The following letters were published in the Jan. 5 issue of the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Handel Should Put Aside Politics
Must everything be political?
Karen Handel writes (“Why I Helped Pass Taylor Force Act,” Dec. 15) about her admirable stand, voting for the proposed Taylor Force Act in congress, along with almost all her congressional colleagues. Why must she write her column as if it were a campaign piece, denigrating past administrations and patting herself on the back? She already won her election. It’s time to do the work, and this law is one of the important jobs.
— Ed Jacobson, Decatur
NIF, Israel on Opposite Sides
Local New Israel Fund leaders (Steve Berman, Shai Robkin, Lois Frank, Leah Fuhr, Jan Jaben-Eilon, Robin Kramarow, Judy Lipshutz, Charles Miller, David Minkin, Glenda Minkin, A.J. Robinson, Harry Stern and Charles Taylor) should be commended for admitting they stand with Adalah, Breaking the Silence and many other toxic recipients of NIF funds that work to criminalize Israel Defense Forces soldiers and attempt to delegitimize, ostracize and promote international pressure on Israel (“We Stand With NIF,” Dec. 15).
No matter how hard they try to defend the indefensible, these locals cannot defend the grants made by NIF. As Shakespeare wrote in “Hamlet,” they “doth protest too much, methinks.”
In following the money, many NIF recipients also receive funding from the Israel-haters like George Soros and European NGOs. It may not be their intent, but they are giving aid and comfort to groups that want to harm Jews and Israelis wherever we are found.
Space does not permit me to refute all their disinformation, diversions and lies; I do point out that my reference to BDS (“BDS, NIF and the Race for Governor,” Dec. 1) was related to Rep. Stacey Abrams’ vote in the Georgia House on specific legislation.
Most Jewish groups welcomed with enthusiasm our president’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and beginning efforts to move our embassy. These included AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Hadassah, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Their glowing terms included “important and long overdue” and “historic step for which we are grateful.”
It is no surprise that NIF instead called Donald Trump’s actions on Jerusalem “a dangerous, reckless and irresponsible move.”
In these pages Michael Jacobs opined that anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour is not our community’s most dangerous enemy (“Sarsour Isn’t the Real Threat,” Dec. 1) because one would expect her to have positions hostile to Israel, given her Palestinian background and life experiences. It is our own Jewish brethren who claim to be well intentioned who pose the greatest danger.
The airing of opposing views is healthy for our community, and other voices are encouraged to participate. Local NIF leaders should be respected for the courage to publicize their stand, no matter how unpopular. I stand on the other side with our ally Israel, whose capital is Jerusalem, and with our brave brothers and sisters in the IDF.
— Mitchell Kaye, Marietta
No Perfect Time to Recognize Jerusalem
Harold Kirtz apparently did not proofread his own column (“U.S. Recognition of Israel’s Capital Ill-Timed,” Dec. 15). He states that Palestinians “understand among themselves that peace means their control of all land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.” That being said, he claims that President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the embassy there is “ill-timed, misinformed and boneheaded.”
Kirtz is evidently not misinformed, having stated the Palestinian position very clearly.
There is hardly any chance, if any, that the Palestinians will ever change their position. Accordingly, it is without any logic to assume that the decision was ill-timed. There can never be an optimal time to change Jerusalem’s status. Now is as good a time as any. It is rather Kirtz who is “boneheaded.”
— David Westerman, Atlanta
Inclusion Has Limits
I was perplexed by Michael Jacobs’ column stating that Bill Rothschild’s speech was the most important of the talks at The Temple’s social justice luncheon (“Social Action on Political Inclusion,” Dec. 15).
I understand that we need to respect differing political points of view and be inclusive of all party affiliates. But where do we draw the line when a political leader defines a movement in opposition to social justice?
I do not mean to say that conservatism is in opposition to the principles of caring for the poor, lifting the oppressed and maintaining the rule of law. There are different approaches to the same end. But President Donald Trump advocates for none of those principles, nor does he represent the traditions of his party. Do we need to respect advocates of a president who demonstrates a complete absence of compassion for immigrants, refugees, minorities, the poor and the rule of law — in other words, the components of social justice?
Trump is neither a Democrat nor a Republican. He is not really a populist. He is leading us toward authoritarianism by continually lying, trying to rid us of a free press, and dividing the people into two factions, loyal to him or disloyal. Does “inclusive” include this point of view, or does advocating for social justice require conscious resistance?
— Nancy Weisman, Sandy Springs
U.N. Vote Violates International Law
As far as the United Nations and international law are concerned, it was observed long ago that if the General Assembly drafted a resolution that Earth is flat, the resolution would pass and thus be granted the hallowed status of “international law.”
According to Article 2(7) of the U.N. Charter, “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.” This means Israel can decide what its capital is, and the United States can decide where to place its embassy. That actually is international law.
The General Assembly vote Dec. 21 condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, based on the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, is therefore virulently political and, per the U.N. Charter, extra-legal. Why do we fund an organization that so predictably promotes — the kindest designation that comes to mind — instability in the world?
— Julia Lutch, Davis, Calif.
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