Letters to the Editor – June 26, 2015

Exposing NIF

Yasher koach to George Birnbaum, Hank Sheinkopf and Ronn Torossian for their exposure of the New Israel Fund (“Unmasking the New Israel Fund,” June 19).AJT Front Cover 6-26-15

NIF provides financial support to several groups that call for sanctions against Israel, even if it claims to oppose BDS. Indeed, its online policy statement asserts that “NIF will thus not exclude support for organizations that discourage the purchase of goods or use of services from settlements.”

Of course, the real goal of many of those NIF-funded groups is the dismantling of Israel. Boycotting “settlements” is merely a less controversial way to get sanctions rolling — and once they are started, they will eventually extend to anything Israeli. It is revealing, too, that NIF vigorously fought a recent Israeli Supreme Court ruling that will allow possible legal action against organizations propagating BDS.

It is fortunate that there are many worthy organizations and charities in Israel that genuinely work to alleviate poverty and abuse among all sectors of society while not collaborating with those sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Doron Lubinsky, Sandy Springs

Defending Settlements

I really don’t see why groups such as the New Israel Fund have a problem with Israeli settlement activity.

Israeli communities in Judaea and Samaria (aka “the West Bank”) are built on land that Israel liberated from an illegal occupier (Jordan) in a defensive war. The communities cover only 2 percent of the disputed land and are in areas of strategic importance to Israel that also have historical and religious significance to Jews.

In addition, the communities provide desperately needed employment opportunities for Palestinians. Those jobs are the best antidote to the anti-Jewish invective that spews from mosques, schoolrooms and media outlets in much of the Muslim world. If the Palestinian leadership were really seeking peace with Israel, it would welcome such Jewish-Palestinian cooperation.

Nor do I understand why the New Israel Fund would oppose Israel’s efforts to make the participation of Israelis in the BDS movement illegal. Omar Barghouti, a founder of the BDS movement, has openly admitted that the movement seeks the dismantling of the Jewish state. Just this month, the initial meeting of the Two States, One Homeland Initiative, a joint Israeli-Palestinian group that seeks to promote a peaceful solution to the conflict, had to be postponed because of threats from BDS activists who oppose any “normalization” of relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

I believe that Israel must remain a Jewish state as well as a democracy. I would hope that all pro-Israel groups, even while seeking to make some adjustments in Israeli society, would emphasize the Israeli narrative.

Toby F. Block, Atlanta

Stop Arguing

I am a Jewish woman, first-generation American, and I grew up with a grandfather who hollered, a father who hollered and a brother who hollered and now have a husband who hollers. I have a stomachache at every meal because of this. And you are saying it is a Jewish thing to argue (“Something to Argue About,” June 19)?

My grandmother, mother and I grew up at a dinner table where the man made the pronouncement of what the family’s opinion was on any given issue, and I can’t remember a time that there were any good intentions — only a desire to win, humiliate and dominate.

Maybe you saw an episode of “Frasier” where a mother and daughter engage in a tear-filled argument and come away hugging, but that is not the case in my family or most of the Jewish families I know who have this dynamic. Someone always has the stomachache, and it is usually the person taking the brunt of the verbal abuse.

You postulate that maybe the magic of Jewish argument holds the key to countering the dangers of assimilation and intermarriage. Wow, is that the only thing you could think of? I have a husband who likes nothing better than a good argument, but only one where the purpose is to make another person feel bad. My children have vowed to break this vicious cycle. I have a Jewish neshama, but I am repelled by argument. If you are on the losing end, you never feel good.

If arguing means being authentically Jewish, I am coming back as a genteel Southern Methodist lady in my next life. I’ve had enough arguing to last a lifetime. I yearn for a day where mealtimes are peaceful and serene. Arguments should be saved for life-or-death decisions.

Name withheld, Duluth