Letters, the week of October 8, 2015

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A Decidedly Unpresidential Profile

In your profile of J Street U new president, Amna Farooqi, you accept at face value Farooqi’s assertion of “loving Israel” (“J Street U’s New Muslim President,” Sept. 24). But absent from your profile were some disturbing facts.
First, Farooqi does not merely criticize the “occupation” (98 percent of Palestinians today live under Palestinian regimes in the West Bank and Gaza). At her J Street Conference speech last March, Farooqi spoke of “pervasive and draining” Israeli “oppression” and “racism.” To tar Israel with the brush of oppression and racism when Israeli security measures are an unavoidable consequence of continuing Palestinian terrorism is a strange way to promote either Israel or peace.
Second, rather than condemning Hamas’ war crimes in targeting Israeli civilians while sheltering amid Gazan civilians during last year’s war, Farooqi condemned consequent Israeli operations in Gaza which had virtually wall-to-wall support in Israel. She also valorized the “resistance,” i.e. Hamas and the other terrorist groups. Which particular part of Israeli society does she and J Street either reflect or support?
Third, Farooqi does not merely criticize Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu — in a 2014 tweet, she calls him a “douchebag.” What leader of a genuinely pro-Israel group does that?
Fourth, Farooqi simply lies when she says that “J Street U is opposed to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.” Not only has J Street given platforms to leading advocates of what Farooqi claims J Street opposes, but she herself has tweeted that “I don’t oppose any form of nonviolent Palestinian protest, including BDS.”
Morton A. Klein | National President, 
Zionist Organization of America
Examining the Entirety of the Message
I agree with Rabbi Rick Jacobs (Op-Ed, Sept. 24) that Pope Francis is a good man sincerely concerned with the downtrodden of humanity. My disagreements with him revolve around three parts of his papal message.
Capitalism is the most dynamic economic system on the planet. It has delivered tens of millions out of poverty and placed them in the middle class. Secondly, his endorsement of the climate change agenda is misguided and misinformed. Cheap energy (oil, gas and coal) allows the poor to provide for food, transportation, and housing that they desperately need. Forcing them to use solar, wind and other renewables raises the price of energy dramatically. Thirdly, this Pope has come down solidly on the side of the Palestinians whose terrorist leaders have constantly pronounced their desire to kill every Jew on the planet. Is this really the position of the church? If so, he is siding with the most violent, anti-Semitic aspect of humanity.
I noted that Rabbi Jacobs left out some aspects of Pope Francis’ message. Respect for the unborn, along with the elderly, and his request for maintaining intact families are just two. Let’s not read the Pope’s message as if it is a menu, picking only the parts that we like.
Steve Heitner | Port Jefferson Station. N.Y.

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