Letters June 15, 2017

Writers view Israel in vacuum

In the article about two writers (“A reading list for confronting the occupation,” June 8), Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, what struck me was that they are not about peace. They are about themselves as “citizens of the world,” conflating their opinions with Jewish values, which they only impose on Israel.

Israeli actions are viewed in a vacuum. Consequences resulting from their opinions are irrelevant.

If Israel’s 50-year occupation is bad, what of the 500-year occupation of the Americas, the 200-year occupation of Australia or China’s occupation of Tibet. America’s march from sea to shining sea wiped out American Indians. America dropped two atomic bombs on Japanese cities, participated in the Allied bombings of German cities to make a definitive statement — “Don’t mess with America.”

Israelis did none of these, when facing an implacable enemy determined to destroy Israel. There was no peace before 1967 and there is no scenario in which there would be peace were Israel to withdraw.

Neither these writers nor Yehuda Shaul of Break the Silence care about the consequences of a withdrawal. They don’t care if rockets fall on Israelis or tunnels are dug into Israel or attacks from the Palestinian side destroy the protection barrier or Jews cannot access the Western Wall or the Temple Mount. They don’t care if there is no peace and no land. All that matters is that they feel good about themselves.

If life is so bad, why don’t Palestinians go to any of the 22 Arab states. Why don’t the authors see how Arabs live in the Arab world and read William Weiss’ column on the United Nations and anti-Semitism (Voices, “The UN and anti-Semitism”) in the same WJW edition.

All I read was smug superiority, selective storytelling and nonsense analogies from the authors and Shaul.

MELVIN FARBER

Silver Spring

Public relations and policies

The June 8 issue of WJW provocatively juxtaposes an article about “confronting the occupation” (“A reading list for confronting the occupation”) on page 4 with an advertisement about “an initiative to unify the pro-Israel network online” on page 5.

Shortly after returning to the United States in September 1970 after spending almost three years abroad, including four months working on a kibbutz and touring Israel, I attended a meeting about Israel in New York City. I don’t remember who sponsored the meeting, but I remember being impressed with the message that Israel’s security depended on improving its public relations.

I can’t recall how many times I have heard that same theme in the almost 47 years since then, most recently in the advertisement in the June 8 issue of WJW. But perhaps the answer lies not in improving Israel’s propaganda, but in improving its policies. For example, by ending the occupation.

TED HOCHSTADT

Falls Church

Connection to Judaism absent

Regarding the June 1 column about a martini in memory of actor Roger Moore, who portrayed James Bond (L’chaim, “Shaken, not stirred”), what does this have to do with Judaism?

There’s not enough going on in Israel to report? Our college campuses have suddenly stopped being anti-Semitic?

JONATHAN E. GRANT

Silver Spring

Editorial overstatement

The editorial “Save planet Earth” (June 8) claimed that our president’s case for withdrawing from the Paris climate accord sounded more like campaign bravado than hard scientific or economic fact. Odd really since no scientific or economic case was made in the editorial for staying in.

Yes, the planet appears to be in a mild climate warming phase, and human activity may well be contributing to the increase. We must not forget, however, that every policy change has economic ramifications, and sadly the Paris accord appeared to be more oriented towards redistribution of national wealth than to temperature reduction.

Despite the claims by a previous president that climate change is a scientific fact and no longer open to discussion, the same president avoided presenting the Paris agreement to the Senate for ratification. He knew full well that the economic effects on our nation would have been far more deleterious than the estimated benefit of a slight reduction in global heating. That is why the Paris accord never became a formal treaty, enabling President Donald Trump to withdraw without Senate approval.

Concluding the editorial with the phrase that we are talking about the survival of planet Earth is a significant overstatement. Readers deserve more objectivity and balance from the sole Jewish newspaper in the Greater Washington area.

STANLEY ORMAN

Rockville

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