Moral Equivalence And Charlottesville
Reader Samuel Keller (Letters, Sept. 1) seems displeased with The Jewish Press’s superb Aug. 25 editorial supporting President Trump’s Charlottesville-related remarks, which Keller maintains makes “moral equivalency between neo-Nazis…shouting ‘sieg heil’ …and ‘alt Left’ groups” who, Keller claims, defend the “rights and lives of black citizens, among others.”
Actually, I’m not aware of any black lives the “alt Left” has ever saved.
Bringing up the neo-Nazis shouting “sieg heil” to discredit any argument positing moral equivalency between the two sides is rather lame. The 9/11 hijackers, to my knowledge, never shouted “sieg heil.” The point is, one can be a completely depraved subhuman and never utter phrases like “sieg heil.”
Is there moral equivalence between the two sides at Charlottesville? Well, there is an argument to be made that the “alt Left” is worse; the American neo-Nazis of today are evil largely in thought while the “alt Left” is evil in thought and deed.
LBJ And Israel (I)
Re Jason Maoz’s “Who Was the First Genuinely Pro-Israel President?” (front-page essay, Sept. 1):
We all must appreciate President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s support of Israel. You can read about Johnson and Israel in Personal Witness: Israel Through My Eyes by Abba Eban. Johnson’s saving of Jews from Nazi Germany while he was a congressman is especially important.
One key thing about Johnson is that he hated the Ku Klux Klan more than anything – and the Klan hated Johnson. He would never equate a demonstration by Klan members, Nazis, et al. with a demonstration by those opposing them, as President Trump recently did.
Johnson revolutionized America with Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He would have been America’s greatest president were it not for Vietnam.
Forest Hills, NY
LBJ And Israel (II)
Jason Maoz’s excellent front-page essay on President Johnson and Israel was filled with information with which the American Jewish community should be familiar, but probably is not.
Johnson’s early involvement with saving Jews from the Holocaust as a member of Congress, followed decades later by his dramatic upgrading of military aid to Israel and refusal to pressure Israel to withdraw from territory won during the 1967 Six-Day War, testify to his adherence to his grandfather’s lesson: “Take care of the Jews.… Consider them your friends and help them any way you can.”
Maoz notes that widespread domestic opposition to America’s involvement in Vietnam led Johnson to forgo seeking reelection in 1968; Johnson bitterly described an encounter with American rabbis who came to him to campaign against the Vietnam war, which he felt was essential to saving a “small nation in constant peril.”
Today we have rabbis of the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements announcing a boycott of a pre-Rosh Hashanah presidential conference call because of their disagreement with President Trump’s statements regarding the violence in Charlottesville.
The rabbis’ treatment of the president – who, like Johnson, has signaled concern for the Jewish people and Israel – is reprehensible. Just as the rabbis who descended on Johnson to urge him to abandon Vietnam, disregarding his admirable efforts vis-à-vis Israel, these modern-day rabbis are refusing to speak to President Trump, disregarding his admirable efforts and statements regarding Israel.
Clearly, the Charlottesville incident is simply an excuse for these leaders to guide their congregations in a partisan political path that has nothing to do with Judaism. May the month of Elul, and their penitential prayers, help them to see the light.
Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI
I was so relieved to read that Linda Sarsour showed up to give support to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Who knew that Sarsour is such a huge football fan?
Sarsour, the self-appointed princess of protest, can always be counted on to assure the world that football players matter, black lives matter, green and purple and red lives matter, and even Jewish lives matter if they aren’t too Jewish or, Heaven forbid, pro-Israel.
Standing in front of the Park Avenue building in New York City that houses the offices of the National Football League, Sarsour shrieked, “We will not be silenced by blue lives matter – by white supremacists – by neo Nazis – by right-wing Zionists!”
It was eye opening to the many who didn’t know that right-wing Zionists run the NFL. Most of Sarsour’s followers only believe that Zionists run the banks. Always a stickler for details, that Sarsour.
Of course, some might suspect that Sarsour’s obtrusive presence at the NFL building was just an opportunity to hijack attention and get another 15 minutes of infamy; that nothing more was on her mind than another chance to proclaim that the Jews are at the core of every problem. Hitler used to say things like that, too.
But Sarsour isn’t an anti-Semite. She tells us that every chance she gets and even finds a gaggle of confused Jews along the way to back her.
NY State Assemblyman
Seniors Need To Keep Busy
In her Aug. 4 Life Chronicles column, Rachel Bluth responded to a letter from a man in his early 90s who described himself as very lonely. He survives during the day with the help of an aide; at night “the loneliness and sadness overtake me and invade my sleep.” He added that often he is “sitting alone in my chair on the front porch, yet no one comes over to say hello.”
Being in my early 90s, I can relate – and, perhaps, offer him some advice. I too was suddenly widowed a number of years ago, and still miss my wonderful wife. Like it or not, that’s the way it is. But life goes on. And three years ago I had a 10-hour open-heart surgery at the VA/West Los Angeles Medical Center. (I thank the medical and support personnel there for the outstanding medical treatment and care I received.)
My advice to him and others like him: In many communities there are senior citizen centers with experienced and capable staffs dedicated to helping the elderly. Here in Los Angeles I have found the Jewish Family Services’ (JFS) Freda Mohr Senior Center on Fairfax Ave. to be a wonderful facility. I go there three or four days a week. My transportation to and from the center is provided by the JFS, with caring and reliable drivers.
The center offers many activities and programs designed for the elderly – even people in wheelchairs. More to the point, the center provides the opportunity to be involved with other people. Social interaction is vital to our mental well-being. Even with my severe hearing loss, it helps to hear another person’s voice speaking pleasantly to me – not at me.
Rather than sit alone, sad and depressed, on his front porch day after day, perhaps the man who wrote that sad letter to Ms. Bluth can have his aide drive him to his local senior center, where he too can get involved.
Los Angeles, CA