December 14, 2018

Letters to the editor: Jews in Turkey and Zionophobia on campus

Playing Telephone in Turkey Misses the Point

Sorting out the entire history of Turkish-Jewish relations spanning more than five centuries via editorials and interviews is ineffective, unrealistic and unfair (“At a Breaking Point in Turkey,” March 20).  Lost in such “he-said-she-said” treatments is the true nature of those special relationships. You don’t have to go back far. Just in 1999, after the huge earthquake, when the Jewish and Israeli philanthropists built a school that was leveled by the quake, they established a perpetual source of good will toward Jews in general and Israel in particular. Most if not all of that good will evaporated with the 2010 “Aid-Raid.” When Israeli tourists come to Turkey, Turkish people love it; but when Gaza attacks happen, all that good will is lost again. These kinds of ebbs and flows will happen. We need to stay above it and try to see beyond daily events. Let’s all cool it a bit and resist the temptation of quick scores with a view toward continuing the lasting, historic friendship. Enough with this gloom and doom already.

Ergun Kirlikovali via

After the attacks on HSBC Bank, the British Consulate of Istanbul, Neve Shalom and Bet Israel synagogues, I requested and received permission from the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., to participate in the Istanbul marathon on behalf of all the victims of these cowardly acts of violence and hate. I believed as a result of all these communities experiencing these painful events that they would be better able to understand the grief, the fears, the isolation of the other, and as a result would begin to work together. What I found instead was each of the groups targeted was not about to do anything that might be a response of partisans – out of the question. While my receptions in all these communities was generous and polite, it wasn’t until three months later, when I had returned home, that the letters of appreciation for the attention and support invested on their behalf began to arrive.

I thank Simone Wilson for her eyes that captured the mood, her ears that heard the words that were missing and for this word huzun, that describes completely the Istanbul I encountered.

Thank you for your considerable efforts and the grace with which you presented the community.

Jerry Daniels, Malibu

Bibi is no Moses

Rob Eshman lives in a secure environment (“Bibi, You’re No Moses,” March 6). Who is he to judge Israel and the threats they live under? To them, it is not left or right. It is a matter of survival. He and his family do not have the threat of missiles or nuclear missiles by the thousands rained upon them. If he is Jewish, then he should remember German Jews who were German above all else yet were sent to the gas chambers by the millions. Does he think that can’t happen here? As long as there is Israel, he and his family will not be sent to the gas chambers.

There are enough non-Jewish anti-Semites — don’t be a Jewish anti-Semite. Israel will never let you down if you need a haven. Remember that.

Ron Heller via email

I am a conservative liberal secular Jew who believes in and supports Bibi 100 percent, and I think that Barack Obama will go down in history as the worst president ever to hold that office in the U.S.

Elias Goldstein, Highland Beach, Fla.

Zionophobia or Anti-Semitism?

I agree wholeheartedly with Judea Pearl’s assessment of Zionophobia at UCLA (“At UCLA, Zionophobia Trumps Anti-Semitism,” March 20). I see it a dangerous direction for universities to take, to be happy and encourage their institutions to make votes denouncing anti-Semitism. I have seen this at Berkeley and UCLA this past month. But meanwhile the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) votes are still on the books. What this does is separate anti-Israel from anti-Jew. Not a good path to take, as we know that the relationship between Israel and the Jewish people is intertwined and intrinsic and not something we would want the world to see as different and separate. To applaud the pro-BDSers for their vote against anti-Semitism but not to tie these two issues together is missing the point.

Judith Alban, Northridge

Thank you to Yehuda Pearl for his clarity of thought and his courage to be such an articulate spokesperson. Yasher koach!

Laura Cher via


An item highlighting Sally Drucker’s 100th birthday (“Moving and Shaking,” March 20) should have said she was born before World War II.