The JC Letters Page, 17th May 2019

Frank Adam, Stephen Vishnick, Shmuel Freedman, Geoffrey Pepper, Alex Michaels, Dr Lionel Kopelwoitz and Kay Bagon share their views with JC readers

May 30, 2019 12:53

Circling around peace talks

Dr Zomlot protests too much (It is time for Britain to lead on peace, JC, May 10).  Palestinian Arabs have willingly been a toreador’s cape for every anti-British or anti-US power —as Iran is now, regardless of Palestinian consent. He should offer that the PLO amend its charter — or at least explain its refusal to do so — and raise the possibility that the PLO recognise Israel’s right to exist as a self-determined nation.

Apart from Palestine, the Ayatollahs’ Iran seeks to destroy Israel; and the lesson of the last century is that if a varlet — of whatever rank —promises to kill you, you take him seriously, despite his disapproval of antisemitism. 

Arabs in news clips use, “Yahud” not, “Israelyun” and anti-Israel demonstrators and activists create an antisemitic ambience by syllogistic fallacy that, as Israelis are Jewish, Jews everywhere are valid targets.  

Disputing  parties have to talk face-to-face.  Talk of international resolution or mechanism is a bluff — especially when the entire conflict derives from Arab rejection of UN Resolution 181 recommendations and the PLO Covenant  denies UN authority (as it did that of the League of Nations before it), and the Hamas charter promotes the destruction of all Jews and the promotion of Islamic supremacy everywhere.  

Frank Adam 

Until whoever is ruling Gaza truly recognises the state of Israel and totally renounces violence, no amount of schemes or money thrown at it  (billions, up to now) will alleviate the day-to-day plight of ordinary Palestinian.

The Egyptians, too, are wary of Hamas’s intentions and are treading even more carefully over extending any open border policy, which could invite incursions of violence that would show tacit support for the subjugated Muslim Brotherhood.

Finally, with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority at loggerheads, peace seems most unlikely for now. We in Israel crave peace but not at any price and giving Hamas more and more is appeasing blackmail, which can only end in disaster.

Stephen Vishnick 
Tel Aviv

Keeping up with the Jones

Your political editor Lee Harpin seems to want to label Nigel Farage an antisemite for his association with Alex Jones. That is absurd. I don’t know what Nigel Farage’s view of Jews is, as he doesn’t speak much about Jews. But Alex Jones frequently speaks against antisemitism and is a Zionist.   Not every conspiracy theorist believes Jews are behind everything. Alex Jones is so against the idea that Jews are controlling the world, that he is accused by other conspiracy theorists of being paid by Jews.

The UN is “globalist”, not Jewish. To say, as Lee Harpin does, that the term “globalist”  is a code for Jews is like saying that the word “thug” is a code for black people. Trump speaks of “globalists” as those that aren’t nationalists. And we know Trump is not an antisemite. Likewise Alex Jones. If you listen to Alex Jones, you’ll see he is strongly in favour of Jews, and has spoken out against antisemitism more than most journalists, while proudly identifying as a Zionist.  

 It is so easy nowadays to research people’s views on Jews. Had you done so with Alex Jones, you’d have seen that his views are if anything philo-semitic and outspoken against antisemitism. He believes in free speech and, when he has had an antisemite on, he states his disagreement. 
He recently had Avi Yemini, another Zionist, on his show. Yemini was denied entry to America based on false reports from the left-wing Comedy Central show.

Shmuel Freedman,
London NW2

Cycling off track

I wish to complain about your front-page article (JC, May 10) over which you print the dramatic headline Another cycle of violence and then continue the article on to page 4  with the “latest salvo from Gaza claims more Israeli lives”. This is the headline that should have made front-page news but you seem to have aligned yourselves with the BBC and the other news channels who talk of  “cycles of violence”.  Your article appears to put terrorist organisations on a par with Israel.

Geoffrey Pepper
Westcliff Essex

United States of Trump

I’d never really considered the impact of Donald Trump’s presidency too much but heard relatives in America talk about it in worrying tones. Our parents/grandparents left Germany in the 1930s, settling in either England or America and even though the families didn’t see each other much or indeed have a huge amount in common they largely kept in touch. To me, Trump was a temporary problem and not a long-term one, and I knew that, yes, America will get back on track.

 Then “Trump” came for lunch. We’d been talking about it for months. When they arrived, they seemed so normal — just like us. Just like the millions of wonderful Americans. 

But when asked about Donald Trump, their rhetoric was instant; an opening statement focusing on race (“Well, you see, America just isn’t as white as it used to be”) and then morphing into the man himself. “We must focus on America now… We’re just paying too much to the rest of the world…climate change — that’s not our problem”. To most British people this seems poisonous but it seems America has been desensitised.

I’ve now realised the impact of Donald Trump will live on for decades in America. The normalisation of everyday racism, perhaps one of the most backward steps America can take, may take generations to eradicate. Isolationism will cause new- and reopen old wounds. 

We’re going backwards with what was a nearly reset relationship with Iran, and a near-global consensus on human rights. Lying is ok now, even  if you’re the American president. 

If things carry on like this until 2024, we’re likely to find out how America’s contribution to the world means that it can happen here.

Alex Michaels

Praying by numbers

I read the interesting thought from Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence about Acharei Mot (Judaism, May 3) in which he quotes Rashi’s explanation that the word Bezot has a numerical value of 410. Another interesting explanation removes the prefix “Be” leaving the word “zot” which has a numerical value of 408. 

The key words in the musaf service for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are Teshuvah, Tefila and Tzedaka — penitence, prayer and charity. Old machzorim have above these words, “Tzom” (penitence), “Kol” (prayer) and “Tmimah” (charity). Each of these words has a value of 136 making a total of 408. So when Aaron entered the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, he entered with “this” (Zot) in other words with penitence, prayer and charity. 

Dr Lionel Kopelowitz

Different from other nights

Comparing notes with friends on our various Seder experiences was quite interesting . One friend who went to Canada was amazed that the Haggadot were only in English. 

Another sat down at the table only to be shown the Seder plate and then proceed directly to the meal. Several families’ Seders ended with the meal and Birkat Hamazon. 

One friend who went to an Israeli Seder said that, at every reading, a member of the family jumped up and gave a short drosh in Hebrew. 

Someone else attending a Sephardi Seder was bemused by the raising of the Seder plate above the guests’ heads and the brandishing of a bunch of leeks while singing Dayeynu. One friend told me that when they opened the door for Elijah, next door’s cat, Gimmel, walked in.

Kay Bagon 

May 30, 2019 12:53

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