Unprecedented Anti-Israel Acts
Letter writer Avi Goldstein sings the praises of former president Barack Obama, and insists he is and was, not an Anti-Semite (Letters, Dec. 3). He conveniently omitted the final hours of the Obama administration whereby they threw Israel under the bus at the UN by abstaining on a crucial vote.
This was unprecedented; no other administration ever allowed such an anti-Israel resolution to pass.
Furthermore, President Obama treated Prime Minister Netanyahu with disdain and disrespect heretofore never foisted upon a foreign leader.
Yes, anti-Israel actions by an administration is anti-Semitism; you cannot separate the treatment of Israel from the Jewish people, as some people posit.
Goldstein also asserts that rabbis spew racist comments from the pulpit – what a chutzpah and untrue disparagement of our religious leaders.
If anyone owes anyone an apology it is Goldstein to the Rabbinate, and the Jewish people collectively. He is misguided and bends over backwards to kowtow to the “Democratic” party – a party that has morphed into a radical anti-Semitic cabal that is intent on the destruction of America.
And that is the danger to both the Jewish community and the world at large.
Reader Avi Goldstein’s claim that Jews should be “courting” Barack Obama and “not distancing him” is absurd on its face. This is the same Obama who never missed an opportunity to stab Israel in the back. A few days before leaving office in 2016, he instructed his UN ambassador not to veto a resolution condemning Israel for building so-called “settlements” on “disputed land.” His dangerous appeasement of Israel’s most implacable enemy, Iran, led to the ruinous nuclear agreement known as the JCPOA, which legally empowered Iran to ultimately build nuclear weapons.
While Obama may not have made overtly anti-Semitic comments, he certainly enjoyed the company of anti-Semites, including his close advisor Al Sharpton, who visited Obama at the White House more than 80 times. Goldstein questions how many of us have heard rabbis make racist comments about blacks and Arabs and excused them. I have heard many rabbis speak publicly and privately for over 50 years and have yet to hear any. Saul Jay Singer owes no apology to Obama and we should be thankful that Obama can never run for president again.
Boca Raton, FL
Actions Speak Louder Than Words I
I do not know Avi Goldstein, so my comments on his letter of December 3 are in no way personal.
Goldstein appears to be enamored with Barack Obama and insists he is not an anti-Semite. This is in spite of his horrific record of treatment of Israel. Obama never lost an opportunity to demean, criticize, show his contempt for, or put Israel into harm’s way.
Here are just some examples of Obama’s actions. During the Gaza War, which was instigated by massive Hamas rocket attacks, Obama closed Lod Airport to American planes and stopped the resupply of military items. He forwarded unknown billions of dollars, including planeloads of cash, to Iran while they were still feverishly enriching their nuclear stockpiles. He bowed in subservience to the King of Saudi Arabia but made Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu enter the White House by the side door. Obama ended years of bipartisan presidential support for Israel in the UN, when he refused to veto a malicious anti-Israel resolution.
While Goldstein may be playing semantics by trying to separate anti-Israel acts from anti-Semitism, it is now officially recognized by most of the world that anti-Israel actions, or anti-Zionism, in fact constitutes anti-Semitism pure and simple. Even here Goldstein acknowledges, but minimizes, Obama’s close relationship with known anti-Semites like the reverends Wright and Sharpton.
To bolster Goldstein’s claim of Obama’s admiration for the Jews, he cites two examples of Obama’s political utterances purporting to show a friendship for Jews. Apparently, Goldstein is much more impressed by a politician’s smooth-talking words than his actions. Unfortunately, many other Jews also fall into the same trap.
Highland Park, NJ
Actions Speak Louder Than Words II
Reader Avi Goldstein apparently tries to whitewash the virulent ant-Semitism of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s former pastor, by asking, “How many of us have heard rabbis make … racist comments about blacks or Arabs and sat in our seats rather than walk out?” I can’t say with certainty this never happened, but I’ve been attending synagogues regularly for decades and don’t recall a rabbi ever making racist comments about blacks or Arabs.
But Reverend Wright doesn’t just “make racist comments.” He’s a well-known anti-Semite who lives and breathes hatred for Jews. The question is not, “Why didn’t Obama walk out of Reverend Wright’s church?” but “Why did he walk in – year after year?”
