Truman’s Anti-Israel Policies
Jason Maoz is correct that Harry Truman was a most “ambiguous” friend, and not just because of his anti-Semitic diatribes (“Harry Truman Without Fanfare,” front-page essay, Dec. 29).
Just before the ’48 war ended, the Israelis went on the offensive and captured a large chunk of the Sinai Peninsula. The Truman administration joined the British in pressuring Israel to withdraw immediately, without demanding that Egypt sign a peace treaty in return.
At the time, Egypt was ruled by King Farouk, an obese playboy whose family roots were in Albania. Farouk was no Arab nationalist; with the right amount of pressure, a land-for-peace deal could have been concluded – and the whole Arab-Israeli conflict might have been nipped in the bud. The Palestinians weren’t the only ones who missed opportunities.
Worse still, after the Israelis left the Sinai, the U.S. refused to support Israel’s demand that Syrian forces withdraw from three small pieces of Israeli land. In other words, the Truman administration only supported the withdrawal of Israeli forces, not Arab forces (despite the fact that the Arabs started the war). The battle for these three pieces of Israeli territory continued until the 1967 war.
Dewey And Dulles
In his article about Harry Truman, Jason Maoz writes that Thomas E. Dewey was a friend of the Jews and campaigned as a supporter of Israel. But we should not forget that Dewey’s foreign policy advisor in his 1948 campaign was John Foster Dulles. Based on this, it’s safe to assume that if Dewey had been elected in 1948, Dulles would have been appointed secretary of state.
Dulles, of course, did eventually become secretary of state under President Eisenhower and he maintained (and possibly aggravated) the anti-Israel policy of the State Department that existed in the Truman years. During his seven years as Eisenhower’s foreign policy architect, Dulles made several visits to Arab states but one token visit to Israel. Furthermore, it was Dulles who in 1956 threatened Israel with sanctions if it did not immediately pull back from the Sinai.
Truman’s relationship with Israel was far from perfect. But there is no guarantee things would have been any better with Dewey as president.
Joseph A. Levy
Rego Park, NY
Kudos To Bush
Saddam Hussein killed hundreds of thousands of people, bombed Israel, paid suicide bombers $25,000 to murder Jewish children, and polluted the earth when he blew up oil wells.
The United States stopped him. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and company stopped this Hitler-type tyrannical, maniacal dictator. They put him on the run, captured him, and turned him over to his own people, who did the normal thing: they tried and executed him. How good it would have been had Hitler been stopped before he could do what he did.
President Bush deserves praise and thanks for doing pretty much what the U.S. did in World War II, only sooner.
Last week’s page 3 news story “Iran Hit With Sanctions – Sort Of” makes clear the fallacy of sanctions as an effective tool in dealing with the profound threat posed by the Iranian regime.
Not only is it clear that stiff sanctions will never be adopted by the world community, but it should be more apparent than ever that there is no effective alternative to military action. The differing agendas of the various world powers guarantee both watered-down sanctions and ineffective implementation.
Los Angeles, CA
My stomach turned when I read last week that Olmert’s Cabinet backs the release of Palestinian prisoners. It is not for me, a private citizen of the United States, to decide the cost of securing the release of Gilad Shalit. Nor is it my place to criticize the Israeli government’s decision. It’s a heartbreaking situation all around.
However, if the Palestinian prisoners in question merited incarceration, the reality doesn’t change simply because an Israeli soldier was kidnapped. And I fear that freeing Palestinian prisoners en masse will just tell terrorists they have little to fear in the long run, because even if they’re apprehended, they’ll likely be freed in some future prisoner release.
Reader Leibel Gross accurately depicted the frustration and even anger felt by so many of us at the “browbeating” we are subjected to by telemarketers for tzedakah (Letters, Dec. 29).
It is ineffably sad that this ordeal is experienced by too many hapless people ready to give tzedakah but completely turned off by the crude and boorish tactics of some charity telemarketers.
We must all stand firm and hang up on them if they persist in this manner and hopefully they will be summarily dismissed if their results are deemed inadequate.
Why the sudden outrage, the talk of cherem, the upcoming demonstration against Neturei Karta? This group has for decades brazenly broadcasted its vitriolic message of hatred for Israel. Joining together with an archenemy of the Jewish people is normal behavior for Neturei Karta members, who on several occasions were photographed embracing and kissing Yasir Arafat and who attended Arafat’s funeral.
This fall at a rally in Manhattan in support of Israel and against the prime minister of Iran (who’d been invited to speak at the UN), a large contingent of Neturei Karta demonstrated on behalf of the Iranian leader and against Israel. Years ago they marched with Israel’s enemies in Washington on Shabbos Kodesh, promulgating their well-known anti-Zionist message through the news media.
Why has the entire Torah world only now erupted in such outrage and disgust? Even those who agree with Neturei Karta’s anti-Zionism are sickened and angered that the group publicly trampled and desecrated the memory of our six million kedoshim.
Maybe we all waited too long to stand up and shout: Enough.
Caren V. May
With the hectic Chanukah season finally over, I can sit down to write. I wanted to let you know that Rachel Weiss’s Chanukah front-page essay “From Light to Shining Light” (Dec. 15) was truly an inspiring and heartwarming article.
In this busy world it is nice to know there are still people such as Mr. and Mrs. Weiss, who devoted a substantial portion of their lives to caring for their parents. And to write about it with such compassion takes a tremendous amount of character and is further testament to Mrs. Weiss’s middos.
Once again, kudos to Mrs. Weiss. I look forward to seeing more of her inspiring Yom Tov-related front-page essays gracing The Jewish Press.
Unjustified Portrayal Of Day Schools
Re Chananya Weissman’s December 22 front-page essay “Rethinking Standards in Jewish Education”:
I cannot understand why the author wrote so negatively about the day school system. We should be very proud of what has been accomplished in just fifty years and work together to guarantee the continued growth of our school programs.
To write in such denigrating terms about the quality of the teachers in our yeshivas is unacceptable. While there may be a very small percentage of faculty members not suited for the job, the great majority are men and women dedicated to the education of their students.
Of course these teachers deserve higher salaries, and everything possible should be done to accomplish that goal. However, many are the factors that prevent these dedicated individuals from earning the salaries available in other fields. And while money is certainly appreciated, recognition in other forms should – and often is – extended.
I myself, as someone with many years of experience in the field of Jewish education, both in the classroom and as an administrator, have written at length about the high cost of day schools. I have offered some solutions but to date they have not been acknowledged by the community at large. I believe we should consider our day schools to be at least as important as the public school system, which is free to students and underwritten by taxpayers. I feel we should, and could, provide similar free tuition but apparently there are many other pressing needs on the community’s agenda.
But all that does not give us the right to assume there is anything even approaching serious mismanagement of funds in our yeshiva and day school systems. Yes, we must continue to demand the highest standards of educational achievement in these schools and must strive for constant improvement. But we also must appreciate the fact that the challenge to make significant Jewish education a top priority has been met here in the U.S.
It is not a perfect system, but it isn’t nearly as bad as Rabbi Weissman seems to imply.
Rabbi Simcha A. Green
Santa Barbara, CA
Letters to the Editor