Jersey City, we sadly have become all too aware of these happenings.
As time moves on, Holocaust survivors are naturally passing from the scene, but as the sale of these dark goods shows, the Holocaust and irrational hatred of Jews are more than just a footnote in World War II history.
All these negative incidents make it essential for us to educate and above all remember those millions who were barbarically murdered. That’s the least that we must do in light of the current very ugly mood.
Tel Aviv
For once I disagree with David Weinberg – concerning defeating antisemitism (“Distortions in the fight against antisemitism,” December 13). The only way to fight against and defeat antisemitism was demonstrated most effectively about 85 years ago in Whitechapel, London.
For some time, Sir Oswald Moseley and his Blackshirts were reprising Hitler’s Brownshirts attacks on the Jews – his turf being the then-heavily Jewish populated East End. These attacks had been escalating until the Jewish youth and men went onto the streets and physically engaged with the “Nazis” and (I believe) their horses. After the ensuing mayhem, the UK police positively clamped down on these demonstrations of free speech.
Throughout Europe and USA, in almost every university, student body pro-Israel speakers have been physically assailed and howled down. It is time that our young people emulate their success of nearly four generations past
Looking at the three articles of the front page of your December 11 Comment & Features section, any Jew must be shocked: antisemitism in UK (“No to Labor”), antisemitism in France (“Cemetery desecrations”) and “Antisemitism on Canadian campuses”.
Antisemitic incidents and developments in the civilized Western countries are alarming. Has antisemitism returned in full force to the Western world without shame and guilt? Maybe this is a wakeup call for the Jews in Diaspora to return to our indigenous homeland in Israel.
In light of rising global antisemitism, US President Donald Trump appears to be a “Righteous among the Nations,” fighting with all his presidential power against this monstrous phenomenon, which has spread into the USA. Just last week we witnessed four victims of a New Jersey gun attack targeting a Jewish store.
We must pray for and support Trump to win the next election for the sake of justice and security for Jews.
Jewish groups in the US are divided about the value of the Trump executive order targeting college antisemitism. Those who view it as a cynical attempt to garner votes should ask a college student who personally bears the brunt of Jew hatred on campus, if it’s a good idea.
Jewish students have long been buffeted on college campuses by anti-Zionist (i.e, antsemitic) groups with physical and verbal violence and obstructionism to harass and intimidate them when they show support for Israel or merely identify as Jews. Along comes Trump, the devil incarnate to some, and actually does something about it.
Should this generate a sense of relief among the victims, or is it appropriate that his detractors engage in a debate about his real motives?
Do these armchair warriors who criticize Trump’s move truly understand what it’s like to be bullied and humiliated about any aspect of their Jewish identity? I suspect people who support groups like the Amcha Initiative are breathing a sigh of relief that finally, something meaningful is being done to reverse the wave of hatred crashing over them in places where free speech is supposed to promote education, rather than intimidation.
San Mateo, CA
No Planet B
As “Greenland ice sheet [is] melting exponentially faster than in 1990s, study shows” (December 15), we have a choice regarding climate change: to respond based on the views of 16-year old Swedish Greta Thunberg or President Donald Trump.
I was thrilled to learn that, “Activist Greta Thunberg is ‘Time’ Person of the Year” (December 12). She has inspired millions of young people worldwide to speak out and demonstrate, recognizing that their future is in peril from climate change.
The next day I was appalled to read, “Trump mocks teen activist: ‘Chill Greta, Chill.’” At a time that there is a strong scientific consensus about climate threats and there seem to be almost daily reports of severe climate events, Trump seems to be doing everything he can to cancel or weaken over 80 US rules and regulations that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The importance of immediate responses to climate threats is reinforced by your December 4 article, “Hot and dry: Climate report spells disaster,” which discussed the Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry’s report at the Madrid climate conference, that indicated that Israel will become much hotter and drier, making terrorism and war more likely, according to military experts.
It is time to recognize that climate change is an existential threat to Israel and to the entire world, and to do everything possible, as soon as possible, to help avert a climate catastrophe and to help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island