Letters to the editor: Ted Cruz, Cologne and more Jewish L.A. options

Controversial Cruz

I am a senior and a U.S. Navy veteran and was born and raised in New York, in the city and in the Westchester suburbs. Shame on you for your comments about Jews believing in gay rights, abortions, gun controls climate change and environmental protection (“Cruz Control,” Jan. 22). You may believe in those things and that’s it. Cruz was right in saying that New York overall is a liberal bastion for Democrats, but it was not an anti-Jew remark. I am a Trump supporter and I didn’t take offense from it. The Jewish Journal should dump an empty suit like you.

Marvin Gordon, Peoria, Ariz.

Thanks very much for your article on Ted Cruz, and his anti-Semitic statement. Many of us said and feel what you stated when we heard him say it. Strong support for Israel does not ameliorate his anti-Jewish rhetoric; it merely illuminates the hypocrisy. 

Jack Newman via email

Cruz is playing into something that, unfortunately, is becoming once again more acceptable to spew out publicly — anti-Semitism. As to his “love” of Israel, some folks see it as important theologically, as a place where Christianity started, as a place to which all Jews should go so that the next stage of Christianity can begin and rapturing upward for the holy can take place. As to what Cruz really believes, who knows? However, he is allegedly very ambitious and very willing to use whatever (and probably whomever) to advance himself.

Janyce C. Katz via email

Cologne’s Day of Rage

I often find Dennis Prager’s columns to be illogical and wrong-headed, but his column on the Cologne rapes reaches new heights (“The Cologne Rapes and Our Culture of Denial,” Jan. 22). He asserts that “hundreds of German men don’t gather to do this (mass rapes)” because “they are the beneficiaries of Western Judeo-Christian and secular values relating to sexual conduct.” With this logic, I cannot imagine how he would explain the heinous rapes and other crimes committed by German men in the 20th century! Outrageous!

Debra Cohen, Los Angeles

‘Incompetent’ Tag on U.S. is Misguided

When Shmuel Rosner writes that the United States “managed to unify Israelis and Palestinians in thinking that this U.S. administration is incompetent,” he is evidently reflecting public opinion in Israel (“Ambassador Shapiro’s Mistake in Being ‘Correct,’ ” Jan. 22). Nevertheless, this view about incompetent Washington government should be challenged.

First, it seems strange that the United States, which provides more help to Israel and Palestine than any other country in the world, should be viewed as incompetent. I shudder to think how much more unstable would be the Israel-Palestine relationship if the U.S. decided not to help Israel and Palestine. Second, this view echoes Donald Trump’s charge that the American government is incompetent — that it does not have a clue about how to deal with its policy problems, and that we can and must make it competent by changing leaders. I wouldn’t put much reliance on that argument.

Barry H. Steiner, Professor of Political Science, CSU Long Beach

Could Jewish L.A. Be Even Cooler?

I looked forward with great anticipation to reading your article, “Why L.A. Is America’s Coolest Jewish City” (Jan. 15). I was frankly disappointed. Your piece did not reach out to a broad Jewish audience that would include secular Jews who are also proud of their cultural heritage. It failed to introduce us to the educational and philanthropic opportunities that are largely created and funded by Jews. And what about music, art, theater, architecture, science, medicine and business? And yes, I left out stand-up comedy. I think the idea is wonderful, but you have just scratched the surface of why L.A. is the Coolest Jewish City in America. 

Harry Wiland, Santa Monica

My wife and I are boomers, living in the Boston area and spending part of the year in L.A. to be near our son and his young family. Although I found the list very informative, most of the places identified for meeting people address the needs of the millennials. 

Gen Xers and boomers also need to meet new people, especially when they move to a new area and try to make new friends. The Israeli-American Council is a good one for me, as the IAC also exists in Boston. We are also looking for opportunities to get involved in other organizations as both of us are retired and wish to “give back” to the community.

Living in Boston, we have great bagels. We have found only mediocre samples around here. Can you identify some sources? Otherwise, my wife threatens to make her own.

Giora Hadar, Ph.D., Jamaica Plain, Mass.

European liberal left leaves Europe in decay, blames the victim for failed policies

Recent incidents highlighted the dangerously failed European left-wing politics that has draped itself in the false cloak of morality and judgment.

Israel has been hit by over a thousand terror attacks perpetrated by Palestinian Arabs in a four month period.

With knifing, car ramming, fire bombing, rock throwing and occasional shooting attacks, about thirty Israelis have been killed and another two hundred hospitalized. Fortunately, the rapid response of armed Israeli citizens and the presence of highly trained security personnel managed to neutralize hundreds of attackers both in their terror acts or immediately after, thereby successfully reducing the number of victims.

Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom, a regular anti-Israel provocateur, however demanded an international investigation into what she called “extrajudicial killings of Palestinians” in order to bring about “possible accountability.”

Her demand was yet another of her public acts of anti-Israelism. As with her past statements, she ignored Palestinian-incited mass terrorism against Israel and, instead, targeted the Israeli victim for possible prosecution.

Wallstrom has a talent for finding Israel guilty for all of Sweden’s woes. When, according to Swedish intelligence, over two hundred Swedes were reported to have joined ISIS, Wallstrom pointed at Israel when she said, “Clearly we have a reason to be worried not only here in Sweden but around the world because there are so many who are being radicalized. Here again, you come back to situations like that in the Middle East where not least there isn’t any future. The Palestinians either have to accept a desperate situation or resort to violence,” implying that Israel is responsible for the radicalization that is driving so many Swedes into the arms of Islamic terror groups.

Wallstrom is typical of the political sickness that has swept Europe and America. Her attitude of blaming the victim makes her a kindred political spirit to the Mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, who told the women of her city that they should have kept an “arm’s length” distance of the thousand migrant men that raped, sexually abused, and robbed almost two hundred German females in the central Cologne square on New Years Eve.

This is yet another example of a left-wing pro-immigration politician blaming the victim.

Swedish leftist politicians also advocated a badly flawed policy that allowed masses of unverified migrants into their country. As in Germany, one result has been the rapid rise of violent and disturbing crimes committed by this flood of undisciplined humanity, mainly from the Middle East.

Under politicians like Reker and Wallstrom, European nations have shifted from being homogenous countries into dysfunctional societies. In Sweden in 2104, there were 80,000 requests for asylum and leftist politicians allowed them to enter in the name of cultural tolerance.

Last year, the number of accepted migrants rose by 150% to 190,000 in Sweden, this time in the name of compassion. The Swedish Prime Minister said at the time, “My Europe doesn’t build walls.” 

Sweden’s Socialist generosity grants welfare benefits to non-Swedes. It also grants permanent resident status to stateless persons after four years, and citizenship after a number of years as residents. Little wonder that this has attracted hundreds of thousands of migrants to target Sweden. When the growing flood stormed over the Oresund Bridge that connects Denmark to Sweden and homeless people began camping out in Swedish town squares the same prime minister changed his tune by saying, “Sweden is no longer able to accept the high number of asylum-seekers we’re seeing today.”

Compassion, it seems, has its limits even in Sweden.

Wallstrom-style compassion for terrorism will also find its limits in Sweden, it seems, only after it experiences murderous terrorism on its soil.

Only then will a Swedish Foreign Minister, perhaps, understand how to fight terrorism and allow citizens and security forces to neutralize the killers in the same manner that Israel has done.

The only other way that countries such as Sweden and Germany will change the dangerous misguided and failing leftist socialist politics and rhetoric is by a frustrated and beleaguered population rising up and electing right-minded politicians able and willing to shift both domestic and foreign policies in defense of traditional and core values.

Israel is finding that countries that “get it” and shift to the right suddenly discover the way to solve their terrorism and migrants problems is to follow Israel’s examples.

Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.’ www.barrysbooks.info

Merkel under pressure as German gangs lash out against foreigners

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced growing pressure to harden her line on refugees on Monday as the first extensive police report on New Year's Eve violence in Cologne documented rampant sexual assaults on women by gangs of young migrant men.

Cologne police said at least 11 foreigners, including Pakistanis, Guineans and Syrians, had been injured on Sunday evening in attacks by hooligans bent on revenge for the assaults in the city.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere condemned those attacks and warned against a broader backlash against refugees following the events in Cologne, which have deepened scepticism toward Merkel's policy of welcoming migrants.

The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party seized on the latest developments to attack the chancellor while members of her own conservative party warned that integrating the hundreds of thousands of migrants who arrived last year would fail if the influx were not stopped immediately.

“If the influx continues as it has, then integration can't work,” said Carsten Linnemann, a lawmaker in Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU). “If we get another 800,000 or a million people arriving this year, then we won't be able to do this,” he added, playing on Merkel's optimistic “we can do this” mantra.

A report from the Interior Ministry in the state of North Rhine-Wesphalia (NRW), where Cologne lies, said a total of 516 criminal complaints had been registered, 237 of which were of a sexual nature.

A separate report from the Cologne police gave graphic descriptions of the crimes, listing case after case of women surrounded by gangs of men who put their hands in the victims' pants and skirts, grabbed them between the legs, on the buttocks and the breasts, often while stealing their wallets and cell phones.

A total of 19 suspects have been identified, all of them foreigners.

Ralf Jaeger, interior minister in NRW, spoke of “serious failures” by the police, who were significantly outnumbered but never called for reinforcements.

