Preposterous Letter Deserves Response

The juxtaposition of the Oct. 16 Your Say letters “Pro-Israel Jews Are Ones Being Denied” (Nelson Marans) and “Letter Writer Guilty of Ideological Fraud” (David Gitlitz, M.D.) is serendipitous: The latter is a perfect  example of the lurid name calling and verbal intimidation calibrated to hinder free speech that the former depicts Palestinian sympathizers as employing!

Indeed, the oversized Gitlitz piece, in its tumescent smugness, might  well pass as an amphigory. Not to mention that in style, content and tone it bears an eerie resemblance to what customarily emanates from the Zionist Organization of America’s press office.

Be that as it may, in the words  of Warner Wolf, “Let’s go to the videotape.”

There is, for example, the silly,  if not absurd and overwrought,  contention that “AIPAC is a nonpartisan organization.” Hilarious.

Every political maven knows that, at this point in time, AIPAC reflects the center and right of Israel’s Likud Party. In Israel, it is seen as a loser: by the left for being wrong and by the right for failing to deliver. By placing itself in Bibi’s back pocket by aligning itself with hawkish elements of the GOP, AIPAC has transformed support for Israel from a bipartisan into a partisan issue. That, anyway you look at it, is bad. And for Beth Tfiloh to willingly be a part of it is  abominable.

Gitlitz references legal eagle Alan Dershowitz as a character witness for Beth Tfiloh. Has he forgotten his mendacity as a member of the O.J. Simpson dream team? Or that, as reported by a Johns Hopkins University newsletter, Dershowitz employs private investigators to follow and discredit his and his clients’ accusers? Most recently, he even arranged a plea deal for convicted molester and financier Jeffrey Epstein that gave immunity to those — allegedly including Dershowitz himself — who could have been implicated in the scandal in the future. Indeed, several members of Epstein’s staff testified that  Dershowitz was staying in Epstein’s house when Epstein was sexually  assaulting underage girls.

And then we have Gitlitz’s preposterous and rebarbative Joseph  McCarthy-style rhetoric, accusing Gideon Donnelly (Your Say, Sept. 25) and other supporters of the JPCOA of engaging in “ideological fraud” and “promoting a suicidal  ideology and agenda.” That would be news to pillars of the Israeli security establishment critical of Netanyahu’s bluster and fear mongering such as the following: Amos Yadlin, who leads Israel’s main defense think tank; Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, who chairs both the Israel Space Agency and the  science ministry’s research and development council; , Israel Ziv, a former chief of military operations; Dov Tamari, a near-legendary architect of Israeli military intelligence; Ami  Ayalon, a former director of the Shin Bet domestic security service; and Efraim Halevy, a former director of the Mossad intelligence agency.

As for the accusation that J Street “undermines … the legitimacy and  security of Israel,” no less a communal leader than Jewish Council for  Public Affairs president Rabbi Steve Gutow vouches for the organization as “a clear supporter of Israel.”

Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks  (Forward, Oct. 16) defines fundamentalism as “the attempt to impose a single truth on a plural world.”  If fundamentalist Gitlitz practiced surgery the way he sloppily opines on political affairs, the initials M.D. after his name would stand for  Malpractice Defendant.

Carson’s Remark Makes Perfect Sense

I would like to comment on the JT’s Oct. 2 editorial, “Extremism in the Defense of, What?” On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” The editorial stated that “Carson’s statement was bigoted and incorrect.”

The editorial neglected to report that Carson also said that Sharia Law [the law of Islam] is incompatible with the Constitution. I would like to add that Sharia Law has given the world terrorist bombings and the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East.

This country was formed by Christians and encouraged all religions, even giving them tax-free status. None of these religions call out for “Death to America.”

Letter Writer Guilty of Ideological Fraud

Although Rabbi Mitch Wohlberg is more than capable of defending himself and his opinions in this or any other venue, the remarks made by Gideon Donnelly (Your Say, Sept. 25) do more than criticize and impugn the rabbi and his shul; they are an exercise in propaganda and disinformation. Donnelly in his diatribe ignores the fact that the recent AIPAC rally was not a synagogue-sponsored event, it merely took place with Beth Tfiloh as the venue in order to accommodate the large gathering that participated, which included Jews of diverse backgrounds, religious affiliations and political persuasions.

