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The JC Letters Page, 30th August 2019

Jeremey Havardi, Melvyn Lipitch, Cllr Brian Gordon, Harry Levy, Dr Anthony Isaacs, Neville Landau and Shemer Isbitz share their views with JC readers

    Democrats, Israel, Trump — and the JC

    Maya Ilany (JC, August 23) condemns Israel’s decision to ban US Reps Tlaib and Omar because they were denied the chance to “meet Israelis and Palestinians whose daily lives are impacted by the conflict and occupation.” 


    This reasoning is highly flawed. Judging by their itinerary, neither politician planned to visit Israelis living with the daily pain of conflict and terror. Instead, they sought to meet only Arab and Palestinian politicians, so as to further their agenda of demonising, delegitimising and boycotting the Jewish state. Nor is it true that Tlaib and Omar are merely “no great fans of the Israeli government.” Omar has expressed antisemitic views that question the loyalty of American Jews while Tlaib openly supports a one-state solution that would destroy Israel demographically. 


    That said, the ban was misguided, having appeared to be a response to a Twitter request from President Trump. But, like any democracy, Israel must make its own decisions on who enters the country. 


    Let us be under no illusion, however, that Tlaib and Omar are as open-minded as Yachad believe. They are champions of the anti-Israel movement and must be called out for their bias and bigotry. 


    Jeremy Havardi 
    Director, B’nai B’rith UK’s Bureau of International Affairs  


    I am puzzled at the furore in response to Israel banning the visit of the  Congresswomen to Israel. 


    Surely, by entering Israel they would be in breach of the boycott they support?


    Melvyn Lipitch 
    London W14

    In asserting  that any Jew voting for the Democrats is guilty either of ignorance or disloyalty, President Trump was entirely in order. Far from being an antisemitic trope , as your Leader article (JC, August 23) tried to suggest, it was as fair an assessment as would apply to Jews misguided enough to vote Labour  in today’s  Britain.


    Mr Trump is an outstanding supporter not just of Israel,  but of  the Jewish people as a whole — way above any of his predecessors. 


    Opposing his Republican administration are the leftist Democrats, who have among their ranks the likes of  the self-hating Jew Bernie Sanders who would boycott Israel, and the two  terrorist- supporting Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib, whose entry into Israel was  justifiably blocked.  There has never been such a blatant contrast between  America’s two political parties.


    In a world infested with antisemitic  propaganda, thinking  Jews have a personal duty to show loyalty and appreciation to exceptional friends like Donald Trump, not kick them in the teeth. It is shameful that your newspaper seizes every opportunity of calling Mr Trump a racist and bigot, purely because his right-wing, non  “politically correct”  approach does  not accord with your discredited liberalist agenda. 


    As far as I am concerned , Mr Trump is a Heaven-sent gift to Jews and the free world and I pray that the American people will be inspired to  re-elect him as president  next year.


    (Cllr) Brian Gordon
    London Borough of Barnet
    London NW4 

    I found your August 23  leader article vitriolic and uncharacteristic of the newspaper I have read, supported and, during a media career of over 50 years, sometimes advised. I do not understand what “dog-whistle antisemitism” is supposed to define; who President Trump’s “supporters” include; why his being “a true friend to Israel, more than any other world leader” ends up with the JC stating that the President of the United States is a “common-or-garden racist”.      


    Your leader article asks what is most “dispiriting”. That’s easy. It is this sort of highly personalised interpretation of events, statements, and activities, ending with the newspaper publishing such a disgraceful description of the president of the  most historically loyal and supportive ally of our nation, our people, our religion. Oh yes… and Israel.


    I am no personal admirer of President Trump but, in his place, I would certainly not rush to welcome JC journalists to future presidential press conferences.


    Harry Levy
    Pinner

    Labour crisis point

    It is noteworthy that, in your August 23 edition, you were able to reduce the usual four to six ‘Labour Crisis’ pages to a single page. This is obviously good news. 


    In the same edition, you quote Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl saying that British Jews “will vote for candidates from any party that best represent them on the full spectrum of issues” 


    Following nine years of austerity and with an election likely soon, all parties should be held to account for their responsibility and tested on their policies for dealing with the degradation of public services resulting from it. 


    Can we therefore look forward to the JC keeping its readers well-informed across the range of issues, by using the space you have freed up to cover, among other things, the healthcare crisis, the social care crisis, the education crisis, the housing and homelessness crisis, the child poverty crisis, the mental health crisis, the knife crime crisis, not to mention the climate crisis and the “no deal” Brexit crisis, which affect us all?


    Dr Anthony Isaacs
    London, NW3


    Holocaust memorial

    Baroness Deech’s comm-ent (JC August 16, Letters, Aug 23) on the proposed Holocaust Memorial near Parliament  to “put it somewhere else” creates echoes of the past. 


    German citizens’ NIMBY thoughts on locating the extermination camps: “Put them somewhere else. Those ugly chimneys will spoil my view. And the smell…”


    Perhaps the Baroness would like us to follow their example and site the memorial in Poland?


    Neville Landau 
    London SW19

    Unoriginal sin

    I read with interest Dr Jacobs’s observations on Rabbi Lord Sacks’s new book (Letters, August 23). I have not read it yet but may I make an observation?


     I have always had reservations concerning the translation  “ visiting the sins of the fathers on ensuing generations” (inter alia Exodus 20: 5)
    The 16th-century scholar, Rabbi Ovadiah Sforno translates the Hebrew word poq’ed  as “to take into account”. No hint of “visiting”. Thus, the Almighty takes into account  the miscreant behaviour of one generation which may well ruin the following generation and subsequently any ensuing generation. 


    The 12th-century Tosafist Rav Yosef of Orleans (Bekhor Shor)   remarks that no generation is punished for the behaviour of a previous one. He cites 2 Kings  14:6: “each person is punished due to his own miscreant behaviour. There may be a natural tendency for one generation to inherit the behaviour traits of their environment but they are not punished for previous generation’s incorrect behaviour. 


    Poq’ed is therefore not to be translated as “punish” or “visit”when used in conjunction with the idea of “deliberate sin” but in the sense of “takes into account  miscreant behaviour of the previous era”.


    The Targum ascribed to Yonathan ben Uziel translates the verb  poq’ed   in the sense of  “recalling the circumstances”. 


    Rav Hirsch asserts that poq ed’s  basic meaning is “invest someone with the position”.  Its adopted meaning in Exodus 20: 5 would be “decree upon someone as he deserves”.


    Perhaps we could read Exodus 20:5 as: “The Almighty takes into account personal, inherited circumstances  when considering the behaviour pattern of subsequent generations. 


    Shemer Isbitz
    Prestwich, Lancs

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