He also criticized them for refusing to communicate in the days after New Year's Eve that the vast majority of the perpetrators were people with migration backgrounds, blaming this on misguided “political correctness”.

“More than 1,000 Arab and North African men gathered on New Year's Eve near Cologne cathedral and the main train station. Among them were many refugees that came to Germany in the past months,” Jaeger told a special parliamentary committee in NRW.

“After alcohol and drug excesses came the excesses of violence, peaking with people who carried out fantasies of sexual power.”

A survey conducted by polling group Forsa for RTL television showed that 60 percent of respondents saw no reason to change their attitude toward foreigners after the assaults. About 37 percent said they viewed foreigners more critically. 


Jaeger said the sexual assaults had come mainly from North Africans who had traveled toCologne from other cities, but he too warned against a broader backlash against migrants. 

“To label certain groups, to stigmatize them as sexual criminals, would not only be wrong, it would be dangerous,” he said. “Those people that make a direct link between immigration and violence are playing into the hands of right-wing extremists.” 

Police officer Norbert Wagner told a news conference that rocker and hooligan gangs had published an appeal on the Internet on Sunday to join them in “violence-free strolls” through Cologne, when in fact they were prowling for foreigners.

Among the victims were six Pakistanis, three Guinean citizens and two Syrians. Witnesses had also seen another man of African origin being attacked, but his identity was unclear because he had not contacted authorities, Wagner said.

No arrests have been made. Local police are beefing up their presence in downtown Cologne in the coming days to prevent further attacks on foreigners.

The Cologne police force has also set up a 100-strong team to investigate the New Year's Eve attacks. They are working with prosecutors and criminal investigators who are looking at exchanges on social media in the run-up to the night.

Merkel has repeatedly resisted pressure to introduce a cap on the number of migrants entering Germany, arguing that this could be enforced only by shutting German borders, a step that would doom Europe's Schengen free-travel zone.

She has talked tougher in recent months, vowing in December to “measurably reduce” arrivals and promising at the weekend to give authorities more powers to crack down on migrants who commit crimes, including deporting them.

But her opponents have been swift to blame her for the events in Cologne.

“Anyone who opens the borders wide must know that they are bringing Tahrir Square to Germany,” leading AfD politician Dirk Driesang said, referring to the square in Cairo that was the scene of killings and sexual assaults in 2011.

“Cologne cathedral, when it was completed by Kaiser Wilhelm I, was a symbol of the inner unity of the German Reich after its founding in 1871. Will it now become a symbol of its collapse?”

American tourist wearing Star of David attacked in Cologne

An American tourist was robbed and called a “Jewish bastard” by youths after he asked them for directions in the Cologne train station.

Police are seeking witnesses to the incident, which took place at approximately 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

On the same weekend in Cologne, some 5,000 people reportedly participated in a major anti-Muslim demonstration, mostly of soccer hooligans, under the motto “Hooligans against Salafists.” Violence erupted during the demonstration, with 49 police officers slightly injured and property damage of about $25,000.

In the incident involving the tourist, the unnamed 37-year-old said he was rushing to catch a train and asked a group of youths for directions to the proper track, according to local reports.

Instead of assisting him, the youths — described as having shaved heads and wearing black, red and white T-shirts — pushed him to the ground and robbed him. Upon spying his Star of David pendant, they then called him a “Jewish bastard” before fleeing with his wallet and travel documents.

The victim reportedly was able to catch his train and reported the incident to police after arriving at his destination.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Cologne lawmaker Volker Beck, Green Party representative to the Bundestag, said “nothing justifies anti-Semitic violence, whether in word or deed.” He and Hans Schwanitz, co-chair of the Green Party council in Cologne, expressed their “full solidarity with the victim.”

At the anti-Muslim demonstration, the protesters included right-wing extremists, with some wearing black T-shirts featuring the slogan “HoGeSa,” which stands for Hooligans against Salafists, in red and white — resembling the description of the attackers in the anti-Semitic incident, Die Welt reported.

Police have confirmed that the organizers of an anti-Salafist demonstration scheduled for Nov. 15 in Berlin have registered at least 10,000 participants, according to Die Welt, but doubted that so many would turn up.


Kristallnacht memorial stolen

Thieves made off with a 750 kilogram Kristallnacht monument from the Jewish cemetery in Cologne.

The theft occurred Sunday night, Ha’aretz reported on Friday, and the local Jewish community is offering a 4,000 Euro reward for information leading to its retrieval.

The monument, representing religious objects rescued during the night of Nazi-spurred violence and looting in 1938, stood about nine feet high.

The theft took place days after commemorations of Kristallnacht, or the night of broken glass—named for the Jewish shops that were destroyed during the attacks.