He further fails to understand that AIPAC is a nonpartisan organization. It engages in education of American officeholders and policymakers regardless of their political persuasion on topics of interest to their constituent body, which is comprised of a remarkably diverse population of predominantly Jewish Americans, who themselves identify across the political spectrum.

Also notably omitted from Donnelly’s rant was that Beth Tfiloh recently hosted Alan Dershowitz, a thought leader and advocate for Israel whose progressive/liberal credentials are impeccable, regardless of whether they dovetail with Donnelly’s suicidal ideology and agenda. Finally, his objection to the calling out of J Street, a rather extreme liberal lobbying group whose ideas and ideals are consistently at oddswith — if not directly contradictory to — the mainstream of American Jewry, as well as the security interests of Israel, whom it purports to “support,” is emblematic of the far left’s various and sundry tactics at subverting and stifling the First Amendment. There is nothing partisan or political about criticizing an organization that consistently embraces ideas and policies that undermine the morale and, more importantly, the legitimacy and security of Israel and Israelis who stand on the world stage as the sole Middle Eastern Democracy and a bastion of personal rights.

While stupidity is pardonable, egregious willful ignorance is unforgivable. In science, deliberately omitting data that does not agree with one’s premise is fraud; Donnelly is thereby guilty of ideological fraud when he ignores or omits evidence that he finds to be inconvenient.

If he wants to ignore the snarl of the Iranian mountain lion in the night, that is his prerogative, and he is more than welcome to sleep at the mouth of the cave. I myself, with my more prudent brothers and sisters, prefer to keep watch several dozen yards back, armed with torches, spears and appropriate weapons of self-defense. I make no apologies, nor should anyone else have to, for vigorously opposing governmental policies that achieve no ends other than smoothing the feathers and lining the pockets of an avowed arch-enemy of not only Israel and the U.S., but civilized nations worldwide.

Pro-Israel Jews Are Ones Being Denied

The claim by Jewish Voice for Peace, a longtime supporter of the Palestinian Arabs, that it is denied access to free speech is an example of the pot calling the kettle black (“On the Attack,” Oct. 9). Ask anyone on a college campus as to who is being denied access to free speech and certainly it is pro-Israel supporters. Jews on campus have been subjected to continuous harassment; pro-Jewish speakers have either not been invited or their presentations silenced by vociferous and sometimes physical attacks.

The attempts by pro-Palestinian groups to hinder free speech have been all too successful and bring shame both to the colleges and the administrators who allow it to continue.

With Muslim Influx, Europe Is Done

For hundreds upon hundreds of years, European countries have impoverished, stolen from, beaten, raped, terrorized, shot, bludgeoned to death, burned and finally gassed millions of their own Jewish citizens. Had they had their way, they would have continued until there were no more of these heavily middle-class and wealthy professionals who added immeasurably to their civilizations and treasuries. To this day, many agitate for expelling and marginalizing their remaining Jews, aided and egged on by unassimilated, unemployed, unambitious Muslim immigrants.

In recent months, European shores are being inundated by hundreds of thousands of migrant Muslims fleeing from Middle East and African nations engaged in ruinous civil wars, many countries seriously threatened by brutal, lawless barbarians known as ISIS.

Instead of their “Jewish problem,” Europe now is being overrun by a Muslim problem, unable to stop the inundation of migrants and refugees battling their way in without a penny to their names. Because of their numbers, there is no possibility of registering the hordes. I wonder if anyone remembers 70 years ago when it was their own Jews they were destroying?

The handwriting is on the wall:

Europe as it exists, mostly Christian and civilized, is done. It will be mostly Muslim, given historic birthrates, and perhaps not very civilized.  It will be battled on all fronts with demands for Sharia law and abiding by barbaric Muslim customs. It will be unable to afford to absorb and Westernize these new immigrants without economic disaster.

I wonder if European leaders would like to have their Jews back — their educated, achieving, inventive, Nobel Prize-winning and brilliant scientific and medical population that they almost wiped out?

Too late.  The die is cast.  Europe is done.

There’s a Reason ZOA Not Welcome

No sooner have the High Holidays concluded with the closing of the gates at N’ilah on Yom Kippur, than Marc Caroff, flying in the face of all that was confessed during vidui and aided and abetted by the JT (Your Say, Sept. 25), soldiers on in business-as-usual fashion: To wit, the characteristic ZOA tactic of misrepresentation and serial lashon hara.  In this case, labeling as “ludicrous” and “reprehensible” a previous Your Say letter that simply demonstrated factually the dodgy nature of the ZOA’s argument invoking the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty in the matter of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran Deal).

