Letters to the Editor: Jan. 25, 2017

Clarification needed

The Jewish Light’s Jan. 18 article concerning the JCRC’s response to the recent U.N. Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements attributed various statements to me and, for the most part, got it right.  In one respect, though, it did not.  

The article portrayed me as supporting the U.N. resolution, which is not correct.  What I supported is the Obama administration’s decision to abstain on the resolution, and not veto it, as a means of one friend telling another friend a hard truth it needs to hear —  that the Netanyahu administration’s settlement policies could be disastrous for Israel.  That is something different from supporting the resolution itself.

Gerry Greiman, University City 

JCRC should take stand against UN resolution


We, the undersigned, do not understand why the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis did not issue a statement against U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334. Representing a broad consensus within the St. Louis Jewish community, we believe the resolution is unbalanced, anti-Israel and destructive to peaceful efforts for a two-state solution. The resolution ignores all of Israel’s concessions to the Palestinians and rewards the Palestinians for their refusal to negotiate with Israel.

Many JCRCs throughout the country made statements condemning the resolution, but our St. Louis JCRC issued a statement that only provided information concerning the resolution and various Jewish groups’ responses.

Along with other JCRCs, the majority of mainstream Jewish organizations across the spectrum — from the Reform Movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) to the Zionist Organization of America — condemned this resolution and the U.S. abstention. On the day the resolution passed, a CCAR statement said:

“[T]he United Nations is not the arena in which to address these complex issues. Peace negotiations belong between the two parties involved. Further, the UN’s obsessive and relentless criticism of Israel, while ignoring the unspeakable repression committed by illegitimate regimes and terrorist organizations worldwide, falsely and maliciously labels Israel uniquely as a pariah state….Today’s abstention, therefore, leaves us dismayed, disappointed and angry.”

No matter one’s position on the settlements, it is generally agreed that the Kotel (i.e., the Western Wall), the Temple Mount and the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem are part of Israel. Resolution 2334 calls all areas won by Israel in the defensive war of 1967 “illegally occupied.” We appreciate the importance of acknowledging diverse opinions within the St. Louis Jewish community on a variety of issues. However, we also believe there exists a broad consensus in our community that describing the Kotel, the Temple Mount and the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem as “illegally occupied” is false and harmful, and must be addressed by the St. Louis JCRC. 

Our own U.S. House of Representatives, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, rejected the resolution and criticized the U.S. abstention to it. HR11 states that Resolution 2334 “undermines the prospect of bi-lateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and one-sidedly criticizes Israel.” Both Missouri senators — Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill — are among 74 senators co-sponsoring a similar Senate bill, which is expected to pass overwhelmingly.

JCRC’s Mission Statement says it “promotes the security of Israel.” Why does the JCRC refrain from standing with Israel in the face of Resolution 2334, but freely issues definitive statements on many other complicated and controversial issues? Our JCRC strives to represent our broad Jewish community. Since the security of Israel is at our core, we should be united in its defense. Rejection of the U.N. Security Council resolution is not controversial. We don’t believe the JCRC should remain neutral; therefore, we urge them to issue a statement critical of the U.N. resolution.

Rabbi Ze’ev Smason Pat Freed Lew Levey Ethan Schuman
Rabbi Brigitte Rosenberg Wayne Freed Arnold Levin Richard Senturia
Rabbi Mike Rovinsky Gay Lee Freedman Bud Levin Dr. Pearl Serota
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