Letters, March 30, 2016

Raskin a slender reed
It is customary for a newspaper to endorse a candidate in each primary or to refrain from endorsing anybody until the general election. The Washington Jewish Week has violated this principle by endorsing Jamie Raskin for Congress in the general election, reaching past intelligent candidates such as Aryeh Shudofsky (“Jamie Raskin for District 8,” Editorial, March 24). WJW hopes that Raskin will support Israel. Will he? His website lists 15 issues he cares about, including animal rights and support for the Iran deal. Not even on the list: Israel security and defense of our country. By endorsing Raskin, WJW has cast its weight upon a slender reed.
TOM SELMAN
Silver Spring

Trump’s opinions
Donald Trump’s address to AIPAC was one of the most pro-Israel speeches I have ever heard (“Iran still in AIPAC’ post-deal crosshairs,” March 24). However, note that it came a few weeks after Trump, ignoring the obstinacy of the Palestinian Authority, told the Associated Press in an interview (available on YouTube) that Israel is solely responsible for the failure of the peace process.

Considering that the two opinions cannot be reconciled, which Donald Trump is running for president?

The one who spoke at AIPAC or the one interviewed by the AP? And why should we take a chance on which one we are getting?
MICHAEL FLEISCHHACKER
Silver Spring

Democratic Party positions questioned
I was surprised to read “A good year for Jewish Democrats” by Barbara Goldberg Goldman (Voices, March 17). I disagree with that headline.

As a lifetime registered Democrat, my support for the Democratic Party was severely challenged this past year.

The Democrats’ strong support for the Iran nuclear agreement, which all but guarantees Iran’s access to nuclear bombs in the near future, has deeply divided American Jews and helped to break the strong bipartisan bond that had shielded Israel until now.

By sleight-of-hand parliamentary maneuvers, Democrats have prevented an up-and-down vote in Congress, which would have identified the names of those Jewish representatives and senators who gave in to White House pressure, thus making the nuclear deal possible.

With the recent selection of J Street to represent the Democratic position in a debate (“J Street lands in NJDC’s usual spot,” March 3), the mask is off: As an American Jew, I no longer feel represented by the Democratic Party.
LUIS LANDAU
Washington

Absurdity in Iran deal

In your recent piece (“Iran Still in AIPAC’s post-deal crosshairs,” March 24) you
reported that “think-tank experts … concluded that when the deal expires in 15 years, the United States will have no choice but to launch a military attack on Iran.”  This view, or something similar, has been widely expressed. But the obvious absurdity of such expression seems to have gone unnoticed.

The Iranians are clever and skilled. They had already completed a purchase of ballistic missile defense systems from Russia prior to the deal. First deliveries have already been made.

Iran will not stand around idly as time goes by. Iran will harden its facilities and gain better defense systems. We will take a legalistic approach, while Iran will be opportunistic. Time is on Iran’s side. If a cowboy knows he will be in a gunfight, is it wise for him to wait until his opponent has more weapons, more ammunition and time to prepare? Will there be political will to launch a future military attack?

Importantly, every day we wait is a day which makes such a decision more difficult and the likelihood of success much weaker. There are innumerable disasters which will emanate from this deal — a Middle East nuclear arms race, a move to dirty bombs by states that cannot achieve nuclear weapons and the likelihood of terrorists gaining such weapons from the Middle East’s rather leaky security establishments.

Disaster awaits, even if Iran never uses a bomb, but then again it could. For President Barack Obama and this Congress, Armageddon will not happen on their watch, which I suspect provides them both cover and solace. The idea that we will use military force in 10 years or more is almost an oxymoron. It’s time to wake up. Hope is not a method, and the Iranians are not partners.
DONALD L. LOSMAN
Falls Church

Misguided on AIPAC
Jim Grossfeld misguidedly maligns AIPAC (“AIPAC made poor choice,” Letters, March 24).
The “fury” he exaggeratedly describes regarding AIPAC’s speaking invitation to Trump is largely a reflection of an echo chamber of ineffective AIPAC critics who lament its record of defending Israel’s right to determine its own future free of outside pressure. And the suggestion that AIPAC has “hungered to have reactionaries speak at its conferences” is a cheap smear.

AIPAC is a bipartisan organization which invited all presidential candidates to speak. By resolutely focusing on the single issue of Israel, it has long attracted impressive support and speakers from across the philosophical and political spectrums and from those with diverse religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds. This is to Israel’s advantage.

In this year’s opening session, the heads of the College Democrats and College Republicans jointly greeted delegates. Shortly thereafter, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) gave a plug for Hillary Clinton during his appearance.

Delegates heard from the speaker, majority leader, and minority leader of the House, senior Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and liberal Democratic activist Ann Lewis, among others. Last year, I listened to an evenly bipartisan panel of freshmen congressmen less than three months in office.

Sometimes AIPAC is at odds with presidents. Such was the case when it fought tooth and nail against President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 sale of AWAC aircraft to Saudi Arabia and when it recently opposed President Barack Obama’s deal with Iran.

The recent criticism of AIPAC is largely about the desire of some, such as J Street, to have Obama pressure Israel into a deal with the Palestinians that satisfies these critics. AIPAC appropriately stands against imposing a settlement on Israel; hence the contemptible vitriol from some of these critics.
MARK DISLER
Rockville

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