Re: “Israel’s Delegitimizers Are Gaining,” (Editor’s column, June 4), it is dismaying to see that, yet again, Israel’s rapidly growing unpopularity in the world being attributed to that hoary bugaboo, “bad hasbara” (i.e., public relations), rather than to its actual causation – Israel’s disastrously wrong-headed and self-destructive occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza.
So Helen Thomas let the cat out of the bag. (“Helen Thomas’ Sad Legacy,” Editorial, June 11).
It’s not the bogus issues of settlements, checkpoints, etcetera, that are the problem. Rather it’s the existence of a Jewish state of any size. This in the eyes of Helen Thomas, the Palestinians and their sympathizers is what “occupation” is all about. Give her credit -- at least she doesn’t pull her punches -- she says what the other side really thinks.
I’m afraid Eric Herschthal misunderstood, and consequently misrepresented, some of what he quotes me as saying in his “Changing Images Muddy Picture of Zionism, Israel”. One point in particular is worthy of clarification:
In “A New Act For The Old Bar Mitzvah” (June 4), Julie Wiener articulates how the traditional bar mitzvah ceremony has evolved into a dynamic new-age ceremony replete with actors, music, family and communal participation.
While traditions and personal sentiment certainly differ regarding the significance of a bar mitzvah ceremony, most would agree that any basic definition of a “bar mitzvah” would include one’s coming of age, whereby a “boy” morphs into a “man.”
The Jewish Week deserves our approbation for bringing readers a broad spectrum of opinion. Rabbi Shai Held’s Opinion piece, “Halacha and Innovation Not Mutually Exclusive” (May 28), caught my eye. I found it risible that Rabbi Held cited the Rav, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, to buttress his opinion against Rabbi Hershel Schachter. Rabbi Schachter is one of the Rav’s most distinguished disciples in addition to being a world-class posek (decisor) in his own right.
Your editorial, “Israel Parade: Missing In Action” (May 28), was right on target.
I’ve noticed for a very long time that the vast majority of those who go to the Salute to Israel Parade are Modern Orthodox. This parade is not a “religious” event; it is simply a tribute to and celebration of Israel, and therefore should attract Jews from across the religious spectrum. This is true not only of this parade but of many Jewishly oriented events.
The editorial, “Israel Parade: Missing in Action” (May 28), accurately describes the composition of the participants in the Salute to Israel parade this year, focusing upon both the segment of our community that participated and those that didn’t.
Once again Shaul Kelner, in an otherwise thought-provoking article on Birthright Israel (“So Near, So Far,” May 14, Israel Now section), unduly focuses on what he describes as the “hookup scene” of Birthright. If one is to read this article, and the previous Jewish Week article reviewing his book, “Tours That Bind,” one might be prone to think that the primary purpose of Birthright is to work on “Jewish continuity” during the trip itself in a very practical manner.
Perhaps if the Israeli government did not, in the words of my friend in Modiin (who made aliyah last year), believe that behaving like gangsters enhances the State of Israel’s security, we would not have Israel’s face being bloodied on the world stage (“Israel’s Delegitimizers Are Gaining,” June 4). To borrow a line from intrepid British politician Daniel Hannan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now shown himself as the “devalued leader of a devalued government.”
Thank you for the article, “Israel’s Delegitimizers Are Gaining” (Editor’s column, May 28).
Right now we Jews are coming across, as a people and a state, as “the bad guy” in all this, and our own tendencies toward portraying a certain arrogance about ourselves, and also toward our Jewish state, is doing more damage than good. Also our propensity toward the “I’ll show you” response, with physical action, convinces the world that we are little better than our enemies.