Letters: Protecting Synagogues, Gun Control, Life in Israel

September 19, 2019

Democrats and Israel
I was dismayed by Peter Fox’s story about Democratic majority for Israel (DMFI), in which DMFI President Mark Mellman stated, “There is no organization that is waging the political battle to make sure that the Democratic Party remains pro-Israel.” (“A New Pro-Israel Democratic Group Looks to Reduce the Political Partisan Divide,” Sept. 13)

I know Mellman hasn’t forgotten about the existence, mission and work of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), the voice of pro-Israel, Jewish Democrats. We are committed to ensuring that the Democratic Party remains pro-Israel but because we can count votes, we know that there is no battle to be waged: Aside from a few outliers whose influence is not spreading, Democratic members of Congress continue to strongly support Israel. The real battle to be waged is within the Republican Party, whose leader, President Donald Trump, regularly engages in anti-Semitic rhetoric that other Republicans refuse to condemn or acknowledge.

JDCA was founded in 2017 immediately after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., when Trump equated neo-Nazis with those peacefully protesting them. This blatant emboldening of anti-Semites and white nationalists directly led to the creation of JDCA.

Unfortunately, Mellman also neglects to mention that Jewish Democrats — and Democrats in general — are strongly supportive of Israel. According to new analysis from Gallup, 95% of Jewish Americans “have favorable views of Israel.” In addition, “American Jews are aware of Trump’s actions [on Israel], and the data clearly show that Jews have strongly positive views of Israel. Nevertheless, Trump’s actions in support of Israel to date have done little to shift Jews’ political allegiance.”

While Fox highlights the range of views that Democrats have regarding the government of Israel’s policies, that does not mean Democratic voters or the party are abandoning Israel. Democrats are deeply concerned about Trump’s policies, but that does not mean we are anti-American. 

More so than support for Israel, which remains steady, anti-Semitism from the right is of deep concern for Jewish American voters. Polls show that 73% of Jewish voters are more concerned about their security than they were two years ago, and that 59% at least partially blame Trump for recent mass shootings at synagogues. JDCA remains focused on what is deeply urgent for Jewish Democrats: values-driven advocacy, including ensuring the U.S.-Israel relationship remains strong.
Ada Horwich, JDCA Board Member

Protecting Synagogues
I read the Journal faithfully and have been trying to avoid most political rhetoric. In “A Different Arms Race for Our Community” (Sept. 13), Louis Keene writes in the last line about warding off certain strains of thought.

American Jews and Israelis should have been waging a propaganda war like the one that has been waged by Palestinians since 1948. Israelis and the Diaspora have ignored that war. A belief that we are right and they are wrong doesn’t excuse our not taking part or even defending against the ugly war of lies and accusations being waged against us. Guns and bullets cannot win.

No Jewish parent or grandparent should have to explain the history of Israel and how Palestinians put their children, elderly and sick people in front of soldiers so if they die, Palestinians can point their fingers at Israel.The Palestinian governments never have helped their people. They prefer to keep the lesser of their society in poverty and misery so as to fling lies at Israel.

If we don’t start to tell the truth, refute lies and make sure the world knows Jews aren’t evil, we risk another Holocaust.

Jews must find a way to stop this ugly hatred. We have contributed so much to society in almost 6,000 years, why not contribute a way to live together in peace?
Suzanne Gallant, Westlake Village

Gun Control
Thanks for the insight and rationality that stands apart from the incessant partisanship in Washington, D.C., in Larry Greenfield’s timely story (“Guns: Reason, Not Rage,” Sept. 13).

Greenfield adroitly acknowledges two truths about guns in America: We do have an individual constitutional right to gun ownership; and our nation has long supported a variety of gun control measures. 

Kudos for rational thought and not to pandering politicians or scheming fundraising organizations.
Spencer Miller, Pasadena

Life in Israel
Sarah Tuttle-Singer’s column (“Want to Understand Israelis? Start Here,” Sept. 13) was powerful and convincing in outlining the daily threats faced by Israelis — stabbings, shootings, bombings, rockets, etc. And then it falls apart in the last two paragraphs, when it falls into the usual nonsense of “just and peaceful resolution” and why understanding Israelis’ justified fears “might help [them] take the brave and necessary first steps toward reaching out to the Palestinians to build a better future.” Just who does Tuttle-Singer think is committing the stabbings, shootings, bombings and rocket launches? And what was the disastrous Oslo “peace process” but an attempt to reach out to the Palestinians?
Chaim Sisman, Los Angeles

Thank you, Sarah Tuttle-Singer, for your compelling description of life in Israel. Hopefully, those who condemn Israel’s defense barrier and checkpoints will be moved by your harrowing account of the danger and anxiety Israelis face every day.

Although Israel has tried to make peace many times, the Arabs reject every offer, continue to pay terrorists who kill Jewish families and teach their children to hate Jews.

The conflict won’t end until Arabs are willing to live as peacefully with Jews in the West Bank as Jews live with Arabs in Israel.

Israel isn’t perfect, but it has a right to exist.
Rueben Gordon, Via email


A story about U.S. Democrats and Israel (“A New Pro-Israel Democratic Group Looks to Reduce the Political Partisan Divide,” Sept. 13) incorrectly stated that in polls Democrats had “unfavorable” views of Israel rather than “waning sympathies” for Israel, and that Republicans had “favorable” views of Israel rather than “expressing sympathy” for Israel.

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.