Photo Credit: Jewish Press

It’s An Outrage

I cannot adequately express my consternation at Pastor Robert Jeffress’s invocation at the dedication last week of the United States embassy in Jerusalem. To an audience of mostly Jews, including Israel’s two chief rabbis and a Chabad rabbi who stood alongside him on stage, Jeffress invoked “the name and the spirit of the prince of peace….”

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Where, I ask, was the outrage? Why didn’t the Chabad rabbi have the courage to walk off the stage or respond to Jeffress’s importune remarks?

Judaism considers belief in the divinity of a human being to be idolatry. Countless Jews have, over the centuries, proudly submitted to martyrdom rather than convert to Christianity. The halacha is clear: belief in Christianity by a Jew is avodah zarah, and a Jew must give up his life rather than engage in idol worship.

I was further stunned by the audience’s subsequent reaction to John Hagee, the Baptist preacher who presented the final prayer. Hagee asked everyone to stand, and, like lemmings, the attendees acceded to his request, despite the lesson they should have learned just minutes earlier from the Jeffress debacle.

While I credit Hagee for delivering an ecumenical prayer, without specific mention of Christian doctrine, the audience could not have known in advance what he would say. Even had they known, what justification is there for Israel’s chief rabbis to stand for a pastor’s prayer?

If the cost of having a gala embassy dedication was the glorification of avodah zarah, we would have been served better by not having the celebration at all.

Avi Goldstein
Far Rockaway, NY

 

Not Happy With Speed Cameras

Your paper ran an ad recently paper promoting more speed surveillance cameras. This is another example of self-appointed representatives of the Jewish community advocating away our freedom and liberty under the false guise of public safety.

The ad is full of false and misleading information. I would venture to guess that most New Yorkers do not want any of the Big Brother surveillance cameras that have been put up by Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo.

The cameras in all their various permutations are not about safety; they are about collecting billions of dollars in easy fines for the city and state – a hidden tax. They are also about huge windfall profits for the contractors that provide them.

It is very disturbing to have religious leaders make the claim that having government surveillance cameras is a “true mitzvah.” Those who are concerned about the safety of our children and unsafe drivers should be doing everything they can to make sure Governor Cuomo’s push to legalize recreational marijuana is defeated. Every other state that tried this saw a steep rise in traffic accidents.

Flatbush AntiVaxxer

 

Disproportionate?

In view of the claims that Israel used disproportionate force against unarmed civilian demonstrators at the Gaza fence on May 14, perhaps the British government should be regarded as having committed a war crime for executing Operation Chastise on the Möhne and Edersee Dams in May 1943.

The dams were breached, causing catastrophic flooding in the Ruhr and Eder valleys in which an estimated 1,600 civilians, about 600 Germans (villagers asleep in their beds), and 1,000 mainly Soviet forced laborers (allied POWs) died.

By comparison, in Gaza only 62 out of 40,000 rioters died, an extraordinarily low proportion. And of these, 50 were outright terrorists, as a Hamas official later acknowledged. So the “collateral” deaths were less than 10!

While the majority of protestors may not have been armed (if one discounts Molotov cocktails and rocks), they were far from peaceful bystanders. Their aim was to breach the border fence by force of numbers, enter Israel and, what is probably more significant militarily, make it possible for armed combatants to do so as well. What would have happened if large numbers had managed to reach one of the nearby Israeli villages can easily be imagined.

While any loss of life is regrettable, Israel’s troops should be congratulated for their extraordinary competence in managing to limit civilian casualties in a tense situation.

Martin D. Stern
Salford, England

 

‘Imperfect’ Iran Deal

In Aaron Klein’s “Quick Takes” column in the May 11 issue, Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) defends her support of the Iran nuclear deal, even while admitting it is “imperfect.”

Indeed, it is. Highly imperfect. So much so that it’s hard to believe any creditable legislator voted for it.

From the start, it was designed to merely “kick the can down the road.” It put $150 billion in the hands of Iran’s rulers in return for a promise to cut back on developing nuclear weapons for 10 years.

That Iran supported terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah – sworn to destroy the State of Israel – was deemed unimportant.

The nuclear deal allowed limited inspections only in designated locations, and it allowed Iran’s ballistic missile development program – the means for delivering nuclear weapons –  to continue unabated.  All this, while it was known that Iran’s leaders were prone to deceit.

“Imperfect.” I would say!

George Epstein
Los Angeles

 

Mayor Vs. Governor

Jewish Press columnist Marc Gronich has his hands full trying to stay up to date on the ongoing feud between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, now in its fifth year.

Cuomo and De Blasio are not the first New York political pair to spar. Some example that come to mind are Governor Nelson Rockefeller (1959-1974) and Mayor John Lindsay (1966-1973); Governor George Pataki (1995-2006) and Mayor Rudy Giuliani (1994-2001); and Governor Mario Cuomo (1983-1992) and Mayor Ed Koch (1978-1988).

Many of these personalities sought national spotlight or were committed to a cause that requires government funding. With these factors in play, friction is likely.

De Blasio is committed to a progressive agenda dependent upon both increased state and federal assistance; indeed, he sees himself as the spokesperson for progressive mayors across America.

Cuomo, meanwhile, has to worry about all 62 counties that comprise New York state while also nursing ambition for a 2020 presidential run.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, NY

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