Letters to the editor 7/2/2010


Issue of July 2, 2010/ 20 Tammuz, 5770

Distorting McCarthy

To the Editor:

Representative Carolyn McCarthy has clarified her position on the flotilla. Howard Kopel is still playing politics and distorting McCarthy’s record (“Letters to the editor”; June 25, 2010). Carolyn McCarthy was never “for the Gaza flotilla.” That’s an inexcusable and irresponsible smear of a leader who has always supported Israel since her election to the US House. Her record is spotless. She has supported every pro-Israel House resolution and she is a member of the Democratic Israel Working Group.

Those who continue to lambast McCarthy on this issue should think twice. They are attacking a seven-term incumbent who has won her last two elections with two-thirds majorities. This incumbent is from a party that is less inclined to support Israel as it has done in the past because of a growing anti-Israel constituency on its left flank. Carolyn McCarthy is a person with whom our community needs to work on a regular basis, and she deserves better than to be treated like this.

Your other letter writer insists that McCarthy support Peter King’s America Stand with Israel Act. There is a reason why no Democrats and relatively few Republicans outside of the far-right-wing of the party support this bill. It is because it calls for full US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council, an act which sounds good in theory, but would cause the US a myriad of diplomatic problems. Perhaps you didn’t notice, but AIPAC was politically savvy enough not to support this baldly partisan bill.

Bipartisan Congressional support is crucial to Israel’s security. It continues to enjoy that support despite Republican attempts like Peter King’s and Howard Kopel’s irresponsible and short-sighted attempts to suggest otherwise. Let’s make sure it stays that way.

Michael Brenner


Mission irresponsible

To the Editor:

The recent story by JTA concerning a woman who claimed she was accosted by a chareidi Jew was irresponsible and defaming (“Alleged attack sets off debate”; June 11, 2010). The woman had no credibility, no corroboration, and was a representative of Woman of the Wall whose entire raison d’etre is to undermine Judaism as we know it these past few thousand years. This group comes to the Kotel every year and each time tries to provoke an incident. That the JTA editor can give this story credence and a headline is inimical to responsible journalism.

Of course there are irresponsible people in every group including the Orthodox, and in those cases the rabbis condemned any and all uncivil behavior. These individuals however do not listen to their rabbis or to anyone else.

Attempting to stereotype any group or religion because of the behavior of some of its members however smacks of bigotry and is unacceptable. This is true as well of Conservative Rabbi Skolnik who writes in the Jewish Week that Chareidi Jews spit and throw garbage at non-Orthodox Jews. Rabbi Skolnik has his own bigoted agenda.

Please be aware however that most of the largest charitable and self-help organizations throughout Israel were founded and are directed by chareidi Jews and they all service the entire Jewish population regardless of observance. For example, the chareidi founder and director of Ezer Mizion just received an honorary doctorate from Bar Ilan University, together with two Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners, for their achievements.

The organization services hundreds of thousands of ill, elderly and handicapped Israelis throughout the country with its 11,000 volunteers.

The Chareidi hospitals in Israel likewise service the enire population including Arabs and even have Arab doctors on their staff while the chareidi political parties are responsible members of the Knesset and governing coalition.

That the JTA can give the earlier story credence and a headline was unfortunate and whether it was due to bias or to sloppy journalism I should think they would know better.

Abraham Frank