Deborah Lipstadt, in her recent outstanding book, “The Eichmann Trial,” uses the term “soft-core” denial of the Holocaust to characterize the writings of those who grossly distort, without outright negating, historical reality. It would be charitable to apply that label to Nicholson Baker’s disturbing creation, “Human Smoke” discussed by Eric Herschthal in his thoughtful article, “The Limits Of Pacifism” (June 24).
The pending litigation against the board of HASC, Inc. (“Lone HASC Critic on Board Is Dismissed,” June 24) initiated by former board member Lillian Lieberman is unfortunate, resulting in costly and unnecessary expense, and taking funds from HASC’s basic mission.
As the independent outside counsel for HASC and its board (and former deputy chief of the NY Attorney General’s Charities Bureau), I wish to clarify key points and set the record straight.
A man was circling an office building, late for a meeting that could change his life. But he could not find a place to park. He said “God, if you get me a parking place I promise I will keep kosher, I will be better to my wife and children, I will attend services on Shabbat, I will...” Just at that moment, a spot opened right in front of the building.
It’s a phrase we’ve come to associate over the years with Israel’s West Bank settlements, seen by supporters as a tangible Jewish presence to serve as a bulwark against Arab incursions, a vanguard to protect larger Jewish population centers.
In central Afghanistan, an 8-year-old girl was killed last week when a package she was given by members of Taliban exploded. She was told to take the parcel to a nearby police checkpoint. She did not know that she was carrying a bomb, which Taliban set off by remote control.
How do some issues achieve “hurricane force winds” while others are barely noticed?
Take the current tectonic shift in demographics: In the past, population charts resembled pyramids with larger numbers of young people at the base and fewer elderly at a narrower peak. There were enough young people to support the aged.
Now there’s a radical shift: the pyramid’s sides are becoming even. It looks like a square with large populations in their 50s and 60s on top and surprising numbers above them.
It’s easy to dismiss the supporters of a November initiative in San Francisco to make it illegal to circumcise children. Like all true believers, these “intactivists” engage in junk science and exaggerated rhetoric about “male genital mutilation.” Further discrediting their cause, the movement’s leadership peddles virtually anti-Semitic propaganda, such as the comic book “Foreskin Man,” which reads like a sophomoric plagiary of a superhero cartoon, a racy Penthouse fantasy and Der Sturmer.
Two events in the past few weeks have reinforced my view of Israel as the unifying aspect of Jewish life in New York, while making me question its current status.
Scene One: This year’s Salute to Israel Parade. As I took my place along 5th Avenue, it was clearly evident that more synagogues and community groups than ever before took part in this year’s parade.