Letters May 11, 2017

Look at Netanyahu’s decision in a different way

The recent Washington Jewish Week editorial (“Netanyahu’s German problem, May 4) concludes that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “snub” of the German Foreign Minister Gabriel’s intent to meet with Breaking the Silence (BTS) sends “a message of intolerance and hostility to diverse opinions — an approach that is fundamentally inconsistent with Israel’s democratic principles.”

Perhaps there is another way to view Netanyahu’s decision.

That BTS, an organization, as the editorial points out, freely “publishes anonymous testimonies alleging human rights abuses by Israeli soldiers” exactly reflects one of Israel’s “democratic principles.” The organization, allegedly tied to and funded by various nongovernmental organizations and quasi-governmental bodies hostile to Israel, aims to delegitimize the Jewish state in the eyes of the world, much like the BDS movement. Yet, unlike what every other country in the Middle East would do, Israel allows BTS, as unpopular as it is with most Israelis, to operate and promote its agenda.

We are now in a time when true autocrats such Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro (putting in a separate category the genocidal leaders of North Korea and Syria) are holding greater sway and demand our attention and denunciation. But Netanyahu’s action surrounding the German Foreign Minister’s visit (and for that matter any of his statements or actions labeled by some as “right wing”) do not rise in any way to the same level as those of the true autocrats mentioned. For the WJW to even quote a German journalist calling the Israeli Prime Minister “Vladimir Tayyip Netanyahu” is unfortunately misplaced and hurtful, and it helps those who wish to delegitimize Israel. I’m sure its intent was not to do so.

SAUL GOLUBCOW

Potomac

Speech’s context is crucial

In its May 4 edition, in a letter to the editor, the WJW’s reporting was criticized for “besmirching” and “denigrating” “by a litany of events” President Donald Trump’s speech at the Holocaust memorial (“Article sullied Holocaust speech”).

Rather, I commend the WJW for its journalistic professionalism in reporting

the speech in the full context of Trump’s actions. Context matters. We should not forget that at the same time he was reading those words a speechwriter had written for him, he was voicing support for the candidate in the French election whose party was founded on anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. So pardon me if I do not swoon over that speech.

MARK COHEN

Potomac

Op-ed based on fake premise

The article by Rabbi Michael Ramberg (“To respond to the crackdown on immigrants, start by listening to immigrant leaders,” Voices, April 27) should not have been published because it is based on a false premise.

There has not been a crackdown on undocumented immigrants as the opening sentence of the article claims. There has been an instruction to officials to start complying with existing law with regards to criminal undocumented immigrants. Why should compliance with existing law horrify a rabbi whose chosen career is based on obeying laws and advising others to follow his example?

The author has based his appeal on the genuine concern and desire to help the less fortunate that is built into Jewish DNA. But do not equate that human feeling to those who have not only broken laws to come here, but have then committed crimes that merit deportation.

STANLEY ORMAN

Rockville

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