“Moral blindness” around Israel; No sympathy for Chesa – J.


“Moral blindness”

The opinion piece by rabbis Nancy H. Wiener and Lester Bronstein (“Banning the boycott of Ben & Jerry is a distraction that makes anti-Semitism harder to fight,” December 7) reveals its true colors when it refers to “Ben & Jerry’s attempt to hold Israel to the same human rights obligations as other countries.” Which “other countries” are these that practice a higher standard than Israel? Are these countries whose right to exist has been repeatedly threatened and has been attacked militarily half a dozen times (at least) over the past decades? (Let’s not even go into the many countries with appalling human rights files that the rabbis don’t seem to address.)

The rabbis practice moral blindness when they care more about the aggressors – the Palestinian people who support efforts to destroy Israel – than the victims – the Israelis who live with terrorist attacks year after year, as well as rockets the only one of which goal is to kill Israelis. Such moral blindness encourages anti-Semitism, rather than combating it, by giving credence to the idea that Israel is an evil colonial power.

Dan Fendel

No more half-truths from T’ruah

Thus, Rabbi Jill Jacobs and his organization T’ruah have a burning desire to “take responsibility for the future” of Israel (“Love Israel or oppose the occupation? That’s a false dichotomy” , November 18). To that I would like to say: “AzochunwayWhich means, in a rough translation from Yiddish, “God forbid,” though the Jews have come to rely on T’ruah-type advice to save Israel. Fortunately, Israel has been doing very well since its recovery 73 years ago without T’ruah’s help.

The entire Rabbi Jacobs and T’ruah crusade looks like a Jewish revival in which the fate of the Palestinians is blamed squarely on Israel, and the “victims” are totally relieved of any responsibility for the state of their affairs. Ask the rabbi and his followers to describe to rabbinical students, American cantorals, and Palestinian listeners that the Arab side rejected the UN partition plan in November 1947 and that five Arab countries attacked the nascent Jewish state in May 1948; whereas more than 800,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries in the first years of Israel’s existence; that the West Bank and Gaza came under Israeli control following the defeat of Arab aggression in the 1967 Six Day War, and that the lost territories are very often the punishment of the aggressors; that the Palestinian leadership has rejected Israel’s multiple peace offers?

Rabbi Jacobs and his cohorts would do much better to bolster the “ardent Zionism” of rabbinical and cantoral students and encourage the Palestinian side to take meaningful steps towards peaceful coexistence with Israel, instead of presenting a half-truth about it. history of the Israeli. – Palestinian conflict and therefore animosity and rage towards the Jewish state. The full truth would have served everyone well: Diaspora Jews, Israeli Jews, and Palestinians.

Vladimir kaplan
San Mateo

Great news on circumcision

While I enjoyed the cover of Gary Shteyngart’s new book (“On Book Tour, novelist Gary Shteyngart is happy to be out of the house,” November 12), the real news was buried near the end. of the article.

In October, Shteyngart published an essay in the New Yorker on his own horribly botched circumcision. I was amazed to read in J. that after the publication of this article, Shteyngart was contacted by rabbis from progressive Judaism movements to offer their sympathies. Incredibly, many of these rabbis “pledged to present male circumcision to Jewish parents as a choice rather than a religious obligation.” Some rabbis apparently told Shteyngart, “We’re not going to dwell on this anymore. We’re going to say, it’s up to you.

American Jewish writer Gary Shteyngart signs copies of his new novel “Our Country Friends” at the BookShop West Portal in San Francisco on November 11, 2021. (Photo / Andrew Esensten)

Even though only a few rabbis are currently making such statements, this is great news. And this is really great news for those Jewish families who, after weighing the pros and cons of circumcision, decide not to do it. It is high time that the choice not to circumcise became normative in Jewish life – one of the goals of the new Jewish nonprofit Bruchim.

Lisa Braver Moss

No sympathy for Chesa

I read your article on David Gilbert, father of Chesa Boudin (“The father of San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin will be released from prison after 40 years”, October 28) and I cringed at the favorable portrait of the hardened criminal .

Your article indicates that Mr. Gilbert served only as an unarmed driver in the ambush and murder of an armored truck against three people. The only reference provided of his minor involvement was “multiple media reports”. I’m sure you could have gotten real court transcripts that provided factual evidence instead of relying on anonymous “media reports”. You need to provide credible sources so that the casual reader can trust your story.

A New York jury found Mr. Gilbert guilty of this heinous crime and he was sentenced to 75 years in prison, one of the harshest in the penal code apart from the death penalty, which in my opinion no is not allowed in New York.

Second, Gilbert received a pardon from Governor Andrew Cuomo on August 23, 2021, reducing his minimum term from 75 years to 40 years. There was no further evidence that exonerated him. The gift of mercy granted him freedom, but did not absolve him of the crime.

