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Letters Week of July 3, 2008
Why Sympathetic About Something So Lethal?
Though the Jewish Exponent typically is a stalwart defender of the Jewish state, I wish to take exception with the clearly sympathetic tone of the portrayal of the recent visit to Israel of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer to Israel in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency report you published (Israel & Mideast: "In Israel, 'Lobby' Authors Meet With Both Praise and Accusations").
Walt and Mearsheimer's claim that President Bush and Vice President Cheney's decision to go to war against Iraq was a result of the "Israel Lobby" advances the tired, yet historically lethal, anti-Semitic narrative -- seen in Nazi publications such as Der Sturmer and, more recently, throughout the mainstream media in the Arab world -- that the duly elected (non-Jewish) leaders on the world stage are puppets of powerful Jewish interests.
Whether or not the two professors are themselves anti-Semitic is really beside the point.
Anti-Semitism is not always something you can quantify. Rather, it is a broad, conspiratorial narrative that, in seeking a simplistic and unified explanation for the political crisis of the time, allows even the well-intentioned to fall prey to its soothing rhetorical tropes and facile intellectual currents.
I am extremely troubled by the fact that 63 years after the Holocaust, with a mere 13 million Jews left in the world (representing two-tenths of 1 percent of the world population), two academics from elite Western institutions come to the conclusion that what really drives U.S. foreign policy is organized Jewry.
Criticize the Palestinians; Don't Threaten Israelis!
Professor Aryeh Kosman laments the wretched conditions of Gazans (Letters: "Perhaps Another Reason for Tears at Israeli Parade," June 19) "brought about in part by the ... Israeli success" celebrated at the local Israel@60 parade.
One would think that the professor does not need to be reminded of the history that led the Palestinians -- and particularly, the Gazan Palestinians -- to the dreadful state of their present existence.
They voted for Hamas, who steals the gasoline destined for Gazans residents; aims missiles at the electric-power station providing electricity to Gazan citizens; and launches rockets at Israel, daring the Israelis to fire back and cause civilian casualties.
No, he does not need to be reminded of these things; he knows them all too well. Why then, when Israel's very existence as a Jewish homeland is under such serious threat from Iran and its proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, would an apparently well-informed professor take the time not to write letters decrying those who threaten Israeli citizens, but to offer words attacking Israel?
I look forward to a letter from him criticizing the gross human-rights violations by Palestinians, amongst which are: firing rockets from schools at schools; using mentally challenged children and women as suicide bombers; killing homosexuals; hiding behind civilians when firing rockets at Israel; and blowing up buses.
Bryn Mawr College
Hagee's Words Echo Text of Martyred Shoah Rabbi
The theological position espoused by Rev. John Hagee, our courageous and gallant ally, of divine punishment of the Jewish people for their neglect in settling the land of Israel, is consistent with the stance taken in one of the major rabbinical works written during the Holocaust (A Matter of Opinion: "A Different Kind of Blame Game," June 12).
Rabbi Yissachar Schlomo Teichtal (1885-1945), also known as "the Pistianer Dayan," wrote his renowned book Aim Habanim Smaicha in Budapest before his murder by the Nazis.
It is therefore proper to iterate that Hagee's statement -- whether or not he read Rabbi Teichtal's work (which is available in an English translation) -- is more consistent with authentic Jewish teachings of divine providence and governance than are the politically correct rants of the Reform movement's Rabbi Eric Yoffie.
Yoffie is an unending embarrassment to the Jewish people and to all honest men.
It would greatly profit Rabbi Yoffie if, instead of his ceaseless kowtowing to hostile liberal Christians, he were to acquaint himself with such basic teachings and texts of Judaism.
Nahum J. Duker, M.D.
U.S. Embassy: It's Time to Move It to Jerusalem!
Jonathan Tobin's column about the presidential candidates sparring over the issue of Jerusalem shows that he is, at bottom, pro-Barack Obama (A Matter of Opinion: "Dancing Around Jerusalem," June 19). For my part, I think he is a snake in the grass.
I am an 87-year-old American Jew, a retired attorney, who in 1948 and for many years thereafter had great hopes that two states would emerge living "side by side in peace."
Now, with the emergence of Hamas as the will of the Palestinian people, and the training of children from birth to seek out the destruction of Israel, I have changed my view.
There will be no sovereign state of Palestine -- not in the next 100 years.
Republican candidate John McCain is correct: Jerusalem may, in theory, be on the table for final-status negotiations, but more urgently, the American embassy should be placed in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv.
I believe he will keep his word, unless Congress blocks him.
Melvin A. Fechter
Pigs Will Fly Before the Embassy Changes Locales
Is there no end to the hypocrisy of Republicans?
After the failure of a supposedly friendly Republican administration to move the U.S. embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for eight years, now candidate John McCain expects us to believe that he will be able to move it.
Jonathan Tobin is right when he says that "pigs will fly" before that happens.
And given the American public's attitude toward the GOP's failures, I also imagine that they may well be airborne before McCain is ever elected!
New York, N.Y.