Jewish Journal

Letters to the Editor: Greenberg cartoons, two-state solutions and changing demographics

Posted on Oct. 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

As an avid reader of the Journal for the last 15 years, I found the “Tea-hadist” cartoon to be completely in bad taste and shameful for a Jewish publication to print on many levels (Greenberg’s View, Oct. 11). I urge the Journal to issue a sincere apology to its readers and to publish an article on sensitivity in equating political events with tragic episodes and characters of history. Cartoons like this not only diminish the evil and tragedy that is true terrorism but it also recalls the evil propaganda cartoons of Hitler’s Germany. How a paper that had been so good at carefully and fairly depicting both sides of issues both domestic and foreign could have made such a blatantly poor judgment call on this one is beyond me. It needs to be corrected immediately. 

Debbie Cohen-Sitt, Simi Valley

Just wanted to let you know on behalf of me and my co-rabbi at B’nai Horin how much we like and appreciate Steve Greenberg’s cartoons in the Jewish Journal each week. They are always insightful and meaningful. I think it takes a particular kind of genius to capture in an image and a phrase such profound themes. Keep ’em coming.

Rabbi Stan Levy via e-mail

Rob Eshman responds: We love Steve Greenberg because over the years his sharpest cartoons go after extremists of all stripes. He reserves a special venom for radical Islamists. At the same time, we are especially sensitive to the impression many have that the cartoon somehow trivializes the horrific, real suffering wrought by Islamic terrorists. That is clearly not Greenberg’s intention — and I offer my apology to anyone who sees the cartoon exclusively in that light.  

This Two-State Solution Is Not a Solution

J Street’s Alan Elsner is right that the two-state solution would be best (“Let’s Get Beyond Lip Service on a Two-State Solution,” Oct. 11). But J Street loses its credibility by holding that both sides are equally responsible for the failure to achieve it. It isn’t the case that the positions of both sides are equally toxic.

The location of the Palestinian capital need not be a deal breaker. The Palestinian Authority now governs from Ramallah; it can stay there.

We can’t call the pre-1967 borders indefensible? Why the hell not? Real peace can’t be based on wishful thinking. If peace includes Israeli national security, then the defensibility of its borders is a major concern. There has never been a Palestinian state; the notion that its frontiers must necessarily hug the 1947 armistice lines defies logic.

But these matters, which are not at the heart of the conflict, Israel is in fact prepared to discuss.

However, the Palestinians are not prepared to discuss giving up their so-called “right of return,” which does make peace impossible. The Palestinians insist that the “refugees” (actually for the most part the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the refugees) must return — not to the Palestinian state, but to Israel, in order to overwhelm it demographically.

So the “two-state solution” that the Palestinians envision is two states each with Arab majorities, the Jews once more a minority. This position, combined with its racist insistence that not a single Jew would be allowed to live in the Palestinian state and its continued glorification of Palestinian terrorism and murders, makes the equation with Israel’s bargaining position ridiculous.

Given this reality, it is absurd that J Street concentrates its complaints on Israeli “intransigence” but merely pays lip service to Palestinian rejectionism. Even-handedness is inappropriate here. To be credible, J Street must recognize that Israel has agreed to the two-state solution while the Palestinians have rejected it.

Paul Kujawsky via e-mail

Jewish Community: Growing, Changing

The real lesson from the Pew study is that the Jewish community is growing at the same time that the rate of intermarriage continues to increase (“1 in 5 U.S. Jews: No Religion,” Oct. 4). The task for the Jewish community in coming decades is to continue to reach out to and embrace interfaith families as well as to infuse with new meaning the rapidly growing sector of secular American Jews. Investing in Jewish culture is one pretty good idea. Secular “conversion” is another. Big Tent Judaism/Jewish Outreach Institute is leading the camp in this direction. 

Zohar Rotem, Program Officer for Evaluation, Jewish Outreach Institute

Taking a stance against intermarriage is not the answer to combat disaffiliation.  I am a member of the millennial generation and I learned to appreciate being Jewish from my parents’ example of embodying Jewish values and their emphasis on how special it is to be Jewish. I was also previously involved in an interfaith relationship. During that time, my treatment by the Jewish community astounded me. 

In contrast, Catholic churches were immensely welcoming and genuinely happy to have me at their services without trying to convert me. I understand why those without a strong Jewish identity could disaffiliate.

A better approach for Judaism would be to support the Jewish partner in his/her choice and welcome the non-Jewish partner, thereby encouraging the couple and their (future) children to embrace Jewish life together. After all, if temples can now support gay marriage (and bravo to them for that), why not interfaith as well?

Erin Jacobson, Beverly Hills

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