Letters, the Week of Feb. 11, 2016


Readers discuss fashion choices, Syrian refugees and the BDS movement.

Not a Good Look
It is fortunate that Ms. Golder Saft (Fashion, Jan. 14) has the resources to pay for expensive clothes, make up and various appointments with hair stylists, make up artists and aestheticians. However, the majority of people have needs other than manicures, massages and mascara.
I learn a lot from most of the got articles and editorials. Unfortunately, the only thing to be learned from these columns is how to pamper yourself if you are wealthy. Surely, your paper could use that space for articles with more substance.
Edina Lessack | Sanibel, Fla.
Take Care of Refugees — Just Don’t Do It Here
In Rabbi Deborah Waxman’s recent Op-Ed piece (Jan. 21), she asserts that Jewish values require us to welcome the stranger, specifically Syrian refugees. However, my Jewish values lead me to another conclusion.
I’m reminded that Hillel the Elder asked, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” God never required the Israelites to roll out the welcome mat for the Amalekites, nor were the Maccabees obligated to live under the oppression of the Seleucid Empire, nor were the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto required to welcome the Nazis. Contrary to what Rabbi Waxman asserts, Judaism does not require us to put ourselves in mortal danger by welcoming the stranger. Instead, we have an obligation to protect ourselves. Furthermore, the No. 1 responsibility of the United States government is to protect American citizens, not Syrians. Rabbi Waxman attempts to equate the Jewish refugees of the 1930s with the Syrian refugees of today. The fundamental difference between the two is that Jewish refugees never threatened others, while ISIS has killed, has vowed to keep killing, has promised to infiltrate the refugee system — and has successfully done so. While only a small number of Syrian refugees are likely to be terrorists, some are. We must protect ourselves.
Hillel also asked, “If I am not for others, what am I?” Fortunately, we can still protect Syrian refugees without the risk associated with welcoming them here. We can establish, fund and protect refugee camps in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. Furthermore, military-age men can be given the opportunity to go to training camps before being returned to Syria to fight for their homeland.
Rabbi Waxman has admitted that her plan to “welcome the stranger” comes with risk. I’ll go a step further. If a Syrian refugee commits an act of terrorism on U.S. soil, some of that blood will be on her hands.
Michael Rosen | Philadelphia
Physicians, Reveal Thineselves
How sobering to read Dr. Moskowitz’s analysis of British physician support of BDS (Op-Ed, Feb. 4). Unfortunately, physicians are not immune from the virus of anti-Semitism. We need look no further back than the 1930s to recognize that physicians in Hitler’s Germany had an extraordinarily high rate of Nazi party membership and participation. Many blithely ignored their Hippocratic Oath to avoid caring for Jewish patients. Apparently, some of my medical colleagues have learned little since that time.
I wholeheartedly endorse his efforts to ensure that those MDs who espouse such vile positions will be deprived of anonymity.
Dr. Daniel L. Levine | San Francisco


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