Letters to the Editor: Ugly Americans and Bennett's Failures

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President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House, June 15, 2018, in Washington. Credit: Evan Vucci/AP
Letters to the Editor

The ultimate ugly American

I’m American by birth. Throughout my many years and many travels, I’ve done my share of cringing at “ugly Americans” (typically tourists). I could imagine U.S. congressional representatives being ugly Americans, as many (most?) don’t have passports and thus have never experienced life outside the American bubble.

But never in my life could I imagine a U.S. president being an ugly American, and, tragically for most Americans, the current president exemplifies the worst.

A broad collection of behaviors and adjectives defines an ugly American: behaves in ways offensive to people of another country while there; acts brashly, like an insensitive philistine, a spoiled brat; is obnoxious, uncouth, boastful, materialistic, duplicitous, loud, arrogant, demeaning, thoughtless, rude, ignorant, voracious, preachy, mercenary and bombastically chauvinist; is often ignorant or dismissive of local culture and standards; is ethnocentric and imperialist; lacks cultural sensitivity; gives the United States a bad reputation by acting in an offensive way.

“Americans when they go to a foreign land. ... They isolate themselves socially. They live pretentiously. They’re loud and ostentatious” (“The Ugly American,” Willian Lederer and Eugene Burdick, 1958).

The president models the epitome of an ugly American; many of his aides follow closely.

My dad — patriot, Navy guy, conservative — valued “statesmanship” in America’s leaders. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King  Jr. were some of Dad’s “statesmen.” I’m relieved he’s not here to see how ugly American leaders have become!

Judy Bamberger

O’Connor, Australian Capital Territory Australia

Time for a change

In response to “Bennett: ‘Future of American Jews keeps me up at night,’” June 13

I read with interest about Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s difficulty sleeping because he is worried about the future of American Jews. Perhaps he should get up and look in the mirror to realize that he and his cohorts might be the reason for the alienation of American Jewish Youth. Does he not realize that news of his attempts to change (and corrupt) the public educational system in Israel by introducing more and more religiously oriented studies and detracting from the core subjects — math, science, history, language, truth — might be the underlying cause. Young Jews are turned off by being told they are not Jewish enough, that Reform and Conservative Judaism is a farce. Bennett’s justice minister doesn’t know what justice is, and the interior minister and his clan — along with Bennett — denying the asylum seekers the right to apply for residency, putting them in detention or jail, refusing them the right to work, to live, to earn and to contribute to Israel. In addition, Culture Minister Miri Regev and her outright discrimination and racism are enough to turn off the most committed Jew.

One can also not forget the ongoing investigations of the prime minister and his wife that might (and should) eventually lead to their indictment and sentencing. How much corruption can we take? How long can we keep up the fantasy of being a “democratic, Jewish state”?

It is time for change, and our hope is that someone with real leadership skills, understanding of the situation that exists here and is reflected in our status abroad and the ability to make a difference will appear and succeed in overthrowing this divisive, corrupt government we have had for too many years.

Judy Telman

Mevasseret Zion

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