March 16, 2010
Letters: Dennis Prager, Marty Kaplan, “Jewish” Journal
Heritage Listings Necessary
Avi Davis is correct to argue that Israel’s heritage listing of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem is rendered necessary by continuous Palestinian violation of Jewish sacred sites and denial and negation of any Jewish right or even connection to them (“The Palestinian Graveyard Spin,” jewishjournal.com, Mar. 2).
To Davis’ examples of Jordanian and Palestinian vandalism and destruction of Jewish sites under their control, one could add the 1996 destruction by Palestinians of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva at Joseph Tomb in Nablus; continuous attacks on Rachel’s Tomb, including attempts to torch it; and the deliberate destruction in 2000 of the Shalom Al Yisrael synagogue in Jericho.
It is clear that this violence stems from a public and blatant, flat-earth denial of Jewish history and rights. In 2000, Yasser Arafat with a straight face told an amazed Bill Clinton that there had been no Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. In 2007, Adnan Husseini, advisor to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, demanded Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall, saying, “This is part of Islamic heritage that cannot be given up, and it must be under Muslim control.”
In short, the vociferous Arab reaction to the Netanyahu government’s heritage listing is due, not to the fact that the Tomb of the Patriarchs is also a Muslim site, but because Palestinians refuse to accept them as being Jewish holy sites at all, just as they refuse to accept Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state.
Morton A. Klein
Zionist Organization of America
The Name Game
In The Jewish Journal of March 5, a letter writer wrote: “kindly remove the name Jewish from your publication.” (”What’s in a Name?“)
My question is: What would you prefer? “The Journal” or some other name? I like the phrase “The Jewish Journal.” It is the identity of the publication.
I am very proud to be Jewish and to be identified as Jewish. Lately, when I fill out questionnaire information that asks for racial identity (normally, Jewish-American is missing from the listings), I have taken the initiative to add Jewish-American to the listings. Be proud to be Jewish. I am.
In response to Joseph Chersky: Out of respect for the thousands of liberal, idealistic and life-affirming Jewish men blessed with that biblical moniker—my dear, departed father among them—kindly change your first name.
Jews and God
Your penultimate sentence (“Jews and God—a Troubled Relationship,” Mar. 12) draws a comparison between the “brainwashing” received from both secular and Christian educations. Should I infer that a student who goes from a Jewish kindergarten through a Jewish seminary would likewise be brainwashed? Or no?
Dennis Prager’s column reinforces his general silliness: “Jews alienation from God is a major tragedy for us.” I don’t know if Bernie Madoff believes in God, but the crooked Orthodox rabbis certainly do. I believe it is much more important that Jews of every persuasion do not deny their heritage. A case in point is atheist Christopher Hitchens, who admits to being part of the Jewish people. Also, champions of the Jewish state of Israel, Theodor Herzl and David Ben-Gurion, were secular. Whether they believed in God is irrelevant. Herzl detested Judaism so much that he refused to have his son circumcised.
History has proven that belief in any ”God” can work for both good or evil and may encourage bigotry.
Martin J. Weisman
To Dennis Prager:
“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their desires.”
—Susan B. Anthony, American feminist, 1820-1906.
Rancho Palos Verdes
Dennis Prager defines “God” as the creator God of our Bible, one who transcends nature, which Prager never defines, a God who knows each of us, again he fails to define “knows,” and a God with a moral will who judges all humans. Then Prager makes the following proclamations, telling us that any other God then the one he, Dennis Prager, defined is functionally equivalent to atheism: A God that made the world but doesn’t know us is as irrelevant as no God; a God who does not transcend nature, but is within it, is pantheism. Then, in Prager’s final proclamation on the subject of his God, Prager proclaims, “A God who created the world but does not judge His creations is an amoral, therefore evil, God.” I’m sure Prager’s God must have felt greatly uncomfortable when He read in The Jewish Journal that Prager was judging Him!
Did it ever occur to Prager that some intelligent force billions of years before Abraham may have created the universe, probably as stated in the Big Bang theory, and all that has followed is a result of cause and effect? Furthermore, that humans are not observers of the universe but part of the universe and thus also subject to cause and effect.
Finally, Prager proclaims that if there is no God (I assume he means Prager’s God), life is pointless. This great Prager proclamation is also without any explanation by Prager. So, humbly I will make a proclamation that Prager’s article is pointless and back it up with what I’ve written above.
Leon M. Salter
Kaplan, Health Care Reform
Trying to find the issue in Marty Kaplan’s “The Lies and Reconciliation Commission” (Mar. 5), but clues [are] obscured. Just another rant reading Republicans evil, Democrats good? Kaplan’s beaten that to death! Reconciliation? He doesn’t provide salient facts after promising to do so. Sound familiar? Finally the issue comes into focus; it’s ALL about passing Obama’s National Health. Note how Kaplan keeps readers focused on emotion, not substance. Think he’s aware that a majority of U.S. voters are opposed to the federal government’s hijacking 16 percent of our gross national product? Or [the] fact [that] federal employment grew by over ten percent in 2009 while private sector workers decreased by five percent? Appears he’s content acting as pallbearer to the best health care system on earth and has no problem with D.C. bureaucrats presiding over the promised life and death commissions. Wonder if Marty will be so sanguine when government hacks select those students allowed to register in the USC liberal arts program? Flash! Fed-bill subsidizing college tuition now tied to healthcare legislation. No problem! Kaplan apparently loves big government and pygmy citizens. Liberté, egalité, fraternité; but most of all—egalité.
Vice President Biden slammed Israel for announcing plans to build 1600 homes in East Jerusalem during his visit, saying “it undermines the trust we need right now in order to begin profitable negotiations.”
Let us look for a moment at what the P.A. has done to bolster trust from Israel.
When Benjamin Netanyahu requested that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state the answer was no. A murderer of 37 Israelis was “honored” by having a square named after her this week in Ramallah. Mahmoud Abbas continues to attend events where maps show the Palestinian flag covering not just the areas they demand for a state, but the entire country of Israel. Do we hear Biden condemn any of this?
What kind of trust do actions like this engender? The answer is simple. The Arabs cannot be trusted. And without condemnation of such action by our president and vice president, one can’t help but wonder how much Israel can trust America.