Letters to the Editor: Moses, Middle East, AIPAC and anti-Semitism

April 12, 2017

Recalling a Composition About Moses

Sergio Barer was not the first to write an oratorio about Moses (“Singing the Story of Moses,” March 31). In 1968, my late collaborator, Sebastian Temple, and I wrote and recorded “Moses in Story and Song.” It was a folk oratorio/musical midrash. It was a television program sponsored by the University of Judaism (now known as American Jewish University).

We did the same with the Book of Genesis. Subsequently, I was commissioned by the university to write an album about women of the Bible, which I recorded. All these were firsts!

Sarah Hershberg, Encino

A Middle East Peace Idea

Yishai Fleisher’s thought-provoking essay (“Five Alternatives to Designating Separate States,” March 24) had some interesting proposals, but I would suggest there is a sixth alternative worth considering. 

Israel, and its well-meaning friends, should consider buying land, both in Israel, through eminent domain, if necessary, and in Jordan on the East Bank. This peaceful transfer of land has worked in the United States — in 1626 with the purchase of Manhattan; the Louisiana Purchase in 1803; and the Alaska purchase in 1867. Jordan, especially the East Bank, could present a possible solution to a centuries-old problem. Jordan is more than 80 percent Palestinian and would likely welcome the financial help that would come with the residents. 

It is time to look for new solutions to this complex problem. Buying land in Jordan and fixing the tortured map of Israel might be the “best compromise” for future Middle East peace.

Jerry Levy, Los Alamitos

A Suggested Direction for AIPAC

Shmuel Rosner questions the feasibility of “many voices and one mission” (“AIPAC and the Battle for Unity,” March 31). Although I agree that this seems to be “Mission: Impossible,” there should be a direction for AIPAC to follow. It cannot follow the direction of the Israeli government. By promoting the government position, it is not only alienating about half of the Israeli electorate and its American supporters, but also Americans of the party associated with that position. This is the result of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s regretful decision to engage in U.S. politics and, for the first time, overtly associate with one of our parties.

There is another way. AIPAC can have an agenda that promotes Israel as a society that is concerned with justice and human rights. In the least, this would lead to support for the two-state solution. In many other ways, it can support policies that ensure Israeli security and democracy, while seeking to draw a positive balance between security and human rights.

Michael Telerant, Los Angeles

Condemn Terror Incitement

David Suissa points out that the establishment’s refusal to criticize Islam virtually assures that Muslim oppression of women, gays and Christians, and anti-Semitism and terrorism will continue unabated (“London Terror: No. 30,499 in a Series,” March 31). Ironically, those hurt most by this are reform-minded Muslims.

No one wants to foment resentment toward law-abiding Muslim immigrants or hurt their feelings, but instability and incitement to terrorism in Muslim-run countries are the free world’s biggest problems — if we don’t condemn them, what will make them change? If the United Nations and the left criticized Islam a fraction as much as they demonize Israel, we might see real reform, without which an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict or the endless tide of Muslim refugees is unlikely. 

Reuben Gordon via email

On the Front Line of Anti-Semitic Threats

Dennis Prager owes an apology to all Jews who have been subject to the recent rise in anti-Semitic threats and attacks (“There Is No Wave of Trump-Induced Crime in America,” March 10).

It’s too bad Prager doesn’t “think” there is a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic threats and attacks in the United States without researching the facts.

For example, if he had checked with Jews in Whitefish, Mont., who were subject to a barrage of thousands of neo-Nazi anti-Semitic cyberterrorist attacks and an attempt by the neo-Nazi publication The Daily Stormer to have an armed march through the streets of Whitefish in December and January, he would have seen what was happening. State and local government officials, law enforcement and national and local organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, prevented the armed march. The FBI is tracking down the source of each terrorist email.

I was one of the rabbis from around the country who went to Whitefish to hear firsthand accounts of the cyberattacks, the fear those attacks caused, and how everyone supported those who were traumatized. Too bad Prager was not with this gathering of rabbis to see and hear what was happening. Maybe he would not have been so quick to deny the reality of these anti-Semitic attacks by neo-Nazis, white nationalists and others. Then again, maybe he just can’t hear and see what is right in front of him because he has made up his mind to his alternative reality and doesn’t want to be confronted by the facts.  

Rabbi Stan Levy via email

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.