Letters: American Support for Israel, The Jews Running for President

February 28, 2020

Trump’s Peace Plan
Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas kept saying no to peace, yet Israel, illogically and self-defeatingly, kept offering more (“From Rabin to Trump: A Price for Saying No?” Feb. 7).

Arafat and Abbas didn’t “nourish” a right-wing Israeli narrative; those leaders have made it crystal clear that their only goal is the elimination of the Jewish state. It’s time to re-read the PLO Charter and the 2017 Hamas document. Peaceful coexistence has never been on their radar.

Making payouts to terrorists and their families and continued teaching of Jew-hatred to children has not “reinforced” this view.

Reality cannot be dismissed as a mere right-wing narrative, except at great peril.
Julia Lutch, Davis, Calif.

American Support for Israel
I’ve greatly admired Shmuel Rosner for years. So it pains me to say it but the assertion that “Israel has a right to exist” is not a cliché but is fundamental (“What’s Left of Bipartisan Support for Israel?” Feb. 21). It implies no incursions, no missiles from over the southern border, no terrorism (whether from stabbings or cars plowing into crowds, or car or bus bombs), no foreign invasion and, as an existing sovereign nation, also a right to friendly relations and trade with neighbors. “The right to exist” means a great deal. So I don’t understand his sarcastic comment, “Well, thank you. You have a right to exist, too.” It’s not a cliché at all. It’s a substantial assertion.

Rosner should address the parallel question: With all the settlement-building, and claim of all Jerusalem for eternity, and assertion that Israel is the only country with a right to its seat of government and foreign embassies from other countries in the city, the question is not whether Israel has a right to exist, which of course it does, but whether Palestine also has the same right to exist.

That they both have a right to exist is both a substantial assertion and is unavoidably the underpinning, when it comes, of all peace and security.
James Adler, Boston

I found Shmuel Rosner’s article not only interesting but thought provoking. One thing I was able to analyze from it is the relationship between America and Israel. Rosner discussed the declining bipartisan nature of support for Israel, but it doesn’t relate all that specifically to Israel’s continued need for that support. Clearly, the political situation on both sides of the Atlantic is evolving and sensitive to world trends, but the culture of the countries has changed, as well. In the 57 years since AIPAC’s establishment, Israel has changed significantly. No longer simply a resource-poor country dependent on the charity of Diaspora Jewry and Western sympathy, Israel today is a military superpower, an economic miracle and a high-tech center second only to Silicon Valley.

I am left wondering if we, as American Jews, are asking ourselves the right questions. Does Israel still need AIPAC or can it negotiate a new relationship with the United States based on a position of strength rather than one of weakness and dependence?
Simcha Uretsky, Los Angeles

I agree with Shmuel Rosner’s article regarding the support of Israel by both parties, and how achieving bipartisan support is difficult in this election season. Many politicians don’t support Israel, according to their recent policy statements. For example, certain Democratic politicians are against attending the AIPAC conference, which strives for a greater support of Israel from all parties. I feel this is a monumental problem. America’s relationship with Israel is extremely important, because together we are stronger. When we can’t achieve full support from American politicians, and their supporters, no problems will ever be solved.

Rosner does a great job describing how certain Democratic candidates are supporting Israel less and less, and with everything that is happening in Israel, it appears that working toward agreements supported by both parties is nearly impossible.
Ben Ziv, Sherman Oaks

Shmuel Rosner’s column highlights the state of bipartisan support of Israel by the United States. I agree with his argument. I would point out, though, that the lack of bipartisan support for Israel reflects the lack of bipartisan agreement in American politics today.

Take the military defense policy, for example. Israeli society highly values its military defense. The bipartisanship between the U.S. and Israel needs to have these same views on a strong military defense force, but this cannot be fulfilled if there isn’t even  bipartisanship between the two U.S. political parties on this policy. The Democrats do not value a strong military defense force for their own country, so, not surprisingly, they don’t value it for Israel.

Another example of the differences between the two parties is their approach to the economy. The Democrats believe there should be higher taxes and more regulations on businesses, which makes it harder for businesses and startup enterprises. The Israeli society encourages entrepreneurship and new startups. Given these basic differences in policy and vision between the Democratic Party and the Israeli society, it is not surprising that there will not be bipartisan support for Israel.
Reuven Feinstein, Los Angeles

Sanders Abandoning Israel
It disheartens me to see a Jewish presidential candidate like Bernie Sanders wholeheartedly disown his religion and abandon Israel for the Palestinians (“The Bernie I Know and See Right Through,” Feb. 21). A Jew who fails to condemn Hamas and collaborates with open anti-Semites like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar is a chillul HaShem. 

Although he has an array of contentious political ideologies, this anti-Israel sentiment is what concerns me the most. What would Sanders say to his Jewish brothers and sisters whose tragedy has been brought by Islamic terrorism to Israel? Would he show them compassion or turn his back on his religious brethren? Just hope that, in November, we pick a U.S. president who will continue America’s support for Israel.
Hillel Nachimson, Los Angeles

Bravo to Thane Rosenbaum for his article on Bernie Sanders — it was spot on.

Sanders is no friend to his fellow Jews or Israel, and the political company he keeps is appalling and frightening. We add an “amen” that the Oval Office will not be his.
Rosalyn Weiss Sokoler, West Hills

The Jews Running for President
We live in interesting times: We are told that anti-Semitism is on the rise, yet half of the Democratic Party is considering two last-round draft picks for presidential consideration: Mike Bloomberg, flush with stunning amounts of cash but bankrupt on ideas, including a propensity to utter Joe Bidenesque pearls of wisdom ad infinitum, and Bernie Sanders, an unabashed self-hating Jew from a long line (Jewish Hellenists, Karl Marx, George Soros, Noam Chomsky), who looks like he stumbled out of a clown car, hasn’t yet gotten the memo that socialism doesn’t work, and that the Islamists on his staff want Israel dead.

Sound like a terrific movie script?
Richard Friedman, Culver City

The quote of Dan Schnur from “Which Presidential Jew Is the One for You?” (Feb. 21) that I want to emphasize is: “What sort of outsiders are we? Truth be told, we still often see ourselves as an oppressed minority. The alarming increase in violence against our synagogues and our people have intensified this feeling, but it is a self-characterization we have justifiably carried with us for thousands of years.”

Violent attacks on Jews were not imaginable in 2015; the crime rate against Jews has skyrocketed since October 2018 when our jaws dropped as we heard about the synagogue attack in Pittsburgh. Yet we still stand in public with our kippot on our heads, walking proudly across Pico Boulevard. We have to be proud of our heritage and what we are doing for the world, but we also have to make a good impression out in public. Our actions speak louder than our words.
Elad Zeharya, Tarzana

Positive Sign for the Disabled
Rabbi Avi Orlow explains how the icon signifying the parking spot reserved for people with disabilities has been renewed (“It’s Time to Paint Over Barriers for the Disabled,” Feb. 21). The previous image was of a stick figure sitting passively in a wheelchair whereas in the improved version we see that the figure’s head is pointed upward to show the motion of moving forward. The arms of the user are pointed back to indicate the dynamic mobility of the user. I believe that the upgraded version depicts the disabled as one who has goals to accomplish.

As Jews, we are taught that everyone is equal, no matter their background, culture or level of ability. Each person has a role to play in the world and good to contribute. We are sometimes guilty of viewing the disabled as less than or incapable, but this new symbol shows that the impaired are just as capable of accomplishing their goals as anyone else.
David Abraham, Los Angeles

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