Jacobs op-ed title gets it wrong
The title of Rick Jacobs’ op-ed is as disingenuously humorous as a line from a Mel Brooks movie (“Why we’ll fight Israel’s new extremist political agenda with the determination of the Maccabees,” Jan. 6). You plan to fight “Israel’s extremist political agenda” just like the extremist Maccabees fought the Hellenists? Maybe you ought to understand two simple facts. Fact No. 1 is that the Maccabees were more like the Taliban than you would be comfortable admitting. In fact, the first man they killed was a Hellenized Jew. Fact No. 2 is that you, dear Mr. Jacobs, represent the Hellenized Jews.
Diana Connan Forgy
‘A basket of deplorables’
The Republican Jewish Coalition has expressed disgust with newly elected Republican U. S. House member George Santos, who was welcomed into its fold based upon one of his countless lies, including the one in which he claimed to be the Jewish descendant of Holocaust survivors (“RJC CEO: George Santos ‘will not be welcome’ at our events,” Jan. 6).
Was the coalition expecting honor and integrity from someone who was present at the infamous “Stop the Steal” rally of Jan. 6, 2021 — one who later boasted of writing “a nice check” to defray the legal fees of the rioters who pummeled police officers, desecrated the Capitol and threatened the lives of lawmakers and the former vice president?
The Republican Party is unrecognizable from what it was in a better era. Newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election even after the insurrection, and he has elevated to a prominent place in the party Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the notorious and dangerous friend of antisemites, white supremacists and QAnon conspiracy theorists. So much for McCarthy being the “patriot” and “man of God” he was characterized as by one of the individuals who nominated him for speaker.
Not all, but much of the Republican Party of today, and of which I used to be a member, is comprised of, as Hillary Clinton might say, a basket of deplorables.
Life is not bilateral
The letters to the editor in the Jan. 13 Chronicle, basically about the polarization of Zionism, really struck a chord with me — an ugly tritone chord.
All of life is not bilateral! Why does it seem we all keep operating only from two sides — not even on a spectrum, more like a tug-of-war rope with the ends full — and that we just continue arguing about who is “correct?”
None of us is two-dimensional, black-or-white, up-or-down, left-or-right in attitude. We all have multiple points of view about many things — that can be charted in three- or four-dimensional charts — and no political idealist can responsibly represent an entire community by claiming to support the extreme in a two-dimensional continuum.
Checks and balances in any governmental system are meant to slow things down and keep us balanced, in equilibrium, such that all can thrive.
Every day in prayers we say that the angels call to one another in praise of the Almighty — they call “zeh el zeh” — and to demonstrate it we turn from one side to the other and back again, as if angels stand in a line and speak only to their neighboring angels. Maybe that is true, but I prefer to picture them flying about and calling to each other in at least six dimensions. Why limit our vision?
We must stop this (human) polarization to bilateral extremes and the attitude that we must wipe out the opposition, or free society will fall. We must learn to accept everyone as members of our communities. All Jews (Reform, Orthodox, unaffiliated, married to non-Jews, descended from Jews, whatever) are members of the Jewish people. All Americans are equal Americans, and Israelis are Israelis. People are all people.
Exclusion by legislating, judicial decisions, battles, etc., is wrong. These exclusions serve nothing but elevating the egos of those who “believe” in some ethic or moral that not all agree with, and they exclude those who should be full members of the society.
Exclusion proliferates, even as we call for “inclusion.” When we legislate against something that not everyone agrees is bad (Reform Jews, abortion, secular education, LGBTQ rights, etc.), or when we legislate for something that not everyone agrees is good (gaining territory by military attack on others, gerrymandering inequality, unfair tax laws, etc.), we are enacting divisive things into law. This only furthers the separation and the fights that ensue, and divides us unnecessarily.
Again, life is not bilateral. The answer is multidimensional thinking and leaning together into a central balance rather than continually tipping one way and the other.