September 23, 2019

Letters to the Editor: Daily Bruin Cartoon, David Friedman and ‘Kapos,’ Federation Stance

Misreading UCLA Cartoon

Cartoon by undergraduate political science major Felipe Bris Abejon in the UCLA student newspaper The Daily Bruin.

Cartoon by undergraduate political science major Felipe Bris Abejon in the UCLA student newspaper The Daily Bruin.

I disagree with my assemblyman Richard Bloom’s depiction of UCLA’s Daily Bruin cartoon as anti-Semitic (“Bruin Cartoon Assailed as Anti-Semitic,” Feb. 17). The cartoon is not mocking the Jewish faith but mocking the prime minister of Israel for disgracing the foundational values of Judaism and other religions in his support for a law retroactively legalizing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

As a newly elected California Democratic Party delegate in Bloom’s 50th Assembly District, I find public intimidation of the student journalists unsettling, particularly at a time when the far right of Israel is looking for cover to annex the entire West Bank and President Donald Trump is viciously attacking journalists.

In light of the most recent bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers, it behooves us all to focus on real anti-Semitism and not confuse the public or detract from ascendant hate speech and actions that threaten Jews, Muslims and people of color.

Marcy Winograd, Santa Monica

‘Kapos’ and David Friedman

With the current “kapo” controversy, I feel compelled to provide a clarification (“The Case Against David Friedman,” Feb. 17). It is understandable that Rob Eshman’s or David Friedman’s generation obviously had no exposure to actual kapos and only had diminished understanding of the actual facts.

As a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau-Buchenwald, I would like to make this correction: In Auschwitz-Birkenau, and most other concentration camps, kapos were German nationals. Almost all were German criminals serving life sentences. They were transferred from German prisons to the camps to empty many prisons in Germany. The vacancies were utilized for minor criminals with short-term sentences. Also other “undesirables” the Nazis could not afford to put into concentration camps because they could reveal the truth once they were released.

Jews were rarely trusted to execute the Germans’ commands, primarily because they did not speak or understand German. They also possibly were suspected to be too lenient.

Henry Oste via email

With the utmost respect, I beg to differ with Rob Eshman’s analysis of the case of David Friedman as our prospective United States Ambassador to Israel. Maybe we need another bulldog like Donald Trump in the guise of a hard-liner named David Friedman to be the solution.

I hope the readers of the Jewish Journal will continue to send in letters to the editor representing all spectrums of our diverse Jewish and non-Jewish community, and continue to donate to our great newspaper that glues us together instead of dividing us.

Richard Bernstein, Los Angeles

Federation Stance Ignores Teachings of Torah

I am both distressed and saddened by the report in the Jewish Journal that The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles has decided to remain quiet with regard to current immigration issues (“Federation Stays Neutral on Trump Order, Despite Pressure,” Feb. 17).

To run away from taking a position because of “politics” is absurd. For us, it should not be a political issue; rather, it is an issue of decency in a Jewish context.

Does our holy Torah not say 36 times to help the stranger? That’s more, incidentally, than any other single reference made as we read and study it each year.

Does our tradition also not say “silence is agreement”?

And so, with 65 million immigrants in the world, we cannot spare even a word of objection to the issue?

I know we can do much better because in past generations, we have.

Irving Cramer, Venice, Calif.