July 20: Sour grapes and innuendo

"One is hard put to understand exactly what bugs Marilyn Henry in her [Teaneck] column."

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sour grapes and innuendo
Sir, – One is hard put to understand exactly what bugs Marilyn Henry in her litany of sour grapes regarding the Orthodox Jews of Teaneck, New Jersey (“A town that touts its diversity,” Metro views, July 18).
The presence of a significant percentage of Orthodox Jews means thousands of families that pay sky-high municipal taxes that enrich a public school system from which they derive zero benefit; thousands of adults, adolescents and children who represent virtually none of the town’s crime statistics; and a significant plurality of residents who are no burden to the town’s emergency services, as they have their own EMS.
The closest Henry comes to articulating any real beef is “the presence of 14 Orthodox synagogues... a new mikve... and every conceivable type of kosher establishment.”
Since no one is preventing her from opening non-kosher restaurants, one can only assume that the site of 14 packed-to-therafters Orthodox shuls surrounded by countless baby carriages must rankle a woman whose own non-Orthodox synagogue echoes to empty pews between Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana, and whose absentee members are too self-indulgent to reproduce in sufficient numbers to guarantee a liberal Jewish future.
On second thought, perhaps Henry is disturbed that so many fecund and frum Jewish families are ensconced in Teaneck when they would make ideal candidates for aliya – in which case one could hardly agree with her more.
J.J. GROSSJerusalem
Sir, – Marilyn Henry calls Teaneck “a small town that is deeply invested in its delusions.” What are those delusions, exactly? Unfortunately, Henry never actually tells us.
She questions whether Teaneck’s “blacks, Muslims, Asians and Reform Jews... are comfortably at liberty to express concerns or grievances about the Jewish presence without being branded as bigots.” What are those grievances? Apparently, she doesn’t feel at liberty, either, because she never bothers to inform us what they are.
Henry’s column has the feel of a smear job. However, a smear job makes damaging allegations without sufficient evidence. She offers no evidence at all, providing little more than unconnected invective and a few pieces of cryptic innuendo.
Deeper need elsewhere
Sir, – The obsession of the EU’s Catherine Ashton with Gaza is difficult to understand (“Ashton in Ramallah: Open Gaza borders,” July 18). The front page of the same issue of the Post shows the opening of a mall in the Gaza Strip. The other day we saw photos of well stocked shelves in Gaza’s supermarkets. There are also ads on the Web for world-class restaurants in Gaza. Yet we constantly hear the mantra that there is a “humanitarian disaster” there.
There are no reports on the Muslim African country of Niger, while the EU as well as the UN ignore what is happening there. There is severe distress in that unfortunate country. Three years of drought have brought an acute shortage of food. There is a severe shortage of medicine. Children are dying of hunger and from gastro-intestinal diseases and diarrhea, and nobody seems to take the slightest bit of notice.
Do any of the rich oil-producing Muslim countries help Niger in any way? Would it not be far better to send aid there rather than to well-stocked Gaza?
Is it because the people of Niger are black that they can be ignored? Or is it that Niger has no connection to Israel?
Can’t deny it
Sir, – I have news for Yentel Jacobs of Netanya (“There’s no other side,” Letters, July 18): The Palestinians do exist. There are at least two million of them. Even Bibi agrees they exist.
It’s like saying that if they aren’t there, maybe they will go away, like a bad dream. Unfortunately, that won’t work.
They are here and we have to live with them, like it or not.
Whose eviction?
In his op-ed piece (“Sheikh Jarrah, the opening heart of Jerusalem,” July 15), Avner Inbar expresses outrage at any attempt for Jews to settle in the eastern part of the city. He uses terms such as “Judaization,” “dispossession,” “implant” and “forced evictions.”
The last time I looked, it was the Jews who had been forcibly removed from Sheikh Jarrah, the Old City, etc., in 1948. It was the Jordanian government that violated the armistice of 1949 by not allowing Jews to visit their holy sites and by destroying countless synagogues. And yet, Inbar is outraged by the desire of Jewish people and organizations to reclaim what is rightfully theirs, and never mentions the court ruling that legally evicted the Arab squatters.
My grandmother, who passed away in 1965, was unable to be buried next to my grandfather, who was interred in 1945 on the Mount of Olives. Even though a plot had been purchased for her there, she had to be buried in Kiryat Shaul.
One can only speculate at the reason for Inbar’s anger.
Side by side
Sir, – What a perfect comparison in the July 15 Post between the opinion piece with the sharp and insightful political analysis of Douglas Murray (“A political culture gone bad”) and the usual inane and naive ramblings of Larry Derfner (“Why we’re so unpopular,” Rattling the cage).
While Murray clearly and accurately makes his case against the appeasers of radical Islam, Derfner completely misses the point. The reason why Israel acts as it does is precisely because Iran and its proxies – Syria, Hamas and Hizbullah – must not be allowed to gain the upper hand in the regional power struggle, given the fact that their clearly stated aim is to eradicate the Jewish state.
Formal peace treaties have existed with Egypt and Jordan for many years. While their relations with Israel may not be “warm,” there are no hostilities to speak of. Does Israel arbitrarily attack these countries? Of course it doesn’t.
Murray is a well informed realist. Derfner is at best simplistic and more often than not comes across as making pathetic attempts to play devil’s advocate purely for the sake of doing so, not unlike a spoiled child craving attention. It’s becoming tiresome, to say the least.
Perhaps Derfner sees himself as the nation’s social and political conscience. Murray makes it clear that this approach is just another dangerous form of appeasement when dealing with the anti-Israel and, indeed, anti-Semitic ideologies with which we are faced, as well as the existential threat to Israel should these ideologies be allowed to take a more practical shape.
DANIEL B. MYERS Chigwell, Essex, UK
Deserves to be heard
Sir, – Whether or not one agrees with Eliezer Whartman, his views and challenges deserve a hearing on a regular page of the Post, and not as a paid ad (“Questions Rarely Asked and Never Answered,” July 14).
He is a veteran reporter beholden to no political party, a committed Zionist and one who lost a son in an IDF operation in Lebanon about 25 years ago. If any one deserves a column in the Post in which to express his opinions – even on an irregular basis – it is Whartman.
 Sir, – Pursuant to placing my ad, I have one more item:
President Obama has repeatedly asked Israel to make gestures to the Palestinians to facilitate the commencement of direct peace talks. Israel has responded positively, sharply reducing the number of checkpoints and road blocks, and increasing the amount and variety of aid provided.
President Obama, we have one gesture we would like to have from you: Free Pollard and do your best to free Schalit.