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Letters week of Dec. 25, 2008
It's So Easy to Evict Jews, but Not to Stop Missiles
Israel's High Court of Justice did not "order" Defense Minister Ehud Barak to "begin an immediate evacuation" of the Jewish residents of a building in Hebron, as stated in your Jewish Telegraphic Agency cover story, "Showdown in Hebron, as Settlers Evicted," in the Dec. 11 issue. The court ruled that "it will be possible to act in accordance with Squatters' Evacuation Law," but did not oblige the authorities to do so.
This was confirmed by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Yaakov Turkel who said: "The ruling does not obligate the state to act to evacuate the Jews, but rather gives them the freedom to decide whether to do so or not."
Barak defended his action by asserting, disingenuously, that "a defense minister in Israel has no choice but to ensure that the law is upheld." Yet Barak clearly had a choice.
If he truly believes that "we are only a hair's breadth from utter anarchy," he should heed the words of Ashkelon's outgoing mayor, Roni Mahatzri: "When the defense minister wishes to show determination and resolve, he knows how to do that; I would like to see the same determination when it comes to the rocket fire" on Israel's communities in the south.
National vice president
Zionist Organization of America
There's More to This Beef Than Meets the Eye
Relevant information was omitted from your cover story in the Nov. 26 issue, "The Question Now: Where's the Beef?," concerning AgriProcessors, the Iowa slaughterhouse whose disregard of kosher methods makes their products treif.
Although AgriProcessors was fined for employing many illegal aliens, this was the least of their unconscionable activities. An undercover investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals revealed that AgriProcessors violated the laws of kashrut, or shechitah.
The investigation showed that cows were forced to slaughter by the use of cattle prods before their throats were slit, and the esophagus and trachea pulled out, which is contrary to Jewish law.
These irreligious methods brought a sharp response from the rabbinic community. Rabbi Ezra Raful, of Israel's chief rabbinate, stated that he would not authorize as kosher cows that appear in the video of the ritual slaughtering at AgriProcessors.
The Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement declared that when a company purporting to be kosher violates the prohibition against a quick and painless death, that company must answer to the Jewish community and, ultimately, to God.
Reconstructionist Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb provided moral food for thought when he stated that we know too well what "kosher" commerce does to the animals, and to the bodies and souls of those who eat them, as well as what all this has done to the earth.
"Let us stop defending a system which normalizes the criminal abuse of animals," said the rabbi, "and the criminal waste of resources. Kosher meat is an oxymoron."
Gloria S. Feldscher
Right on the Money When It Comes to RJC Dealings
Stas Cohen, in his Dec. 4 letter, "Correct Terminology's a Must in This Case," was right on the money in exposing the Republican Jewish Coalition's real agenda.
Cohen omitted mention, however, of the RJC's "fellow travelers," who engage in revisionist history in order to undermine traditional Jewish support for forward-thinking policies.
Rafael Medoff's Dec. 4 opinion piece ("Will Biased FDR Biographies Mislead the President-Elect?") is a perfect case in point, in its attempt to discredit longtime liberal icon Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Medoff's method seems to be one of "presentism" -- of applying to the past the standards and sensibilities of the present.
The fact of the matter is that, contra Medoff, FDR laid no claim to being an all-powerful "unitary executive."
Medoff deliberately underplays the pervasive nature of the anti-Semitism of the 1930s and '40s in this country as stoked by radio firebrands like Father Coughlin (the Rush Limbaugh of his day).
Coughlin was one of many who held "the Jews" responsible for the Great Depression.
In such an atmosphere, any action that appeared to go out of its way to favor Jews was simply not going to happen.
Bottom line: Realpolitik deals with real life, with real situations, unlike Medoff and the fantasy world of his think-tank mishugas.
FDR was severely limited in what he could do by the high level of anti-Semitism in the State Department and the population at large.
RJC Is Mischaracterized by a Disingenuous Writer
In Stas Cohen's letter ("Correct Terminology's a Must in This Case," Dec. 4), the objective and policy positions of the Republican Jewish Coalition were significantly mischaracterized.
The RJC has long welcomed -- and fully expects -- a hearty debate in the Jewish community on critical policy issues.
However, the disingenuous effort by Cohen to falsely mislead about the nature of our organization is deeply troubling.
Before we, as a community, can have constructive discourse on critical policy issues, we must also correct misinformation about the objective and policy positions of the RJC.
For over two decades, the organization has served as a trusted voice for Jewish Republicans in Pennsylvania, across the country and in our nation's capital.
On issues ranging from national security to the U.S.-Israel relationship, from energy independence to tax reform and on to school choice, the RJC has advocated a broad range of positions. It acts as an important bridge between the Jewish community and Republican elected officials. We have an important mandate, and we are proud of our role in the Jewish community and the Republican Party.
To view for yourself the work and policy positions of the RJC, please visit our Web site at: www.rjchq.org.
Republican Jewish Coalition