Letters – April 26, 2018
Reaction To “New Book Highlights Anti-Semitism”
It was with great interest that I read Mr. Falbaum’s article “New Book Highlights Anti-Semitism” (April 12, page 8). I was raised during the 1940s on Roselawn just north of Fenkell. We were the only Jewish family on the block and all but a few of the kids attended St. Gregory Parochial School, where the priests preached that Jews killed Jesus. Anti-Semitic taunts got me into frequent fights for which I wound up in the principal’s office at Fitzgerald Elementary, so I have strong feelings about anti-Semitism. The article was dead on in all its assertions and conclusions.
I recently attended an ORT meeting featuring speaker Heidi Budaj, then executive director of ADL Michigan Region, and I brought up the very fact that the author, Jonathan Weisman, pointed out: There is no spokesperson loudly countering the Farrakhan and alt-right groups that are growing in the United States. After pressing the issue, Budaj finally admitted that fact. When asked about ADL’s position regarding Trump’s anti-Semitic examples brought out at the meeting, she declared it “a delicate issue.”
Where is the anger today about the chairperson of the Women’s March, Tamika Mallory, who is a strong vocal supporter of Farrakhan, or Sen. Danny Davis, D-Ill., who says that Farrakhan is a great man?
We need outspoken leaders who will counter the hate that is growing in our country. The ADL is not doing its job. We hear about their “programs” (per Budaj) and I see nothing but growing hate. What is being done is NOT working.
Mr. Falbaum goes out of his way in mentioning all the faults of the Jewish right. What he fails to describe is the anti-Semitism of the left. Let me enlighten him: First, there is Barack Obama and his treatment of Netanyahu when visiting the White House on March 10, 2009. According to Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post: “Netanyahu is being treated as if he were an unsavory Third World dictator, needed for strategic reasons but conspicuously held at arms’ length.” He goes on to say, “He then left Prime Minister Netanyahu to have dinner at the White House with his family, conveying he would only be available to meet again if Netanyahu had further information — read concessions — to impart.” Nobody had ever been treated that way in the White House.
Then there was the anti-Semitic Rev. Wright, Obama’s pastor for more than 20 years, or the secret Obama-Farrakhan photo taken prior to his presidential bid. This picture “disappeared” during his run for the presidential office.
There is also Keith Ellison, D-Minn., another anti-Semite. Haim Saban, a wealthy Democratic donor who gave millions to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, described Mr. Ellison: “If you go back to his positions, his speeches, the way he has voted, he is clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual.”
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Anti-Semitism, unfortunately, is shared by both the right and left.
Dr. Edward Goldberg
If you think that President Donald Trump is “anti-Semitic,” perhaps you should examine the wild charges of Berl Falbaum, who supported the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. Seems that everyone who voted for Hillary was either enraptured by her personal magnetism, her unbridled optimism in dealing with military dictators and her contempt for anyone who ignored her self-righteous stance. But with her constant harping, Hillary left many people wondering how she was going to survive when her self-righteous stance met the real dictators and world conquerors.
“Trump’s Impact On Anti-Semitism” reads like a Democratic Party screed. For example, Trump’s “America First” slogan, while it may be dated, today means something quite different. Do you really expect that history will stop people from using the slogan some 90 years later? Certainly, it means “Today, America can be first again,” not yesterday.
And besides, Father Coughlin is dead; his followers are gone and who’s going to remind today’s Jews of their history? Better remind them in the history books or in the prayer books that you should read each week.
And there are others. For example:
- The appointment of Stephen Bannon, former chairman of Breitbart News, whose audiences seem to be anti-Semites — but anyone can come to hear what he has to say. And there is no secret in advertising a candidate but yes, there is a “poison” if anti-Semitism is positively raised in the race for president in the two major parties.
- The appointment of Sebastian Gorka with his supposed ties to anti-Semitic organizations in Hungary. But what amount of political space and political noise do these supposed-parties have when there is an election?
- The anti-Semitic caricatures of Mrs. Hillary Clinton on $100 bills should bring laughter to anyone who sees them. In fact, I wish I had samples.
- The usage of “global special interests,” code words used by anti-Semites, and referring to “Jews taking control of the financial world.” Shades of the last century! Maybe Israel [or what’s left of it] silently controls the “printing presses” of the world!
Indeed, if you want to find “real Jews,” look up George Soros, a billionaire and person who was Jewish but no more and is on the far-left side of the Democratic Party. In fact, Mrs. Clinton certainly knows of him as he works to organize the black-power movements and the “workers’ parties.” Now that’s left wing.
Bringing Jews Into The Fold
This is in response to Lee Bender’s piece published April 12, page 6, titled: “Let’s Bring Progressive Jews Back Into The Fold.” Bender outlines many of the points of contention within the American Jewish community that swirl around in our communal discussions regarding American Jewish support for Israel, but he does not really address how he sees the path for bringing those identified by him as Progressive Jews “back into the fold.” I don’t even think I agree with him regarding his premise that we must convince “these young progressives” that “Israel’s values are theirs” is a good action plan.
Instead, I would urge that leaders within the Jewish community be more inclusive and welcoming to these so-called young progressives and have them help script communal responses within settings that serve both Israel and our communities. We need to listen and even walk with them when they are marching. We need to include them in our organizational conversations, and we need to teach them how they can respond when confronting uncomfortable moments and not compromise the values that they hold dear.
We have to remind them and ourselves that just like the United States is an imperfect democracy, so is Israel. We love our country, and we love Israel. And it doesn’t mean that individuals must remain silent when there is corruption, racism, injustice and inequality. It’s just finding the right time, place and voice to advocate for change. We need to offer context and dialogue and firsthand experiences.
There are many facets to Judaism today. Israel is very important but what brings us together in my opinion should be a sense of Klal Yisrael, peoplehood — with all our history, quirks, disagreements, faith, traditions and communal strengths and weaknesses. As far as I am concerned, the progressive and the not so progressive, the young and the seasoned are already in the “fold.” We just need to embrace them all.
Grateful For Program
Yesterday afternoon my wife and I attended the graduation ceremony for the completion of the eight-week Dale Carnegie Program for Teens. We were there to see our grandson, Pierce Fox, receive his diploma. This program was made possible by the William Davidson Foundation in cooperation with the Frankel Jewish Academy. My wife and I would like to express our sincere appreciation to the entire Dale Carnegie Team and the William Davidson Foundation for making this exceptional life-changing course possible. Our grandson and many other teens have received the benefit of this world-class leadership development curriculum.
While reading the Jewish News a few months ago, I noticed an article regarding the Dale Carnegie Program for teens. I am so thankful that I informed my son and daughter-in-law of the opportunity for their son to apply for the program. Fortunately, our grandson applied and was accepted into the program. We hope this program will be offered to even more teens in the future.
Ellie and Don Reimer