Letters | The Two-State Solution and Holocaust Analogies


Rethinking the Two-State Solution

As multiple chances at peace over multiple American administrations have gone unsuccessfully, my thoughts are beginning to change in regards to the two-state solution that I was formerly in favor of (“Two-State Solution Isn’t Best Fit for Either Side,” July 11).

Israel is building an incredible country and as world geopolitical upheaval has led to larger and larger numbers of us having the need to leave our countries of origin, Israel’s importance is only going to grow, as will its need for land. Judea and Sumeria are historically Jewish lands.

It’s complicated and I certainly never thought I’d see it in my lifetime, but the thought of a historically intact Israel is an unbelievable wonder.

Ben Barbash | Blue Bell

Awareness of Others’ Suffering

Reading “Locals React to Ocasio Cortez’s ‘Concentration Camps’ Comparison” (June 27), evoked in me Hillel’s words: “If I am not for myself who will be for me? But if I am only for myself who am I? If not now, when?”

I respect that this issue is profoundly painful, uniquely personal for Holocaust survivors. While countless Jews (like me) feel morally responsible to be protective of the use of Holocaust language, I still ponder the kavanah (intention) driving the comparison. This issue is multifaceted.

I admire Jewish Exponent interviewees related to survivors or to blessed “Holocaust dead,” not conflicted in condemning the dehumanizing treatment of immigrants, including caged, traumatized children. Focusing solely on the comparison — ineffably hurtful to many, or patently “wrong” — without paying attention to suffering children, brutally confined eclipses the Jewish value of “repairing the world.”

As the late Elie Weisel said in a speech on horrors in Darfur: “How can anyone, anywhere not feel outraged? … As a Jew who does not compare any event to the Holocaust, we must be involved. How can we reproach the indifference of non-Jews to Jewish suffering, if we remain indifferent to another people’s plight?”

Ilene Munetz Pachman | Philadelphia


  1. I respect the tone of Ilene Munetz Pachman’s July 19 letter, “Awareness of Other’s Suffering.” The issue I fear is more complicated than being indifferent to other people’s plight. The suffering going on south of our border has been going on for well over 100 years and involves well over 150 million people. As soon as we absorb the hundreds of thousands now present, there will be another massive group right in their wake.

    The suffering in the world’s population involves more than a billion, and I mention that because peoples from Africa and the Middle East are starting to cross our border, too. What disturbs us, me included, is seeing the misery close up and personal

    So how do help becomes the issue? Many Jews want us to open our border and bring the suffering here so that we can alleviate the pain, but that’s a mission impossible. Abe Lincoln said, “You can’t lift up the weak by tearing down the strong,” and that’s as true today as it was almost 200 years ago. If you open up the doors to America, get ready to deal with hundreds of millions of new immigrants arriving along with the massive problems that their arrival will present. If we’re not prepared to absorb the tens of millions of downtrodden in the world, and I’m not, then the only help we can give is to work with the failed countries that they are fleeing. The alternative is too miserable to contemplate.


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