Chesa Boudin with her father, David Gilbert, in an undated photo.  (Photo / San Francisco District Attorney's Office)
Chesa Boudin with her father, David Gilbert, in an undated photo. (Photo / San Francisco District Attorney’s Office)

Third, your article deals with Mr. Gilbert’s son, Chesa Boudin, who was affected by his father’s incarceration. That’s right, I’m sure every child of an incarcerated parent misses the everyday parental love that is priceless. But what did the incarcerated parent think when he got involved in a criminal gang and surrendered to the aforementioned armed robbery? Did he think about his children who would remain fatherless (and motherless) if they were caught? If his own father didn’t feel sorry for potentially leaving his children destitute and fatherless, why should we, the readers?

While Chesa has reunited with her father after mercy release, it will never be the same for Michael paige, the son of the murdered victim. He is the one we should feel sorry for, not the man who made the conscious choice to be a criminal.

I believe you have to share both sides of the story and let the reader make their own judgment as to who is the criminal and who is the victim here.

Samuel Nakhimovsky
Host city

Trump never said …

Joe Gurkoff’s recent letter condemning President Trump (“GOP Jews and Trump”, November 22) made false factual statements that must be corrected. First, President Trump has never described the neo-Nazis and white supremacists of Charlottesville, Virginia as “good people.” The text of the president’s August 14, 2017 remarks included: “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and ‘other hate groups that shy away from all that is dear to us as Americans “(cited by CNN). The following day’s statement of “very good people, on both sides” unambiguously referred to those who “were also there … to protest the dismantling of a statue, Robert E. Lee” (quoted by the Washington Post). There was never the slightest hint of sympathy for neo-Nazis or white supremacists. As a pro-Union Civil War lover and published author on Lincoln, I find this understanding of the different perspectives quite compelling.

The claim that President Trump and his administration failed to respond to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in October 2018 is also false. Mr. Trump, accompanied by his family, visited the Tree of Life shortly after the shooting to show his support for the congregation.

As for saying nothing about the rise of anti-Semitism in 2019, it was President Trump who signed an executive order ordering the Department of Education to focus on anti-Semitism on college campuses, a serious simmering issue. for decades.

There are many legitimate arguments for and against President Trump. George Orwell’s “Two Minutes of Hate” is not one of them. Such expressions only add to the hyperpartisan and dangerous (yes dangerous) polarization in the country. Let’s all try to look at those with whom we disagree with a sense of fairness and respect. The alternative is not good, not good at all.

Steve astrachan
Pleasant Hill

“And the Führer was a wonderful dancer”

The letter from Mr. Steve Astrachan in the November 9 edition (“Trump had the right idea”) lamenting the fact that Trump is not receiving his due from the Jews in his efforts for peace in the Middle East or his executive order leading the The Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office to Respond to Anti-Jewish Discrimination reminded me of the line from “The Producers,” in which the playwright told Max Bialystok and Leo Bloom that “few people knew that, but the Fuhrer was a formidable dancer. . “

Hitler may have been a great dancer, and Trump may have done some good things along the way (he ignored his greatest achievement, Operation Warp Speed, which drove the development of Covid vaccines in a record, but he didn’t praise it because he didn’t want to alienate the wacky anti-vax among his base of support), but when it comes to anti-Semitism, his record is atrocious:

During the 2016 campaign, he retweeted a right-wing meme in which the Star of David hovered above bags of money.

He not only refused to condemn the hateful and murderous mob in Charlottesville, who chanted “The Jews will not replace us,” he said there were “some great people on both sides.”

On January 6, he told his supporters, some of whom wore T-shirts emblazoned with “Camp Auschwitz” and “Six Million Was Not Enough”, erected scaffolding and raised the Confederate flag, to “return home in peace”.

Among the pro-Trump crowd at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, a sign read: "PELOSI IS SATAN." (Photo / Lloyd Wolf)
Among the pro-Trump crowd at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, a sign read: “PELOSI IS SATAN. (Photo / Lloyd Wolf)

Speaking of the followers of QAnon, the modern version of the old bloody slander that Jews kill non-Jewish children, he said “they love me very much, which I appreciate”.

Trump has never condemned the anti-Semitism and racism so prevalent among his supporters; in fact, he started his 2016 campaign with racist and hateful speech and never stopped using hatred to appeal to the darker currents of the American right. Mr. Astrachan seems to believe the old adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. I would turn that around and say no, the friends of my enemies are my enemies.

In the same issue, writer Mark Snyder clarifies that the so-called Messianic synagogues are in fact churches. I guess the anti-Semites who vandalized the building in Sacramento didn’t receive this memo. It’s always a heinous act, isn’t it, Mr. Snyder?

Danny yanow
San Francisco


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