Letters the week of August 6, 2015


The Iran Deal and the BDS movement are the focus of this week's letters, including one from the CEO of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia.

Focus on Substance of Deal, Not Disparagement
In his op-ed, “Unfriendly ‘Friends’ Defend Iran Deal to U.S. Jews” (July 30), Benyamin Korn has decided to respond to my op-ed on the Iran deal by ignoring its content. He fails to respond to my argument that this is a good deal and that no deal would be much worse for the United States and the world. He also fails to offer any alternative that has a better chance of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The fact is that a plurality of Jewish Americans supports the deal, as does former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon. 
Instead, he focuses on disparaging the work of Friends (Quakers) and ascribes to my employer, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, actions by various other, separate Quaker individuals and groups working on a range of Middle East issues. This is a debate about preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. If readers want to assess my employer they should consult our website fcnl.org for a full picture.  
The Iran deal is critically important to the American and Jewish community. It should be judged by its merits and nothing else. 
Bradley Harris | Friends Committee on National Legislation
Hillel Is up to the Challenges Facing It
The article in the July 23 edition of the Jewish Exponent, “Local Jewish Leaders Voice Concerns about Iran Deal,” illuminates the challenge that confronts Hillel and other organizations dedicated to educating the next Jewish generation: helping students consider multiple perspectives on matters important to the Jewish community and to them so that they may make informed, responsible decisions as part of the global Jewish community. 
Hillel is an educational and informational organization, not a political entity, and does not take positions on political questions. Following its educational mission, Hillel will provide students with forums in which the issues involved can be presented and analyzed, and will help students who step forward to advocate for positions that they believe to be in the best interests of the global Jewish community, Israel, and our nation.
Rabbi Howard Alpert | CEO, Hillel of Greater Philadelphia
Time to Wake up to BDS Fallacies
Regarding Frank Friedman’s July 23 letter (“A Wake-up Call for Israel Apologists”), the problem with the BDS movement is not that it opposes continued building of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and that it endorses better treatment of Arabs on both sides of the green line. Or even that it believes that Israel’s reaction to Hamas’s bombing of southern Israel was an “overreaction.” The problem with the BDS movement is that many of its leaders are in favor of not a two-state solution or even a three-state solution (my personal preference), but a one-state solution in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims live happily ever after in a harmonious, pluralistic democracy. You know, like all other the harmonious, pluralistic democracies that exist throughout the Arab world. Unfortunately, there are far too many Palestinian Arabs who have no interest in living harmoniously alongside Jews. To the extent that well-meaning Jewish, Christian, and even Muslim BDS advocates believe in the plausibility of a one-state solution in which Israeli Jews and West Bank and Gaza Arabs would live in peace and harmony in a pluralistic democracy, they are delusional.
Steve Mendelsohn | Penn Valley


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