Letters the Week of May 7, 2015


Readers weigh in on Civil War history, the Baltimore riots and President Barack Obama.

Re-Examining Civil War History

In his article of April 23 (Opinion, “Abraham Lincoln and the Jews He Admired, Courted”), Dr. Jonathan Sarna states that “Grant apologized for the ill-conceived order,” which expelled the Jews as a class from his war zone. I would like to know Dr. Sarna’s reference for this statement as no reference appeared in Grant’s autobiography, which was an excellent place for him to apologize for this order or to admit that he was wrong. Instead, he chose not to even mention the event. 
Dr. Sarna also stated that “Jacob Frankel was the first Jewish military chaplain in American history.” But according to the late Rabbi Bertram Korn’s book, American Jewry and the Civil War, the first Jewish chaplains were in the Confederate Army. The Confederate Army had no chaplaincy corps, and each company elected its own chaplain. Two companies from Georgia were entirely Jewish and, naturally, they elected Jewish chaplains.
In summary, yes, Lincoln was a friend of the Jews, but with “friends” like Grant, the Jews need no enemies.
Leslie I. Rose, M.D., Wynnewood
Being Honest About Double Standards
My friend Miriam Steinberg-Egeth’s reply to racist reactions to the Baltimore riots (Miriam’s Advice Well, Online, “Being Honest About Baltimore,” April 30) was clearly heartfelt. However, I fear that the narrative advanced in some of the articles about the unrest she linked to — which suggested that the rioters felt like they had no choice — was inconsistent with liberal values.
How you would respond to the following hypothetical query from an African-American teen: “The death of Freddie Gray while in police custody deeply angered me and I have this urge to lash out — to burn buildings and loot stores. What should I do?”
Now suppose this teen is your son. If your advice to the youth in this scenario changed when you learned that he wasn’t a political abstraction within the construct of “white privilege,” but your own flesh and blood, you may want to rethink the liberal understanding of the term “equal treatment.”
Adam Levick | Israel
Nothing Soothing in Obama’s Deeds
Many assurances and soothing words were quoted in “Obama Meets with Jewish Leaders” (Headlines, April 16). Obama’s soft sell was actually meant to neutralize any opposition to his Iran nuclear deal. The unidentified “Jewish leaders” praised Obama’s “understanding of Jewish trauma,” his “anguish” about being seen as hostile to Israel, his “heartfelt” declaration that he’d consider it a moral failure if something happened to Israel on his watch. Well folks, his watch will be over in a year and a half. Obama may be gone, but he is permitting Iran’s nukes to remain.
Obama’s actual intentions regarding Israel, stated earlier to well-known Jewish leaders, including Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, are quoted by Klein below:
“Search your souls and your friends’ and relatives’ souls to see if you’re serious about peace. I think you believe the peace process is overrated. But everyone agrees that P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas is serious about peace … You can keep the Jewish areas of Jerusalem, but not the Arab areas of Jerusalem.”
Nothing comforting or soothing here … 
Roberta E. Dzubow | Plymouth Meeting


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