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Letters: Coronavirus Blame Game, Students Help Israel Battle Virus

[additional-authors]
May 13, 2020

Coronavirus Blame Game
One of the letter writers in the May 1 Journal blamed President Donald Trump for a six-week delay in his response to COVID-19. It seems to be de rigueur for those possessing “Trump Derangement Syndrome” to blame Trump for everything negative that happens.

Let’s put blame where blame is squarely due: China and its Communist authoritarian regime. If China had been honest and informed the world, the virus would have been “nipped in the bud” and we wouldn’t now be prisoners in our homes with our economy in free fall.
Frieda Korobkin, Los Angeles

If the coronavirus was the only current cause of death, then there might be some validity to having imminent and pervasive fear and shutting down the country to save one life.

But among the plethora of causes of death in the United States every day, the real question is, how many additional people will die (for lack of emergency room visits, lack of elective surgeries, hunger, substance abuse, child abuse, suicides, mental disorders, etc.) who would not have died if there was no shutdown?

I am more worried about a heart attack or stroke than I am about catching the coronavirus. On the other hand, I am in fear of not being allowed access to Z-Pak or zinc or Remdesivir if I eventually become infected with the virus.
Warren Scheinin, Redondo Beach

In the Middle of Pandemic 2020
This virus travels round the world,
Infecting all who cross its path.
No weapons to defeat its grip,
Arousing fear instead of wrath.
Yet many gallant front-line souls
risk their precious lives.
To them we sing in gratitude
And pray that they survive.
When our country is disordered,
As it is today,
We yearn for one wise leader,
Who will guide us on our way.
Though we swim in turbulent waters,
Safe harbor not in view,
We’re certain this dark world
Will turn bright and new.
Oh, yes, we needn’t worry,
We’ll find the better land.
Our good future is ordained,
Even with no leader’s hand.
But now a crucial choice looms,
Weighing who or what to save:
Our economy, fragile as a house of cards,
People heading to their graves.
As we struggle to save them both,
Scientists search at feverish pace
To find prevention and a cure,
To rescue wealth and human race.
Surely at this critical hour,
Wise men and women will appear,
To save us from this tragic storm.
The human race will be reborn.
David Rothman, via email

Anti-Semitism and Weaponizing Truth
Deborah Lipstadt is a top-of-the-line professor and defender against anti-Semitism (David Irving trial), who opens new windows to thinking about anti-Semitism and stereotypes in the minds of her students (“Deborah Lipstadt on Pandemic Anti-Semitism,” May 8). When she was at UCLA, I was fortunate to take one of her classes.

It’s true — visual metaphors that equate rats with Jews provide plausible reasons to exterminate while other aspects of stereotypes can save lives. “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” falsely purported to document a shadowy Jewish conspiracy to take over the world and, especially in Russia, it served to foment pogroms against innocent Jewish communities such as Kishinev.

However, during World War II, the Japanese occupation forces allowed the entire Mir Yeshiva as well, like my mother’s German Jewish friend Margot and her family, sanctuary in Shanghai, and my grandparents, who were fleeing the Nazis, passage through Manchuria (then occupied by the Japanese) on their way to Seattle because Japanese leaders who read “The Protocols” believed them to be true.

There’s a part of all of us that looks for the sickly sweet comfort of stereotypical explanations of complex unknowns like wars and the present pandemic. We’re all prejudiced against something or some group.

King Solomon said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” Does the fact that stereotypes sometimes save lives make them good? Of course not. Let’s try not to eviscerate truth by falsely objectifying what we don’t understand. As Lipstadt alluded, let’s weaponize truth with facts. Let’s make ourselves and our heroes like Lipstadt proud.
Mina Friedler, Venice

Farewell to a Beloved Dog
Mark Schiff’s column about his dog was beautiful (“Keep Your Promises, Even to Your Dog,” May 8). I want to tell him, “I am sorry for your loss of Glendi. May her memory always be a blessing.”
Robert Goldman, Santa Monica

De Blasio and Anti-Semitism
With anti-Semitism running rampant throughout the world, it’s very easy to jump on the anti-Semite bandwagon. There are statements and actions by many in this country that should be categorized as blatant anti-Semitism. But does the statement singling out the Jewish community from Mayor Bill de Blasio fall into this category? I think not.

The mayor has held that office for a few years and if he were an anti-Semite, especially in a city with the most Jews per capita in the U.S., we would have known long before last month. Granted, the April 28 funeral in question was for a revered and respected rabbi but every death is just as important to the family that loses a loved one. I have yet to see a story of a Christian or Muslim gathering where police had to intervene.

We as Jews must attack anti-Semitism in this country and around the world with fervor but we have to differentiate where it is truly warranted.
Richard Katz, Los Angeles

To Reopen or Not
Shmuel Rosner’s column “Israel and the Virus: Hitting the Play Button” (May 8) speaks about the dilemma of whether it was the right time for Israel to reopen its economy. Israel’s prime minister isn’t the only leader faced with the uncertainty of getting back to a normal way of life during this pandemic. I agree, it is time.

A country’s formula regarding when to return to normal life should be based on its population’s mortality rate. I agree that Israel, having one of the lowest mortality rates, has reached the point to allow people to get back to their day-to-day life. Being one of the firsts puts Israel in the spotlight and opens it up to potential criticism.

In reality, Israel doesn’t have all the answers nor the vaccine, but after the people are allowed to get back to their day-to-day life, Israel will get a lot of the answers to their unanswered questions. This is an opportunity for other countries to see what can go right and what can go wrong so they can learn and plan ahead.
Dylan Nassir, Beverly HIlls 

Students Help Israel Battle Virus
A recent story on the Journal’s website with the headline “Israeli Robotics Program Creates Robot to Treat COVID-19 Patients” (May 6), talks mainly about how some high school students from Haifa’s Reali School created a robot that enables doctors to distance themselves from infected patients. There are about 16,314 COVID-19 cases and 238 deaths from the virus in Israel, and they can’t risk the doctors being exposed.

Professor Alan Wolf, Technion vice president for external relations, tasked high school students with creating the robot. I find it fascinating that a person of such authority would call upon a few students to accomplish the goal. This shows how anyone can make a difference no matter how small. It is especially important today to remember that everyone has a voice and should speak up and take on challenges. Don’t lose hope. Remember that Israel got it under control..
Joseph Andron, Valley Village


Now it’s your turn. Letters should be no more than 200 words and must include a valid name and city. The Journal reserves the right to edit all letters.
letters@jewishjournal.com.

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