Letters to the Editor (March 28. 2012)
ZOA's positions are pro-Israel and Zionist
In response to "When 'pro-Israelis' compare Israel with the Nazis," March 21
Bradley Burston makes the ludicrous claim that the Zionist Organization of America is anti-Israel. Why? Because we support the right of Jews, if they wish to, to pray on Jerusalem's Temple Mount; because we believe that a Palestinian state, under current conditions, would endanger Israel; and because Israel has the strongest political, religious, historical and legal right to Judea/Samaria - yet we do support concessions, if it would lead to real peace.
Yes, we disagree with some Israeli policies, just as Mr. Burston does. The ZOA disagreed with Oslo, negotiating with Arafat and leaving Gaza, all of which most realize now was a mistake.
If the PA ended incitement, arrested terrorists and accepted Israel as a Jewish state, ZOA would support mutual concessions.
ZOA's views are supported by most Israelis and American Jews today. The 2011 American Jewish Committee survey shows that clear majorities of American Jews oppose creating a Palestinian state, re-dividing Jerusalem and agree that "the goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel." The October 2011 Peace Index poll found that 66 percent of Israelis do not believe that, under present circumstances, renewed negotiations with the Palestinian Authority will produce peace, as opposed to just 31 percent who do. These are all ZOA positions.
Burston is entitled to argue that our positions are wrong, unhelpful or misguided, but he cannot rationally claim that we are not pro-Israel. After all, Prime Minister Netanyahu, has stated, "I urge you to support the ZOA, a bulwark in the defense of Israel and the Jewish people."
Burston correctly notes that it is utterly wrong to promote Israel-Nazi analogies. But he incorrectly claims we did so in a February 13 press release noting that some religious Jews prevented from entering the Temple Mount have wrongly and in anger said that it is reminiscent of Nazi selection. It isn't, we never said it was, and we noted at the time that we do not condone such imagery.
Morton A. Klein
National President, Zionist Organization of America
How are the Jews guilty?
In response to "A.B. Yehoshua says only Israelis are 'complete Jews,'" March 18
I find it difficult to understand writer A.B. Yehoshua's foolish claim that the Holocaust was Jewish failure. Why does he consider a despicable act by the German people (with the active or passive collaboration of other peoples ) against a helpless Jewish minority a Jewish failure? Who could have foreseen such a colossal horror of this level?
I am not surprised that such views gain footing in an atmosphere where politicians, and primarily the prime minister, frequently voice opinions relating to this sensitive topic while their historical knowledge is extremely limited, if not nonexistent.
As a leading Holocaust research institute in Israel, I would like to know the official reaction of Yad Vashem to this claim.
The Holocaust is not a 'Jewish failure'
When the French analyze their defeat by Germany it is clear that it is a French failure, because this refers to a country of 50 million people that was conquered. Yet, I have never before heard the claim that the Holocaust is a Jewish failure, cited by A.B. Yehoshua. For the millions of Jews who died in the Holocaust there was no country with 50 million people nor millions of trained armed soldiers, including thousands of tanks and planes and a huge war fleet.
The French were defeated as an army and a nation, and therefore there is room to analyze their humiliating loss. However, the millions of Jews were just ordinary citizens in all the European countries. The job of the governments of those countries was to protect them just like every other citizen. But the European governments abandoned their Jewish citizens to the Nazis and the collaborators who assisted them. Europe's Jews were an integral part of other European citizens and they had no reason to anticipate such a terrible occurrence, just as Europe's leaders did not foresee the Nazi monster.
Europe's Jews did almost always suffer from their neighbors' anti-Semitism, but that was never reason enough for them to abandon the land of Europe where they had resided for generations.
Zionist leaders here tried to evoke the compassion of world leaders, hoping that the horrors of the Holocaust would influence them to help establish the Jewish state - something that Zionist leaders had been unable to accomplish during 100 years of the Zionist movement.
Historian Kiryat Bialik