November 15, 2018

Letters to the editor: Ringling Bros. Circus, Dennis Prager, Jerusalem Syndrome and more

The Cruelest Show on Earth

I am an avid reader of the Jewish Journal who found the recent article “Ringling Bros. Circus Has Been a Feld Family Affair for Three Generations” very disturbing (July 22).

No one will dispute the fact that the Jewish people have been subjected to cruelty and suffering throughout our history. At the same time, anyone who researches the suffering inflicted on animals connected with the Ringling Bros. Circus at the direction of their Jewish owners soon realizes that there is another cruel side to that circus. I saw that side once in the past when, during a show, I witnessed innocent animals being prodded, poked, mistreated and forced to do inhumane tricks. 

I hope that one day the Ringling Bros. Circus will eliminate all animals from every performance. Until that day arrives, I am staying home.

Deborah Weinrauch, Culver City

Prager, Right and Wrong

In “The Left Has Cops’ Blood on Its Hands” (July 22), Dennis Prager maligned The New York Times for race-baiting yet supports and will vote for Donald Trump, someone he describes as bigoted, mean, insecure and lacking intelligence. Mr. Prager’s entire professional life has become devoted to bashing the left. There is a profoundly dysfunctional element to the American right and the political party it controls (the Republicans).

The party that nominated Sarah Palin (“I can see Russia from my window”) and now Donald Trump is the laughingstock of the entire world. It would be far more intellectually honest and persuasive if Mr. Prager were more balanced in his commentary.

Aaron Rubin, Los Angeles

Prager responds: I accused The New York Times and the left of breeding an anti-cop hysteria that has helped lead to the murder of police officers. The Times itself just reported on a study by a Black Harvard professor that showed that Blacks are proportionately less likely to be killed by white policemen. And Mr. Rubin responds by writing about Donald Trump and Sarah Palin — even repeating the lie that Sarah Palin said, “I can see Russia from my window.” Tina Fey said it. If Mr. Rubin loved truth as much as he loathes Republicans, he wouldn’t have written this letter.

As for “bashing the Left,” if all I will have achieved in my life is to awaken people to the destructive nature of the Left, it will have been a life well spent. With Prager University garnering 150 million views a year, most of which are people under 35, I feel I am having some success doing so. Just about everything the Left (not classic liberalism, with which I identify) touches it ultimately destroys. Just look at what it has done to our universities and to American and Western support for Israel.

Liberals and Israel

Jonathan Kirsch in his July 22 column reviews Dov Waxman’s book, “Trouble in the Tribe” (“Signs of ‘Trouble’ Seen in American Support for Israel”). He quotes many statements from the book, which essentially say that American Jews, and especially younger ones, are increasingly not supportive of Israel because of their idealistic secular liberal view of the state; that Israel has changed in disturbing ways; that the era of Israel, right or wrong, is over; and most disturbingly, Israel should recommit to the goal of establishing a Palestinian state.

Waxman’s opinions, shared by many liberals (Amos Oz, among others), are hardly surprising. Perhaps Norman Podhoretz said it best: “Liberal Jews don’t believe in the Torah of Moses, rather they believe in the Torah of liberalism.” 

No one believes that Israel is perfect. If you want perfection, you will have to wait for the world to come. But all rational people should understand that Israel is surrounded by countries and terrorists who seek to destroy it. 

It is also not surprising that young Jews are increasingly alienated from Israel. After generations of secular liberal parents and teachers, many of whom have instilled negative images of Israel, what would one expect? No, Israel has not changed — Waxman and his cohorts have.

C.P. Lefkowitz, Rancho Palos Verdes

The Enemy Within

I am not sure I agree with the “prophecy” of Rob Eshman in “Jerusalem Syndrome” (July 22). He tries to make us believe that as soon as we easily defeat militant, jihadist Islam, and filter out the mentally unstable from the reach of those who could turn them into terrorists, the world would become a safe haven for all of us.

The problem is that inside we are all driven by a self-serving, self-justifying nature that views anybody different as a threat. We are all driven toward ruthless, exclusive competition, we all enjoy succeeding at the expense of others. How this nature is expressed outwardly depends on personal, national, cultural or religious characteristics, but at the end of the day we all serve only self-interest at all cost.

Unless we actually address this inner problem, unless we find a way to rise above our instinctive inclination toward other humans, history will remain a recurring chain of vicious cycles until we exterminate ourselves.

It is the Jews who have the only practical method, “Instruction Guide,” that could facilitate people building the necessary, true, mutually complementing collaboration above that instinctive human nature. We are the ones who have to show the shining positive example of unity and mutual responsibility above diversity, argumentative nature and despite unfounded hatred.

S.H. Kardener via email

Correction

In a review of Dov Waxman’s “Trouble in the Tribe” (“Signs of ‘Trouble’ Seen in American Support for Israel,” July 22), the author’s university affiliation was misidentified. It is Northeastern University.