Jewish Journal

Letters to the editor: North Korea, AIPAC, BDS and more

Posted on Feb. 12, 2014 at 12:16 pm

The Holocaust Abroad

Thank you for your excellent cover and feature story on North Korea (Holocaust in the Hermit Kingdom,” Jan. 24.)  The following week was our annual student-led retreat at AJRCA.  We were so moved by the story that, in memory of International Holocaust Remembrance, we took up a collection at the retreat, which we sent to LiNK — over $600 — mostly from students.

Tamar Frankiel, president, Academy for Jewish Religion, CA via  e-mail

More on AIPAC

Thank you David Suissa for your article on AIPAC (“Why I Love AIPAC,” Feb. 7). I have an uncomfortable-love relationship with APIAC. Sixty years ago, my European-immigrant grandma’s body language as I walked with her to the local shul taught me, “Be proud you are Jewish, but keep it to yourself.” I learned from my public school playmates, “Be proud you are American. Defend the weak and root for the underdog.” The two messages have me living my life as a proud and silent Jewish-American.

Last week, I attended a cultural-diversity celebration. At the atheist’s table I was asked, “Why do we need God?” Remembering Grandma, like you may remember Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” I responded, “God exists so that when things go horribly wrong, I have someone to shake a fist at!”

Watching the antics at the U.N., it occurs to me that through the centuries, Jews now serve the world as someone to blame so that individuals or leaders or nations do not have to face their failures of compassion, their own evil. But Grandma was wrong; we have to speak up, stand tall, and defend our fellows trying to live in peace with un-peaceful neighbors. My gratitude goes to APIAC for their approach toward healing the world, for speaking when I might remain silent.

Alan Weiner via e-mail

 A Cinematic Shandah

Well done essay (“ ‘The Wolf’ and the Jewish Problem,” Jan. 3). The movie, the book, the person reinforces the Jewish stereotype we are all trying to move away from. When I taught urban middle schools kids, I heard and saw some of these reflections — “Jewing” someone down for example — was a common expression.

This movie and Belfort’s persona stands as a giant media example (obstacle) of all the things I tried to turn around by my example. I cannot compete with an entertaining Scorcese movie or seductive DiCaprio depiction. No one can. Media impressions are impossible to counteract. And that is the shame of this movie experience.  Why do we make it so easy for the anti-Semites? We often contribute to our own historical disasters.

Alan Zucker via e-mail

A BS Opinion on BDS?

Rabbi Seidler-Feller naively links the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to the rights of Jews to live in the land of Israel (“No to BDS, No to Occupation,” Jan. 24). I don’t know if the rabbi is deaf or blind but he is obviously not paying attention.  The Palestinians are demanding that Israel surrender our holy city of Jerusalem. They are demanding that millions of alleged refugees be allowed to flood into Israel as well as Palestine. They will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Their maps and books refer to all of Israel as occupied Palestine. We know from the experience with Gaza and Lebanon that ceding territory has no relationship to peace.

Why would the rabbi think that dealing with Yasir Arafat’s partner in crime will be any different. If Jews can live in Westwood or Encino, shouldn’t they be able to live in the City of David? The violence by Arabs against Jews began well before 1967.  It has nothing to do with Jewish control of Judea and Samaria, but it has to do with Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinians will not accept Israel as a Jewish state. They can’t even say “two states for two Peoples” as Seidler-Feller fantasizes. I believe that every rational person who has knowledge of the situation would agree that even if Israel withdrew from every inch of territory captured in 1967 it would not resolve the conflict.  Only if Israel committed national suicide by meeting the non-territorial demands of the Arabs would it end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the problem would be that there would be no Israel.

Gilbert Stein, North Hollywood


Rabbi David Ellenson did not serve as dean of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Los Angeles campus, but as cited in the article, "Bringing Heart and Old-School Soul to Academia," Feb.7, he was director of the Jerome H. Louchheim School of Judaic Studies at the L.A. campus.
A story about Lisa Herman ("From the IDF to the LAPD," Feb. 7) misstated that she won the Tel Aviv Marathon; it was the city's half marathon. Her child Leora is her second-oldest daughter, not the eldest.
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