Fear for Europe’s Jews and Israel
As a life member of Hadassah and the daughter of a life member, I found the article by Gershom Gorenberg in the June/July issue (“Controlling Daylight”) not in keeping with Hadassah’s mission of support for Israel. Rather than state his disagreement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position dispassionately, he shows contempt for him and suggests that his motivation was to interfere with American politics rather than a sincere fear of Iran’s nuclear threat. His assertion that “criticism should stay in one-on-one meetings” is laughable when our president consistently refuses to meet with him.
Gorenberg loses all credibility when he joins Israel’s enemies in accusing the Jewish state of denying equal rights to Arabs. Anyone who has been to Israel knows that Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Arabs can practice their religion freely and live in security and prosperity.
If the views of Gorenberg are at all consistent with the leadership and members of Hadassah, then Israel would have to ask: “With friends like that who needs enemies?”
Hadassah Magazine runs a cover story on European anti-Semitism and features, in the same issue, an article blaming Israel for the current chill in relations with the United States and offering, as a partial solution, limiting building to inside some obnoxiously conceived “green line.” In other words, there are regions of the Holy Land, including Jerusalem, that should be off-limits to Jews, e.g., Judenrein. Am I the only one who sees the irony here?
Beverly Hills, CA
Critical to combating rising anti-Semitism in Europe (June/July cover story) is avoidance of political correctness. Enemies abound—the far right, the far more numerous far left, but, most of all, the Islamists. Treatment of that largest threat, though, was too muted. Trying hard not to tar all Muslims, while well meaning, distorts reality. Government promises of protection are easily compromised by the substantial size of Muslim populations in some nations, most countries’ strong economic ties to the wider Muslim world and surging anti-Zionism among elites. Such serious issues cannot be sidestepped, but must be directly addressed.
Richard D. Wilkins
A Splendid Portrait
Helen Schary Motro’s June/July interview of Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is a splendid portrait of a heroine whose adroit and tireless legal work against Jew-killers and Jew-defamers helps us to understand why in Hebrew the word avoda means both labor and prayer.
I enjoyed the June/July travel story on Philadelphia and have only a few quibbles. There are reports of Jews in the Philadelphia area in the days when the Dutch were in control. The first Jewish permanent residents were in the city a generation before Nathan Levy.
The Jewish Quarter was not a Jewish quarter per se. Jews lived all over South Philadelphia, and there were synagogues as far as Johnson Street deep in South Philadelphia. My family lived on Dickinson Street way beyond the border of the so-called Jewish Quarter.
Isaac Leeser did not found the Jewish Publication Society. The organization he founded was the predecessor of JPS, just as he started a seminary that is arguably the predecessor of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
There are a number of prominent Philadelphia Jews one could have mentioned: Nobel Prize winners, the Guggenheim family, Rabbi David Wolpe, Leon Uris, Man Ray, Clifford Odets, etc.
Labron K. Shuman