Letters Aug. 17, 2017

Article misrepresented JCRC views

The article, “JCRC holds a grudge over Roger Waters” (Aug. 10), does a great disservice to a complicated issue, misrepresents the views of the JCRC of Greater Washington and is an example of unprofessional journalism.

To assert that our agency produced an educational video about Waters’ support for BDS based on a “grudge” minimizes the exemplary, professional and deliberate manner in which the JCRC has served our community for the last 80 years.

We expect more from the paper of Washington’s Jewish community. The video has been viewed more than 47,000 times across multiple platforms. It has been covered in the media, including the Washington Post, JTA, Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post, all of which reported on the important message of harnessing the power of music to bring people together.

Contrary to what the article implies, the BDS movement is an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic effort. While the individual tactics of boycotting, divesting and sanctioning are not themselves inherently anti-Semitic, the leaders and values of the BDS movement are. By calling for the destruction of the only Jewish state and ostracizing Israel through holding her to double standards of behaviors — criteria that BDS supporters only apply to Israel — BDS activists like Waters, cross the line into anti-Semitism.

Waters, an ardent promoter of the BDS movement, engages in actions designed to delegitimize Israel and encourages a campaign of anti-normalization that seeks to turn Israel into a pariah state. He uses Jewish symbols in flagrantly disrespectful and outrageous manners, equates Israel to the Nazis and calls Israel an apartheid state, crossing the line from legitimate criticism of Israel’s polices, into the mud of anti-Semitism.

The JCRC supports the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their homeland, will continue to confront BDS supporters and those who engage in anti-Semitism, and will proudly advocate for Israel.

MICHAEL FRIEDMAN

President, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington

An authority regarding tolerance?

Although there is no question that the political left has a long history of having anti-Semites among its ranks, Eric Rozenman stuns me when he cites Corey Stewart, an official in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, as an authoritative source on the subject of tolerance (“Un-teachable moment: leftist anti-Semitism,” Voices, Aug. 10). Stewart, a former GOP candidate for Virginia governor, embraced a stand that offended African Americans when he opposed the removal of Confederate statues from public places.

As alarming as it is for Jewish college students to be harassed by left-wing anti-Semites on college campuses, is Rozenman implying that it is a lesser evil for other Jews who find swastikas painted on their homes by right-wing neo-Nazis?

While Rozenman mentions anti-Semitic public figures sitting in on the Democratic Party platform committee during last year’s presidential election, the bottom line is that the final plank pertaining to Israel states that the United States and Israel “share overarching strategic interests, and the common values of democracy, equality, tolerance and pluralism.”

Someone should ask Rozenman about Trump’s Holocaust Remembrance Day message that only addressed “innocent people.” Is this another example of a right-wing lesser evil that Trump does not mention Jews in such a message, particularly since this is coming from the president of the United States?

BARRY DWORK

Alexandria

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