Letter to the editor:
Kudos to Alex Blecker for his excellent article explaining that BDS is definitely anti-Semitic. However, the term “pro-Palestinian” used in the article (and even in publications such as The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post) needs a bit of clarification.
The unfortunate truth is that the proponents of BDS are not pro-Palestinian in the sense of wanting to help the Palestinian people better their lives. The BDS proponents are more accurately described as “people mouthing a false Palestinian narrative.” That narrative speaks of Israeli occupation and discrimination against the Palestinians.
The truth is that Israel liberated the land in question from Jordan in 1967, only after Jordan allied with Egypt and Syria in a war they had instigated with the open intention of destroying Israel and annihilating her people. The land is of historic and religious importance to Jews, and of strategic importance to Israel. Nonetheless, in 1968, Israel offered to withdraw in exchange for recognition and peace. The Arab League’s response was “NO recognition. NO peace. NO negotiations.”
Subsequent Israeli proposals were also rebuffed, and Palestinian leaders began claiming that Israeli settlements on the disputed land were preventing them from establishing a Palestinian state. But Israeli communities sit on only a few percent of that land and are home to businesses employing both Israelis and Palestinians and serving both Israeli and Palestinian consumers. They should be lauded as places where Israelis and Palestinians can forge personal relationships which could be the first step in realizing the dream of two states for two peoples, an Arab state of Palestine co-existing peacefully with the nation-state of the Jews. And that is precisely what BDS opposes. The movement, like the leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, seeks a Palestinian state from which all Jews have been banned and an Israel which has been converted into a Muslim-majority state after being overrun by millions of Palestine refugees (people demanding that Israel give them the homes they claim their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents … lost in 1948).
The Palestine refugees have been raised in societies that highly honor and richly reward people who murder Jews. You can be sure that, unlike the Arabs who have full civil rights in Israel, the Jews would be barely tolerated in a Muslim-majority state.
Toby F. Block, Atlanta
Letter to the editor:
Regarding the Nov. 1 article on “Does Atlanta Welcome Jews of Color?” I believe that this article does not reflect how our Jewish community welcomes diversity in our shuls. One only needs to look intown in Toco Hills at Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, a Traditional shul, to find a very diverse and welcoming congregation. We have a very diverse congregation as some of our congregants are Tamani,
Mizrachi, Sephardi, Ashkenazi, and yes, African American. Twenty-five percent of our minyan are made up of people of color who are halachic Jews. Our synagogue board is comprised of 30 percent African Americans holding vice president seats. I am certain that our African American congregants would not attend or participate in our shul if they did not feel welcome. I would encourage Ms. Senior and her family, Ms. Jaben-Eilon, and Ms. Johnson to come visit Congregation Shaarei Shamayim on Shabbat as they would all be most welcome.
Toni Brown, Atlanta
Letter to the editor:
Regarding the survey taken regarding anti-Semitism, I cannot fathom why 92 percent of Democrats disapproved of Trump’s handling of the threat of anti-Semitism in America with 82 percent of them strongly disapproving.
Obviously, the Democrats do not read your newspaper, the Jewish Times. If they had, they would have read a full-page article on Elan Carr, who was appointed by the Trump administration as a Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism, and who spoke on this topic at the former site of the Greenfield Academy a few months ago. President Trump is the only president who created such a position. To say that he is doing nothing, shows how ill-informed they are.
Surprisingly, there were no Democrats in attendance that we were aware of, and unfortunately, a very low turnout. Despite my request that my synagogue display the flyer for this event (with a majority of Democrats as members), not one member attended this event. It they had, they certainly would have had an opportunity to learn of the Trump administration’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism.
L. Weinstein, Atlanta
Letter to the editor:
Regarding: “Anti-Semitism Has No Place in Our Hearts” published Oct. 25:
On Sunday, I marked one year since the Tree of Life tragedy that killed 11 congregants during morning prayers by reflecting on the threat of anti-Semitism in the United States in 2019, but with hope for a future free of hate.
Congressman Collins’ decision to mark the anniversary of their deaths by politicizing the scourge of anti-Semitism in his op-ed is deeply disappointing.
Congressman Collins is right to say that anti-Semitism has no place in our hearts.
But his false allegations that “the House Democratic Caucus can’t seem to agree on condemning the rank anti-Semitism within their own party” is not only offensive to Jewish Democratic members like myself, it also hurts bipartisan efforts currently underway to combat anti-Semitism.
I drafted the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act and introduced it in 2016 and 2018 in collaboration with Democratic and Republican colleagues as well as a wide coalition of outside nonpartisan groups committed to the cause. That’s why I know that Representative Collins is wrong.
I believe in bipartisanship. That’s why I am a founding co-chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism.
I also believe anti-Semitism must be emphatically condemned whenever it appears. That’s why I took to the House floor in March to condemn my Democratic colleague’s offensive comments. Invoking classic anti-Semitic tropes must be condemned, no matter what side of the political aisle voices them.
As I explained to Congressman Collins multiple times, it is extremely important to me to avoid politicizing or weaponizing anti-Semitism. Particularly in a year where Jews have been shot in their synagogues and beaten on the streets, we cannot afford to be divided in our response.
Congressman Collins introduced my previously bipartisan bill without any Democratic support and wrote a partisan op-ed attacking my party just days before we marked one year since the worst attack on American Jews in our nation’s history.
We have been working hard to develop the right policy proposal to appropriately increase our government’s response to the alarming rise in anti-Semitism today. It’s time to avoid crass politics and instead work together to keep the American Jewish community safe.
Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL 22nd District)