January 31: Menace or hero?

To “sanction” Beck is hardly enough. He should be fired! Today!

Menace or hero?
Sir, – Regarding your article “400 rabbis demand that Fox sanction Beck for misuse of Holocaust terminology” (January 28), it’s about time! Fox, and Beck in particular, have been ranting and raving for years now about “left-wing” terminology and attacking anyone they suspect may be the least bit left of center. The latest attack on George Soros is only one of many in recent years. This attack, however, goes far beyond anything they have attempted in the past, using lies and damned lies to “prove” their point.
My only objection to the rabbis’ protest is that to “sanction” Beck is hardly enough. He should be fired! Today!
Sir, – Four hundred rabbis from the US have nothing better to do with their money and time than take out a full-page open letter in the Wall Street Journal and Forward. They are upset because Glenn Beck tells the truth about George Soros, who worked with Nazis and in so doing saved his own life. They are upset that Beck is discrediting Soros, upset that Beck is calling a spade a spade. Is it better to hide and deny the truth? Perhaps what really bothers the rabbis is that living in America, they are extremely frightened when Fox and Beck speak about the dangers posed by progressives.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – For over two years I have watched Glenn Beck’s program on Fox News. As a severe critic of those who denigrate, belittle and demonize Jews and Israel, I have found Beck to be one of the very few on television who have at all times defended, supported and shown love and compassion for both Israel and the Jews in general.
Beck is decent, honest, and has always asked his audience to verify for itself what he and his research staff have uncovered.
Natural course
Sir, – Abraham Katzman (“God in sports,” Letters, January 27) asks about the cosmic meaning of sports results and divine retribution.
The Talmud (Avoda Zara 54b) records that members of the Roman intelligentsia asked a similar question of a delegation of Jewish rabbinical leaders on a visit to Rome on behalf of the Jewish community in Palestine in 95 CE.
The rabbis’ answer was quite simple: “The world follows its natural course.”
The immediate outcome of an event or human initiative, good or bad, is no proof of divine favor or disfavor. It is up to the individual or to society to distill a lesson, moral or otherwise, from actions or events.
Our Torah heritage is our guide book on how to live within the natural “divine” framework, quite irrespective of how things turn out.
Incidentally, living with questions is also part of life.
Sowing their own seeds
Sir, – While accepting the validity of the “PaliLeaks” allegations, Larry Derfner scoffs at the fundamental criticism that Palestinian leaders have not prepared their people for peace and reconciliation (“The brave, visionary leader – and Bibi,” Rattling the Cage, January 27). Yet the Palestinian leadership did not have to reveal any of its offered concessions in order to move its people in the right direction.
All it had to do was stop telling them at every turn that their maximalist demands were non-negotiable and achievable.
These leaders could have refrained from glorifying terrorists, printing maps with no trace of Israel, and teaching school children that Haifa and Jaffa are part of occupied Palestine. By failing to take these steps, they guaranteed that any suggested compromises made public would be met with cries of disbelief and accusations of “collaboration.”
Derfner fails to ask even the most obvious questions: If the Palestinian leaders were so eager to reach an agreement, why did they walk away from offers that were very close to their alleged positions? Why did PA President Mahmoud Abbas tell the Washington Post in 2009 that he turned down then-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s acceptance of the principle of a Palestinian “right of return” and offer of virtually the entire West Bank because “the gaps were too wide” to continue discussions? What does the Palestinian leadership’s instinctive denial of making any concessions tell us about its willingness to enter into meaningful negotiations right now? Derfner calls the PA leaders “brave and visionary.” But leaking these documents has much more to do with internal Palestinian power struggles than a sincere desire for negotiated peace. By failing to have the courage to bring the hard choices to their people, they have sowed the seeds of their own failure and eventual downfall.
Zichron Ya’acov
Bridge the divide
Sir, – Regarding “Amsalem launches new social activist movement” (January 26), Rabbi Haim Amsalem appeals to the masses through reasonable comments, which include promoting a moderate platform that includes encouraging haredi children to learn core-curriculum subjects and their parents to participate in the labor force.
Amsalem’s agenda, however, is motivated more by his need to break away from the Ashkenaziharedi world that has hijacked Shas and to promote Sephardi values and traditions, rather than a real concern for society as a whole.
Moderate Sephardi religious voters may have been disenfranchised until the establishment of Shas, but what about moderate national religious Ashkenazi voters who have remained disenfranchised since the National Religious Party became a one-issue party and then disappeared into Habayit Hayehudi? Amsalem should instead direct his energy to promoting an allinclusive movement for moderate, modern-Orthodox Ashkenazi and Sephardi voters rather than continuing to keep alive the Ashkenazi- Sephardi divide.
Petah Tikva
Extraordinary letter
Sir, – In just a few lines, Chaim Seiden managed to list the most important facts of Israel’s history since the Six Day War (“Let’s act the role, Letters, January 25).
These facts have been so totally subverted that our country’s leadership is incapable of recognizing their validity. It is no wonder that ignorance has been so easily transferred to so-called thinkers in academia and the media.
This extraordinary letter should be copied and permanently placed on the desks of every member of our government, from the prime minister all the way down, and on the desks of the opposition leadership, who never allow facts to interfere with their thinking and decision-making.
Fewer ingredients
Sir, – I consider myself to be a reasonable cook and I do like to try out new recipes. Over the years, many of my favorites have been found in magazines. So when I receive your Weekend Supplement every Thursday and often see a tempting dish on the cover, I turn eagerly to the recipe inside.
Usually, that is as far as I get because almost invariably there are so many ingredients that I get dizzy just reading the list, let alone sourcing and shopping for them.
For example, this past week there were four chicken recipes; one had 27 ingredients, two had 17, and the fourth had 21! I would seriously like to know how many people have the time or inclination to try out these mouth-watering concoctions. I would hazard to guess not too many. I suggest that you find contributors who can limit themselves to a maximum of seven to 10 items – then we could all have a go and try them out!
Herzliya Pituah