Agrees With Feiglin
Moshe Feiglin’s Jan. 20 column (“The Real Coercion In Israel”) was right on the money. He argued that “No coercion is good – religious or secular” but also that “Today, Israel suffers more from secular coercion than from religious coercion.” As examples he noted the problems facing soldiers who want to adhere to halacha, the demonization of the settler movement, the provocateur-inspired gender discrimination controversy, and “the continuing offensive against anything that smacks of Jewish identity….”
His conclusion is well worth pondering by those who are being carried away by the excesses of a relatively few mindless zealots: “Those who discriminate against women or harass them must be punished according the law. But none of that has anything to do with the murky wave of incitement that has lately been washing over our heads.” Avraham Weinstein Jerusalem
Obama’s ‘About-Face’ (I)
I think reader Martin Fried missed the point last week when he suggested that criticism of President Obama is somewhat irrational (“There seems to be something about this man that drives all too many frum Jews absolutely crazy.”)
I wonder whether Obama’s abrupt and dramatic about-face on the issues of settlements and the 1967 lines just as the presidential election season began heating up mean nothing to Mr. Fried. Am I off the wall if I believe this indicates the change in tone is driven by politics and that Obama will unload on Israel if he is reelected? Ross Eilberg (Via E-Mail)
Obama’s ‘About-Face’ (II)
Notwithstanding reader Martin Fried’s take on American political history, I think any American president who treated Israel and its prime minister the way Obama did should not expect applause from the Jewish community.
The calculus is simple. He wants to change the American posture toward the Muslim world. Israel has heretofore enjoyed a special relationship with the U.S. Even if we don’t attribute sinister motives to the president, how does this shift occur without Israel paying the price? Think about it, Mr. Fried. Rivkah Levine Los Angeles, CA
The abrupt cancellation of the proposed joint military maneuvers of Israeli and U.S. forces (editorial, Jan. 20) is only a new example of the chicanery of the Obama administration.
From the time of his inauguration, and even before, Obama has voiced his support in words for Israel but not in action. From attempting to negotiate with Iran and then proposing only limited sanctions on that nation as well as his apologies to Muslims worldwide and his less than friendly relations with Benjamin Netanyahu, he has shown a dislike for Israel while attempting to line up Jewish domestic support for his anti-Israel stance.
Hopefully the charade is over and Jewish contributors to his campaign coffers and Jewish voters who opted for him in 2008 will be finally disenchanted and act accordingly. Nelson Marans Silver Spring, MD
WJC’s Naïve Approach (I) Re: “What Were They Thinking?” (editorial, Jan. 20): I have long wondered about the dynamics of Jewish organizational life. When our self-proclaimed leaders take a public position or engage in some action, do they first check with the members of their organizations?
Moreover, if they blunder as Lauder and Terpins of the World Jewish Congress did in giving Mahmoud Abbas legitimacy as someone truly interested in resolving the issues between Israel and the Palestinians, is there any accountability?
At the very least, they should be required to respond to the devastating indictment of the Palestinian president you delivered last week. The WJC leaders did not move the cause of peace along by positing the harebrained notion that the problem stems from the Palestinians not understanding each other. David Ginzberg (Via E-Mail)
WJC’s Naïve Approach (II)
The anger that comes through your editorial “What Were They Thinking?” is righteous anger, thoroughly justified. It is incredibly disheartening to hear our leaders repeat what they know are lies and deceptions just to be politically correct and keep the pretense going for some inexplicable reason.
As you pointed out, the fact that Ronald Lauder and Jack Terpins met with Mahmoud Abbas in London and spoke words of “better cooperation between Jewish and Palestinian communities around the world…” bringing about a “peaceful future” is such a betrayal of truth and decency.
Lauder and Terpins know better, as their quoted words in other contexts make clear. They should be saying that there is no chance for peace with people who refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist and who promise on a daily basis to exterminate the Jews of Israel.
What purpose can possibly be served by the continuation of the lie of Oslo? It is time for our leadership to announce that the possibility of peace with the present Hamas/Fatah alliance is non-existent. The “two-state solution” is dead.
It is time for Messrs. Lauder and Terpins to go back to the drawing board and examine other formulas. One definition of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting different results. Helen Freedman Executive Director Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI
Wants Facts, Not Speculation
I usually enjoy Steve Walz’s articles on Israeli politics. In fact, in his Informed Sources column last week he had interesting takes on two individuals who have announced for political office in Israel. But I take exception to his declaring in the same piece that Haagen-Dazs ice cream is “kosher” when Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has ruled otherwise.
Walz wrote that “Israel’s Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem appears to have picked a completely unnecessary kashrus conflict with the Orthodox Union over the sale of Haagen-Dazs ice cream in Israel.” He went on to ask: “Is this senseless edict based on pressure emanating from competing haredi kashrus agencies in Israel, as well as the growth of OU kashrus supervision in Jerusalem?”
To top it all off he added: “We are witnessing a slow but steady implosion within the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, as the more ‘lenient leaning’ rabbanim are being eliminated in favor of a mushrooming ‘machmirim’ faction…[who] appear to be overreaching in order to preserve their territory.”
He also attributes to this allegedly nefarious group the responsibility for rabbinic disputes over marriage and conversions and accuses the Chief Rabbinate of ignoring the sale of treif products “in local food establishments located near their own kashrus headquarters.”
Notice the use of words such as “appears” and “appear” interspersed through what is nothing more than pure speculation. It is not for Walz to opine on whether products are kosher or throw out motives for rabbinic disputes. He certainly should not do so if he won’t present any evidence for his charges.
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