Letters to the Editor: American Jewry Responds in the Wake of Pittsburgh Shooting

FILE PHOTO: People pay their respects at a makeshift memorial for the 11 people killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue, Pittsburgh, November 1, 2018
Gene J. Puskar/AP

Tell your dad, Ivanka

After the mass shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue, First Daughter Ivanka Trump tweeted in part: “We must unite against hatred & evil.” I would appreciate it very much if she would say that to her father. That would be a good start to put this torn nation back on its feet, assuming he would listen to her. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. His vile rhetoric and reluctance to loudly condemn white supremacy, neo-Nazis and old-school America Firsters is a sad reminder of “Donald being Donald.” The answer is to vote to end the GOP’s nightmarish agenda on November 6!

Herb Stark

Mooresville, North Carolina

Trump and white racists are not America

Last Shabbat was observed as a special day of mourning and comfort, following the anti-Semitic murder of 11 Jews last week. At my Reform synagogue, we were joined by the mayor and the governor, our U.S. senator and two dozen clergy members – Jewish, Protestant, Catholic and Muslim. In addition to the leaders, our sanctuary was filled with ordinary people there to show love and support. The two Muslim women in front of me watched as the bat mitzvah girl chanted the kiddush, and joined us in silent prayer. The messages were all the same – there are without doubt anti-Semites in America, a leader who believes in racial supremacy, but this is not America. Never before have so many allies stood up in support. In contrast, Israel’s chief rabbi doesn’t acknowledge that these 11 were killed in a synagogue and adds insult to abandonment. Shame.

Dr. Bob

via Haaretz.com

Israel, recognize non-Orthodox Judaism

We American Jews should vote according to our individual consciences and not use the martyrdom in Pittsburgh as a political tool against one another. However, Israel has a glorious opportunity to right a wrong against the Jewish people that was initiated in 1948 along with the creation of our common Jewish homeland and help make the memories of the recently martyred Pittsburgh Jews a true blessing. It’s time for Israeli politicians to recognize that we all are Jews and in memory of the Pittsburgh 11 – recognize and support Conservative and Reform Judaism as much as Israel recognizes Orthodoxy. Who knows, more Israelis may actually start practicing the religion we hold in common once they see what Masorti/Conservative/Reform Judaism has to offer them.

Lee Smith

via Haaretz.com

No ‘man of peace’

In response to “Netanyahu, man of peace” (Gideon Levy, Opinion, November 4).

As an admirer of Gideon Levy’s reporting and op-ed articles, I must take exception to “Netanyahu, man of peace.” While our prime minister has resisted invading Gaza during these past months, thereby saving the lives of Israeli soldiers, he has headed a government that is responsible for the deaths by deliberate sniper fire of many scores of Palestinian civilians demonstrating at the Gaza border fence and the injury of many thousands more. Does this continuous slaughter really entitle him to the title “man of peace”?

His predecessors are as guilty as he is for the siege of Gaza that has made life impossible for the unfortunate residents since Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s pullback from the territory in 2005, but Netanyahu has done nothing to alleviate their plight. He has refrained from a military campaign, but he has also repudiated any initiative that could alter the appalling reality of everyday life in Gaza and improve the lives of the people who live there. The recent moves in conjunction with Qatar, Egypt and Hamas are welcome, but surely a case of too little, too late.

Only a drastic change in the living conditions of the Palestinians of Gaza will prevent the continuing violence, which is taking a severe toll on the mental health of the citizens living in the settlements on the Israeli side of the border and is exacting a far greater price from the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.

Daniel Gavron

Motza Illit

U.S. Jews politicized Pittsburgh

In response to “American Jews May Never Forgive Israel for Its Reaction to the Pittsburgh Massacre” (Allison Kaplan Sommer, November 4).

It is not that “Israel leaders chose Trump over American Jews.” It is that American Jews chose to turn this incident into one about Trump rather than one about anti-Semitism. This is both wrong and foolish. Jew-hatred in American on the right and on the left is a dangerous problem that has existed long before Trump. The week prior to the shooting saw an incident where a Muslim mercilessly beat an elderly Jew in the street in Brooklyn. I don’t know if he was a Trump supporter. Several weeks earlier, at Aretha Franklin’s funeral, Bill and Hillary sat with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton on stage with Louis Farrakhan, who had recently called Jews “termites.” None of this was discussed in the context of anti-Semitism in the U.S. Only Trump. This is not only a false and very selective discussion of anti-Semitism, but dangerous. Israeli leaders cannot be blamed for not joining this purely partisan attack on a president who is not only no anti-Semite but in fact a good friend to both Israel and the Jews. Perhaps U.S. Jews should speak more to anti-Semitism on campus and among Democrats as well as the right and then we will be able to join them is such an endeavor.

Scott

via Haaretz.com

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