I am sickened by the politically induced brouhaha over Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” (“The Tucson Shootings and Sarah Palin,” editorial, Jan. 21). Though some may wish to keep that label for anti-Jewish invective – something I can understand but do not go along with – there is nothing evil about giving it broader application to serious, false accusations as Ms. Palin and so many others have done. Are all of them anti-Semites and insensitive to Jews?
In fact, Democrats in the past have shamelessly expropriated the term to bash their political opponents. If Sarah Palin can be justly criticized for her use of the term to defend herself against what she says are false accusations, what should we say about the Democrats’ use of the term for their own partisan purposes?
Jews vs. Palin
How anyone can accuse Sarah Palin of being insensitive to Jewish history when she chooses a term Jews use to describe false accusations against them – “blood libel” – to characterize false accusations made against her? And how can so many Jews – Jewish politicians, Jewish organizational leaders, Jewish pundits – take such delight in piling on against a woman who, whatever else you think of her, is one of the staunchest and purest supporters of Israel in American public life today?
Short-sighted American Jews, with their lapdog devotion to liberal Democrats and their knee-jerk antipathy to conservative Republicans, should be grateful that most conservatives support Israel out of conviction rather than political expediency – otherwise, a lot of powerful and influential Republicans would have thrown in the towel by now.
New York, NY
I know why professional Democrats would jump on Sarah Palin’s totally justified use of the term “blood libel” to describe attempts to tie her to the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and the other innocent victims in Tucson. Politics, after all, is a dirty business.
But I was absolutely enraged when I read of Rabbi Marvin Hier’s cheap shots against Palin. In addition to criticizing Palin’s use of the term, he gratuitously added, “I have no idea if she knew” its meaning. Was he trying to impress some wealthy contributors or potential contributors to the Wiesenthal Center who happen to be machers in the Democratic Party? Could it be that the Wiesenthal Center’s proximity to Hollywood has affected the thinking of its “founder and dean”?
In his Jan. 21 op-ed column (“Palin Has Defeated Her Unfair Critics”) Ed Koch says Sarah Palin “scares the hell out me.”
What is so scary about Sarah Palin? Is it that she wants to sustain that which has existed for almost 200 years – a country whose people are free from arbitrary abuse and control by government and in which there exists a large measure of respect for private property rights and individual liberty?
But Koch, the “liberal with sanity,” is not scared of Barack Obama, who would, if he had his way, turn this country into a socialist utopia; who has created $1 trillion-plus budget deficits since he’s been in office; and whose socialized health program will destroy our health care system and increase the debt.
Koch should be a lot more scared of Obama than he is of Palin.
Bravo to Dr. Asher Lipner for his insightful “A Lesson from King Saul on Exposing Child Molesters” (op-ed, Jan. 21). What a breath of fresh air to hear a frum mental health professional take to task the protection of Jewish molesters in our community.
Recently a friend of mine was forced to leave a shul after the rabbi verbally attacked him for informing some of the synagogue’s officers that another member, who donates large sums of money to the shul, is a registered convicted sex offender who on several occasions has exhibited bizarre behavior on the synagogue’s premises. The rabbi called the innocent member a “mirror” of the molester for talking about such “schmutz” and of speaking lashon hara.
Reading Dr. Lipner’s article gives one hope that things are about to change for the better.
Wigs And Their Cost
I take exception to reader Barry Koppel’s letter to the editor (Jan 21) regarding $3,000 sheitlach. Mr. Koppel wrote, “I understand why halacha demands that married women cover their hair. What I do not understand is how halacha allows a woman to wear an outrageously expensive sheitel that looks better than her own hair. Does that not defeat the entire purpose of wearing a sheitel in the first place?”
A married woman’s hair is considered ervah and, as such, must be covered. Our Creator did not give us His rationale for that requirement. Unless Mr. Koppel has had a private audience with God and was clued in on His rationale for this requirement, Mr. Koppel cannot make assumptions about the purpose of wearing a sheitel. Hashem does not inform us of the purposes of most mitzvos lest people make their own judgments about the relevance of mitzvos in their particular times.
The price tag of a sheitel certainly does not enter into the equation. A $300 sheitel, in the hands of a skilled sheitel macher, can be more beautiful than a $3,000 sheitel. And no one walks around with the price tag displayed prominently on a sheitel. I wonder if Mr. Koppel’s problem is with the price of the sheitel or its beauty.
Thank you for showcasing the writings of two of my 6th grade students, Tohar Tsadok and Ariel Manakhimov, in your Tu B’Shevat contest (Jan. 21). Very few opportunities are available for children to show off their creative talents, and there is no shortage of talent in Yeshivas Ateres Yisrael in Canarsie, directed by Rabbi and Rebbetzin Jacob Jungreis. We nurture our students, who are given almost individual attention and whose skills are at least on par with (if they don’t exceed) students in larger yeshivot.
Thank you once again for recognizing the creativity of our students: now they can proudly claim they are published authors!
Mrs. Hindy Lewis
Leftist Media Lynch
Re Steve Walz’s January 7 Informed Sources column, “Will Olmert Follow Katsav?”:
I admit I am disposed toward the former president, having worked for him in Likud at the Tourism Ministry and bet Hanassi. Only he, his bureau chief and their Creator know the truth about what happened.
There were, however, gaping holes and glaring contradictions in the handling of this case. Yoram Sheftel a prominent liberal lawyer, said that “justice was not served in the Katsav case and that the judges were unable to stand up to media pressure . The verdict was totally incomprehensible based on the evidence.”
Former deputy supreme-court president Mishael Heshin was also skeptical. “The media’s intervention in this case has clearly affected the judges’ ability to judge . The judges would have to be made of iron in order to withstand this pressure, and I know these judges; they are not made of iron.”
Former criminal attorney and Maariv opinion editor Ben-Dror Yemini – who noted that the more powerful Katsav became among Likud members the less he was liked by the media – wrote that “Katsav was the victim of a feminist-leftist media lynch . It is clear that justice was not served in this case.”
The investigation against Katsav revealed so many problems with the complainants’ testimony that the two lead prosecutors on the case wanted to drop the charges. Katsav was offered a plea bargain that would have involved admitting relatively mild offenses and no jail time. Katsav rejected the plea.
“I was never a fan of Katsav,” Yemini continued. “Yet we are not dealing with public or political opinions but with matters of life and death and criminal justice. And now there is a concern, more than a concern, that the huge baggage [of anti-Katsav sentiment] seeped in. It was part of the conviction. Perhaps it was the deciding factor .”
Israel loves its scandals almost as much as it loves its heroes. From the moment Katsav stepped into the presidency, the secular elite drew their daggers even as the smiles never left their faces. We trust the truth will triumph upon appeal.