Jan 2, 2009

Letters

Published December 24, 2008, issue of January 02, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Court Didn’t Mandate Hebron House Eviction

In your December 19 editorial “Hebron and the Rule of Law,” regarding the evictions of Jews from Hebron’s Beit HaShalom, you write: “In November the court authorized the army to evict the squatters. The troops went in to enforce the law.” That is misleading.

The Supreme Court did not order the eviction of the inhabitants of Beit HaShalom, a house whose purchase by an American Jew is currently being disputed in court. As such, the eviction did not take place pursuant to an effort to enforce such a ruling. Rather, as former Israeli Supreme Court justice Yaakov Turkel has said: “The ruling does not obligate the state to act to evacuate the Jews, but rather gives them the freedom to decide whether to do so or not.”

Indeed, 49 Knesset members signed onto a letter sent to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter explaining that the court ruling “did not obligate the government to evict” the house’s residents. Signatories included minister Rafi Eitan; Kadima’s Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset’s defense and security committee, and six chairmen of political parties.

Morton A. Klein
National President
Zionist Organization of America
New York, N.Y.


It’s the Right Ignoring Facts on the Ground

Focusing on inside-the-Beltway politics and replaying the blame game for past failures is obviously far easier than facing up to the hard realities and sacrifices necessary to preserve hope for the long-term survival and security of a democratic, Jewish homeland. Jonathan Tobin’s claim that pro-peace voices avoid realities in the West Bank is a bit ironic given the right’s failure to acknowledge the threat to Israel’s long-term security and peace posed by a settler movement growing increasingly out of control (“Spoiling for a Fight in Washington,” December 12).

This is most visibly demonstrated by the settlers’ recent confrontation in Hebron with the Israeli government, and their abhorrent attacks on Palestinian civilians that led Israel’s leading newspaper, Haaretz, to label them “Jewish terrorists.” Right-wing American Jews who think that the pro-Israel, pro-peace camp’s motivation to highlight these realities is to wrest organizational and institutional power from established groups are making a critical mistake.

The argument we’re having is not over organizational politics. It’s about what is best for the United States, for Israel and for American Jews at a critical moment in history. It is about standing up for what it means to be Jewish — and defining how Jewish people exercise power, how we behave and how we treat others. It is about the very survival of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state if there is not an immediate, peaceful and diplomatic end to the conflict, and a legitimate and internationally accepted Palestinian state established as its neighbor.

If we truly care about our people and our nation, if we truly seek to be pro-Israel, then it is our duty not simply to support the new Obama administration in a renewed push for peace but to press it to make good on its promise to make peacemaking a priority.

Jeremy Ben-Ami
Executive Director
J Street
Washington, D.C.


Keep Your Healthy Hands Off My Hanukkah Food

I love my latkes and my soufganiot just the way my grandmother made them, the way my mother of blessed memory made them, and the way my ex-wives and current girlfriend believe in the traditional Hanukkah fare. Who cares about oil and fat and spiking blood sugar levels for one week of the year?

I read your article on modernizing the latke and it made my blood pressure spike (“Fear of Frying — A Healthy Holiday,” December 12). Hey cookbook ladies: Leave my latkes and soufganiot alone! I can’t wait to see what you come up with for Pesach, no-flour matzos maybe?

Alexander Diamond
Wiscasset, Maine


Cartoon Rings True For Christian Pastor

The cartoon in the Forward by Eli Valley depicting the efforts of evangelical Christians to convert Jews is a dramatic and energetic illustration of what must be a deeply felt resentment of the 2,000-year history of the Christian attempt to repudiate Judaism and convert Jews (“Evangelical Tours of Israel!” November 14).

I was deeply moved by the cartoon and the reality it conveys. As a Christian pastor, I abhor any attempts to violate the integrity of anyone’s spiritual path. But especially in light of the way Christians have treated Jews, I am sad beyond words. In order for healing to begin, wounds need to be named.

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s letter criticizing the cartoon is puzzling (“Unfair Depiction of Evangelical Zionists,” November 28). While I agree that it is wrong to extend blame to an entire group because of the actions of some, my experience of most Christians is different from his. There has been a deep sense in the Christian community (not just among evangelicals) that all the world should be Christian.

I respect Rabbi Eckstein’s experience, but the Christian church has perpetuated a call for conversion for most of its history, and it is only recently that people have begun to see a deeper and yet more complicated message in the Gospels — one of love, forgiveness and thanksgiving, and deep appreciation for the ways difference can be a source of vitality, strength, imagination and energy. Christians need to understand what it feels like to be Jewish, or any faith other than Christian, in order for loving community to be born and take root.

Donald M. Mackenzie
Retired Pastor
University Congregational United Church of Christ
Seattle, Wash.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.