In his fine column of Sept. 15, Louis Rene Beres noted that Israel was not the aggressor in 1967 and as such was justified in using anticipatory self-defense. That point should be clarified: Israel used preemptive self-defense only against Egypt. Both Syria and Jordan initiated hostilities with attacks against Israel.
Indeed, Israel had promised Jordan’s King Hussein that it would not attack Jordanian-occupied Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank) and East Jerusalem if he remained neutral in the event of hostilities with Egypt. Hussein chose not to do so, and thus lost his Western Palestine lands.
It bears reiteration that Jordan, created in 1946 out of 78 percent of British Mandate Palestine, is Eastern Palestine. It is the Arab state in Palestine, just as Israel, which controls Western Palestine, is the Jewish state in Palestine. In other words, the so-called Two-State Solution is in fact a Three-State Solution.
Edward M. Siegel
New York, NY
Beware Dem Takeover
Ed Lasky’s Oct. 6 op-ed article (“The Implications for Israel If Democrats Recapture the House”) should be a wake-up call for all those who care about the U.S./Israel relationship. The Democratic Party’s support for Israel has paled, of late, when compared with that of the Republicans. And several recent polls indicate that Democratic voters are far less inclined than their Republican counterparts to support Israel.
There is one point that Mr. Lasky overlooked: If the Democrats do take control of the House of Representatives, you can be sure that impeachment proceedings against President Bush will promptly follow. This would, of course, undermine if not totally immobilize the Bush administration.
Not only would Israel suffer – Bush has been a remarkably strong friend of Israel and has treated Palestinian leaders with far more skepticism than his predecessors in the Oval Office – but the war against terror will be doomed and our efforts to install democracy in Iraq will come to naught.
Ed Lasky certainly paints an alarming picture of what might happen if the Democrats retake Congress. As he says, some of the Democrats who are in line to assume the chairmanship of key committees have disturbingly negative records when it comes to supporting Israel.
But while I generally share his concerns, I do not think that Congressman Charles Rangel – one of the politicians Mr. Lasky warns about and who would become chair of the enormously powerful Ways and Means Committee – should be lumped together with the others.
Rangel is the quintessential politician, and as a New Yorker with many Jewish acquaintances in both his public and private lives, he can be counted on to do the right thing.
Lasky may well be accurate in his assessment of the other Democrats he mentions, but in Rangel’s case he offers pure speculation. I do agree, though, that in general the Democratic Party has a pro-Third World mindset that in many cases translates into antagonism toward Israel.
I write to add my voice to that of reader Pinchas Hammerman (Letters, Oct. 6) on the Monsey kashrus scandal. I find absolutely infuriating the tendency in some rabbinic circles to maintain that anything even remotely or indirectly involving halacha is the exclusive purview of rabbis.
The Monsey scandal was not fundamentally about halachic standards for supervision but about a system that allowed a person to deceive his kosher supervisor – and to do so for a very long time.
Adherence to halacha in this case was obviously not enough – but there was no “heads-up” given by the supervising rabbi that the possibility for deception even existed. Should we not now demand disclosure as to the actual extent of supervision? Is the rabbi, no matter how fine a man or how big a talmid chacham, blameless even if he was going by the book, so to speak?
What exactly did this rabbi think his imprimatur meant to consumers if not that he, as the certifying supervisor, was certain beyond a doubt that the product was kosher?
Free Speech For All
While I found last week’s editorial “Fear of Muslim Power” very insightful, I feel it failed to address a question that should have immediately suggested itself: Is there a substantive difference between what the Muslims do when they seek censorship and what the Christian and Jewish communities do when they seek to stop anti-Christian museum displays or anti-Jewish and anti-Israel advocates from speaking in the public square?
I do appreciate that your editorial drew the distinction of Muslim violence and threats of violence. But there have been a number of recent instances where appearances on campus by anti-Israel spokesmen were called off for fear of a potentially violent reaction on the part of pro-Israel students. I certainly don’t agree with the position of the pro-Palestinian provocateurs, but I wonder whether our community is best served by seeking to curtail mere speech.
Personally, I am repelled by Holocaust deniers and those who defend the murder of little children. It behooves us, however, to respond to these challenges with our heads, not our hearts.
FDR And The Holocaust
Thank you for publishing Rafael Medoff’s highly informative article on the failure of Franklin Roosevelt to concern himself with the savagery of the Holocaust, which of course was ongoing during his watch (Whitewashing FDR on the Holocaust,” front-page essay, Oct. 6).
Given the enormity of the crimes, FDR’s inaction was and remains inexcusable. Had he taken even minimal action, who knows how many Jewish lives might have been spared? Perhaps a Jew such as Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter would not have said “I don’t believe the reports” when confronted with the evidence of the Nazi genocide.
And perhaps – had FDR’s blas? attitude toward saving Jews not permeated the corridors of power in Washington – FDR’s successor, Harry Truman, would have sent Israel the arms it so desperately needed in its war of independence.
Despite repeated attempts to whitewash the truth, there is little doubt that many Jews in Europe were not saved due to the interference and obstructionist behavior of several high-profile American Jews.
Chief among them, as Dr. Medoff amply demonstrates, were Samuel Rosenman of the American Jewish Committee and Stephen Wise of the American Jewish Congress.
Wise stood out as an insidious instigator who worked counterproductively against attempts by others to save European Jewry. His tremendous influence in Washington and on Jewish opinion could have swayed the U.S. government to pursue a more aggressive course of intervention. In light of his completely negative influence during this horrific time in history, I find it abhorrent that several Jewish landmarks are named in his honor.
There have always been attempts to excuse the inexcusable and justify the unjustifiable. But certainly when it comes to the Holocaust, there should be no excuses made for the disgraceful actions of those who were in a position to save their fellow Jews but didn’t.
To add insult to injury, in order to spare the reputations of those who thwarted all efforts to assist Europe’s Jews, slanderous allegations have been made in an attempt to tarnish one of the few heroes of that time – Peter Bergson.
Justice is well served whenever the real activities of the obstructionists are exposed and the heroics of Bergson and his equally valiant allies are trumpeted.
Elmwood Park, NJ
FDR Vs. GWB
Tremendous work by Rafael Medoff, and kudos to The Jewish Press for featuring it so prominently. Dr. Medoff absolutely decimated Robert Rosen’s foolish book, which should have been titled Ignoring the Jews rather than Saving the Jews.
Unfortunately, Jews never learn, and most still worship the memory of Roosevelt. Ironically, the same lemmings who adore FDR positively hate George W. Bush, despite the latter’s resolute backing of Israel. I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that had Mr. Bush been in the White House in the 1940’s, a lot more Jews would be alive today. And Jewish liberals would still despise him.
Ramat Gan, Israel
Rosen Is Right
Robert Rosen had it right in his book. Without FDR’s superb leadership, World War II would have been lost and world Jewry would eventually have been destroyed. If the critics think that Farley, Garner, Taft or others who might have been elected in 1940 would have saved any Jews, they are sadly mistaken.
If FDR had died in 1940 or had not run and we had not won the war, the Jews would have been a bargaining chip for our own homemade fascists: Lindbergh, Coughlin, Ford, and countless others. Read Lucy Dawidowicz‘s book The War Against the Jews.