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August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
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Welcome Break

I was happy to see last week’s front-page photo of the Oklahoma legislature’s ceremony thanking the Jewish community for the help it provided to the victims of that terrible tornado.

It’s time we got some good reviews, and the recognition by Oklahoma officials was a welcome break from all the reports about child molesters and swindlers in our community that we have sadly become accustomed to.

Zev Horvitz
(Via E-Mail)

Human Rights Groups (I)

As a non-Jewish supporter of Israel, I welcome Gregory Wallance’s firsthand and careful account of some of the problems Israel faces from biased human rights officials and activists around the world (“Why Human Rights Reporting on Israel Lacks Credibility,” front page essay, May 31).

He has given me substance where I only had assumptions. The truth is we should not be at all surprised that Israel typically gets the short end of the stick. I believe this has much to do with the fact that most people in the human rights field, from officials on down, favor the Arab narrative of the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. So Israel’s responses to terrorist acts are viscerally seen as excessive responses to legitimate acts of resistance.

They do not openly state this, of course. But only this can explain why otherwise intelligent people could be so blinded despite the facts that are so readily available.

Joseph Fernicola
(Via E-Mail)

Human Rights Groups (II)

I am always amazed at the capacity of Jews to play the victim. Did it ever occur to people like Gregory Wallance that the reason the human rights community is generally critical of Israel is because it deserves the criticism?

To all too many Jews, Israel alone among the nations of the world can do no wrong. Spare me the lectures about how Israel’s critics seize on questionable evidence and distort every piece of evidence in order to come out against Israel. I have yet to be persuaded.

Harold Bernstein
(Via E-Mail)

Jordan’s Vulnerability

Re: “Concern Grows Over Jordan as Possible Next Casualty of Arab Spring” (front page news story, May 31):

Why should anyone be surprised at the vulnerability of Jordan? It was only less than a hundred years ago that the infamous deal of the British and French after World War I to carve up the Ottoman Empire imposed artificial borders in the region, which led to the creation of Jordan as a state. There is nothing historical about the country; small wonder, then, that it is unstable.

Why should the undemocratic King Abdullah be treated different from Khaddafi, Hussein or Mubarak? Maybe he is less despotic and has killed fewer people, but an unelected king is an anachronism today and invites opposition from so-called advocates of democracy.

Marc Glazer
Jerusalem

Fearful View

Articles about Arab missile resources fill me with dread (“Israel Prepares for Missile Strikes as Syrian Civil War Intensifies,” news story, May 31).

For all the talk about Israeli air and military superiority and anti-missile batteries like the Iron Dome, I am not at all confident. How do you possibly expect to adequately defend against the reported tens of thousands of Hizbullah and Hamas missiles aimed at Israel? How do you have a deterrent against fanatical rogue organizations? And the world will never allow Israel to take proactive measures according to its own assessments.

Rosalie Rothstein
Los Angeles, CA

The Call To Boycott The Israel Parade (I)

Several rabbis called for a boycott of the Celebrate Israel Parade over the open participation of a group that provides support for young religious Jews who are gay or transgendered.

I volunteer my time to help promote the parade and a feeling of achdut. I do this because I believe that after millennia of wandering and suffering, we Jews truly need a homeland and an army to protect our interests and our people.

I grew up in an Orthodox household, attended yeshiva day school from pre-K through 12th grade and worked at yeshivish summer camps. I also happen to be gay.

I’m not announcing that I’m a sinner or that sinning is OK. I’m announcing that I’m not interested in a shidduch. I’m announcing that I will never be able to fulfill the commandment of peru u’revu. And I’m announcing that people like me exist and nothing – not prayer, not therapy, not willful ignorance – is going to remove this challenge that the Creator has bestowed upon me and upon many others like me.

The fact is there are many groups comprised of people who violate the Torah that are allowed to participate in the parade. So I felt unfairly singled out by the signers of the rabbinic declaration against attending the Celebrate Israel Parade.

There are so few Jews in the world and we, the Jewish people, have had so many enemies throughout the generations. Why do we need to fight with each other?

Daniel Weintraub
(Via E-Mail)

The Call To Boycott The Israel Parade (II)

A lot of Orthodox Jews have been very worried lately about Women of the Wall and by LBGT groups who wished to show their support for Israel by marching in the Celebrate Israel Parade.

Wouldn’t their time, energy and effort be better spent perfecting middot that many of them need to work on – like loving their fellow Jews and not speaking lashon hara – than by decrying others who don’t practice Judaism exactly like them but who find meaning and a connection to God in other ways?

I was not aware that Judaism, or supporting Israel for that matter, is a one-size-fits-all type of deal.

Tova Ross
Bergenfield, NJ

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