IHRA Program Needed Third Panelist
I wish to respond to one point of disagreement in Jesse Bernstein’s April 29 article, “Panel on IHRA Anti-Semitism Rankles.” Would the panel discussion co-sponsored by Congregation Rodeph Shalom and Temple University’s Feinstein Center for American Jewish History have been objectionable to Murray Friedman, z”l, the center’s founder?
Well, yes, and no.
My first Jewish job was as Friedman’s assistant from 1979-83. An intellectual giant and mensch, Friedman introduced me to and got me totally hooked on the field of Jewish community relations where I ended up spending my entire professional career. He was a strong supporter of Israel and Zionism, but he also was not afraid to criticize those Israeli policies with which he disagreed.
A neo-conservative in a community dominated by liberals, he constantly challenged our conventional wisdom. In that regard, I believe he would have approved of a program that explored the use or misuse of the IHRA definition of antisemitism. I also believe — in the interest of exposing participants to a full range of opinions — that he would have preferred to see a third panelist on the program to defend the current use of the IHRA anti-Semitism definition advocated by establishment Jewish organizations. That was an important, yet missing perspective.
Martin J. Raffel | Langhorne
One sentence spoken by Joyce Ajlouny, general secretary of the American Friends Service Committee, reveals the perversity of modern antisemitic liberal education. (“Panel on IHRA Anti-Semitism Definition Rankles” April 29).
She complained that the criticism over what many perceived as the antisemitism of the chosen panelists “affirms that the attempt to silence narratives is alive and well.”
In fact, in the real world there are no narratives, only facts. Two and two equals four. There is no narrative to make two and two equal five or three except in the minds of modern antisemitic liberal educators.
“Educators” that teach students to just create their own narratives that two and two equals five or three or anything you want about modern Middle East history and we will coddle you and say it’s all true, because everyone is entitled to their own narrative regardless of the facts.
Sorry, there are facts about modern Middle East history, not narratives, and as much as you wish it were true, two and two does not equal three or five.
Richard Sherman | Margate, Florida