Letters the Week of Aug. 7, 2014


Readers weigh in on global terrorism, anti-Semitism masked as anti-Zionism and the psychological well-being of the children of Holocaust survivors.

Terrorism a Global Threat to All Nations

I am beyond saddened as I read more about the limited global political support in Israel’s effort to defend itself against attacks by Hamas. (Editorial, “Ending Tunnel Terror,” July 31.) 
War is not pretty and certainly war is not perfect. Mistakes will be made and, sadly, innocent civilians will pay the price. However, Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East and is deserving of world support.
Imagine if the United States or the United Kingdom suddenly came under terroristic attack. Think it cannot happen? Think again: 9/11, like the Holocaust, should bear the same mantra — Never again
For this very reason, if for no other, we (and not just the Jewish people) should be supporting Israel’s democracy in their fight against Hamas and the terror they inflict not just on Israel but on their own in Gaza as well.
Cindy Gelman Singer | Philadelphia
Anti-Semitism, not Israel Policies, Fuels Protests
I have to congratulate Mark Leuchter for his July 31 article. (Opinion, “Hamas Attacks Come Back to Blatant Anti-Semitism”).
It’s not Israeli checkpoints, occupation of the West Bank nor the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that are fueling the demonstrations in Europe and the rocket attacks from Gaza. European Jew-hatred never really disappeared, but rather was suppressed by the horrors of the Holocaust. 
Years before the occupation, Palestinian terrorists were killing Israeli innocents. The Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel and, in fact, every Jew in the world. It was written well before the current conflict.
Mr. Leuchter is right when he says this current war is not the result of Israeli policies or actions. We are fighting an enemy whose purpose is simply to kill Jews, as many as they can. No amount of sophistry will change that.
Steve Heitner | Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.
Torah Portion Wrong on Children of Survivors
I am writing to address a comment made in the July 17 Torah Portion, “Learning to Negotiate for Community’s Sake,” by Rabbi Danielle Stillman. The rabbi states: “we have seen the children of Holocaust survivors struggle with psychological challenges.”
As a child of survivors and one who knows many, I challenge the rabbi to provide data or empirical evidence to support her claim; to my knowledge, none exists. While some children of survivors have psychological challenges just as do others in the general community, most of us are well-adjusted and contributing members of society.
Beyond our personal achievements, we’ve contributed to the fabric of the secular and Jewish world, building institutions such as day schools and yeshivot that have revitalized an endangered American Jewish community that had been famously characterized in the media as “The Vanishing American Jew.”
Holocaust survivors and their children were in no small part responsible for the miracle that is Israel today. The characterization that we are a psychologically damaged group perpetuates a myth and false stereotype that does not serve well in explaining the message of the Torah portion.
Aline Yolkut | Philadelphia


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