Letters, the Week of June 29, 2017

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Same Old Racism

Sadly, it doesn’t surprise me that anti-Semitism has been used in the argument concerning privilege (“The Noxious Notion of Jewish Privilege,” June 1). The poster referred to mentions the 1 percent. Is that not an economic reference? That it conflates with Jews and anti-Semitism, again, is no surprise.

I, too, have heard B’nai Mitzvah youth refer to his or her privilege. That did not surprise me. Did I not read in The New York Times an article stating that an overwhelming proportion of philanthropists were Jewish? Now, please think politically; the tenor of the climate has been, for more than two decades, partisan hostility. For the past year it has been venomous.


Think now of the wealth gap. It is a chasm as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon with many levels far below the top 1 or 5 percent. It is a manmade contrivance, just as the institutional racism that this nation allowed and didn’t really address until 1964.

That racism underlies practically everything. When racists can’t find any other “other” to attack, the Jews are the next easiest target. The economically privileged wrote the tax laws to privilege themselves. Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, two of the three Freedom Summer workers murdered in Mississippi, should be honored, but they would be appalled at the direction this nation has taken socially, economically and racially.

Nathan Farbman | Philadelphia

On American Self-Interest, Other Countries Get It

In the rush to condemn the alleged “stupidity” of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Accord, it never occurred to Editor-in-Chief Joshua Runyan that his conclusion at the end of his column utterly undermined the very premise of his otherwise thoughtful article: the power of self-interest (“Long Before Europe, Israel Was Forced To Go It Alone,” June 8).

The reason “we didn’t hear much about these arguments” is because it is eminently clear to any person even superficially familiar with the geopolitical reality that the heads of foreign governments know full well — whatever their personal feelings toward Trump or his decision — that it’s supremely in their best interest to fully cooperate with the Earth’s only economic, technological and military superpower on most matters, particularly those relating to their security and economic well-being … including the green technologies Runyan cares so much about.

Trump gets it. So did the preceding presidents.

Isaac Svartsman | Philadelphia

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