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May 4, 2015 / 15 Iyar, 5775
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EU’s Main Priority

The Middle East is in great turmoil. Iran is continuing its development of nuclear weapons and the intercontinental missiles needed to deliver them. Tens of thousands have been murdered in Syria, heavy fighting continues there, and the threat of poison gas is very real. Egypt is on the verge of civil war. Terrorists are creating havoc in Iraq, Jordan, Yemen and Lebanon.

While all this is going on, what most worries the European Union is the proposed construction of new housing on vacant land in eastern Jerusalem. Israel has no less a right to Jerusalem than the British have to London or the French have to Paris – and that is actually an understatement because the Jews lived in Israel long before either London or Paris was built.

Arthur Horn
East Windsor, NJ

UN’s Palestine Resolution

“Jabberwocky” was the perfect title for your Dec. 7 editorial on the UN General Assembly’s resolution granting nonmember-state observer status to the Palestinian Authority.

It makes no sense either from an international law perspective or in terms of the UN’s own rules governing UN membership. Nor, as you said, was there any possible logic to the worldwide criticism of Israel’s announcement of increased settlement construction on disputed land when the UN itself just got finished handing far more disputed land over to the Palestinians.

I fear we can expect more of the same. The Palestinians have an automatic majority for securing anything they want from the General Assembly at Israel’s expense, even when that includes bending the rules.

Doris Cooper
Buffalo, NY

Legitimate Criticism Or Mere Politics?

I take strong exception to ADL National Director Abraham Foxman’s implying that Jewish criticism of Ambassador Susan Rice over her work at the UN is tantamount to an attempt to drag the Jewish community into a political fight (“Rice’s Work at UN Wins Plaudits from Jewish Communal Leaders,” front page news story, Dec. 7).

Several weeks ago some female members of the Congressional Black Caucus claimed that any criticism of Ms. Rice was ipso facto racist and sexist. Now we have an attempt to delegitimize such criticism from another angle. Can one only take issue with the effectiveness of her policies but not what underlies them? Can there not be honest and objective debate over Ms. Rice’s controversial actions?

This is sadly reminiscent of Mr. Foxman’s attempt in October 2011, together with the American Jewish Committee’s David Harris, to have the Jewish community sign onto a “unity pledge” designed to avoid Israel becoming a partisan political issue in the 2012 presidential election. At that time President Obama was at odds with both Democrats and Republicans on the issues of Israeli settlements and the 1967 lines. Yet Messrs. Foxman and Harris wanted to take those issues off the political table.

I certainly agree that it is important that support for Israel be bipartisan and not become a political football. But it is hardly helpful to discourage legitimate inquiry.

Harold Sklar
(Via E-Mail)

Lieberman On Pollard

The callous statements by Sen. Joseph Lieberman on Jonathan Pollard’s highly disproportionate sentence of life in prison – especially when contrasted with Lieberman’s expressed compassion for U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice for her far from comparable treatment by Congress – are offensive and incomprehensible (“Time to Let Pollard Go,” editorial, Dec. 7).

Pollard agreed to a plea bargain with the government – a plea bargain that was insidiously and disingenuously abrogated by then-Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, who sent a secret memo to the judge deciding Pollard’s fate.

Pollard received a life sentence for transmitting life-saving information to an ally. He was not given compassionate leave to attend his father’s funeral and has suffered several medical crises – and each time has been returned to his cell.

Unfortunately, to expect President Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence is to believe in the tooth fairy.

Fay Dicker
Lakewood, NJ

Rabbis For Higher Taxes

Recently, Conservative Rabbi Jack Moline of Alexandria, Va., said his family earns more than $250,000 a year and he still supports ending the tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans.

“That is very much against my self-interest and the self-interest of many of those in our community,” he said. “It makes a lot of sense for people who are not going to pay this tax to advocate for others to pay it. But it gives this position more credibility if people who would be affected say, ‘I’m stepping up and you should too.’ Is it the best solution? I don’t know, but the worst response would be to do nothing.”

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