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September 24, 2014 / 29 Elul, 5774
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Letters To The Editor

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Painful Loss (I)

I want to thank The Jewish Press for the beautiful and extensive coverage of the life and untimely petirah of Shlomo Zakheim, zt”l.

Unlike the countless beneficiaries of his kindness and warmth, I was never privileged to meet Mr. Zakheim. But I sincerely felt I came to know him through the tributes you featured and I mourned the painful loss to Klal Yisrael. It was fitting that I read these articles on September 11 and just before Yom Kippur; I was sobbing audibly from the very moving and inspiring memories and anecdotes you shared.

May his bereaved family have a nechamah, and may his pleas on our behalf help hasten the geulah sheleimah.

Yehi zichro baruch.

Naomi Gross
Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel

Painful Loss (II)

I never met Shlomo Zakheim but from what I’ve read he was like a storybook character who dreams of accumulating wealth and spreading it around in order to make a difference in the lives of the unfortunate.

In many of those stories the dream doesn’t quite pan out. Mr. Zakheim, however, was able to use the fruits of his success to help so many others. The Jewish community is fortunate to have had a man of his generosity.

Chaim Halpern
(Via E-Mail)

AIPAC’s Push On Syria

Re: “AIPAC Makes Belated but Big Push on U.S. Response to Syria Chemical Attack” (front page news story, Sept. 13):

I can understand why Jewish organizations would be pushing for Congressional support should President Obama make good on his promise to punish Syria if it used chemical weapons. Israel’s security depends in large measure on how seriously Israel’s enemies take U.S. guarantees.

However, I also believe it is very dangerous for American Jews to get too far out in front of most other Americans on this issue. It is one thing to advocate U.S. intervention when and if Israel is under attack or seriously threatened. It is quite another to promote an American war to protect Israel’s long term security interests. Such a thing would not play well with our fellow Americans.

Bruce Atterman
(Via E-Mail)

Putin’s Price

“Does Putin’s Help Come With a Price?” asks the title of one of your editorials last week. Of course it does. Who can seriously contest the fact that Obama’s incoherent policies on Syria have immensely elevated Russia’s influence and effective power in the region, thereby filling the vacuum left by a diminished U.S.?

The chickens have indeed come home to roost in the perverse scenario of Putin presenting a lifeline to an American president faced with the very real probability that a wary Congress would deal a fatal body blow to his request for authorization of a military strike on Syria.

The ultimate price for Putin’s help is yet to be calculated.

Fay Dicker
Lakewood, NJ

Long National Nightmare

If the Obama administration’s incredible mishandling of the Syria situation wasn’t embarrassing enough, Vladimir Putin’s nauseatingly hypocritical Sept. 12 New York Times op-ed article surely supplied several more exclamation points.

Putin’s piece invoked a panoply of Western political pieties, such as “international law and order,” and stoked war fears. He scolded claims of American exceptionalism. The former KGB operative also advanced the pope’s pleas for peace and called down God’s blessings. Israel’s fate came in for his deep concern.

The only genuine sentiment evident throughout the article was an utter contempt for the political intelligence of Americans and, by extension, the administration.

This from a man who routinely jails journalists and political opponents, slowly suffocates Russian democracy, violently suppresses Caucasus rebellions despite its “language of force” and the civilian casualties he otherwise decries, supplies arms and UN Security Council vetoes to a Syrian regime massacring its own people, steals state assets for his cronies, and thwarts the U.S. at every opportunity.

For its part, the Times should be deeply ashamed at having printed such self-serving claptrap. It is of a piece with Charlie Rose’s lamentable recent PBS interview with Bashar al Assad. Taken together, they are damning evidence of the precipitous decline of American journalism. Sadly, providing such propaganda platforms for America’s enemies has now become commonplace.

The willful weakness this administration projects can only embolden America’s enemies and demoralize its friends. Unfortunately, its tenure extends for another forty months. Our long national nightmare is far from over.

Richard D. Wilkins
Syracuse, NY

Blame Bush For U.S. War Weariness

The Iraq war waged by President George W. Bush, in addition to all its other faults, including the deaths of over 4,000 Americans, was bad for the Jews and bad for Israel.

The Bush administration’s lies, which seemed to multiply the longer the war dragged on, together with the large number of dead and maimed American military personnel, created a mood of isolationism in the United States. This is why the vast majority of Americans opposed any military action by the Obama administration against Syria, even though Syria used chemical weapons against its own people.

In his book Years of Wrath, Days of Glory: Memoirs from the Irgun, the late Yitshaq Ben-Ami recalls Col. John Henry Patterson – commander of the Jewish Legion during the First World War who worked with Jabotinsky’s Revisionist Zionists – telling Ben-Ami and other Irgunists that because of the long exile, Jews had lost the ability to think politically. This was nowhere more apparent than in the strong support for the Iraq war voiced by American Jewish neoconservatives.

Reuven Solomon
(Via E-Mail)

Farcical Peace Talks

Bolstered by an ever anti-Israel State Department and a naive John Kerry, the PA is able to circumvent all the requirements of the present “peace talks” – talks being championed by the usual collection of left-wing Israeli politicians, Palestinian Authority negotiators and U. S. moderators with a pro-Arab bent.

The current negotiations are a repeat of the Oslo Accords with potentially the same far-reaching consequences. Meanwhile, Tzipi Livni ignores the desires of the Israeli electorate by making concessions Benjamin Netanyahu himself does not approve.

Only after direct and open negotiations with easily monitored results can there be even a semblance of peace. As things stand now, the propaganda spewed by the PA and the constant demands for far reaching concessions from Israel make the “peace talks” a farce.

Nelson Marans
Silver Spring, MD

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