Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

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(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

Jews must reject the ‘woke’ ideology that targets Israel
As reported in the Chronicle (“Summer Lee votes ‘no’ on resolution backing Israel,” July 28), the congressional Squad and a growing number of progressive representatives in Congress continue to display their unremitting enmity to the state of Israel. Not surprisingly, Squirrel Hill’s representative, Summer Lee, has joined these ranks.

Even a cursory examination of current and historical Middle East truths would obviate their simplistic conclusion that Israel is a racist and apartheid state. Admittedly, such an examination would require the use of critical thinking skills, skills that are seriously lacking when the topic involves Israel.

Of course, this failing applies to the woke movement in general. The wondrous woke invention of intersectionality allows the Palestinian Arabs to be classified as a preferred victim. Once that status is attained, they cannot be faulted for any otherwise unseemly action, such as launching missiles at civilians, car-rammings, stabbings, suicide bombings, or any other attempt to murder Jews.

If the Palestinian Arabs are the helpless victims and Israel the ruthless oppressor, what more need be said? By this twisted logic Israel can never act properly and the Palestinian Arabs can never act improperly. Israel will always be at fault. Palestinian Arabs will never be at fault.

Followers of woke ideology can speak freely about Israel, even while totally unencumbered by any knowledge of the subject. All one needs to know is that Israel is a racist state. Israel is an apartheid state. Israel is colonialist. Israel commits ethnic cleansing. Free use of these fashionable expressions of moral outrage offers the answer to every question.

Thus, someone like Summer Lee (who a year ago admitted she knew nothing about the Israel-Palestinian conflict) can freely accuse Israel of racism and apartheid. This is a shamelessly irresponsible approach, especially for a member of Congress. Her refusal to respond to repeated requests from the Chronicle (presumably for fear that she won’t be able to answer questions that might probe further than skin deep) is also disgraceful.

Curiously, this moral outrage is laser focused. Of the 193 member countries in the United Nations, the intersectional wrath is aimed only at Israel — the only Jewish nation. A cynic might tinker with the thought that there might just be a bit of Jew-hatred underlying this outrage.

The hypocrisy of these woke warlords is obnoxious. While these self-anointed paragons of moral virtue profess profound opposition to antisemitism, their reckless rhetoric only encourages Jew-hatred.

Let’s keep in mind the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and some of the examples that it includes, such as: (1) denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor and (2) applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

It is time for Jews to face the reality that woke warlords are not our friends and politicians who endorse these views should not be supported.

Reuven Hoch

Jews in America must support human rights actions in Israel
In our years as Israeli Jews in the U.S., we learned that for many American Jews, Israel is a source of pride that is at the core of their Jewish identity and sense of community. Alongside this sentiment, many American Jews have grown up with a deeply ingrained view of Israel as a haven, a sanctuary that would protect the Jewish Diaspora in the face of potential catastrophe. This historical perspective, rooted in the shadows of the Holocaust, has been passed down through generations, forming a strong emotional bond between American Jews and the state of Israel. Furthermore, common perceptions hold that criticizing Israel is synonymous with betraying our heritage and, worse yet, perpetuating antisemitism. Because of that and more, American Jews have traditionally supported Israel unconditionally while not interfering with Israel’s politics or internal affairs.

However, we American Jews and Israeli Americans are now confronting a rapidly changing reality (“Coalition passes 1st judicial overhaul law, limiting review of government decisions,” July 28). The Israel we once knew has undergone profound changes, and it is time to acknowledge the troubling direction taken by the current Israeli government, backed by a minority of the Israeli population. The vision of Israel as a just and democratic nation, respectful of human rights, has been diminishing for decades. However, recent trends of anti-democratic, racist, homophobic and misogynist governmental actions, mixed with corruption and criminality, are bringing this vision to the verge of extinction. These dangerous and unprecedented anti-democratic trends wreak havoc in Israel’s internal cohesiveness, defense forces, economy, and international alliances, and leave Israeli citizens (and of course, its non-citizens) without judicial routes to defend themselves against their government.

The anti-democratic trends that ravish Israel pose an immense threat for the people of Israel, jeopardize it as a potential haven for the Jewish Diaspora, and critically diverge from the shared values that made Israel a cornerstone of our identity and our children’s education.

To help defend the Israeli democracy and the values it was founded upon (and that most Israelis cherish), we — American Jews and Israeli Americans — must focus our support on pro-democratic, pro-human rights actions and organizations within Israel. Strategically supporting democracy in Israel — be it by protests, education, donations, or contacting our elected officials — is an act of genuine concern for the future of all sections of the Israeli society and the Jewish Diaspora. While not being physically there, it is the least we can do to help the democratic forces in Israel.

Neta Bar, Eitan Shelef and Tzahi Cohen-Karni

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