November 18, 2018

Letters to the editor: Yom Kippur, Eid, Peace Now and Jews against evil

Putting ‘Exist’ in ‘Coexistence’ 
 
I found Simone Wilson’s article about the overlapping of Yom Kippur and the Muslim feast of Eid ul-Adha heart-warming and hopeful (“A Rare and Peaceful ‘Eid Kippur’ in Israel,” Oct. 10). It is remarkable that leaders from both sides met beforehand urging tolerance and that the day turned out peaceful after such a tense summer. I was surprised to hear that many Muslim citizens chose to walk rather than drive to their prayers and postponed performing animal sacrifices out of respect to Jews celebrating Yom Kippur. If allowing Muslims to visit relatives and friends through relaxing restrictions extinguishes their anger and hatred and brings positive associations with Israelis, why not find a way to safely do it again? I urge Israeli and Muslim leaders to capitalize on these good feelings and use this experience to continue the open-mindedness, understanding and happiness described here. Let’s try to learn from “Eid Kippur” and create moments of peaceful coexistence more than once every 33 years. Thank you to Wilson for shedding light on a positive view of Israeli-Muslim relations. 
 
Ariella Etshalom, Los Angeles 

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace 

Shmuel Rosner (“Bibi vs. Peace Now: A Potentially Dangerous Moment,” Oct. 10) accuses Peace Now of irresponsibly trying to hurt Israel’s image abroad by bringing attention to a Sept. 24 public announcement by the Interior Ministry to allow building over the Green Line in Givat HaMatos — a development that threatens to degrade what remains of the geographic contiguity of the Palestinian West Bank. 
 
Rosner is wrong about the obligations of a pro-peace, pro-Israel organization like Peace Now. While Netanyahu was revealing a lack of diplomatic skill (accusing President Barack Obama of not acting “in the American way,” among other things), Peace Now acted to advance the prospects for peace by exposing his politically destructive settlement action to the Israeli public in the hope that Israeli citizens would become aware and call for a change in Netanyahu’s settlement policies. Hesitancy on Peace Now’s part, not action, would have been irresponsible. 
 
Rosner’s final point that Peace Now should keep its message closeted rather than revealing Israel’s ever-expanding settlement program is the type of censorship that a responsible journalist like Rosner should abhor. 
 
Let’s get serious: The problem is not the messenger, but Netanyahu’s ongoing settlement policies, which are not only damaging Israel’s relationship with its largest and most important ally and provoking international criticism, but also threatening Israel’s future as a democracy and a Jewish state. 
 
Gerald Bubis, Richard Gunther, Luis Lainer past national chairs, Americans for Peace Now 

A Hard Line Down the Middle 
 
As a moderate, I fully agree with Dennis Prager’s hatred of the left’s support and/or tolerance for communists, Saddam Hussein and ISIS, not to mention Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran (“Do Jews Hate Evil?” Oct. 17). But as a moderate, I also abhor the right’s idolatrous worship of unregulated capitalism and trickle-down economics, as well as the right’s misuse of God, religion and the Bible as a trump card and a weapon of intolerance. 
 
It is unarguably true that the right’s policies of selfishness, greed and intolerance in the United States does not remotely compare with the evil of mass murder of millions of people on other continents countenanced by the left. But the right’s policies of selfishness, greed and intolerance hardly represent the pursuit of goodness or justice, nor does it constitute “normative Jewish moral instincts.” 
 
Michael Asher Valley Village 
 
Dennis Prager responds: 
 
Other than Mr. Asher’s agreement with my column’s thesis that the left — where most Jews locate themselves — has not generally hated evil, I don’t understand his letter. For example, he writes about the “right’s idolatrous worship of unregulated capitalism.” In a lifetime of work among conservatives, I have never met one conservative who believes in “unregulated capitalism,” let alone worships it. 
 
He makes sweeping negative charges but doesn’t provide a single supporting example. What conservative “policies of selfishness, greed and intolerance” is Mr. Asher referring to? He doesn’t say. Are they lower taxes? Or support for keeping marriage male-female? If so, they are poor examples. If not, what are they? The same holds true regarding his charge about “the right’s misuse of God, religion and the Bible as a trump card and a weapon of intolerance”? Could he not have written just one sentence providing one or two examples to back up such terrible accusations? 
 
Mr. Asher may be no fan of the left, but he has bought one of its distinguishing features  — demonization of the right. 
 
There are many, many more letters at jewishjournal.com.
 
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