Goldstein brings up Obama’s pleasant words toward Jews at an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event and also on a visit to Israel, and the fact that Obama made Passover Seders in the White House, as evidence that Obama is not anti-Semitic. The old adage, “action speaks louder than words,” comes to mind. Obama has befriended some of Israel’s worst enemies. He gave over a billion dollars to Iran, a regime that regularly threatens to destroy Israel. At least some of this money has been used to fight a proxy war against Israel. Obama paid $221 million to the Palestinians, who pay salaries to families of terrorists who kill Jews. (Trump later froze this payment.) In 2016, in a stunning departure from U.S. policy over previous years, the Obama administration decided not to veto a UN Security Council resolution harshly criticizing Israel and calling its settlement activity illegal.
Given the above, it’s hard to explain Obama’s occasional pleasantries towards Jews and White House Passover Seders as stemming from a love for Jews. There must have been an ulterior motive, perhaps an attempt to reverse public perception that he’s anti-Semitic.
In Support of Avi Goldstein
I would like to briefly echo the sentiments of Avi Goldstein with respect to Saul Jay Singer’s “Collecting History” column. It is a disgrace to call President Barack Obama an anti-Semite. I highly recommend the movie “Under the Iron Dome” streaming on the IZZY channel. Candidate Obama visited Sderot and was moved by his talks with people that had lost family members to rocket attacks. Israel nicely survived his presidency and was stronger at the end of his second term than it was at the beginning of his first term. When he was an Illinois representative he was the “Shabbos goy” for his suite mate. To compare him to Tutu or Arafat is a gross calumny.
Jeffrey M. Goldman
An Issue With ‘Dating’ Column
Dear Mrs. Halberstam,
My wife and I read your column weekly and often times find your perspectives interesting and insightful. We appreciate your honesty and how you view situations.
However the column from Nov 26 (“Hurry Up and Wait“) missed the mark. Granted we did not see the whole letter, and one of the problems with all the advice columns is that the situation is usually very unclear.
However, your advice in this week’s column does not come across as loving or in the spirit of a loving communicative relationship. We don’t know why this young man (we assume he is young) is having trouble proposing and taking the next step with this woman (whom we also assume to be young) who seems to care very much about him and sees a future with him.
My opinion as a rav and someone with years of life experience in this field is that she should be encouraging him and they should be going together to a rav who is competent in therapy or to a competent frum therapist for guidance.
Did this young man come from a broken home and is scared of that happening to him?
Is he concerned about parnassah and does not want to propose before he feels ready to support a wife and children?
Did he have a previously broken engagement or divorce that may be causing him anxiety?
Without knowing the details of the situation, your advice seems to reflect that relationships, no matter how good, are easily dispensable and the new and better is right around the corner.
This couple should be advised to work with a therapist and get to the core of the issue and if possible work together to overcome the hurdle blocking the next step in their lives.
If this young man had a physical illness, would you tell the woman to move on or help him through rehab to be strong again?
The same is with emotions. A loving and dedicated spouse supports the other through whatever emotional issue they may be having and come out stronger as a couple together.
Rabbi Shlomo Litwack
Henni Halberstam Responds
Thank you for the feedback and your thoughts. I appreciate your experience as a rabbi and can tell that you are passionate about helping others. It is true that letters are often condensed and the reader does not get the full picture. The Jewish Press has an abundance of wonderful columns and everyone needs space! There is more that I did not share, but even the shortened letter I believe showcases the writer’s efforts to cement a relationship while the guy she was dating only offered excuses. But even more so, I believe you answered your own question in your letter of concern. If I may quote, “A loving and dedicated spouse supports the other through whatever emotional issue they may be having and come out stronger as a couple together.” A spouse, you wrote. I agree! A marriage is a sacred unit that should be preserved if at all possible.
This couple was not married. For him to suggest that she commit to his inability to commit would be at best presumptuous, and at worst, abusive. After a couple agrees that they are suited for marriage, one party’s refusal to follow through, after multiple conversations and interventions, sends a clear message. To ask her to wait indefinitely without a hint of guarantee goes against our dating creed and misrepresents compassion. I appreciate your commitment to marriage, and I believe we are truly in agreement. A marriage is a commitment. Until then, we must do our best to come together on a mutual playing field of respect and true intention.
All the best to you and yours!