March 19: US Jews and Obama

Although Ben-Artzi may not know them, many Jewish Obama supporters are seriously committed to their children’s Jewish education and heritage.

US Jews and Obama
Sir, – Dr. Hagi Ben-Artzi, brother-in-law of Prime Minister Netanyahu, makes several erroneous assumptions (“Netanyahu’s brother-in-law lashes out at Obama, his Jewish supporters,” March 18):
1) American Jews who voted for President Barack Obama are not pro-Israel;
2) 78% of American Jews who voted for Obama are the same 78% of Jews who do not give their children a Jewish education;
3) These same Jews are disconnected from their heritage and are indifferent to Israel.
In addition, labeling Obama as “harboring anti-Semitism,” and Jews who disagree with Ben-Artzi’s politics as “not pro-Israel and disconnected from their heritage,” is offensive.
Many of the Jews to whom Ben-Artzi refers as “not with us” and “not friends of Israel” are Jews who love and support Israel, although at times, they do not agree with the policies of its government.
Although Ben-Artzi may not know them, many Jewish Obama supporters are seriously committed to their children’s Jewish education, to their Jewish heritage, to their synagogues and to Jewish communities across America.
I believe the US government and American Jews would like nothing better than to see peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as I am sure would Dr. Ben-Artzi. It is the method of achieving that goal on which they differ.
Textbook example
Sir, – According to Mr. Moein Khawaja of the CAIR, in response to the new book on Islam, “Muslims have been in Europe for thousands of years” (“US Muslim group decries textbooks on Islam as inflammatory,” March 18). Now, either he can’t do arithmetic, or he is trying to establish new “facts.” Islam did not come into being till the 7th century, making the religion about 1,400 years old. And while they did prosper in parts of Europe, Spain being a prime example, it was not thousands of years.
    BATYA BERLINGER    Jerusalem
Mutual gestures...
Sir, – “Gestures” for peace should come also from the Arab side (“Softer tone coming from Washington, as Clinton reaffirms ‘close, unshakable bond,’” March 17).
Some suggestions: Free Gilad Schalit and other kidnapped soldiers; stop all rocket attacks; eliminate all text books, children’s books and programs that teach children to hate Israel and to aspire to be suicide bombers; pay the Jews who had to flee Arab lands the value of the homes and businesses they were forced to abandon.
    TZILIA SACHAROW    Jerusalem
...and internal disputes
Sir, – In his article “Obama, it’s about time” (March 18), Larry Derfner would like you to believe that Israel is the main obstacle to peace with the Palestinians and that real pressure on Israel will lead finally to the peace we are all seeking.
Obama may be able to pressure Israel, but he has absolutely no means of pressuring the Palestinians, because the real representatives of the Palestinians is Hamas. Our present track can only lead to concessions to PA President Mahmoud Abbas; the real negotiations will only begin when there is a reconciliation between Abbas and Hamas. Continuing construction by Israel will put pressure on the Palestinians to speed up the process of reconciliation before there is nothing to negotiate about.
The irony of this problem is that by forcing Israel to freeze its settlement policy, Obama is himself placing a roadblock on the path to forcing the Arabs to settle their differences quickly.
    P. YONAH
Let the buses come
Sir, – We read that many of our Arab citizens are coming to Jerusalem by the busload to demonstrate against Israel’s destruction of Al-Aksa Mosque complex, and many are being turned away (“‘Day of Rage’ rioting rocks east Jerusalem,” March 17). Surely it would be much more productive to let them come, and to insist that they have a tour of the Western Wall and the excavations so they can see for themselves the canard they are being fed.
Perhaps this will take some heat out of the situation, and maybe they will even begin to question other information given to them.