July 1: Seething Dutchman

For over a decade now, as a recognizable Orthodox Jew I cannot walk many Dutch streets, including in Amsterdam.

Seething Dutchman
Sir, – Regarding “Dutch anti-ritual slaughter bill passes preliminary vote” (June 29), I am an 11thgeneration Dutch Jew. My earliest Dutch forefather reached the northern Netherlands in 1630 and was among the first to repopulate the low countries with Jews after they were ousted and wiped out there twice before – only to live under a system of apartheid until full civil rights were finally obtained centuries later under Napoleon.
In the Second World War more than a staggering 80 percent of the Netherlands’s Jews were murdered, including my four good grandparents, often with full participation by Dutch civil servants. While Germans as a people have greatly and palpably repented for their role in the Holocaust, so far the Dutch have done so only sparsely and in piecemeal fashion.
For over a decade now, as a recognizable Orthodox Jew I cannot walk many Dutch streets, including in Amsterdam. Though the Dutch will rally for the protection of anything and anybody, a movement of Dutch gentiles sticking up for their Jews has yet to be formed. Apparently, old traditions of Jew-hatred and indifference die hard.
Most of the 30,000 Dutch Jews who live in Israel have dual citizenship. If the First Chamber of the Dutch parliament has the chutzpah to ratify this deeply embarrassing law, let us, my Jewish landsmen in Zion, go en masse to the Netherlands Embassy in Tel Aviv to return our Dutch nationality.
Enough is enough.
Outside looking in
Sir, – What an erudite and incisive diagnosis by Aaron Menenberg (“Perpetual self-sabotage,” Comment & Features, June 29). How is it that we Israelis are so inward-looking and influenced by fear and arrogant posturing? It takes an outsider to state the truth.
Our prime minister has to constantly bolster his image internally by insulting those with whom we need to find common ground. He does it mostly because he is surrounded by inexperienced, narrow minded cohorts.
The people here deserve better, but so far the only alternative on the horizon is worse than what we have.
Sir, – I disagree with Aaron Menenberg when he contends that “blind anger... obstinacy and petulance” distinguished Israel’s reaction to US President Barack Obama’s call for an Israeli return to the 1949 armistice lines with agreed swaps.
While Israel’s approach to public relations needs drastic improvement, altering our key positions to placate others shouldn’t be a part of the strategy. The truth is that Obama’s formula is dangerous for Israel. It effectively grants the Palestinians a veto power over Israel retaining anything, even Jerusalem’s Jewish neighborhoods and the Temple Mount. Israel was obliged to oppose it quickly and clearly.
MICHAEL GOLDBLATT New York The writer is chairman of the national board of the Zionist Organization of America A Korean War vet
Sir, – Relating to the item on Seoul’s envoy honoring local Korean War vets (“Do svidaniya,” Grapevine, June 22), in addition to the late Rabbi Jerome Pomerantz I wish to add the name of my distinguished brother-in- law, the late Rabbi Oscar Michael Lifshutz, the first Jewish chaplain to serve in Korea.
Chaplain Lifshutz was assigned to the Eighth Army and traveled west with the troops under battlefield conditions. Constantly on the move, they had to keep up with the ever-changing front, and their weapons were under their seats as he led them in Shabbat and holiday services.
He left Korea with a Bronze Star and was cited for meritorious service in hazardous combat conditions.