Letters: Trump and Israel, Kamala Harris on the Ticket

August 20, 2020

Trump and Israel
If your response to the news of the U.S.-brokered Israeli-UAE treaty was, “Oh, no, now Donald Trump will have another argument that his presidency has been a blessing for Israel,” maybe it’s time to consider the possibility that his presidency actually has been a blessing for Israel.
Robert F. Helfing, Pasadena

The Story Behind the Play
I first heard about the Fugu Plan, referenced by Gerri Miller (“Virtual Theater: ‘Fugu’ Tells Little-Known Holocaust Story,” Aug. 14), in a talk at the Brandeis Bardin Institute in 1983, given by Rabbi Marvin Tokayer, the former Chief (and only) Rabbi of Japan. The talk was spellbinding and inspiring. Tokayer, together with Mary Swartz, had published a novelized version of the story in 1979 titled “Fugu Plan: The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews During World War II.”
A wonderful documentary, “Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness,” produced by Diane Estelle Vicari, was shown on Boston’s WGBH in 2005, and was screened locally at the Skirball museum in 2011, and attended by the Consul General of Japan, Junichi Ihara, and Consul General of Israel, Jacob Dayan.

Jewish refugees escaping via this route included, Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law School professor and an official in President Barack Obama’s Justice Department; artist Peter Max; W. Michael Blumenthal, secretary of the treasury in the Jimmy Carter administration; film producer Michael Medavoy; and the entire Mirrer Yeshivah.

Some of the Jewish survivors, who fled Kovno, Lithuania, and spent World War II in Japan (and Shanghai), eventually settled in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The widow of Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese vice consul in Kovno, who largely was responsible for aiding the Jewish emigration detailed in this story, spoke at Stephen S. Wise Temple.
Avrum Bluming, via email

Success of Jewish TV Series
Thane Rosenbaum offered an interesting perspective on the popularity of Jewish-Israeli TV programming and its jarring contrast with the stark reality of the increase in worldwide Jew hatred (“Jewish Series’ Successes Stave Off Complete Jew-Hatred,” Aug. 14). His sarcastic comment, “Anti-Semitism, after all, goes way back — even before cable,” hits right between the eyes.
Yet Rosenbaum’s historical review contains notable omissions, probably adhering to political correctness: “Centuries of Christian anti-Semitism depicted Jews as conniving … many believed Jews sported horns,” etc., yet he follows up with: “Some Muslims allege Jews or the Mossad (probably both) staged the 9-11 carnage.” 

Why does Rosenbaum paint all of Christianity as anti-Semitic based on 1,000 years ago, but then qualifies “some Muslims” in the recent past? Why does he neglect to mention that the vile Christian anti-Semitic tropes from 1,000 years ago mentioned above are alive and well today in the Muslim world — from Gaza, Iran, Egypt, as far as Malaysia, etc., depicting Jews with the identical vicious tropes inherited from medieval Christianity?

One can only hope the recent good news coming out of the United Arab Emirates is a harbinger of changing attitudes in the Arab world.
Richard Friedman, Los Angeles

A Step Toward Peace in the Mideast
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, massive unemployment and protests, President Donald Trump brokered another bridge for Israel and Middle East peace with the United Arab Emirates.
Enriqué Gascon, Westside Village

Jews and the Palestinian Cause
David Suissa opines that Jews should “care about the Palestinian cause” (“Today, the Real Rebels Defend Israel,” online Aug. 9). This raises a few questions. Why does he — in line with the Jewish establishment — fail to insist that Palestinians should care about the Jewish cause?

One frequently reads “legitimate criticism of Israel,” but where does the Jewish establishment offer legitimate criticism of Hamas, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and a culture that pays pensions to incentivize the murderer of Israeli civilians?

The students who support Israel on systemically hostile campuses, compelled by their personal courage and integrity, face the intensely ugly, current form of the world’s oldest hatred mostly without any meaningful help from campus administrators or Jewish organizations. If this feels good, please explain why so very few Jewish students avail themselves of this rewarding experience.
Julia Lutch, Davis, Calif.

Kamala Harris on the Ticket
Neither of Kamala Harris’ parents have African lineage. Calling her “African American” is a misnomer.
Gary Dalin

Modiin-Maccabim-Reut, Israel
Dan Schnur made some valid points in his column about Kamala Harris (“Why Kamala Harris Was the Safe Choice,” Aug. 14), but I am puzzled by his description of her as an “African American.” He acknowledges that her mother was from India, and her father is from Jamaica. Neither of those places are in Africa.
Marc Russell, Los Angeles

Editor’s note: Sen. Kamala Harris describes herself as African American on her dot.gov website. However, unless it is part of a direct quote, the Journal’s editorial policy is to follow other major newspapers that state Harris is Black and the first Black woman of Indian descent on a major party ticket.   

So we’re supposed to welcome Kamala Harris and Joe Biden with open arms in part because she smashed a glass at her wedding, is big on hate crimes and did the blue box thing. President Barack Obama and his vice president, Biden, brokered a deal with Iran. That would have put Israel in a pine box.
Mike Kamins, Setauket, N.Y.

Steinsaltz and the Light
Street corner at twilight in Beverly-Fairfax
Waiting for the light to change
Rabbi Steinsaltz, my husband and I
Smiling at one another, enchanted
By the golden, hanging moon
I’d seen before only in Jerusalem
This iconic moon. So perfect.
Luminescent. Like the rabbi
Drawing us white like a magnet
To his presence, his genius, his sanctity
All of us — young, knowledgeable,
ignorant, broken
Equal in his eyes
Only love, he said
The light changed
Mina Stern, Venice

Now it’s your turn! Don’t be shy. Submit your letter to the editor! 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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