Letters, the Week of May 5, 2016

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Readers discuss kosher butchers, Israel and Simone Zimmerman.

Kosher Butcher Logic Doesn’t Cut It
Regarding the letter to the editor of April 28 by Rosalyn Linker (“Religious Liberty for All Kosher Butchers”), her logic is quite faulty. If a butcher already sold both kosher and non-kosher products to the public, and the butcher then decided to not sell non-kosher products to Jews, then we might have an issue.
But kosher butchers do not sell non-kosher products to anyone, so there is no problem. You can’t tell a merchant what to sell. You may only require that if they sell products to the public they must sell whatever they sell to everybody.
Benjamin H. Bloom, M.D. | Germantown
What Professor Really Wants Is Israel’s Destruction
The letter by the Temple professor emeritus in the April 26 issue (“Israel Shouldn’t Shirk Its Responsibilities”) would have been a great letter if he stopped after the second paragraph. After acknowledging that the Arabs have done nothing in 70 years — it should have said 100 years — to bring peace, the professor goes on to hold Israel responsible because we are G-d’s chosen people and we should be better than our enemies.
What should Israel do? If Israel really wanted to be “better behaved than our enemies,” as suggested, Israel could go back to the 1948 indefensible boundary lines, not defend itself and allow its citizens to be pushed into the sea. Come to think of it, according to the professor’s logic, it should have not won the Six Day War.
And now? Israel should most definitely dismantle its armed forces and security measures and turn Israel over to the Arabs.
Then Israel would be the best behaved group of Jews the Arabs could ever ask for. I don’t think so!
Zachary Margolies | Philadelphia
Response to Zimmerman Seems to Target Those Like Me
I could not wait to come home from college to spend the Seder with my family, friends and synagogue, the very community that had instilled in me a love for Judaism. This love for Judaism developed as I went to Jewish summer camp, traveled to Israel and helped revive a chapter of United Synagogue Youth in my hometown.
If this narrative sounds familiar, it might be because it parallels the description of Simone Zimmerman (Editorial, “The Dilemma of Simone Zimmerman,” April 21). Therefore, I found the mischaracterization of liberal Jews with similar backgrounds as “a serious problem” to be both hurtful and frustrating.
Am I only welcome in Jewish communal spaces if I share the same views about Israel as the individuals who wrote this editorial? Why do many of the same voices that panic about losing millennials also send the message that they are not welcome?
The editorial was right: The American Jewish community does need to engage with young, liberal Jews raised by the establishment. These individuals continue to serve on Hillel chapter boards, work at Hebrew schools and summer camps and pursue meaningful tikkun olam. In summary, they are some of the most intelligent, passionate and committed people I know. Yet writing a piece that depicts them as a threat deepens divisions within our community.
The real challenge is not young, liberal Jews, but rather how to listen to their concerns and work together.
Talia Kaplan | Media
Names Are Important in Pleading Israel’s Case
Regarding the editorial about Simone Zimmerman and her short-lived tenure as Bernie Sanders’ outreach director (“The Dilemma of Simone Zimmerman,” April 21): I won’t comment on Bernie “Everything Is Israel’s Fault” Sanders’ vetting or lack thereof regarding Zimmerman’s position on his campaign. However, I can see how statements in the column can lead to the kind of wrongheaded thinking that makes her appointment possible.
It can be found in the words of the editor, as well as in other columns, letters to the editor and in other Jewish magazines, that lend credence to Zimmerman’s nonsensical thinking. Is it really that difficult to write Judea and Samaria instead of the West Bank? And Arabs instead of Palestinians? By using these terms, you are lending legitimacy to this farcical notion that the Arabs have any claim to Judea and Samaria. After all, they vetoed the 1947 U.N. partition plan.
As far as people like Zimmerman being “frighteningly immune to Israel’s case,” the fault lies with our inability or unwillingness to challenge the mainstream media regarding their blatant distortion of Israelis’ plight. We need to call news stations, write letters and call political leaders, and we need to stop referring to Arabs as Palestinians.
If you recall, the Israel Philharmonic was originally the Palestine Philharmonic, and The Jerusalem Post was the Palestine Post. It’s Judea and Samaria, not the West Bank. In recent history, Israel (then called Palestine) was under Turkish rule and later British rule. It was never an independent Arab nation.
Rachel Garber | Philadelphia

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