In the breathless prose of A. J. Somerset,  “As the treetop squawking and screeching begins, the loudest monkeys take over, and the moderates find better ways to spend their time. … And so the podium is left to the radical, the only one who really wants to stand at the mic and rant. The thing about living in a septic tank is, the nasty stuff floats.”

Judaism is all about tradition and precedent, history and memory, and this is especially true for Baltimore Jewry. To which, inexplicably, the out-of-town ownership of Mid-

Atlantic Media has seen fit to give the back of its hand in alloting the D.C.-based Caroff so much print. There is a reason that there is no ZOA chapter in Bawlmer: It was kicked out as a result of the duplicitous shenanigans employed by Mort Klein in hijacking the organization. Accordingly, the ZOA/Mort Klein’s (the two are identical, as a JT November 2012 editorial pointed out) name hereabouts is absolute and total dreck.

As the de facto voice of Baltimore Jewry, the JT should recognize, and preferably reflect, that community’s sensibilities, rather than disrespect them.

Where’s the Respect?

I was appalled at the vitriolic attack against both Rabbi Shmuely Boteach and Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg for their opposition to the fatally flawed Iranian accord (Your Say, Sept. 25).  The least that should have been expected from letter writer Gideon Donnelly would have been civil discourse and some respect for the office of the rabbinate and for two of the outstanding members of that profession.  No matter what Donnelly may feel about the Iran deal, there was no reason for an ad hominem attack, nor was there any necessity for the disparagement of the views of the two rabbis.

As far as the Iran accord, as the details became more clear, although the administration tried to block some, the deal represents a major catastrophe for the State of Israel and an enabling of a terrorist nation, Iran.

Open Letter to Sen. Ben Cardin

So Ben, you knew your “no” vote wouldn’t stop the deal. (“Done Deal,” Sept. 11). You clamed you “don’t believe we got everything we needed” and that “we could have done better.” Maybe, but probably not since we were not the only country negotiating with Iran.  So, what was the real basis of your decision? I may be going out on a limb here, but I believe the underlying reason was the constant pressure you have been bombarded with to vote “no.” Pressure not only from Republican colleagues and Jewish groups and organizations such as AIPAC; but also from neighbors, friends and possibly family.

Like you, Ben, I’m Jewish and an avid supporter of Israel. We’re about the same age, grew up in the same area of Baltimore, went to some of the same schools and synagogues, both worked in government most of our lives and both have secondary residences in Sarasota, an extremely conservative area of Florida. I can just imagine the pressure you must have received to vote “no” both here and in Florida.

So, I get it Ben. I don’t agree, but I understand. You are OK voting “no” since your vote won’t stop the deal. I’m sure you do feel the deal could have been sweeter. I, too, wish it were, but after more than two years of negotiating, I think we got best we could. As your colleague, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, surmised, “No deal is perfect.” Years from now if the deal goes sour, you can honestly say, “I didn’t vote for it.” If it holds, like we both hope it will, your conscience will be clear since your vote did not stop it. Still, we all have to live not only with ourselves, but also within our circle of work, community and family. You know Ben, maybe I would have voted the same way under the same circumstances if I were in your shoes. I doubt it, but maybe.

Finally, I give a tremendous amount of credit to Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Jewish wife, daughter, mother and strong supporter of Israel, who had the courage, vision and foresight to support the deal.

Mencken: Not Anti-Semitic

Although H.L. Mencken did not hold back on his criticism of Jews, his actions speak louder than his words (“Lecture Tackles Mencken’s Possible Anti-Semitism,” Sept. 4). At the time, in the late 1930s, he was one of the very few who spoke out in defense of Jews and criticized President Franklin Roosevelt for not doing more to bring German Jews to this country. On balance, he was not anti-Semitic.

Rugelach: Dairy, yes!

The Sept. 18 article, “Rugelach Roundtable,” poses the question, “Does this beloved pastry need to be dairy to taste good?” My answer is “Yes.  Now I know why I never selected rugelach from a kosher dessert table. A proper chef will always use real ingredients — butter and cottage cheese. He or she will never use “soy cream cheese or pareve margarine.”  I put pareve rugelach in the same class as mock chopped liver and kosher bacon. If made right, they will eat.