Letters to the Editor: A Debate on Settlements; Toronto for Jews
A Question of Morals
Jay Michaelson’s “Commentary: Gedaliah in the Eye of the Beholder” (August/September issue) starts with a glaring historical error and goes on to more serious errors of misjudgment.
The Babylonian exile was in the 6th century B.C.E., not C.E. Michaelson goes on to explain that Gedaliah’s message to the future is “a methodology of introspection,” which “takes a clear stand for moderation.”
Is there to be no distinction between right and wrong at all? Engagement with evil is not always effective, or the only moral choice. Standing in outrage against the daily terror attacks on Sderot requires knowing right from wrong, something Michaelson does not prize as highly as rising “above our basest natures.”
Roger E. Harris
Gershom Gorenberg, in “Letter From Jerusalem: Putting Settlements on the Map” (August/September issue), excoriates successive Israeli governments for not stopping settlement construction. Yet, such a roadmap-required freeze has always been contingent on significant prior Palestinian performance in stopping terrorism and incitement. That, manifestly, has not happened. Nor, moreover, is Elliot Abrams alone in claiming a 2004 U.S.-Israel agreement accepting “natural growth.” Even contemporaneous media reports attested to it. Given the Obama administration’s retroactive renunciation, even denial of [the agreement], can Israel, when contemplating taking existential risks in the future, now depend on any U.S. assurances?
Richard D. Wilkins
Hadassah’s continuing inclusion of Gershom Gorenberg’s articles on settlements without any contradicting articles that support either current Israeli opinion or government policy is becoming increasingly disturbing to many readers.
A poll reported on August 27th in The Jerusalem Post indicated that the number of Israelis who view President Obama’s policies as pro-Israel has fallen to an all-time low
of 4 percent. When asked whether they would support the freezing of settlement construction for a year as part of an American-brokered deal, 50 percent said no, 41
percent said yes. These findings are significantly different than the impression which one would gain from reading Gorenberg’s article.
Lake Worth, FL
Calling All Snowbirds
For almost 75 years I have been fortunate to live in Toronto.
As I read “The Jewish Traveler: Toronto” (August/September issue), I felt every Hadassah member would be fleeing to our great city, until I came to the last paragraph that stated that Toronto spends most of the year under snow. All the Hadassah members were diverted from Toronto to Florida.
What a disappointment. We are not like Buffalo, New York, which is still removing snow from three years ago, but a city that probably has less snow than New York City.
I am curious to know why, among the various Toronto Jewish personalities described, there was no mention of perhaps Toronto’s most famous personage: Mayor Nathan Phillips (1892-1976).
Phillips was elected as Toronto’s first Jewish mayor in 1955, serving in that position until 1962. He was the first non-Protestant mayor of Toronto. Recognized as the man who was singularly responsible for transforming Toronto from a Protestant, sectarian, staunchly British and conservative city to a modern multicultural metropolis.
Neil J. Abelson
Belle Terre, NY
To read more Letters to the Editor, go to www.hadassahmagazine.org.